[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Discount the iPod

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[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Discount the iPod

I read with interest the article under the heading, “Apple Korea raised the prices of its iPod MP3 players” in your Feb. 12 edition.
As an iPod owner living in Korea, I would like to offer an observation. Apple products in South Korea are generally significantly more expensive than in other countries, as are consumer electronic products generally.
Looking at the 20 gigabyte iPod cited in the article, we have the following: Korea, 418,000 won ($405); Japan, 327,000; Hong Kong, 318,000; Australia, 405,000; Singapore, 343,000; and the United States, 307,000 won.
Other Apple products in South Korea are similarly overpriced. Aside from someone in Australia, it seems unlikely that anyone outside South Korea would complain about a Korea-only discount since their domestic price will still be less, so Apple’s excuse doesn’t make much sense.
Even in the United States, Apple products have always tended to cost more than competing technologies. People who buy Apple products know this but buy them anyway because they think Apple’s products are better (in terms of technological superiority, elegance of design, etc.) enough to justify the difference in cost.
This is the source of the appeal of the Mac Mini in the United States right now. It gives people the opportunity to get a Mac (and run Mac software) without spending a ton of money.
Personally, I think a discount in South Korea makes sense.
Koreans are very tech-savvy people and portable music players, like other consumer electronic goods, are very popular here. Apple’s products cost too much to be competitive. I’d be very interested to see what their sales statistics are for iPods in Korea.

by Joshua Margolis
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