Yes. Apple announced a $999 monitor stand. And I’m ok with it.
The live audience and the internet let out a collective gasp when Apple revealed its $999 Pro Stand stand for the Pro Display XDR announced alongside the monstrously-specced commercial-grade cheese grater (see also: Mac Pro) at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.
Setting aside the cost of the 6K display ($4999) and the base configuration Mac Pro itself ($5999), many are finding it difficult to wrap their heads around why Apple would feel justified asking anyone in their right mind to pay $999 for a stand.
Professional and amateur critics alike have declared Apple “out of its mind” and have accused them of “going too far” and being “out of touch.” Apple has long been criticized for seemingly pricing their products beyond what’s reasonable for the average consumer, yet they continue to hold their place as one of the world’s most valuable companies.
Is it possible Apple knows exactly what they’re doing? I believe so.
Don’t expect me to argue why consumers should shell out $999 for Apple’s Pro Stand. On the contrary, I’d argue 99.99% of people have no business buying the Mac Pro or the Pro Display XDR monitor because they don’t come anywhere close to needing that kind of power. As the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Can you imagine how much responsibility these machines would require? … No, thank you. Jokes aside, this is one of the primary reasons I find the massive outcry a bit comical.
Many arguments claim competitors could create something far cheaper that does exactly what Apple’s Pro Stand does, and perhaps that’s the point. Let’s think of this from a different perspective. If Apple were to make the stand at exactly the price the majority of the public felt was reasonable and would be willing to pay without second thought, why would competitors even bother coming up with their own solution? We might be onto something here.
Apple has participated in healthy competition with Google, Samsung, and more over the years. I don’t think it’s appropriate to discount the liberty of consumer choice. Some will choose to buy the Pro Stand, the Pro Display XDR, and the highest-specced Mac Pro they can get their hands on, but how they throw their money around is none of my business. 🐸🍵
There’s no question Apple’s premium pricing is in part due to the ubiquity of its brand. However, it stands (pun intended) that the Pro Stand is entirely optional. By not requiring the stand to use the Pro Display XDR, Apple is willingly enabling competitors to provide their own (likely cheaper) solutions. Apple also announced a $199 VESA Mount Adapter, which makes the monitor compatible with the mounting standard a large majority of other monitors use.
In the past, Apple hasn’t simply focused on making a quick buck selling consumer products. They are known for continuously aiming to influence trends in a number of industries. They don’t have to price their products the most competitively because they know if what they introduce is appealing enough, competitors will follow suit. As a result, Apple will come out looking like the industry leader they’ve historically positioned themselves to be.
12 years ago, when the first iPhone was released, the market was practically nonexistent for phone cases and other accessories. Today, the mobile accessory industry is worth over $120 billion. It doesn’t take an expert to recognize how much Apple influenced the growth of that market by framing smartphones as objects of personal expression and status. They’ve never had the cheapest devices, yet their dominance in many markets holds strong.
I wholeheartedly believe Apple’s strategy is more about market influence than immediate payoff. While it’s easy to look at things on a microscopic level, what makes the difference between a product and a brand is the ability to understand the macroscopic level. In other words, Apple is after the big fish.
While the memes and satire mocking Apple continue flying in (which, let’s be honest, is nothing new), they will most likely continue laughing to the bank while knowing the decisions they make today are helping secure their continued success in the future.