Apple’s price hikes went way too far in 2018

Apple's vice president of retail, Angela Ahrendts, laughs it up with an Apple Store employee.

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Apple’s vice president of retail, Angela Ahrendts, laughs it up with an Apple Store employee.
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Justin Sullivan / Staff

  • Apple raised prices across nearly all its product lines in 2018.
  • Starting prices for some of Apple’s most popular products increased by about 20% on average.
  • Apple says the prices are justified since the products are better than ever, but that’s a tough pill to swallow for customers.

Apple raised prices across the board in 2018. You may have noticed.


In 2016, the starting price of Apple’s newest iPhone, the iPhone 7, was $649.

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

In 2017, the starting price of the most affordable new iPhone, the iPhone 8, moved up to $699, a 7% increase from the year prior.

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

This year, Apple raised the starting price of its most affordable new iPhone yet again. The iPhone XR costs $749 — a 7% jump from 2017 and a 15% increase from 2016.

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YouTube/MKBHD

In 2017, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro started at $649.

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Steve Kovach/Tech Insider

This year, the new 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799, a 23% increase from 2017.

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Apple

In 2017, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro started at $799.

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Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

This year, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $999, a 25% increase from 2017.


In 2017, the Mac Mini had a starting price of $499.

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Apple

This year, the Mac Mini’s starting price is $799, a 60% increase from the last model.

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Dave Smith/Business Insider

In 2017, the MacBook Air had a starting price of $999.

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Apple

This year, the MacBook Air’s starting price moved up to $1,199, a 20% increase from 2017.

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

In 2017, the Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS but not cellular had a starting price of $329.

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Jack Taylor/Getty Images

This year, the Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS but not cellular, starts at $399, a 21% increase.

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In 2017, an Apple Watch Series 3 with both GPS <i>and</i> cellular had a starting price of $399.

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Issei Kato/Reuters

This year, the Apple Watch Series 4 with both GPS and cellular starts at $499, a 25% increase.

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The price hikes targeted Apple’s most affordable offerings. Apple’s cheapest iPhone, the $350 iPhone SE, <a href=”https://www.businessinsider.com/apple-iphone-se-vs-iphone-xs-2018-9″target=”_blank”>was removed from the lineup</a>.

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Business Insider/Steve Kovach

More niche or expensive products, like the Apple TV and iMac Pro — which start at $150 and $5,000 — kept their prices the same.

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Kif Leswing

The price hikes make sense from Apple’s perspective.


The cost of innovating is high, and making futuristic devices with expensive components, like the iPhone X with its OLED screen, is costlier than it was before.

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Hollis Johnson

As Apple also alluded to this year when it decided to no longer announce unit sales in its earnings reports, growth across its most popular product lines, like the iPhone, is beginning to slow down. Price hikes help compensate for less business.

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Sean Gallup/Getty Images

But it really doesn’t matter what the reason is for Apple’s price hikes. The bottom line is that Apple can afford to raise prices because people will still buy Apple products anyway.


Many people are happy to pay extra for Apple products because they believe they’re getting extra quality. Apple is a unique tech company in that it controls the hardware, software, and services across all its devices, as well as the in-store experience. Lots of people like that.

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Apple

Apple fandom is also a thing. Some people buy all the latest Apple products because they love the company and want to own every single new product from it. Price doesn’t matter much to those customers.

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CoPilot Live via Flickr

The Apple brand is also huge around the world. As with Nike and its “swoosh,” prices seem to automatically go up if a product has Apple’s logo on it. Apple is technology, but it’s also fashion.

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Apple

Raising prices is psychological too. When the price of a product goes up, fewer people are likely to buy it, making it rarer and creating a “wow” effect when you see it out in the wild. Maybe it makes you jealous because you wish you had more money to buy that Apple product.

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Apple’s pricing strategy probably won’t change anytime soon. After all, making innovative products isn’t getting any cheaper, and Apple’s brand is still desirable among people of all ages.

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Nigel Young/Foster + Partners

Still, that doesn’t mean Apple’s price hikes in 2018 were justified from a consumer standpoint.

To quickly summarize the price hikes for Apple products in 2018:

  • The cheapest new iPhone is 7% more expensive than it was last year and 15% more expensive than in 2016.
  • The two iPad Pro models experienced price hikes of 23% and 25%.
  • The latest Apple Watch models are 21% or 25% more expensive than the new watches from last year, depending on which model you buy.
  • The MacBook Air got a 20% price hike this year.
  • The Mac Mini got a 60% price hike this year.

Even the new Apple Pencil is 30% more expensive than the previous model.

Did the value of these products increase in the same way their prices did? Not necessarily. But as long as people keep paying for them, Apple has little reason to change its strategy.