While a superficial comparison of Apple’s US and UK pricing has led many in the past to accuse the company of price-gouging, this isn’t actually the case. As we illustrated with the recent UK increase in app prices, the net price is actually almost identical in both countries. The same is true of most of Apple’s hardware.
But the new 9.7-inch iPad is actually priced higher in pounds than it is in dollars: $329 in the US against £339 in the UK. I’m pretty sure that’s the first time we’ve ever seen that phenomenon.
It isn’t hugely out of whack. By the time you add the 20% VAT (sales tax) that is included in UK prices but not in US ones, that gets you to $394.80. Convert that to Sterling, and you get £316. So Apple is charging a UK premium of £23, or around 7%.
That could be the company being greedy, but the reality is that it is likely preparing for the pound to take a further hit when the UK formally triggers the start of the Brexit process by invoking Article 50. This activates the two-year countdown to Britain leaving the European Union, and is taking place on March 29.
Given that the pound has dropped 17% since the referendum result, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect a further fall when the UK actually signs the document that sets the Brexit process in motion. Apple is probably just being pragmatic.