This interesting article has cropped up on CNET about Apple’s desire to over-charge for memory, particularly on iDevices. Its opening salvo is a good example of this issue, where everyone using iOS for a long time knows 16GB is fast becoming a defacto waste of time, because retina-ready apps take up far more space. So 32GB is almost the minimum to be considered, even when factoring in cloud storage and the like.
It comes down to the basic blocks of memory costing Apple very little, but us a lot, because Apple incrementally ups the price by €100 every time you decide to get a higher memory bump.
I can understand paying a nice premium over what you’d typically pay for flash memory, but it gets a little ridiculous when you’re paying five times what you’d normally pay. Sure, you can say the memory in Apple devices is higher grade than your basic flash memory. But the breakdowns iSuppli has done of the iPad 2 and third-gen iPad show that the bump from 16GB to 32GB costs Apple about $17. It’s another $34 or so to go from 32GB to 64GB. According to iSuppli, 64GB of NAND flash memory runs around $67 — or at least it did this past March.
The concept Apple applies is one a lot of companies do, it’s called price discrimination and basically applies a formula for what people can afford. This is why student editions of things are often so much cheaper than the full license, or worse, the business license. Look at Microsoft Office or even Windows.
Apple loves consumer-friendly price points & upgrades. Nice rounded numbers that end in a “99″ are important to Apple, because it’s easy to communicate that message at retail. “It starts at €499 and goes €100 up for every better upgrade you pick”. Easy! But of course, the markup is huge on that €100 just to get twice the memory.
Apple isn’t really in the habit of cutting prices, or pricing things weirdly where they might not fit into the overall vision of the product line. They’re more about giving you more for the same money. So at some point you’ll probably see the same prices for your iPad but with 32/64/128GB variants.