Apple unveiled its latest laptops today, but they don’t seem wildly different from their predecessors. And one thing that definitely hasn’t changed is Apple’s approach to upselling.
At the event in Cupertino, Apple revealed prices for memory and storage upgrades on the new MacBook Pro that far outstrip the cost of the components. On the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar, the base hard drive option is a solid-state 512 gigabyte hard drive. If you want to upgrade to a 1 terabyte (TB) hard drive, it’ll set you back an extra $400, and if you want to upgrade to a 2 TB hard drive on the 15-inch MacBook Pro (this option isn’t available on the smaller Pro), you’ll have to pay an extra $1,400. (Apple’s cheapest modern laptop, the MacBook, is actually $200 cheaper than that storage upgrade.)
A 1 TB solid-state hard drive for a laptop costs about $250 on Amazon. A 2 TB hard drive runs about $760. These aren’t made for Macs, so it’s not a perfect comparison, but you get the idea. You could even buy a complete HP computer with a 17-inch screen and a 2 TB hard drive for only slightly more than the MacBook Pro upgrade.
Apple has always prided itself on creating well-designed, well-built machines that just work. It also asks customers to pay a premium for that experience. But with rival machines creeping up in quality every year, it’s not clear how long Apple can continue doing that.