While there is plenty of interest in the newly announced 2023 MacBook Pros, some buyers may be reconsidering their purchases after discovering that Apple has aggressively slashed its trade-in values.
As prospective buyers went to pre-order the new MacBook Pro, which starts at $1,999 and tops out at an eye-watering $6,499, they discovered that Apple was only giving them a fraction of what they paid for the laptop less than 2 years ago. (via MacRumors)
What happened to Apple products holding their value?
One of the many arguments that Apple fans make when defending the company's often pricey products is that they hold value far better than Windows or Android alternatives. While there's certainly truth to this claim, it seems that Apple itself doesn't feel the same based on some of these trade-in values.
The trade-in value that garnered the most attention was a Mac Pro that retailed for $52,199 when it was purchased in 2019, which Apple now valued at $970. Ouch! That's $51,229 in depreciation over 4 years. Now the owner in question certainly generated far more revenue with that Mac Pro over the last four years as the tweet came from David Imel, a writer and researcher for Marques Brownlee, which was then quote tweeted by Brownlee adding that it was worth less to Apple than an iPhone 14 Pro. Clearly this resonated as it has been liked almost 30,000 times at the time of publication.
Fun fact: If you plug in a 4 year old $50,000+ Mac Pro into Apple's trade-in site, you don't even get enough credit to buy an iPhone 14 Pro https://t.co/CzPzoymWAaJanuary 17, 2023
What about MacBook Pro trade-in values?
The Mac Pro example is an outside case of course, but what about a more common trade-in for a 2023 MacBook Pro?
Vaibhav Pradip, a freelance editor for fellow Future publication TechRadar tweeted about the trade-in value for a maxed out stock configuration of the 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max. The laptop was still selling for AED14,799 ($4,029) before the launch of the 2023 MacBook Pros and is currently valued at AED2,370 ($645) for trade-in.
Apple is running a scam. The M1 Max, maxed out stock configuration was selling for AED14,799 until yesterday before the new M2 versions came out. Look at the trade-in value of the M1 Max 16-inch 2021 MacBook Pro... pic.twitter.com/5IK3YAVxIvJanuary 17, 2023
Another MacBook Pro M1 Max trade-in horror story came from Jason Shew, a CompSci student at Western University in Canada. His 16-inch M1 Max with a 24-core GPU and a 4TB SSD came in at a trade-in value of $720 CAD ($533). Jason rightly points out that the SSD upgrade alone costs almost 3x that amount ($1,500) on a new MacBook Pro.
This is brutal: MacBook Pro M1 Max 10-Core CPU and 24-Core GPU 16" (Late 2021) 4TB SSDApple trade-in: CAD 720 (USD 540). I don’t know what to say. 🤷🏻♂️ pic.twitter.com/3hJeSImHMfJanuary 17, 2023
Is Apple passing the savings on to you?
I'm guessing you know the answer, but absolutely not. Let's take a quick look at what Apple is presently selling these laptops that have lost all of their trade-in value for through its refurbished page.
That completely maxed out 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max, 64GB of RAM, and an 8TB SSD that Apple will give you $645 for as a trade-in? That is currently available refurbished through Apple.com for $4,689. Now while I can appreciate there is some physical and software cleanup involved, I think Apple could likely squeeze out a profit from a difference of something less than $4,044.
Unfortunately, there isn't a perfect match for Jason's 24-core 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max, but even the less expensive 16-core variant with a 4TB SSD is going for $2,839, so a difference of $2,306 that would likely be a few hundred more for the exact match.
What's the lesson here?
The main takeaway is that you shouldn't be trading your devices into Apple unless the money has no meaning to you. These are insulting trade-in values for devices that in reality do hold their value pretty well. You would be far better served by other trade-in services or the best option would be to sell the laptop directly, just make sure you factory reset your MacBook first.
Apple has been pushing its recycling and environmental message hard over the last several years and while that's great to see, it would seem that a robust and fair trade-in and refurbished sales program would be a fitting addition as well to keep this hardware with years of usable life remaining from turning into electronic waste.
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.