Keep the Notebooks Slim and Margins Fat – Apple’s MacBook Air Storage Prices are Insane!

Keep the Notebooks Slim and the Margins Fat - Apple's MacBook Air Storage Prices Insane!

Keep the Notebooks Slim and Margins Fat – Apple’s MacBook Air Storage Prices are Insane!

Apple has officially launched their 2018 MacBook Air, updating their slimline notebook design with modern hardware, a high-resolution display and an enclosure that is constructed entirely from recycled aluminium.   

PC enthusiasts are already well aware of Apple’s high-margin product designs, with Apple’s cheapest variant of their 2018 MacBook Air costing a meaty £1,199, a price that should be considered insane given its specifications. Should a laptop with a dual-core processor and a 128GB SSD cost over £1000?   

While we cannot deny that Apple has designed a handsome PC for on-the-go computing, what we take offence to is the cost of Apple’s aftermarket storage upgrade options, which cost more than any of today’s high-end PCIe storage devices.   

For the sake of a fair comparison, we will compare Apple’s PCIe SSDs to Samsung’s 970 PRO and 970 EVO SSD offerings, which are often credited as being the performance leaders in the NAND-based NVMe SSD market today. Without detailed specifications for Apple’s NVMe SSDs, we cannot verify whether or not they can deliver matching performance levels to Samsung’s offerings, or if they make use of 3D TLC or MLC NAND. 

For starters, Apple’s 256GB SSD upgrade costs £200, a price tag that dramatically exceeds the pricing of Samsung’s popular 250GB 970 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD. For this price, you could purchase a 512GB Samsung 970 PRO SSD, while still saving £20. That being said, Apple’s MacBook Air isn’t expected to be upgradable by end users, given Apple’s distaste for home upgrades and the device’s ultra-slim form factor. 

Moving up to Apple’s 512GB upgrade, we can see that their upgrade cost of £400 is ludicrous, with Samsung’s 1TB 970 PRO and EVO SSDs costing around £350 and £255 respectively. To say the least, Apple is making huge profits from anyone who decides to purchase a MacBook Air with a high capacity SSD. 

  Apple “PCIe SSD” Upgrade Cost Samsung 970 PRO Samsung 970 EVO
256GB £200 £76.54 (250GB)
512GB £400 £179.92 £129.82 (500GB)
1TB £350.80 £254.65 
1.5TB £1,200
2TB £522.18

Keep the Notebooks Slim and Margins Fat - Apple's MacBook Air Storage Prices are Insane!  
As a PC enthusiast, I’d argue that 128GB of SSD storage is far too small for a premium notebook, especially when it isn’t combined with an HDD as a secondary storage device.  

What we can see here is Apple’s “slim device with fat margins” philosophy in effect, charging prices that are well in excess of premium standalone M.2 NVMe SSD offerings. It cannot be argued that Apple’s storage upgrade options represent anything which resembles value for money, adding additional salt to the wound that is Apple’s lack of home upgrade options. 

You can join the discussion on Apple’s new MacBook Air and its insane storage prices on the OC3D Forums.