Are You Going to Buy the ‘Designed by Apple in California’ Book?

Designed by Apple Book

Apple has been receiving a lot of flak recently, but it really started to pile on recently when they unveiled a coffee table picture book.

The company itself saw an opportunity to talk about, or, more accurately, show off 20 years of design work from the Cupertino-based company’s history. It’s a brand new, hardbound coffee table book the comes in two sizes, one bigger than the other, and it offers hundreds of pages showing off things like iPods, iPhones, Macs, and other Apple-branded products.

For a fan of Apple’s devices, a book like this, with big, beautiful and vibrant photos of the company’s devices, I can see this being a must-have product. Apple’s design history is certainly worth showing off, especially in the form of a coffee table book like this. At face value, in conception and, yes, even in execution, the “Designed By Apple In California” design book is pretty cool.

But then Apple ran itself into a wall when it unveiled the pricing for each version of the picture book.

The smaller option retails for $199. The bigger one is accompanied with a $299 price tag.

Coffee table books can be pretty expensive, especially those that present original artwork. There are some pretty cheap options out there, too, of course, but right around the $100 mark seems to be the sweet spot. There are options out there that are more expensive than Apple’s $300 picture book, and some that are much cheaper. None of that should really be that surprising.


And there is indeed something to be said about pricing reigning in demand. It’s probably a safe assumption that, had Apple priced these things at something like $75 and $100, or even $100 and $150, they would have flown off the shelves. Maybe they can avoid the parody videos, too, in the process. (Probably not.)

Spiking up the price not only tempers demand, but it also does the very Apple thing of hoisting it onto a different pedestal all on its own. Apple’s not shy about its confidence — it never has been. But, just as we’ve seen with comments from executives following the launch of the new MacBook Pro lineup, there’s probably too far to go.

I’m still personally laughing about the $300 picture book. It honestly just seems ridiculous to me. Not the concept of it, because like I said above I think it’s a good idea. But that price tag is silly. The $200 price tag for the smaller book is silly, too. Apple may think the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is an $1,800 experience, and they could be right! But a picture book that offers a $300 experience? Come on now.

However, there’s a market out there for this book. I have no doubt about that. And one would imagine that fans of Apple products, who are not strangers to paying for Apple’s experiences, are the target audience for a (picture) book like this. After all, it’s hard to imagine someone who hates Apple would fork over the cash to stare at pictures of their products.

So I’m curious: Are you the target audience for Apple’s new design book? Are you planning on buying one of these books? Either for yourself or as a gift for the holidays? Or does Apple’s pricing make it not an option? If Apple dropped the price, on either (or both!) option, would you reconsider?