AWT News Update: October 28, 2016

We end this week's string of podcasts with a shorter episode than yesterday's marathon, but throw a bit of opinion into the mix:

  • We take Bloomberg to task for putting all of the blame for price increases in the UK on the Brexit, when it appears that most of the increase is an adjustment for the 20% VAT in the country
  • Apple is officially out of the monitor business
  • Opinion: 16GB of non-expandable RAM in a "creative pro" MacBook Pro is insane

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below.

Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for October 28, 2016. This week’s podcasts were sponsored by Spidercase, a rugged protective case for your iPhone that won’t cost a bundle. Check out the link in the show notes for more information.

After our marathon podcast yesterday afternoon covering the Apple event, today’s episode is going to be a typical Friday show — short and sweet.

Bloomberg reports that Apple has increased pricing on some of its computers in the UK as a result of the falling value of the British Pound Sterling as a result of the so called Brexit. The price jumps are quite significant in some cases. For example, the base price of a Mac Pro in the US is $2,999. The same model in the UK now costs the equivalent of $3,649, a jump of almost 20% over the . A MacBook that retails for $1,299 in the US will cost our British cousins the equivalent of $1,520, while a $649 iPhone 7 will put a Brit back the equivalent of $729. Oddly enough, though, Ireland — which uses the Euro — pays even more for Apple products. That same $2,999 Mac Pro retails for about $3,814 in Ireland, with the iPhone 7 selling for the equivalent of $849 — a whopping 31% over the US pricing. While Bloomberg’s reporters seem to be putting much more emphasis on this being due to the Brexit, the prices listed for the UK and Ireland also include VAT (value added taxes - a tax on consumption) at the rate of 20% in the UK and 23% in Ireland. So basically, Bloomberg made a mountain out of a Brexit molehill and Apple probably just adjusted prices to put them in line with what US consumers are paying.

As you probably noticed yesterday, no new Apple-branded displays were introduced at the event. Instead, Apple is now selling two displays from LG — the 21.5-inch 4K UltraFine display at $700 and the 27-inch 5K UltraFine display at $1,300. These displays are pretty impressive, with one Thunderbolt 3 port and three USB-C ports, meaning that it can even be used to charge a MacBook or MacBook Pro. Well, Nilay Patel of The Verge checked with Apple, and the company is now apparently out of the monitor business altogether. That makes sense; monitors are low-margin devices and Apple traditionally enjoys higher margins for its products.

I’m going to end this week’s podcasts with a comment about the new MacBook Pro models, which max out at 16GB of non-expandable RAM. Why Apple thinks that creative professionals are going to want to buy a machine with only 16GB of RAM is totally beyond me. The iMac can be expanded to 32GB through Apple or 64GB with third-party expansion, and the long-ignored Mac Pro can be pumped up to 128GB of RAM. I’ll echo the comments of someone I talked to yesterday — Apple said that they didn’t double the RAM in the new MacBook Pro in order to give it all-day battery life, but I think most creative pros would rather plug in and be able to have 32GB of RAM to use. The maximum RAM capacity of the MacBook Pro is just another of the decisions that have been made at Apple recently that make me wonder if they really do listen to their customers.

That’s all for today; We’ll be back Monday afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.