Why Apple should cut adapter prices or something

“In response to a fatal incident involving a non-Apple iPhone power adapter, Apple has begun to do the right thing by offering lower cost adapters to some consumers — but has the company really gone as far as it should to prevent this problem?” Jonny Evans asks via Computerworld.

“It is great that Apple has commenced its scheme just a few days since the tragic death of its Chinese customer. The speed and manner of its response is yet more evidence that this firm tries to act as a corporately responsible citizen. Where others prefer to lay low and hope the mud doesn’t stick, Apple has instead launched a major initiative to help put things right,” Evans writes. “That’s great, but the company hasn’t (yet) gone far enough.”

Evans writes, “There’s one primary reason people choose to purchase cheap power adapters for Apple devices from unapproved manufacturers: Price… I respect that Apple is a business. I understand that the strong mark-ups it applies to its cables and peripherals help the firm maintain its high profit margins… However, I also recognize that high margins on Apple peripherals are precisely why a third party industry for unapproved solutions exists.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Ill-conceived nonsense frosted with illogical tripe. Apple’s not your mommy and they’ve already gone well beyond the call of duty this time.

Where does this infantile line of so-called thinking end?

Apple should instead put a big sign on every iOS device that states:

If you can’t come up with friggin’ $19.99 for a real, quality-controlled, tested, safe, approved, non-electrocuting Apple USB Power Adapter, then you can’t afford an iOS device. Good day.

Life is inherently a risk. It can’t all be mitigated. Welcome to reality.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple launches ‘USB Power Adapter Takeback Program’ – August 6, 2013
Unauthorized non-Apple iPhone charger cited in probe of Chinese woman’s electrocution death – July 19, 2013
Faulty non-Apple charger, not iPhone 4, could have killed Chinese stewardess – July 17, 2013
Electrocution: Using illegal third-party iPhone accessories – July 16, 2013
How likely is death by iPhone electrocution? Not very – July 15, 2013
Was this Chinese stewardess killed by her Apple iPhone 5? No – if anything, it was faulty charger – July 15, 2013
Apple to probe electric shock death of Chinese woman who used iPhone 5 while it was charging – July 15, 2013

55 Comments

  1. Part of the high price is in QA. You want cheaply assembled products that aren’t officially okayed by Apple, then you put yourself and others around you at risk. You can’t afford the adapter, then can you really afford the phone?? An iPhone is not a right. It’s a luxury. Unfortunately, so too is common sense these days.

  2. Acting “as a corporately responsible citizen” is another thing that makes Apple unique…

    That’s ‘unique’ as in
    u·nique
    /yo͞oˈnēk/
    Adjective
    Being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.

      1. If Apple gives a free charger with every iPhone exactly what extra mile is Apple supposed to go.

        I am thinking that the unfortunate woman bought a second hand iPhone without a power adaptor. Selling a new adaptor for $10 while taking a dangerous knockoff adaptor off the streets is going the extra mile.

  3. Wow, talk about out of touch, MDN.

    This is the MDN take, distilled: “We are arrogant and really don’t care about consumers.”

    Sure, Apple has always gouged customers for accessories and RAM, etc. That’s why a significant number of consumers — right or wrong — consider Apple to be a poor value and tend to be an arrogant user group. Today MDN proved the latter.

    1. OK, let’s take your example of RAM pricing. Yes, you can go to Fry’s and buy RAM that is the same size and speed for less. It costs less because it is inferior. The RAM Apple uses is the very best available. The difference is in the testing. The RAM specified by Apple has been tested to meet Apple’s requirements for reliability. To paraphrase SJ: “We won’t sell junk.”

      1. Or you can buy high-quality RAM at OWC for half the price that Apple charges … when Apple allows the user to access the internals of the machine.

        Apple simply has not offered consistently great consumer options, pricing, and support. Sorry, but this is a huge issue and a primary reason why Macs didn’t gain much traction amongst hardcore computer tinkerers & gamers.

        Apple’s conscientious decisions to make internal upgrading increasingly difficult, if not impossible, may be just fine with consumers, but is not acceptable for pros and many prosumers. Moreover, with Cook’s extended time between product refreshes, Macs can seldom claim to offer the highest performance anymore. Some of us think that Apple should be expanding its appeal, not continuing to shun potentially lucrative buyers.

        1. “Upgradeability” is a different issue that pricing for add on equipment (e.g., RAM) or accessories.

          I agree that for the PRO market, being able to upgrade a system is critical to that professional user. Apple seems to be moving in the wrong direction for the professional user.

          However, that was, and is, not the issue at hand. Apple is dealing with the issue at hand better than the vast majority of companies out there. Apple is doing much more than anyone expected them to do. Anyone claiming that Apple is not doing enough just wants Apple to fix their problem for them. Users need to take some ownership and responsibility for their actions. It is not Apple’s responsibility to try to set up circumstances that keep people from being fools.

          So unless you expect Apple to offer free accessories for life and as many as any customer might desire for free, then there will always be someone buying a cheap knock off to save a few pennies. (Hell, believe it or not there are even knock-off Timex watches that people buy to save a few pennies — as if a $9.95 watch wasn’t cheap enough!)

          As I said before, “You can’t fix stupid.” (And Apple can’t either.)

        2. We agree on one thing…continuing to be able to easily access upgradable parts in Mac computers would be welcome.

          That said, Apple didn’t get to be the most valuable company in the world by accident. They are and have been consistently rated number one in products, customer support and loyalty for years (9 years running at JD Power alone).

          Apple products are used by millions of professionals every day. I and others wouldn’t have it any other way.

          Quality comes at a price. “Hard core” tinkerers, gamers and those looking for low-cost (read: low quality) products have other choices.

    2. Mike,

      EVERY computer vendor (Apple, DELL, HP, ASUS, Lenovo, etc.) charges more for accessories, and even RAM, than you will pay at third parties if you do just a little bit of searching. Accessories, even RAM, are a way to increase the profit margin for them all.

      The real issue is not price. It is quality. There are a handful of third party vendors that sell quality RAM, for example, for less than what you will pay to Apple (or DELL or HP, etc.). These are the quality providers.

      Then you can (if you’re stupid enough) go to the true “cut rate” providers that sell crap. Sure, you *might* luck out and it will work fine. OR, it might just fry your equipment — or even YOU. If you’re stupid enough to take that gamble then go for it.

      Assuming you have at least two active brain cells, you have to know that unless Apple gives away the accessories and RAM there will *ALWAYS* (truly **ALWAYS**) be some organization out that that will falsely claim their product is just as good as Apple’s for a lot less money. And, there will be people stupid enough to believe them — buy the crap and then complain that it’s Apple’s fault that things don’t work properly.

      You can play it 99.9999999% safe (nothing is 100%) and pay the premium prices to Apple (or Dell or HP) or save a *few* dollars and go with the truly reputable third parties for 99.99% assurance. OR you can be stupid and take your chances with crap that is really just a coin toss.

      Your choice. Always has been. Always will be.

      Just remember: You can’t fix stupid. (And Apple can’t either.)

    3. This is BS. If Apple didn’t care about its customers, it wouldn’t be taking off market schlock adapters as trade ins. Apple went above and beyond on this one — utterly outstanding customer service, especially when you recall the poor woman who was electrocuted was USING ELECTRONICS IN THE BATH, for crying out loud!

    1. BLN, that all depends on what you want the string to do and your degree of confidence that the string will reliably and repeatedly perform that function without failing and possibly injuring you or others.

      BLN, you have taken this discussion to an unrealistic extreme that has no relevance to the discussion at hand. Jonny Evans seems to believe that it is Apple’s responsibility to sell power adapters at low prices in order to inhibit others from marketing cut-rate and potentially dangerous third party alternatives to the Apple hardware. Apple has already gone farther than any other company in my experience to remedy a problem that is not even its responsibility. The issue under discussion is that some people think that Apple ought to do even more.

      Personally, I believe that if you are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for an iPhone, iPad, or Apple laptop, then you should be very careful about trying to save $10 or $20 by purchasing a third party power adapter. If you choose to do so, then it becomes your responsibility and that of the third party manufacturer.

    2. If I were you BLN, I would not try to hang myself with anything less than the Apple branded string. Believe me, you won’t care afterwards if you get this one right.

    3. You’re exaggerating way too much. String with an Apple logo would only be around 15¢. $10 would be 100X more. There are no parts for Apple computers that are 100X more than some PC parts. It’s true that the Apple logo does have some magical properties because it does make consumers want to automatically pay more for a product with that logo on it.

  4. You’re dead because you tried to save $7.

    Hey, whaddya know, Darwin’s Law still works!

    Where’s it end, Jonny Evans? I sold you my house. I took my Viking range. You bought one from Best Buy for $199. The house burned down because of it. Now you want to:

    a) sue me
    b) force Viking to sell their ranges for $199
    c) a pail of unicorn tears in which to drown your sorrows
    d) all of the above

    Fscking Libs. All “feelings” and shit for brains. No wonder the world is fscked. Logic is not debatable.

    1. Naturally, you end your post by attempting to pin Jonny Evans’ stupid opinion on “libs” in general. I do not believe this is a partisan issue. My guess is that the vast majority of the people on this forum believe that Jonny Evans is full of it. But you can go ahead and spin it to make yourself feel a bit more secure in your little tunnel. Typical Fwhatever B.S.

        1. You Americans have a problem. You think EVERYTHING can be seen through a democrats/republicans glass. Nope, you are wrong not EVERYTHING is political. Mobile phone chargers for example are not. And as much as I despise Evans viewpoint, that is not a liberal viewpoint at all. Consumer protection is one thing (and a very good thing) but thinking that a company has an obligation to create cheap stuff? WTF? It’s like telling Mercedes to please sell their tires for half the price because people died because they couldn’t break in time while driving cheap tires on their cars.

  5. No manufactured product is ever going to be 100 percent perfect–even those made by or for Apple. But especially buying ANY electrical peripheral device such as a non-Apple product is foolhardy not to say asinine.

    Even if Apple-approved adapters were $5.99, there would still be those 3rd parties, especially in China, Taiwan, etc, that would manufacture one for $4.99. And besides, $19.99 is a drop in the bucket especially for an adapter.

    I’m sorry for the person electrocuted and family, and proud of what Apple did and has now done with repricing adapters until late October, but one gets what one pays for. Should anyone ever buy a knockoff or untested, unapproved-Apple peripheral, especially where electricity is involved, just to save a few paltry dollars or yuan? Maybe these idiots, wherever the live, yes, even in the US, will one day learn. But, I doubt it.

  6. The cables can be cheaper, without Apple losing money, and here’s the logic – their price does need to reflect how much a cable costs to produce, manufacture, or test – even if Apple sells it for $0.01, they could still make a profit. Hear me out: iPhones all use a unique proprietary connection (2 proprietary connections now, actually) that only works with Apple devices. So anyone buying a cable has already paid for an iPhone or other Apple device designed to use the proprietary connection. Therefore, the price of the cable could be part of the price of the device itself. Apple could sell the cables for extremely cheap, and fully subsidize the costs by selling of iPhones and iPods, because the demand for these cables will always correlate with sales of Apple device, given that no other company’s devices use their proprietary connections. That’s how Apple can cut the prices of cables without losing money.

      1. I don’t have to tell them, because they already know their own business model.

        The razors and their replacements work together, so the total price can distributed between the two products in whatever way makes the most business sense. In this case, the cheaper price of razors are subsidized by the higher price of the replacements.

    1. It sounds good as you type it, but the reality is not completely expressed in your post. The adapter contained in the packaging of the original iPhone shares its packaging, shipping, shelving, etc. with the iPhone. As an accessory it does not. There are real costs associated with all of that.

      1. I don’t get your point at all. The real total cost of the accessory, including shipping, shelving, and everything else that goes into the cost: however it is calculated, it does not change how subsidizing works. The total cost of the accessory can still be included in the price of the iPhone itself.

    2. I think my point can made clearer and more concrete:

      Let’s say Apple calculates exactly how much iPhone users spend on average on iPhone power adapters, and it’s $30. Apple could then raise the price of the iPhone based on that amount ($30 in my example) and then sell their power adapters for 99¢ each. The average customer still spends the same amount in total on iPhones and adapters. Apple still makes as much money on iPhones and adapters as before – if not more as they take sales away from third parties.

      The only thing that really changes is there’s no longer a market for third party iPhone power adapters. They don’t have the option to subsidize prices the way Apple does.

      (If Apple wanted to be nice to third parties here, they could even offer to subsidize power adapters that meet specific safety requirements).

      1. Really?

        How is that Apples fault? I still don’t get it. At fault is whoever ALLOWED this company to sell unsafe chargers. In any normal country everything that connects to the power grid has to have a certification, CE, FCC, TUV, etc. It might not be a seal of quality and longevity but it will at least make sure that you don’t die using it. If this country in question doesn’t have these laws or the product was a uncertified rip off product, then the authorities in that country are to blame and should step up the pressure. It’s always so easy to blame Apple. If I am going in the bathtub with an electronic device that is connected to the mains (!!!), then… well you better make sure it’s safe.

        I am very sorry for the poor Lady and her family and friends, I truly am. But you can’t pin her death on anyone else than her and the rip off manufacturer. that sells deadly devices. NOWHERE would the blame go to the phone manufacturer but to the manufacturer of the charger. Just because it’s Apple, it’s always their fault.

        Subsidizing is the worst idea ever. Never works. There will always be people that sell unsafe things for a quick buck because they don’t care. What needs to be done is that these people end up behind bars. The manufacturer/owner of the charger company should go to jail. End of story.

        1. You’re confused if you think I’m blaming Apple. If this is an issue that’s important to Apple – if they are really concerned about unsafe third party power adapters, and have compelling business reasons or moral reasons for not wanting people to buy third party power cables – Apple has the power to fix this problem themselves, definitively, without losing any money. If it doesn’t matter to Apple, they can leave it up to state laws and individual customers to deal with the issue – that’s a totally legitimate option for Apple if they don’t think the issue is serious. The ball’s in their court if they want to solve the problem or let others deal with it.

          “Subsidizing is the worst idea ever. Never works.” Really strange remark. Many things are sold subsidized, including the majority of iPhones. Do you think iPhones are unsuccessful products? Or did you actually think an iPhone 5 really costs $199 and an iPhone 4 really costs 99¢ without being subsidized? I have no idea how you could possibly get the impression that subsidizing never work. That’s a really, really strange alternative-universe-style remark. Subsidizing works and examples of it working are ubiquitous.

      2. Oh and I forgot:

        The aftermarket accessory industry that makes a fortune with Apple compatible stuff, would certainly not like Apple to subsidy their own chargers and give them an unfair advantage. I am sure they would sue apple for unfair practice.

        1. Third parties can make iPhone accessories that aren’t just power chargers. If simple power chargers were no longer a viable product, they’d actually be forced to come up more innovative iPhone accessories. This happens every time Apple starts including something that previously was handled by third parties.

          And, if Apple was compelled to play nicely with third parties here, they can offer to subsidize power chargers that meet specific safety requirements. Same goal achieved (removing unsafe third party chargers), same math applies (iPhone price covers total cost of device and chargers.)

          1. Ok.

            My friend, I am a realist. A mobile phone contract is not really subsidized as you are locking yourself into a contract, it’s actually more a loan, you pay them back over time with your monthly (re-)payments. And no, I don’t believe an iPhone costs really $99 because in the country I live in, there are no subsidized contracts. You buy your phone full price and get a contract, two separate transactions.

            Unrealistic is that there would be a workable system for Apple to subsidize their own and 3rd party chargers with the selling price (while they still give you one charger FULLY subsidized=free, mind you) without someone producing whatever they like and still selling them. You think Apple could do that, subsidize away unlicensed chargers? Dream on. This is absolutely unworkable. I think your comment is from the alternate universe. Show me ONE example where this worked on a global scale and I give you my Masters Degree in Economics in exchange for whatever your degree in math is.

            Your theory is nice but unworkable. How would, in your mind, the subsidizing work? Am really interested. Chinese company claims to produce 100,000 chargers, and gets money from Apple no matter if they sell them or not? Or do you want them to sell them for $1 and then claim back their costs (including profit) from Apple? How would you accomplish that without massive fraud and bureaucracy? You, Sir, live in a dreamworld if you think that could work.

            And if you really want to know why subsidizing is in general very dangerous, take a look at the European Union and their constant overproduction of Butter, Milk and other products. At some stage the EU had 223,000 tons of Butter in storage because it subsidized Farmers for producing it and guaranteed them the money, even if it couldn’t be sold. Wasn’t so smart. While I agree there are some rare cases where subsidizing from a government level makes total sense, in business, it’s mostly idiotic and a distortion of competition.

            Why don’t you read on wikipedia: Subsidy and especially the part “Recent Controversies” to get, why I am saying subsidies are generally a bad idea. Am sure you will get it. Well intentioned and in rare occurrences and for limited time, ok-ish idea, long term and in general, bad idea.

            So long,
            K

  7. So Apple goes further than others but is critiqued for not going far enough. Only Apple peripherals are copied by third parties making lethal devices. If ever we needed proof of anti Apple media bigotry then this almost comic opera of a blatant irrational yes lets say it, overtly lying price of horse manure does it in spades, at least to a rational audience. Sadly there must be plenty of baying donkeys amongst their readers to even attempt to write this stuff with a straight face.

  8. Look Apple didn’t even have to lift a finger for those that are stupid enough to buy unapproved power adapters that are NOT UL Listed for safety. But Apple has made a good will gesture to lower the price of its SAFE AND CERTIFIED UL Listed adapters so people can replace there UNSAFE CRAP and prevent what happened to the others from happening to them. If you need your mommy to make you understand then you shouldn’t be using anything that needs a power cord and needs to be plugged into and AC outlet. If you bought a real Apple computer, Phone, iPod, iPad they all come with the Safe UL listed Power adapters and cords or cables. If you are buying from a 3rd party and they don’t include those cables then I’m afraid you will need to cough up some money to get the safe ones. But isn’t that worth your life? Dell, HP, Samsung, Toshiba, and so on don’t give away there adapters for free either if you need to replace one you have lost or if you buy from a 3rd party that does not include one. So why expect only Apple to give away there products. There in business to make money like all the other computer manufacturers. This story makes me sick because Evans makes everyone think that Apple has to give away there products because adults can’t understand that cheaper can not only not be better but dangerous when you are playing with electricity. Adults need to take responsibility for themselves. Apple is not your mother and provides what you need if you buy it from them and they make sure its safe.

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