Reuters Exposes ‘Apple Tax’ for ‘Enslaved’ iOwners

| The Back Page

Finally! Reuters has exposed the deep dark secret marring our miserable existence, the "Apple Tax" that we pay to Cupertino every year. Reporting for Reuters, Chris Taylor tells us that we are "slaves" to our devices, and that our families are "indentured servants" to Apple because we buy its products.

The Apple Taxman Cometh

The Apple Taxman Cometh

Mr. Taylor sets the stage by drawing on ominous imagery. He reminds us that the fiscal cliff is approaching, that tax payers are worried, and that investors are worried about capital gains tax increases that are on the way.

"But," he wrote with an internal voice that is probably well-suited to a horror film trailer, "when it comes to immediate impact on their wallets, maybe they should be thinking about something else entirely: The Apple tax."

Duh duh duhnnnnn!

The dreaded Apple Tax! You know, a tax, "a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers' income and business profits or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions," but this one is being levied by Apple.

That is egregious in both the scope of its stupidity and its lack of accuracy, but it doesn't stop there. In another paragraph Mr. Taylor corrects his own misuse of the word, while doubling down on the dark imagery.

"Remember," he wrote, "this is not something that consumers are being forced to pay. They are dipping willingly into their own pockets, because they're essentially slaves to the devices."

Yeah, we're essentially slaves. You know, a slave, "a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them." I'm using OS X's built-in dictionary for these definitions because I'm a slave, and I was forced by my masters at Apple to do so.

But there's yet more. Writing for Reuters, reporter Chris Taylor (I just want to hammer that point home) tells us about the family of Sam Martorana. There's three in the family, and they own three MacBooks, two iPhones, two iPads, and two iPods.

That's US$5,000 of Apple Taxation in their household, and $700 of that was just this year.

"As for Martorana," wrote Mr. Taylor (for Reuters), "his family's indentured servitude to Apple looks like it will continue indefinitely. He is looking to replace his MacBook with a newer model within a year or so, which he guesses will cost at least another $1,300. While he loves the products unreservedly, he sees no way out of the annual Apple tax."

You know, indentured servitude. OS X's dictionary's access to Wikipedia tells me that, "Indentured servitude was a form of debt bondage, established in the early years of the American colonies."

Or, a form of debt bondage practiced by Apple today...

Duh duh duhnnnnn!

The basis of the piece Mr. Taylor wrote for Reuters is comments from JP Morgan's Katy Huberty, who said that in 2011, American families spent an average of $444 on Apple products. That's almost double 2010's average of $295, and more than three times 2007's $150. She said that if Apple released a TV, that number could double again to $888 by 2015.

Writing for Reuters, Mr. Taylor pointed out 33 percent of Americans want a tablet, and that 25 percent of those people said, "They'll cut back on other holiday purchases this year to afford these pricey gadgets."

"These pricey gadgets." You know, because Apple's tablets are way more expensive than everyone else's. The American people would be way better off buying cheap plastic tablets, or maybe some of those Samsung Android smartphones or something. Or maybe no tablets. Yeah, that would be way more awesome.

But we can't, because we're slaves serving out our indefinite indentured servitude (never mind the contradiction of slaves also being indentured servants) and paying our Apple Tax.

Oh, that reminds me. I need to send off a check to the Apple Revenue Service before they put a lien on my iPhone.

"The analogy of an Apple tax might sound facetious," Mr. Taylor wrote for Reuters, "but think about it."

Pro tip: When a reporter tells you "to think about it," he or she is full of crap. It's bad enough when used in an opinion piece, but in a news piece?

Speaking of which, I asked Reuters if this was a news or opinion piece, but hadn't heard back at the time of publication. Either way, "but think about it" is always a warning sign of bad writing.

Now, as I offer my own opinion on that phrase, I am feverishly hoping I haven't used it. If I have, I encourage you to call me on it.

Anyway, he continued, "Median U.S. household income was $50,054 in 2011, according to the Census Bureau. That means a sizable chunk of that is getting diverted to Apple headquarters in Cupertino."

That's 0.89 percent of our annual income being "diverted to Cupertino," for those following along at home. Oh, sure, it might be less than my annual "food tax," or that awful "clothing tax" we pay, but it's just awful anyway.

Image made with help and help from Shutterstock.



Apple exposed!

Egad, man! How sit you there so blithely when, what! We’re being taxed into indentured servitude! Bondage, did you say?! Slavery?!

Thank God, this man has shown the light on this dark and narrow scheme for world domination at the price of liberty!!

Huzzah, I say! Huzzah!

I say let’s call those Cupertino cretins this instant, and show them what stuff we’re made of, what?! Now, where’s my iPhone?


Is this a Macalope column?

Frank Myers

Apple products are way more pricey than comparable Android products.  I’m a convert for the very reasons above. I got sick of Apple calling all the shots as far as what I can and cannot do with my products. You cannot even open an iMac anymore to replace ram. Stupid and foolish. We are not children.  Stop charging me more for products that I cannot even upgrade or customize as I see fit. Try an Android and you will see what I mean.


I think it is the Macalope exposed (please cover the children’s eyes).  It must be the Macalope as he has refused to link to a overly ridiculous article!


Considering there are people who spend $4.30 or more every single day at Starbuck’s on “coffee”, how is Apple even in the tax slave market? That $1,580+ on coffee drinks.

Who’s the slave now?

Calling himself a reporter is the biggest faux pas of the article.

Bryan Chaffin

Link to the Reuters piece added.


Duh duh duhmb!


Duh duh duhmb!


Frank Myers, the central point of your comment (that you didn’t like using Apple stuff and therefore ‘converted’ to Android) negates the central point of the referenced article (that Apple users are somehow required to keep giving Apple money).

I’d like to know the amount of money the average family gives annually to Wal-Mart, Target, or any of the major oil companies. It’s only a “tax” when it’s Apple.


I’m far more productive and happy on my MacBook. Far more than my PC running Windows 7. Also, my Macs last a lot longer. I had my last MacBook for several years. Ran like a champ until I sold it. I do use Windows for work and I’m fine with it, but not for my personal computer.

The Werewolf

What I find amusing is how, when annoyed, Apple fans become so painfully pedantic and literal.

“The dreaded Apple Tax! You know, a tax, “a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers’ income and business profits or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions,” but this one is being levied by Apple.

That is egregious in both the scope of its stupidity and its lack of accuracy, but it doesn’t stop there. “

Seriously - did you think the writer means Apple Tax to be a *literal* tax? It’s a *metaphor*. Look it up.

Clearly the writer was being hyperbolic (and inflammatory), but let’s face it - you guys just explode all over the Internet when you sense a slight against all things red and fruity so wonderfully that you just bring this kind of thing on yourselves.

Then the discussion inevitably drifts into weird rationalisations and ‘witnessing’ (like Pat does here). You know - the fact that your MacBook makes you personally more productive actually means nothing. You could be so incompetent that you need a computer designed for idiots to make you marginally useful. Or you could be a superstar genius and need a computer that sets you free. Without knowing you personally - there’s no way to tell which you are.

Worse, this is totally anecdotal.  Even if you are right - what does it prove? Unless you can show that NO Windows user has ever been made more productive - it’s just bean counting. MacOS works for you - Windows works for someone else. Who cares?

Anyway, if nothing else, it gives people like me who aren’t chained to a purchase choice or faux lifestyle decision something to giggle about and for that, ladies and gents, I thank you.

Have a great day.

Bryan Chaffin

Speaking of being painfully pedantic and literal…

Seriously - did you think the writer means Apple Tax to be a *literal* tax? It’s a *metaphor*. Look it up.

No, I do not think Mr. Taylor thinks it’s a literal tax.  What I do think is that he was using hyperbolic language to twist a fact in a weird, bizarre manner. What I think is that his imagery is grossly (in a literal way) inappropriate and in no way suitable to the situation.

What I do think is that mainstream news articles that do those sorts of things deserve to get called out. Had it been an Android or Windows-centric site that had published it, I might have chuckled and went my merry way. I expect better from the Reuters masthead.



davebarnes and whisper, while I’m not sure if this is the Macalope exposed, I must say I’ve never seen the Macalope and Bryan in the same room at the same time. Hmnnn….


I guess both of these articles got a lot of clicks then.

Apple evilness hyperbole generates a lot of eyeballs, get on the gravy train.


I see this disclaimer at the bottom of the article…

“(The writer is a Reuters contributor. The opinions expressed are his own.)”

So it is considered an opinion piece.


This “Apple Tax” meme is getting very old. At one time if you made a product so good that everyone wanted it, that was viewed as a success. Now selling quality at a price people willingly volunteer to pay is viewed as a ‘tax’. Oh wait, I guess that only applies to Apple.


I went to eBay and did a search on 24” iMacs from the 2007-2008 time-frame.  4-5 year old stock machines are selling for $500-$600 on average.  These are actually sold on eBay, not just listings that no one is paying the price for.  Try finding a WinPC in the 4-5 year old range that returns 1/4 to 1/3 of the price you paid for it.  Same with iPhones, iPads, etc.  Consistently higher quality made from aluminum instead of plastic gives consistently higher resale value.  Apple still ranks highest in customer satisfaction across the board.  So, not so much a tax as it is an investment!!

Also, I have for a long time had the investment strategy in the stock market that you invest in companies whose products you love.  It has served me well.  In this case, my returns on my Apple stock have more than adequately covered the Apple tax, so I have absolutely no issue in spending the higher amount for products that I love, that work great, that make my life easier, that are of high quality, are well built and well supported, have a certain elegance to them and their user interface, and that I can resell easily and relatively profitably when I choose to upgrade, instead of just throwing away the plastic crap that I used to buy.

One more thing:  a few months ago my iPhone 4S top button stopped working within a year of purchase.  Verizon couldn’t help me, so I went to the Apple store, walked in, was called back to support within 3 minutes of walking into the store, and after 5 minutes of playing with the phone and pulling up my information, he walked to a shelf and walked back with a new iPhone.  I asked if it was refurbished, and he replied, “No, it’s brand new.”  5 minutes later, after wiping out my old iPhone, I was on my way out of the store and heading home to plug into my iMac and restore it back to the way my old one was set up.  I was thinking, my goodness, there are not too many places around anymore where it is this easy.  My only cost was buying the new iPhone 4 case that my wife fell in love with in the 13 minutes I was in the store!!  Oh well, tis a small price to pay!!

Oh, and Frank, just this past summer I opened two iMacs and replaced hard drives.  New ones can also be opened - just takes a little time and effort.


In other news, Mac observer disagrees with a negative apple article.

Laurie Fleming

Hyperbolic BS, to be sure. But there is an Apple tax, after a fashion, outside the US - one that Apple directly applies itself. I ordered a 27” iMac as a late birthday present to myself. With the spec I want, it comes to $4,450 or thereabouts including 15% GST. That’s $US3,650; the same spec from the US store is $2,800.

Add on 15% to $2,800, and it’s still an extra $US400 I have to pay to live in Godzone (a price I am generally willing to pay, but still…). There’s no point in saying that shipping costs account for it, because the 27” iMacs are all coming from China. Ironically NZ has a free-trade agreement with China and not with the US.

<heavy sigh>



“Chris Taylor is an award-winning freelance writer in New York City. A former senior writer with SmartMoney, the Wall Street Journal’s personal-finance magazine, he has been published in the Financial Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek,, Fortune, Money, and more. He has won journalism awards from the National Press Club, the Deadline Club, and the National Association of Real Estate Editors. The opinions expressed are his own.”

So he should know better and have more respect for himself than to write click bait rants. Did he perhaps write this to win a drunken pre-holiday bet?


““The analogy of an Apple tax might sound facetious,” Mr. Taylor wrote for Reuters, “but think about it.” This is so much verbal diarrhea that it smells up my computer screen. He might as well have a neon sign over head proclaiming his amazing gift of satire and parody. I remember a parody of a song, don’t remember the song though, but the line that I do remember goes like this…Bull*hit was all the band could play… That remind me of this writer.

Apple Dork

I would not call it Apple tax. People who spend hard earned money buying pricey Apple products and locking themselves into Apple’s ecosystem are just dumb people who don’t know better.

Apple is not forcing anyone to buy overpriced Apple computers, smart phones, tablets, music, movies and books, but Apple sure has mastered how to lure dumb people in and how to lock them in by making it very difficult, for example, to use the music, movies and books the dumb people bought on non-Apple devices.

Apple also takes advantage of people’s lack of technical knowledge to sell its technology on looks alone or on superficial attributes instead of on value or true technical innovation. By making rudimentary computing too easy to use, dumb people are impressed and they fall pray to Apple’s lock-in strategy.

There are essentially three types of Apple customers: 1) religious Apple fanboys who will buy anything and everything that Apple makes, no matter how expensive, how often or idiotic the thing is; 2) dumb people with extra cash to spend on anything, including Apple crap; and 3) dumb people without extra cash to spend but who would overspend hard earned cash anyway on Apple crap because they don’t know any better.

There is no Apple tax here, just another company in a free market society, making money off people who are just too dumb to know better.


butthurt is strong on this one..


@Apple Dork

There are essentially three types of people who write comments such as yours.

1:  Morons.

2:  Idiots.

3:  Imbeciles.

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