By Dan Moren
September 13, 2017 7:24 AM PT
Apple bumps prices on higher capacity iPad Pro models
It’s pretty rare for Apple to raise prices on a product midstream, but that’s just what’s happened with the iPad Pro. As first reported by MacStories, the higher capacity 256GB and 512GB models of the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch have all gone up by $50: the 256GB 10.5-inch model at $799 (up from $749), the 512GB at $999 (up from $949), the 256B 12.9-inch model at $949 (up from $899), and the 512GB 12.9-inch at $1149 (up from $1099)—cellular models have moved commensurately, maintaining the $130 price gap. The 64GB models of both the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro remain the same at $649 and $799, respectively.1
Why the pricing change? Simple: memory is expensive. And it’s not that it wasn’t expensive before, it’s that it’s gotten pricier recently. In Apple’s most recent quarterly earnings call, the company mentioned “a more difficult memory pricing environment this year than a year ago.” NAND flash, which Apple uses for pretty much all of its product lines, is in short supply this year. Everybody needs it, and there’s not enough.
Samsung, which is still one of the major if not the major producer of flash memory, has been attempting to transition to a new “3D” or “Vertical” NAND technology that should allow for higher density and other benefits. However, that transition has apparently run into some challenges that prevent 3D NAND from being manufactured on the needed scale at cost effective prices. This transition has also led to a decline in conventional NAND supply.
This move also brings the pricing of the iPad storage tiers more into line with comparable devices—which is to say, the newly announced iPhones. In each case, jumping from 64GB to 256GB brings a $150 price tag. Older iPhones, like the 7 series, 6s series, and SE, see a $100 price increase when jumping from their lower 32GB capacities to higher 128GB capacities. Both are 4x storage increases, but the floor and ceiling pricing is higher already, due to bigger chips.
Because I was curious, here’s a chart of all the iOS devices Apple sells with their respective storage tiers and prices.
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at email@example.com. His latest novel, The Aleph Extraction, is out now and available in fine book stores everywhere, so be sure to pick up a copy.]
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