Ordered 18 Jan, 2005
You know, it’s ironic. Here I am, living in a country with a currency very strong against the dollar. Apple products are the cheapest they’ve ever been, and that means in the UK too. As someone who’s moaned about the cost of Apple gear in the past, I think we’re doing much better now. I’ve just ordered the basic iPod shuffle for £69. That equates to $123 using today’s tourist exchange rate (£1 equalling $1.78). The same bit of kit sells for $99 in the US. But that doesn’t include sales tax — the UK price I have just paid does (all 17.5% of it. Oof). When you add that back in, clearly we’re not doing too badly on the pricing front for once (OK, some states don’t have sales tax, but you see what I’m getting at). It is all the more ironic then that only now are people in Europe starting to threaten — ooooh, get them — an on-line petition re Apple’s pricing — specifically over the Mac Mini!
How do prices look in Europe? We’re still not on the Euro here in the UK, so I’m interested to see how Apple’s prices pan out on the continent. If we include sales tax, it looks like the extra amounts on Apple hardware in some territories aren’t that much — indeed perhaps to be expected with a currency as changeable as the dollar (realistically I believe one should use an average when performing conversions of this nature, not whatever the current tourist / market rate is. But hey, I’m no economist ;-)).
Back to my order: now I just have to wait 2 - 3 weeks for the device to become available and for it to be delivered. I would contend that this is the real downside of buying Apple products outside of the US: if the shuffle delay wasn’t bad enough, European Mac Mini customers are looking at a 3 - 4 month wait at least. Pretty harsh.
So why did I go for the shuffle? Well, I’ve always hankered after an iPod: when I’m not working from home, my commute is 45 minutes on a train, plus 40 - 45 minutes of walking, twice a day. This means that my trusty mini-disc player gets a real hammering most weeks, and that is starting to tell on the poor wee thing. It’s becoming very forgetful, and frankly, re-recording my “mix” mini-disc every few weeks is a huge pain in the arse: remember, it’s in real time! So, when the iPod shuffle was announced, I figured that was it. It’s cheap, the one I’ve ordered can hold 100 - 130 songs, and it syncs nicely with iTunes, my music software of choice. Oh, and it’s nice and small. Job done: I can’t justify spending more than £100 on a music device, so whilst I like ’em, the traditional iPod / iPod mini have always been out of my reach. This one will do nicely, and what is more, I got hassle-free permission from the purchasing committee :-)