Forbes and The Wall Street Journal recognise Apple as being in the top 10 most influential brands internationally, which no doubt helped it obtain the title of the world's most profitable company in 2014 (with sales totalling US$74.6bn). It's easy to see why though if you've ever walked into an Apple store to buy a basic accessory and seen what astronomical prices are being charged for things like USB cables or plugs.
When you consider that an Apple Mac/Macbook power adaptor is probably produced in China for only a couple of dollars, versus the hefty prices they carry in-store, insult is added to injury. Replacements of these types of accessories are a common request from customers, the good news though is that there are ways to get around paying extortionate prices for them...
In the event of you needing a new charger for your iPod, iPhone or Macbook Pro you have a few options available to you. However, the first option that Apple hopes you'll choose is to buy it directly through them.
To buy an iPhone 5 charger (that also charges the 5S, 6 and 6S models) or a MacBook Pro charger (mid 2013 to late 2014 models) you would have to pay the following to Apple:
- Apple MacBook Pro / Air charger - $119
- Apple iPhone / iPod charger cable - $29
- Apple iPhone / iPod power adapter - $29
These products do carry a 2 year warranty, so it’s always worth taking them to the Apple store if broken to try and get a replacement first. However, if yours is missing and you don’t have AppleCare cover, you unfortunately have to find an alternative. This is where the money saving aspect comes in.
Option #1 – Buy Second Hand
You may not want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a brand new product, but you might prefer to stick with an original version. The next best alternative for you would then would be to purchase a second hand one. Chargers are relatively simple in functionality, they will either work or they wont, so be sure to test it before you hand over any money (if exchanging in person).
Otherwise you can use the following websites to find good second hand items. Ideally read reviews and ratings from previous buyers to assess whether a seller is sound or not. The sites I have used for second hand Apple products include:
To give you an idea of the rough pricing I found online, I have listed them below:
- Apple MacBook Pro / Air charger - $36.99
- Apple iPhone / iPod charger cable - $8.99
- Apple iPhone / iPod power adapter - $11.50
- Apple MacBook Pro / Air charger - $35
- Apple iPhone / iPod charger cable - $9.99
- Apple iPhone / iPod power adapter - $15
Option #2 – Aftermarket Products
If you don’t like the idea of buying second hand then you can also consider buying an aftermarket product. Generally speaking these goods come from China and are effectively replicas of the original. A factory in China may purchase a charger, open it up and replicate all of the components within the original Apple item to create its own copy. Buying an aftermarket product could provide you with everything you need, minus the Apple logo and lofty price tag.
The best websites I find to source these aftermarket items are:
- Apple MacBook Pro / Air charger - $24.95
- Apple iPhone / iPod charger cable - $1
- Apple iPhone / iPod power adapter - $3.58
Please be sure to check reviews from other customers to ensure you are buying a safe and reliable charger. The last thing you want is to buy a product that will end up damaging your Apple device.
Option #3 – Alternatives
The above two options will give you a fairly broad choice of products to choose from and certainly save you money compared to Apple’s prices. However, if you don’t like either of those then you can take things one step further and go straight to the source. Contacting the manufacturers directly in China, you can use the reviews each factory has on Alibaba to guide you towards a reliable source to order from (at often dirt cheap prices).
A few companies may even be willing to give away free samples, although mostly you'll find that companies want you to make a minimum order of around 5 items to try them out. If you and either friends or family are in the same boat, you could join forces and bare the financial burden of shipping them over (and probably still save money). Otherwise, you could sell the remaining products yourself online where it shouldn't be difficult to cover the costs you've incurred.