Are Apple Products Overpriced?

(Last Updated On: September 11, 2019)

Are Apple Products Overpriced?

With Apple announcing a new generation of iPhone every year, people are always bound to bring up the elephant in the room–price. Apple products are getting increasingly expensive, and to many, it’s not justifiable. Let’s be real, paying hundreds of dollars (even up to a thousand now) for a phone that’s designed to be replaced by the next year is pretty ridiculous. And the same goes for their laptop and desktop computers by proxy. Of course, we know the business model works–else Apple wouldn’t have become the first trillion dollar company. So let’s at least try and settle the debate; are Apple products overpriced?

Apple, Part by Part

If you’ve ever spent time with a computer, you probably know there are parts that go into it. For our PC users, you may have even built your own by buying individual parts. So if you were to take apart an iMac pro and buy parts of equivalent value, the price should be close to that of a PC of similar specification of a premium brand. And it turns out, the prices generally hover around the same. 

This doesn’t always hold true in real life though; sometimes Apple’s products are marked up higher than those of their competitors. Granted, going tit-for-tat, you are paying for more than just a bunch of parts glued together.

Apple fans out there might be ready to stand up and point an accusatory finger at their non-Apple subscribed counterparts. But there’s a very good reason we didn’t just say “no, they’re not overpriced.”

Being Under-powered

MacBook products generally run slower than the equivalent market competitors. Which, for those who aren’t looking at each and every part in their Mac, would lead some to assume that Macs are under-performing for the price tag. And from a sheer power standpoint, some are. 

Part of the reason can be attributed to temperature. Your computer has a CPU, and if you own a laptop, you’ve definitely felt the thing get hot. If your CPU gets too hot, it will throttle itself so it doesn’t, you know, melt. Even if you’re playing video games, your CPU probably won’t get above 80° Celsius. True to Apple’s “think different” motto, Macs handle this a little differently. Putting a Mac through a stress test, you’d find that a MacOS will allow its CPU (there is no “iCPU”, it sources from Intel) to hit temperatures above 95° Celsius. Water boils at 100°. 

Extreme heat is obviously bad for a computer–you can get a flexing motherboard or worse. So even if you’re not a huge computer nerd trying to squeeze everything out of their computer, you should at least know what we’ve just mentioned. A hot computer will always be far less reliable than a cooler counterpart.

Why Apple purposefully designs their units this way is our best guess. Weirder still; this thermal design does not exist in their other flagship product: the iPhone. We don’t know either.

Apple Does Kind of Mask This

While Apple computers tend to struggle to maintain the even base clocking speed of the CPUs in them (even though they advertise the boosted speed, which can be up to a 40% difference for the end user), more recent CPU innovations allow Apple to hide this. This is probably what leads to the common phrase “but my Mac does what I need it to do.” 

CPUs can, for a very short time, “turbo boost” themselves past even their regular boosted clock speed. This kicks in when you’re launching applications or opening web pages, which makes Macs seem far faster. This is not sustainable for professional rendering or editing, which is where Macs tend to under-perform. 

Is Apple’s Premium Priced Alright?

For those who’ve read this post and decided to swear off Apple products and call all their Apple-using friends idiots, there’s more to the story.

Apple charges a premium. This isn’t something to dispute; if you think $1,000 for a phone is not a premium, we advise you do some self-reflection. As well as doing some quick web searches for phone prices.

Either way, Apple users are paying more for a very good-looking piece of hardware. Yes, part of Apple’s appeal is the form factor. Some people just want their computer to look sexy, and that’s okay if they think it’s worth it.

But people also buy into the Apple ecosystem. While Apple is often derided for being so closed with their software and the like, there’s no denying how in-sync their products are. The way MacOS and iOS interact with each other and other Apple products is a level of integration that many think is worth the asking price. On top of the ecosystem, Apple is basically the only way to get access to iOS or MacOS, and because they’ve created their own little market corner, those who prefer Apple’s OS are more likely to buy in.

There’s also the fact that Apple generally doesn’t make cheap/budget products. Because they exist solely in the premium smartphone market, they can create a lot of brand loyalty

So, like it or not, Apple also charges for their brand. More or less, the privilege to put that half eaten apple logo onto your laptop. Plus Apple tends to target more of a mass audience, and not specifically super tech savvy computer users who would go out and test their Macs for things like temperature throttling. 

Take the quiz: Apple Logos Through the Ages

So, Are Apple Products Overpriced?

So all things considered, Apple products are overpriced for their hardware output (but not necessarily the hardware inside the shell). That, and we haven’t even gotten into the wealth of anti-consumer practices and engineering failures Apple has become known for. But that’s a topic that could be its own post entirely.

However, there is an non-quantifiable aspect to Apple products that many buy into, which keeps people coming back. After all, Apple is not the only choice of computer or smartphone on the market, and it’s a premium. If you don’t think your iPhone is worth it, it’s not hard at all to find a functional, and cheaper alternative. 

So hopefully we’ve put things into some perspective next time you want to pick a fight with someone over their phone or computer. Namely, you probably shouldn’t be getting into fights over someone’s brand preference. 

Think comparing technology is like apples to oranges? Well, we’ve got you covered with this quiz here.



About Kyler 727 Articles
Kyler is a content writer at Sporcle living in Seattle, and is currently studying at the University of Washington School of Law. He's been writing for Sporcle since 2019; sometimes the blog is an excellent platform to answer random personal questions he has about the world. Most of his free time is spent drinking black coffee like water.