But that doesn't explain why the base, Apple-charged price is higher, ensuring British buyers would pay more even if transatlantic sales taxes were the same.
The 16GB Nano costs £159, or £129 without the taxes, according to Apple, which is equivalent to $199. Apple charges $179 in the States.
The iPod Touch has UK prices of £189 (8GB), £249 (16GB) and £329 (64GB) after tax and £159, £210 and £277 after it. These latter prices translate to $255, $324 and $428. The US pre-tax prices are $229, $299 and $399.
But pity Apple TV buyers. They pay £99 here, which would be £84 before VAT. That's the equivalent of a US tax-free price of $129, but US consumers only pay $99 before tax. Brits should pay £75 with tax included - £24 less than they will.
Of course, Apple is under no obligation to base its pricing on current exchange rates. It charges what it thinks the market will pay, as do all other suppliers of consumer electronics and computing kit. It's a basic principle of capitalism to charge as much as you can, after all.
Sony will charge £250 for the upcoming 160GB PS3. That's £213 before tax, equivalent to $329. Sony US charges $300 for the console.
Buy a Dell Studio XPS 16 quad-core laptop here and you'll pay the equivalent before tax of $1313. US customers pay $1300.
Buy the Apple TV in Apple's central San Francisco store and you'll pay 9.5 per cent sales tax for a total of $108 - £70 before VAT and import duty. Import duty is typically around 6.5 per cent, so that's £75. Chuck on VAT and you pay £88.
Of course, if you've been to the States on holiday or business and bring the Apple TV back to the UK for personal use or as a gift, you won't pay a penny of duty or tax up to a total of £390, though you may be charged duty and VAT if you buy online and have the item delivered to you.
Apple must clearly have the interests of the US Travel and Tourism Advisory Board at heart. Why else is it encouraging us to travel West and buy there? ®
Apple states tax take on UK iPod pricing
It's "Not having to live in the USA tax". Worth every penny ;)
Why is $1.44 conservative?
For a large chunk of May and a smaller chunk of June the pound traded in this range. It spent much of the first few months of 2009 in the range too, and has fluctuated sharply on several occasions this year.
It seems pretty natural for a company to price at the low end of the spectrum. Given Apple's products and business model are all about simplicity, I don't see them wanting to update prices weekly or monthly.
You may be on to something
The warranty issue might actually be worth considering. Unknown to many, the sales of goods act here in the UK gives you a 6 year warranty on the majority of computer gear.
Just last month I got a completely free repair on my company's 4-and-a-half year old (long out of warranty) Quantum DLT S4 tape drive from Quantum themselves. They initially fought me on it, but when I quoted the act and gave them a link to it (search on Google) they gave in and agreed to fix the unit for nothing! As far as I know if this unit had packed up in the states after the same length of time - or even if it died a day past a 1 year warranty - we would have been left with a 3 grand bill for a new drive.
Apple are full aware of the UK sales of goods act, a friend of mine got a free replacement on some old faulty Apple gear after quoting it to the manager of the Regent Street store.
You might want to tell the Swiss that they're an EU member. Last I checked they weren't aware of it.
Adobe is a far worse offender.
At the pound's peak of almost $2=1GBP a couple of years ago, Adobe were still selling Photoshop in the UK for 600 quid, while it was $640 or thereabouts in the US.
Quite a stunning mark up for basically a shiny disk. Makes Apple look fair in comparison.