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The insanity of people complaining about Canadian iPad pricing

May 7, 2010

Apple has finally released its Canadian iPad pricing this morning, and as I predicted, pricing is at $549/$649/$749 for the 16, 32, and 64 GB models, respectively. 3G models are an additional $130. Despite this unbelievably fair pricing, complainers north of the border are out in full effect today.

In their opinion, Apple should be pricing the iPad at $499 Canadian, because for a few days in the last two years our dollar matched or surpassed parity with U.S. currency. But also in the last two years, the dollar has gone to as little as 76 cents, in March of 2009. Last May, the dollar was at about 86 cents. The lesson here: currencies fluctuate.

As I write this, $499 U.S. is $523.99 in Canadian funds. So based on today’s rates, Apple is charging just about five percent more for the iPad here, despite the increased costs of doing business above the border. To expect Apple, or any other company for that matter, to take the risk of pricing their products for the same dollar number as in the U.S. is completely and utterly illogical.

Neither can you sell electronics the same way you’d sell fish at a market, with variable pricing depending on the day. Not only does it make things difficult for retailers, it makes buying even more confusing for consumers. By pricing the iPad at 10 percent over the U.S. dollar figure, Apple is simply adjusting for the higher price of doing business in this country and giving themselves a small amount of wiggle room for currency fluctuations. When it comes to exchange rates, sometimes we lose, sometimes we win.

In April of 2002, the Canadian dollar stood at about 63 cents, and Apple released a new PowerBook starting at $2499 in the U.S. The price in Canada? $3699, or about $2330 in greenbacks. All those that took advantage of this price disparity in Canada’s favour, you can forward your bogus iPad pricing complaints to Apple along with a check for $169.

Have you been to a grocery store on both sides of the border recently? Shopped for clothes? Things are more expensive in Canada. Doing business is more expensive in Canada. That’s just how it is. We pay more taxes, but we get more services and more consumer protection. So calm down, be happy that the iPad isn’t priced even higher, and in two months when Greece’s debt crisis has brought the Canadian dollar down to 80 cents, enjoy your Apple currency rebate.

And if you’re looking for a review of the iPad, here’s a good one.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. maya permalink
    May 7, 2010 1:15 PM

    Too true. Personally, I’m excited. My main issue is how expensive the 3g service will be monthly, to be honest.

  2. Frank permalink
    May 7, 2010 5:24 PM

    Any prediction on what the big 3 will charge for iPad-specific (if any) data plans, Mr Carnac? 🙂
    I’m ok with the price discrepancy; what may get me complaining is the price of books if, similar to the hardcover versions in Canada, are excessively priced .

    • eliasmakos permalink*
      May 7, 2010 5:40 PM

      I don’t think we’ll see unlimited plans in Canada like on AT&T, but I think we’ll see pricing similar to the iPhone. The 6GB for $30 promo that Rogers runs from time to time is a veritable steal for the Canadian market.

      One other intriguing possibility comes from a survey Rogers. Is was all about sharing a data plan between two devices. So that could be a huge advantage over U.S. plans, which are separate.

      In any event, I suspect a lot of jailbroken iPhone users will use MyWi to share their internet from their iPhones without any extra charge. Plus no need to pay $130 more for the 3G version.

  3. Kevin permalink
    May 8, 2010 1:34 PM

    U.K. prices : £429/£499/ £599.
    CDN prices : $549/$649/$749
    US prices: $499/$599/ $699

    So if it costs $50 more to do business in Canada than in the U.S., do you really think it costs £92 more to do business in the UK than in the US?

    Wait, the UK price includes VAT. Let me strip that out.
    UK prices £366/£426/ £511 = $US541/630/756

    Why, that means the price difference is only $42-57 depending on model, and the models sold in the UK will need a completely different power transformer.

    • Kevin permalink
      May 20, 2010 11:38 AM

      With the dollar worth 93 cents today, I think somebody needs to work on swiping that trade secret iPrecognition software…

  4. May 10, 2010 9:24 AM

    Ha, this is the weakest argument I think I have ever read.
    “Things are more expensive in Canada. Doing business is more expensive in Canada. That’s just how it is. We pay more taxes,”
    You base your whole point of view on one very vague statement, “That’s just how it is” Think of what you are saying. Why is this ok with you? Don’t you think this is the whole point people are making? It’s not ok that things are more expensive for no reason. And to top it off you forgot to mention that the GST, PST tax we pay is on top of this price…

    • eliasmakos permalink*
      May 10, 2010 11:11 AM

      Wait a minute, you just skip down to the last paragraph and read one sentence? It’s clear that my argument is the unpredictability of currency rates. The increased costs of shopping in Canada are well-documented and I’m not repeating them here. The brand of floss I buy is over 100% more expensive in Canada, for crying out loud! Complaining about a 5% difference in pricing on electronics when the Canadian dollar could be back below under 90 cents in a week is nonsensical.

      Taxes do not need to enter the equation here. That’s not a concern of the manufacturer. There is sales tax in most U.S. states as well. Sure, you can compare the price of a canadian iPad with 15% tax on it to an iPad bought in New Hampshire with no tax, but that’d be insane, as Apple isn’t in charge of local tax laws.

      Apple’s iPad pricing in Canada is fair. Period.

  5. jay permalink
    May 27, 2010 2:53 AM

    Why don’t you zip your entire argument about currency fluctuation and let Apple sell Canadians their hardware for the exact same price as they do in their own native country. Yes US dollars. That way we pay exactly what they’re asking to begin with and we can get exactly what the dollar is trading at–worth– during that time.

    • eliasmakos permalink*
      May 28, 2010 12:48 PM

      You can do that anytime by driving across the border and picking one up in the U.S. Asking Apple or any other retailer in Canada to sell products in U.S. funds in nonsense.

    • Philip permalink
      January 30, 2011 6:06 PM

      Well for one thing, selling an item in Canada for US dollars would be illegal. Companies must sell at the currency of the country they are in, or in Canada they must list and sell in Canadian dollars, just as they must sell in the US at US dollars.
      To be truthful the Apple price is actually quite fair as one comment noted, they are taking a risk with currency fluctuations. Also others have made the point that it is more expensive to do business in Canada, and indeed it is just based on a volume criteria. California alone has more consumers than Canada, so the logistics in the US can guarantee lower prices based on volume alone. Surprise it is also cheaper to ship and retail in the US, why you ask? Because labour is cheaper in the US (partly because they don’t have to put in excessive “u’s” in their print ads (a joke of course, but colour, neighbour, etc are cheaper to print in the US, not to mention doughnut or cheque).
      The real difference as someone mentioned is the amount of social taxes that fund the wide variety of social services that Canadians enjoy. Taxes in Canada are much higher than most US states, generally around 9 to 12 points higher in most areas of Canada (15% harmonized taxes in some provinces). But what do we get for that? Universal health care for one, massively cheaper education costs (just look at what a college graduate in the US ends up owing vs one that studied in Canada)
      We get a lot for our tax dollars in Canada, and yet we still whine and snivel everyday. It’s the Canadian way, eh!

  6. Joe Bigliogo permalink
    October 2, 2010 11:28 PM

    Dead wrong. Nice try quoting the rarest examples when the Can/US dollars were at their greatest difference. For the most part over two years the the can dollar has averaged 95 to 96 cents compare to the US dollar–yet Apple products are priced substantially higher than the overall average dollar differences. They ARE making considerably higher profits from Canadian sales. This is bothersome for many canadians because is happening all to frequently we are paying FAR more than US for books, magazines, cars, travel, electronics, gas, cell phone rates–we are getting fleeced left and right–and yet we are constantly (through advertising) bombarded with US prices as if to rub it in our faces. The market may be smaller in Canada but then it’s smaller in Alaska and I don’t see Apple charging any more up there.

    It’s easy for you to be an insolent big-mouth when you are paying the lowest prices. Canada is a smaller market, yes but we are really part of the US market since most of us live near the US border. There are just as many (or just as few) distribution outlets in proportion to our populace in Canada as in US. I see no higher costs for Apple –only a higher profit per sale. Nothing is done because too few speak up and when they do, people like you have the audacity to defend such inequity. You’d make a good Apple “company man”–perhaps you already are.

    • eliasmakos permalink*
      October 5, 2010 11:23 PM

      First off, I’m Canadian. If you can’t figure that out by looking at this blog, no wonder you jump to such fanciful conclusions about how companies are conspiring to gouge Canadians.

      I’m talking about the iPad. I’m not talking about Subarus or Ikea couches. The iPad dollar price tag is only 10% higher in Canada. Taking exchange rates into account, the difference is under 5%. You keep using lingo like “substantially higher” and “considerably higher” without backing it up. If you don’t see higher costs for Apple by doing business in this country, you’re blind.

      In any event, you proved my point. Another Canadian whining about small price differences. And do you honestly think companies are trying to “rub it in our faces?” As if they care about that. Nothing should cost 33% or 50% more in this country. But 10%, get a grip. You’d spend more in gas and time driving to the U.S.

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  1. » Andrew’s Corner: Maybe the iPad should be priced differently?

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