As if Apple’s Lightning accessory prices weren’t bad enough, retailers slap on some profit of their own

spaceworld av adapter - for some reason we don't have an alt tag hereI’m getting along well with my new iPad mini, which means my old iPad 2 is in trouble. There are essentially three major reasons why I still have it: Hand writing, jailbreak, and 30 pin accessories. The hand writing point is now moot, a jailbreak will hopefully come out sooner or later, and that leaves the final point: 30 pin accessories. I currently have the Camera Connection Kit, HDMI adapter, and the VGA adapter. If I sell my iPad 2, I will at least have to replace the VGA adapter, and preferably also the SD adapter.

Apple has raised the prices on all the adapters, either because the all-digital Lightning connector is more complicated to produce accessories for, or more likely because Apple is a greedy company that doesn’t give a hairy rat’s butt about anything but money. Either way, the total cost of replacing the four adapters above is now 1216 NOK here in Norway – more than $200, and just slightly less than half the cost of the 16GB iPad mini (2600 NOK).

That is, if you buy them from Apple. Apple is traditionally a very unprofitable company to sell products for if you’re a retail store, as you often end up selling hardware for the price you pay for it. That’s why a lot of stores, at least here in Norway, sell the accessories for more than Apple charge for them. I almost got burned when I bought the iPad mini, grabbing a Smart Cover (which is already ridiculously overpriced) without checking if it had been marked up. Luckily it hadn’t, but the store next to the one I bought from is happily selling the 329 NOK Smart Cover for 400 NOK. Turns out that the new adapters are even more overpriced, as I found out today when I spotted the new HDMI adapter at the same store that marks up the Smart Cover.

The original 30 pin adapters are 249 and 349 NOK for the VGA/HDMI adapter respectively, with the Camera Connection Kit ringing up at 229 NOK for both adapters. The Lightning versions of the video adapters are now identically priced at 379 NOK from Apple, with the camera kit having been split into two individual 229 NOK adapters. The price on the HDMI adapter in the store, however, was 500 NOK – $90! At that point, you might as well add 300 NOK and get an Apple TV.

I understand why retailers do this, but paying a 120 NOK “fee” to get something right then and there when it’s already way too expensive is not something a lot of people are willing to do. 249 NOK for the VGA adapter is already a rather steep price to pay to get the same functionality you get on most laptops for free, and now it’s been doubled? Come on. Apple needs to step up, lower the cost of the adapters to begin with, and lower the bulk cost even more – so that retailers can make a profit without making Apple look even worse in the process.

I’ve heard from businesses that have iPad 2s and VGA/HDMI adapters for their employees, and not only are the businesses not interested in upgrading the accessories, but employees also don’t want to buy the new devices personally because they then can’t use the adapters provided. We’ve seen this before. VGA is still the most common standard in business and education, even when HDMI – which isn’t controlled by a single company – has been on the market for years, and is very common in the consumer market. Businesses keep their devices for a long while, and when they invest in something new, they do it across the board. Businesses have invested in 30 pin-equipped iPads and iPhones for the last few years, and now Apple is essentially pulling an HDMI on them by introducing a new connector standard – at a much higher price. It’s already going south, and will continue to do so.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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