Apple Fans Lash Back at Idea That There’s an ‘Apple Tax’

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Are the fanboys who wait outside Apple stores for hours to buy new iPhones and iPads basically slaves? Are the hundreds of dollars some families spend year in, year out on new Apple products tantamount to a tax?

A Reuters column about “America’s costly obsession” over Apple gadgets argues that consumers have grown so accustomed to dropping money on new Apple tech, that these annual expenses—reportedly an average of $444 per household, up from just $150 in 2007—can be described as the “Apple tax.”

“Remember, this is not something that consumers are being forced to pay,” Reuters’ Chris Taylor writes. “They are dipping willingly into their own pockets, because they’re essentially slaves to the devices.”

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Unsurprisingly, the “slaves” didn’t like the way they were being depicted. The MacObserver, for instance, declared the column “egregious in both the scope of its stupidity and its lack of accuracy.”

Mac Daily News hammered on the absurdity of there being an “Apple tax”:

Newsflash: Some people actually use Apple products to – gasp! – make money. Imagine that. Most of our Apple devices are our very stylish slaves, minimalist minions that generate many times more than they cost upfront or to maintain (right around $0). Other Apple devices that we have mostly for our own enjoyment (Apple TV, iPods, iPad mini, etc.) deliver high quality and value for the money.

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Salon’s Andrew Leonard also chimed in:

What makes a tax a tax? The fact that you are forced to pay it! If you are willingly dipping into your own pockets to make a discretionary purchase you are not paying a tax. (It’s even harder to reconcile the slavery metaphor. Slaves don’t pay taxes, either. Are we paying a tax, or are we owned, lock, stock and barrel?)

We may chuckle at the folks who sleep overnight—or pay a big premium—to be among the first to get their hands on the newest iPhone. Such behavior may seem illogical, even a bit obsessive. So does habitually spending hundreds of dollars on devices that are marginal improvements from devices one already owns.

It’s hard to argue, however, that anyone is being forced to spend money in such fashion. For that matter, all sorts of consumers drop good money on things that others find downright silly. Money spent on Apple gadgets isn’t any more of a tax than money spent on cable TV or golf or shoes or NFL season tickets is a tax. They’re all voluntarily expenditures.

As a Forbes contributor put it:

This isn’t compulsion, slavery or even addiction. It’s a rational choice by consumers based on their own estimations of their own desires. As such it isn’t a tax: it’s a premium being paid to satisfy their particular desires.

16 comments
bobinohio
bobinohio

There is an element of truth to the "concept"of the apple tax, but it's more in the form of a "smartphone tax".   Cellular providers are quickly dropping basic feature phones, and the ones they do have are not desirable anymore.   So people who need what amounts to a basic feature phone are being forced to move up to smartphones.   This is happening to my family right now and I certainly can consider this a tax on my family.   We do not necessarily want or need a smartphone, but when an old phone breaks, we really don't have a choice anymore when we walk in to the cell phone store.

bpicke
bpicke

Marginal improvements?   You are an idiot.    Apple invents the stuff, the others copy it and never mange to get all that close.   If you actually used the Apple equipment, you would know this.   

Besides which, the supposed 'cheap' rip-offs, and I include WINDOWS in this along with ANDROID, are for suckers.   Pound wise, penny foolish morons, basically.   

Apple customers get MORE than they pay for, the rest of you are just jealous.  

AdamSmith1
AdamSmith1

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JeromeCovington
JeromeCovington

I think it is more accurate to compare the "Apple Tax" with the "Windows Tax". When you buy hardware with software preloaded onto it, and are forced to pay the cost of that software though you may replace it with another platform, that is the "Apple Tax" or "Windows Tax".

marymaryquite
marymaryquite

I bought my first Apple Computer in 1986.  I cost around $500 with a teacher discount.  It was a rugged little thing, except for the keyboard which wasn't sealed and a little spill in its direction would destroy it.  Move fast forward to 2012.  I have a new Mac a really magnificent machine.  My keyboard starts acting up.  Water was kept at a safe distance and the closest thing to a liquid was the word.  I called to have it replaced.  No way.  Apple doesn't replace keyboards unless there is an obvious technical problem.  The fact that I found small snips of paper, dead skin and tiny hairs under the keys doesn't get one a new one.  The people at apple suggested that I buy a $20 "plastic "bra" to keep the dirt and dead skin out.  Apple is the technological standard but they still can't make a sealed keyboard.  Flash is fine, but innovation doesn't always cost $3000.  This shows how committed to real change.  While a new keyboard doesn't cost as much as an ipad it is an expense that should have been eliminated a long time ago.

samtehman
samtehman

Well, at least Apple fans are admitting they are choosing to buy new iterations of old products now.

Also made me laugh when they defended their purchasing habits.

samtehman
samtehman

See: Apple Map App for the iPhone 5

bpicke
bpicke

@samtehman   There is only one iPhone.   Remember that it's what YOUR phone is a COPY of.  

Talk about not making us laugh!   Pretending that Android is now 'ahead' of iPhone is unbelievably stupid.    I laugh at Android commercials like the Samsung one where they bump phones to move a (movie) file.    That was something people did with iPhones in 2007.      There is nothing even remotely 'innovative' or new on Android.   It's a COPY, it's impossible that it's ever a really 'new' thing.    They can had a new feature or tweak, but that's about it.   Windows 8 phone is a new concept (for once in the history of Microsoft) but it's not selling well.

Android was going to be a blackberry rip off until they started getting inside information from Eric Schmidt when he sat on Apple's board.   This is all common knowledge, and Google has admitted it.   

FakesinghMalhotra
FakesinghMalhotra

@samtehman they all get mad because their so called precious products arent precious anymore ,because there are cheaper better looking products out there now ...nothing new lol

bpicke
bpicke

@samtehman 

So what?  That has been so overblown, it's not even funny.   This is the same as the FUD storm over 'antennagate' which literally was based on nothing.    What happens is the Android fanboys harp over and over about it until it gets to be a story on it's own.    Literally no one actually using the hardware in question had a problem.    'Map gate' had SOME truth to it, but mostly was just fluff.   There were some distorted images, that's about the extent of it.    The actual Apple maps work great, especially in cities, and are 10X faster than the google implementation, plus, they are fully object oriented and you can spin them around in whatever direction to match, for example, the direction in which you are traveling.  You can't do that in Google maps.    And the turn by turn is quite nice (even though there were dozens of third party apps that provided this earlier on iPhone, not Android, they did cost some money.)  The Google maps are still available in the browser.   Apple had to do something about this as Google was withholding turn by turn after coping everything else about the iPhone.  

As for a 'fail' on Android, look at anything except the maps.    It all fails compared with an iPhone, which, by the way, costs the same on most any US contract.  

bpicke
bpicke

@FakesinghMalhotra @samtehman   Funny how you don't mention specifically which Roid is 'better looking'.   I guess it would kinda defeat the purpose of your denial.    If there is one that is even close, it's only because it's a Samsung and they are so blatant about their license to rip off Apple's designs that Google asked them to stop.     

AdamChew1
AdamChew1

@FakesinghMalhotra @samtehman 

Yes cheaper ones of plastic, better looking? don't make me laugh.

Btw why does it bother you when I buy Apple products.

If you chose to buy your so called cheap and better looking I couldn't care less.

samtehman
samtehman

Agreed. If anything, it is more of a premium than it is a tax.

bpicke
bpicke

@samtehman  If you had any clue you would know that the apple stuff not only is far better quality in both hardware AND software, but that it is original, not a rip-off,  and that even MUCH higher 'speced' 'Roid phones can't even come close to competing on performance.   You are running 100% JAVA on your Roid, that's why it's pathetically slow.  It's interpreted.    iPhone is 100% NATIVE software.   

But what is TOTALLY ABSURD about this article are the claims that the Apple stuff costs more.   It's most certainly does not, and this includes the Macintosh as well at this point.   Don't compare the Apple stuff to ridiculously cheap hardware with hobbled chipsets, etc...    Also, keep in mind that the Apple hardware is far better than Windows or Android.   Why do you think they copied it in the first place?

samtehman
samtehman

When did I say that it bothered me?

So you are saying you like Apple products because they are better looking? I was not aware aesthetics had a part in improving performance.