Apple has increased the prices of many products on the Apple Store, including Macs, to match the return of VAT to its usual 17.5 per cent rate.

A white entry level MacBook now costs £816, while a unibody MacBook Pro starts at £918; the iMac starts at £969 and the Mac mini starts at £510. A visit to the UK Apple Store shows that most products have had a price increase.

On 1 Jan 2010 the VAT level in the UK returned to 17.5 per cent, up from the reduced rate of 15 per cent (VAT is the UK term for sales tax). The UK government temporarily reduced the rate of VAT during 2009 to help kickstart the economy.

The news is bound to re-ignite discussion surrounding the pricing of Apple products in general. These have steadily increased in the UK over the last two years. Apple itself has not commented on any of the ongoing price increases. Aside from today's VAT-based increase, it is presumed that previous price rises are a response to the falling value of Sterling.

In 2007, the price of an entry level MacBook was £699. Today's rate of £816 is bound to be controversial in a supposedly difficult market, but with Mac sales healthy Apple seems to be performing well despite, or perhaps even because of, the high prices of its products.

The Apple Store on 1 Jan 2010, showing the new prices of products