How Apple tricks our brains into accepting high prices

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This genius psychological tactic makes Apple's high prices seem totally reasonable.
This genius psychological tactic makes Apple's high prices seem totally reasonable.
Photo: meo/Pexels CC

During the WWDC 2019 keynote, most of Apple’s latest creations drew enthusiastic applause, with one notable exception. The price of Apple’s new Pro Display XDR elicited a somewhat cooler response. But considering just how expensive the monitor is, the fact that it got any applause at all was pretty remarkable.

This is not the first time Apple has had to convince us to pony up for an eye-watering sticker price. Cupertino pulls from a well-established playbook for its keynotes, often employing behavioral science techniques to help soften the blow. (To our brains at least, if not to our wallets).

Apple’s new iPod touch is the fastest yet — and all too familiar

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iPod-touch-2019
The new iPod touch looks just like the old one.
Photo: Apple

Apple just surprised us with a new iPod touch that promises to be its fastest yet.

Powered by a speedy A10 Fusion processor, it’s built for gaming and immersive augmented reality experiences on the go. It’s also affordable, with prices starting at just $199.

The only problem is it looks just like the old iPod touch.

Steve Jobs first proposed an Apple credit card in 2004

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This Apple Card from 2004 never made it into anyone’s Apple Wallet.
This Apple Card from 2004 never made it into anyone’s Apple Wallet.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Apple Card announced this spring isn’t a new idea; it was first floated well over a decade ago. This came as a proposal by then-CEO Steve Jobs made so long ago it would have offered users rewards in the form of free iTunes music to load onto their iPods.

Today in Apple history: Bill Gates predicts doom for Apple’s biggest product

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Bill-Gates-60-Minutes
Unfortunately for Gates, Steve Jobs was one step ahead.
Photo: 60 Minutes

May 12: Today in Apple history: Bill Gates predicts doom for iPod, Apple's biggest product May 12, 2005: Longtime Apple frenemy Bill Gates tells a German newspaper that Apple may have hit it big with the iPod, but that its success isn’t going to last forever.

The reason? Mobile phones are going to steal the iPod’s market share. The good news for Gates is that he was right on the money. The bad news for Microsoft is that Apple cannibalized itself by making the iPhone. And Apple’s smartphone became even more successful than the iPod.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs wins posthumous Grammy

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Cue
Steve Jobs' death caused an outpouring of support.
Photo: Grammys

February 12: Today in Apple history February 12, 2012: Months after his untimely death, Steve Jobs is honored with a Special Merit Grammy Award in recognition of his contributions to the field of music with the iPod and iTunes Music Store.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, collects the Grammy on behalf of Jobs’ family and “everyone at Apple.”

The Podfather’s watch packs a hefty $49,000 price tag

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Tony Fadell watch
Maybe the price on that Apple Watch Series 4 isn't so steep.
Screenshot: Hodinkee

Tony Fadell invented the iPod and hundreds of millions of people bought one. But he can’t expect those kinds of sales with his latest creation – a watch costing $48,800.

The Ressence Type 2 has a relatively modest price tag in the luxury watch space. A brand like Patek Phillipe can fetch a couple hundred thousand dollars just for a used timepiece.