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10 Ways Apple Is 'Overpriced'

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With some 5 million iPhone 5s sold in a matter of days, you don't need an MBA to understand the Apple success story, even though the 5 million was a bit lower than analysts' expectations, and has renewed debate about whether Apple shares around $700 are overpriced.

When it comes to making the "Apple is overpriced" case, though, there is only one area where there is little argument: accessories.

The iPhone 5 launch and the introduction of the Lightning connector is a prime example: it requires a $29 adapter to be compatible with older accessories like music docking stations. Apple said they didn't make the move lightly knowing the inconvenience it would cause consumers, but pricing the adapter at $29 certainly doesn't suggest much sympathy for the consumer where it counts, even if we don't yet know how much it costs Apple to make a Lightning adaptor, and at least one report claims it is more complicated than the surface piece of plastic suggests.

Either way, Lightning strikes us as one more in a long line of accessories with which Apple shows its power over the consumer. That is, if the consumer goes straight to the Apple Store and doesn't price shop.

Purchasing a new iPhone, iPad or Mac, the devices are top-dollar and command their premium price -- even if Apple is making a hefty profit on the iPhone 5 given its recently revealed manufacturing cost -- but adding on the accessories at Apple Store prices makes less sense.

Once you read on, you might find yourself asking, Why does every cord and piece of plastic I purchase at the Apple Store seem to cost at least $25? (And that's the cheap stuff!) TheStreet polled consumer experts to help consumers learn how to save money on "overpriced" Apple.

1. Screen protector

What's the point of Apple's fancy Retina display if the midday sun, fingerprint smudges, and general wear and tear make it impossible to be impressed by the definition of the image?

That's where the screen protector comes in -- $24.95 for a measly piece of plastic somewhere between saran wrap and a sticker. Worth it? Yes, considering how this will help prevent future repair costs and improve screen visibility, but there is a way to save.

"Shop on eBay for Apple product screen protectors -- you will pay a fraction of the cost -- up to 50% off," says consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch.

2. iPhone case

The best way to save on cases? Choose a less expensive brand -- a case is a case! For example, this Tribeca Artisan Wood case sells for $49.95 on Apple.com, but there are plenty of cases for around $30 that suffice - not even to mention the ones sold in discount stores and through Amazon -- and on the streets of major cities -- for $10 or less.

3. iPad case

If you're going to shell out $499 or more on a tablet, it's wise to invest $49 for an iPad case, like this one from Apple.com. So if you drop the device or spill coffee on it, at least the case helps protect it from damage.

This doesn't mean you need to spend full price on a case, though. Consider this one from MacMall.com, which sells for $33.99.

Do you really need the limited edition diamond-encrusted Damien Hirst-designed Versace-branded case? If you're not a hedge fund manager or Russian natural resource oligarch (or his girlfriend), let's hope saner consumer thinking prevails.

"MacMall often has deals on Mac products or even rebates and free accessories - just make sure you send in the rebate immediately, because some expire quickly," says Bruce Lubin, budgeting expert and author of "Who Knew?"

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