Predictably, I’ve seen some whining and entitlement online today as people react to Apple’s ‘rebalancing’ of EU pricing, which was presumably done to fall in line with revised EU tax laws. I’ve seen commenters say the new prices put them off, make it so it “might be time to start jailbreaking”, and, naturally, are a huge rip-off compared to US prices.
I don’t have a complete ‘before and after’ list of tiers and pricing in front of me, but here are some of the changes at the lower end of the scale in the UK store:
- Tier 1: 69p > 79p
- Tier 3: £1.99 > £2.29
- Tier 5: £2.99 > £3.99
Some of the changes aren’t small, and this isn’t the first time the UK’s seen price rises, but Sterling is currently quite weak compared to the US dollar, and UK VAT (20%) is higher than the flat rate Apple was previously using for apps in the EU (15%).
So how do these prices compare to the USA?
- Tier 1: $0.99 or 65p (compared to 79p)
- Tier 3: $2.99 or £1.97 (compared to £2.29)
- Tier 5: $4.99 or £3.29 (compared to £3.99)
That does indeed look like a bit of a rip-off, but US prices do not include sales tax. Here’s what happens when you add on 20% VAT:
- Tier 1: $0.99 US / 78p (compared to 79p)
- Tier 3: $2.99 US / £2.37 (compared to £2.29)
- Tier 5: $4.99 US / £3.95 (compared to £3.99)
So unless Sterling rallies and manages to claw itself some way above $1.60 any time soon, UK iTunes prices are now basically the same as US ones once VAT is taken into account. And given who’s currently in charge of the UK’s economy, that seems unlikely to happen any time soon.
(Note: last night, the App Store in the UK was kicking out some seriously weird pricing for a lot of apps. This was apparently due to an App Store bug that was applying two lots of VAT for a short period of time. Additionally, devs apparently have to accept new terms and conditions for the price changes to happen, and so some apps in the EU remain with old pricing.)