iWay Robbery: Apple Tax Hits New High

Senior Editor
Updated

It's getting pretty expensive to be an Apple fan these days. And I'm not talking about just the price tag of all the marquee products the company unveiled this week.

Certainly, it's no secret that products festooned with an Apple logo command top dollar. If you were to buy every major product announced during Apple's Sept. 9 press event -- the $149 32GB Apple TV, the $199 16GB iPhone 6s, the $799 64GB iPad Pro and the $349 rose gold Apple Watch Sport, you'd put nearly a $1,500 dent in your savings and probably wind up on the receiving end of a very concerned phone call from your credit card company.

But prices like those are to be expected, really. It's the cost of add-ons and accessories that may surprise you.

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Take the Siri Remote that comes included with the new Apple TV. Not only does the remote let you select movies and TV shows to watch, you can also use it as a controller to take advantage of the Apple TV's newfound ability to play games. Some of those games, like Beat Sports from Harmonix, will tap into the Siri Remote's accelerometer, requiring you to wave the device through the air like a Nintendo Wii controller. If you want to avoid accidentally hurling your remote toward your very-expensive TV set, you'll need a wrist strap. No worries -- Apple will offer one for the Siri Remote that snaps into place in the device's Lightning charging port. But you'll have to pay $13 if you want a strap for your Siri Remote. The Nintendo Wii controller came with a wrist strap by default.

The accessories unveiled for the iPad Pro are a bit pricier than $13. Apple's Smart Keyboard -- a keyboard case designed for the super-sized tablet -- costs $169 while the stylus-like Apple Pencil will run you $99. Contrast that with Microsoft's Surface Pro 3, which includes a pen with its $799 tablet. And while you'll have to pay $129 if you want a Type Cover, Microsoft's take on a keyboard case costs $40 less than what Apple will charge for its iPad Pro add-on. There’s also Lenovo’s IdeaPad Mix 700, which includes a leather-backed folio keyboard along with its $699 price tag.

Even the cost of support is going up in some cases. As reported by MacRumors, AppleCare+ for the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will cost $130 with a $100 service fee. That's increases of $30 and $20, respectively, from what iPhone 6 owners paid.

Apple's response to any sticker shock would be a reminder that you get what you pay for. The company has built its reputation on developing high-end products. "We're not in the junk business," CEO Tim Cook once said of low-cost smartphones, and it's likely that Apple's attitude hasn't softened in the ensuing years. It takes high-end components to make the kind of products Apple concentrates on, and that drives up the end-price for users.

Apple's managed to find plenty of users who have no problem with that arrangement. After all, Apple didn't become the most valuable public company in the world because customers rejected its approach to pricing. Apple's sales growth suggests that there are plenty of people willing to meet the company's asking price for phones, tablets and smartwatches.

Still, it's one thing to pay up for a slickly designed smartwatch or smartphone with an impressive 3D touch feature. It's quite another to be asked to shell out for a wrist strap that seems like it should have been included in the first place. It'll take more than a $13 Apple TV remote accessory or even a $99 stylus to dim the enthusiasm of some customers for Apple's products, but it's a reminder that the cost of some things are higher than what's on the sticker.