It’s getting tough being an European Apple user (a rant about prices)

On Tuesday, Apple made some headlines, with the introduction of a 21.5″ 4K Retina-display iMac (Macworld review by Jason Snell), and also a new set of Mac accessories: Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2 with Force Touch (read also Jason Snell’s review of the Keyboard and Trackpad over at Six Colors).

However, these new products once again brought forward a terrible trend for European Union Apple users: an escalation in prices.

Let’s take a look at US prices for the new products:

  • iMac 21.5″ 4K Retina display – $1,499
  • Magic Keyboard – $99
  • Magic Mouse 2 – $79
  • Magic Trackpad 2 – $129

In Portugal, these are the prices for those same products:

  • iMac 21.5″ 4K Retina display – 1.749€ ($1,991)
  • Magic Keyboard – 119€ ($135)
  • Magic Mouse 2 – 89€ ($101)
  • Magic Trackpad 2 – 149€ ($170)

On average, these Apple products cost over 30% more to a Portuguese customer (that number slightly varies in regards to other EU countries).

Yes, a case could be made that prices in Portugal include a hefty 23% tax load, but the fact is that prices in Portugal (and generally speaking, in the European Union) are progressively getting higher and higher, for the end-client.

Still not convinced? Here are some numbers for one of Apple’s  crown jewels, the iPhone:

  • By October/2014, an unlocked 16Gb iPhone 6 had a Portuguese price-tag of 709€ ($806, by rates at the time).
  • That same date, we could also get an unlocked 16Gb iPhone 5S for 609€ ($692).
  • Today, a brand-new and unlocked iPhone 6S costs 759€ ($864), an increase of 50€($58).
  • Also today, last year’s 16Gb iPhone 6 can be obtained by 649€ ($750), having lowered 60€($56), but representing an increase of 40€ ($58) to last year price for the (then) 2nd model in the line, the iPhone 5S.

A well-informed consumer knows that there are many factors in play, that can lead to these price fluctuations, besides the obvious currency exchange rates issue (a weakened Euro in regards to the US Dollar), but how can we expect that the public, in general, looks at these  numbers, not thinking this is just Apple getting greedy, just looking for a larger income?

I consider myself a smart and well-informed Apple user/client, but even I start finding myself lacking the arguments to try to explain and justify this.

(Oh, and don’t even get me started on the lack of Portuguese-speaking Siri… I’ll save it for another time).