Apple’s decision to raise iMac prices in the face of climbing component prices has been largely accepted, if not welcomed, by attendees interviewed at Macworld Expo Tokyo 2002.

The price rise, announced by Apple CEO Steve Jobs during his keynote speech, is the result of a sharp rise in the price of key components, he explained.

“Since we introduced the new iMac in January, component prices have been increasing dramatically,” said Jobs. “The price for our flat screen has gone up 25 per cent in the last few months. The price for memory has gone up 200 per cent since we introduced the new iMacs. That means it has tripled in cost. And this is an industry-wide problem; it’s not just Apple.”

“And so every manufacturer is going to have to do one of two things: either remove features from their products, or slightly raise the prices of their products. So we had to make this choice, and we think the configurations of the new iMacs are great. The last thing we want to do is make them less great, so we’ve decided to make price adjustments,” said Jobs. “We’ve chosen [up to] $100 – we’re going to try to keep it as low as possible.”

“We hope this is temporary, but we don’t know what the component pricing in the industry is going to bring,” he said. “We don’t know long this will last.”

Some users are satisfied… While some users expressed dissatisfaction at the price rise, especially those that had been planning to buy an iMac, Jobs’ explanation of forces outside of the company satisfied most.

“Price changes happen,” said Mayumi Abe, a long-time Apple user: “It happened once before with the G3, too. And when the price was low, we benefited from that, so I don’t think it’s a big deal. As a loyal Macintosh fan, I always believe in [Apple’s] strategy, so if they say raising the prices is right, rather than taking away some functions, I believe them.”

Others agreed that price rises were preferable to reducing functionality: “as the company is moving forward with the new iMac, they definitely should not take away any functions,” said Naoe Sato, another long-time user. “I credit the company for always doing something new and revolutionary, so if they need to raise the prices, I understand,” she said.

…other users aren’t However, some were a little less understanding: “I don’t like the price rise – but if this is temporary, so be it,” said Yoshinori Tashima, a Macintosh user at the exhibition. “It is right for them to raise the price rather than take away functions – however, I don’t think the new prices are reasonable.”

James Yang, president of Denno, a manufacturer of Apple peripherals, works closely with Taiwanese OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) on production of his company’s devices, and understands the reason behind the rise. He did not agree with Jobs’ decision, however.

“You cannot increase the market prices in Japan,” he said. “The Yen has fallen, so prices have increased – but nothing should change. You can only raise your price in the Japanese market if you have something very special.”

There was also some question of the Japanese price rise. At ¥20,000, the rise is approximately equal to $150, higher than the $100 increase in the US. An Apple Japan spokeswoman could not immediately explain the difference in between the price increases.