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Australian 'Apple tax' repealed for MacBook Air

But the new MacPro is priced at a premium

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Apple's contentious pricing plans, often criticised for producing Australian prices that exceed their US equivalents even when the $AUD/$US exchange rate suggests the opposite should be the case, have turned up some oddities for Apple's new products.

In case you've not caught up with the news, the fruity folk today announced a new MacBook Air and MacPro range, plus new versions of iOS, MacOS and a new iRadio service.

The latter either aren't on sale yet or won't be offered to Australians, so we'll ignore them and go straight for the new Air and Pro.

First we take the $US and $AUD prices of the new products, for a straight comparison.

Next, we add ten per cent to the US price. That's a sensible step because almost every jurisdiction in the USA has a state and/or local sales tax. Ten per cent is a little on the high side, but it applies in some US states so we're happy including it. Adding that sales tax brings the price a US citizen would pay for the new Apple kit into line with Australian prices, because the southern nation's goods and services tax is built into local prices.

The next step is to apply the current exchange rate – 94 US cents buys one Australian dollar - and apply it to the US price including sales tax. Doing so produces what we call the “Correct Australian price”.

All that's left to do after that is subtract the actual Australian price from the “correct” price and … presto, we get the table below.

Product $US Price $AUD Price $US Price with 10% sales tax Current exchange rate “Correct” Australian price “Apple Tax”
MacBook Air 11 $999.00 $1,099.00 $1,098.90 $0.94 $1,169.04 -$70.04
MacBook Air 13 $1,099.00 $1,249.00 $1,208.90 $0.94 $1,286.06 -$37.06
MacPro Quadcore $2,499.00 $2,999.00 $2,748.90 $0.94 $2,924.36 $74.64
MacPro 12 core $3,799.00 $4,599.00 $4,178.90 $0.94 $4,445.64 $153.36
MacPro server $2,999.00 $3,599.00 $3,298.90 $0.94 $3,509.47 $89.53

The surprise is that for once some products - the MacBook Air - are offered at rather cheaper prices than US punters are paying. But the new MacPro range cops the Apple Tax, and at a rather heavy rate.

At this point it is probably worth remembering Apple's testimony to Australia's Parliament that it sets the price for products based on exchange rates at the time of release and then leaves them alone. With the Australian Dollar on a downward trajectory, it will be interesting to see if Apple leaves the price of the Air alone. ®

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