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Cylindrical Mac Pro goes onsale in NZ - with a $1000 premium

The "made in the USA Mac" arrives.

NBR Staff
Thu, 19 Dec 2013

Apple's new Mac Pro, featuring a radical new cylindrical design, goes onsale worldwide today, including NZ.

The new Mac is not cheap anywhere, but here the pricing seems particularly teeth-sucking.

The model with an Intel quad-core Intel Xeon E5 processor, 12GB of RAM, 2GB of video RAM, and 256GB of Flash memory has a starting price of $NZ4999, according to a statement by Apple Australia-NZ (pricing is not yet live on Apple's website, but will be shortly

And a model with a 6-core Intel Xeon E5 processor, 16GB of RAM, 3GB of video RAM, and 256GB of PCIe-based flash storage starting at a recommended retail price of $NZ6599

There are various configure-to-order options including 8-core or 12-core Intel Xeon E5 processors, AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of VRAM, up to 64GB of memory, and up to 1TB of PCIe-based flash storage.

Americans are paying $US2999 and $US3999 respectively for the two models mentioned above, with free shipping for those who buy direct via Apple's website.

The fact Apple's NZ pricing includes GST, and its US pricing excludes sales tax (which varies widely by state), often explains US-NZ price disparity with various products.

But even if you add the highest US state sales tax (9.44%), then roundup, you still only get $US3300 - or $NZ4048 for the entry-level model, sold for $NZ4999 here, a premium of nearly $1000.

With airfares from NZ to Hawaii starting at $1195 return, a Mac Pro buying jaunt may  beckon for many.

Similarly, the $US3999 model is $US4400 (o $NZ5396) if you add the highest US state sales tax, then round up. Kiwis are paying $NZ6500, a premium of over $1000.

NBR has asked Apple for comment on the price disparity.

Made in the USA
One equaliser in pricing has been Chinese manufacturing. 

Auckland is closer than LA to China, eliminating excuses about shipping costs from price disparity arguments.

But the Mac Pro is the first Apple product in years to be "Made in the USA" (or in point of fact, assembled in the USA, with some of the parts still manufactured in China and elsewhere).

The move was politically motivated.

With Apple controlling high-value areas such as design and marketing, and reaping fat profits, while China's Foxconn carried out thankless, low-margin contract manufacture and assembly, it seemed quite obvious to economists who wore the pants.

But manufacturing jobs are an emotional issue, and President Obama challenged former Apple CEO Steve Jobs to build product in the US; the subject also came up in the US presidential debate. With Apple under-pressure in other areas, such as its practice of booking revenue to low tax territories, plus questions raised at times about  Foxtel's treatment of staff, new CEO Tim Cook has found it politic to push the Made in the USA plan through to reality.

Beyond the politics and pricing debates, the Mac Pro has drawn raves for its design.

As well as its striking new look, the Mac Pro takes just one eigth the volume of the Mac Pro it replaces, which has a more traditional tower design.

Apple says its 25cm-tall aluminium case designed around a unified thermal core. It's drawn raves from critics for its eye-popping specs, performance and design (Tech Radar calls it the Mac Darth Vader might have used).

The only negative (beyond price) picked up on by reviewers is the Mac Pro's relative lack of expansion, but the new desktop does have a number of external expansion options.

NBR Staff
Thu, 19 Dec 2013
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Cylindrical Mac Pro goes onsale in NZ - with a $1000 premium