Mac updates bring price cuts and rises

Today's announcement of upgrades to Apple's Mac computer range not only brought updated specifications but also price cuts to customers in the US. Consumers in the UK, however, can expect to see prices rise in what can only been seen as a bold move in the current economic climate.

Apple announced that its 24-inch iMac is "priced more affordably than ever before" and will now retail at the same $1,499 price as the current 20-inch model whilst also featuring twice as much memory and storage as the previous generation machine. The 20-inch iMac will now be priced at $1,199 in the US, a price cut of $300. Meanwhile, over in the UK the 20-inch iMac that used to cost £782 now costs £949 according to Rory Cellan-Jones at the BBC News technology blog, meaning a price increase of £167. As well as this, a Mac Mini will now cost you £499 instead of £391 and a quad core Mac Pro will set you back £1899, increased from £1712.

The rationale behind these moves? The new models do have higher specifications than the previous generation, although prices have still been able to drop in the US. The main reason given by Apple appears to be the drop of the UK pound (GPB) against the US dollar (USD). They say that due to it falling 25% in the last six months, they are not able to pass on the price cuts that American customers are receiving. However, as noted by Cellan-Jones, "UK consumers will point out that Mac prices didn't fall when you could get $2 to the pound last summer."

The current economic downturn as already seen Mac sales slow as customers look away from the premium machines to cheaper computers such as netbooks. Whether these American price cuts can persuade more US consumers to buy Macs or whether the British price rises will detract UK buyers remains to be seen, but at a time when sales of computers around the world are expected to largely fall this can only be seen as a courageous act by Apple.

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