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Apple raises computer prices in UK

The Financial Times logoThe Financial Times 28/10/2016 Lauren Fedor in London
The new MacBook Pro laptop computer is displayed during an event at Apple Inc. headquarters in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. Apple Inc. introduced the first overhaul of its MacBook Pro laptop in more than four years, demonstrating dedication to a product that represents a small percentage of revenue. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg© Bloomberg The new MacBook Pro laptop computer is displayed during an event at Apple Inc. headquarters in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. Apple Inc. introduced the first overhaul of its MacBook Pro laptop in more than four years, demonstrating dedication to a product that represents a small percentage of revenue. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Apple has raised prices by as much as £500 on its products sold in the UK, making it now cheaper to buy a return ticket to North America to purchase certain Apple computers than get them on the British high street.

Apple increased prices across a broad range of computers in the UK on Thursday, the same day it made a long-awaited update to its MacBook Pro line.

The price changes — the second time Apple has raised the cost of products in the UK in less than two months — are the latest example of how big US tech groups are passing on the fall in sterling.

The base price for a Mac Pro, the group’s high-end work station, rose from £2,499 to £2,999. In Canada, the product sells for C$3,499 — about £800 less than the UK price — and in the US starts at $2,999.

WestJet, a Canadian low-cost airline, is currently advertising return tickets from London to Toronto for £349 — meaning a Mac Pro buyer in the UK could instead fly to Canada and back and still save money.

An iMac with 5K of storage now sells at £1,749, compared with £1,449 previously, while the 4K model starts at £1,449, compared with £1,119. Similar price rises were applied to the Mac Mini, a lower-cost computer with less memory.

In September, Apple raised prices of iPads and accessories in the UK after unveiling its latest iPhone 7 and Apple Watch. At the time, analysts blamed the price increase on the sharp depreciation of sterling against the dollar following the EU referendum in June.

On Thursday, Apple unveiled a new MacBook Pro, which featured a Touch Bar in place of traditional function keys.

An Apple spokesperson said: “Apple suggests product prices internationally on the basis of several factors, including currency exchange rates, local import laws, business practices, taxes and the cost of doing business. These factors vary from region to region and over time, such that international prices are not always comparable to US suggested retail prices.”

Apple is not the only US technology company to increase prices for UK consumers following the decline in sterling.

Microsoft has said it would raise the prices of its UK enterprise software services such as Office and Azure. The cost of Microsoft’s widely used Azure cloud services will climb by more than a fifth from January, while prices of enterprise software will go up by 13 per cent.

Dell has also confirmed price increases on its products of up to 10 per cent.

Phil Schiller, senior vice-president of worldwide marketing at Apple, speaks during an event at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. Apple Inc. introduced the first overhaul of its MacBook Pro laptop in more than four years, demonstrating dedication to a product that represents a small percentage of revenue. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg© Bloomberg Phil Schiller, senior vice-president of worldwide marketing at Apple, speaks during an event at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. Apple Inc. introduced the first overhaul of its MacBook Pro laptop in more than four years, demonstrating dedication to a product that represents a small percentage of revenue. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight, said Apple was acting out of a “desire not to damage their broader global business”.

“Apple is in the fortunate position that its brand is strong enough and desirable enough that it can set prices like this,” he said. “The UK is particularly anomalous at the moment because we do have the Brexit effect.”

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