How much is too much for a secondary or even tertiary piece of technology? For many, that is the question that comes to mind when considering the Apple iPad. The iPad, stuck awkwardly between a Netbook and an iPod touch, is very tempting, but for some, the cost of purchasing and owning an iPad just isn’t worth it.
I doubt that an Apple iPad will be an owner’s sole or even primary computing device. Its even hard to find it in online stores such as the https://www.dfydaily.com/ today. Since it won’t be a workhorse, what will it be used for? According to a recent NPD survey, most early adopters see the device as a music player or an Internet tablet. That is also what people see their iPod touch or Microsoft Zune HD as. If the iPad is a redundant device, what is it worth?
The Purchase Cost of the Apple iPad
The WiFi Apple iPad will cost you $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB, or $699 64GB, and the 3G version will cost you $629, $729, and $829 respectively. Even the 16Gb WiFi only version weighs in at over $100 more than a Netbook computer from HP, and the $699 version is more expensive than many full-sized laptops. Granted, it is a unique form factor, and I am speculating at how people will truly use the device. It is possible that the iPad and the iPad-targeted media will be so revolutionary that the device will more than warrant the price of purchase. Still, one has to question if $700 is the appropriate cost of a computing device that is not immediately and obviously capable of productivity.
The 3G vs Wifi Cost
Without knowing how people will actually use an iPad, the question of 3G vs WiFi is very important. Not only does a 3G iPad carry an $130 premium, the monthly cost will vary between $15 and $30 depending on bandwidth cap. That means that over one year of ownership, the 3G iPad can cost a full $490 more than a WiFi device. Yes, you read that correctly, a 3G iPad can cost nearly twice as much as a WiFi 16GB version of the device. With WiFi becoming more and more ubiquitous, I seriously doubt that the 3G premium is worth it, especially since an iPad owner probably already owns a 3G cell phone – possibly even an iPhone.
With such a new device, and a new device category, it is impossible to know whether an active 3G connection is worth it. I already receive email and texts through my phone. The iPad is being marketed as a media device, eBook reader, and portable gaming rig; 3G will not be necessary for most, if not all, of the causual iPad uses.
iPad Application Premium
On my iPhone, I have a few dozen apps. All together, my app investment has been about $40. I have a feeling that all of that will change on the iPad. A recent Forbes piece by Jay Yarrow, documents that several iPad version of applications cost at least twice as much as their iPod/iPhone counterparts. For example, one of my favorite games “Flick Fishing” cost me $.99 for my iPhone; the iPad version comes in at $2.99, and “Flight Control” jumps from $.99 to $4.99. For me to get the iPad equivalents for all of my Apps, it is looking like I would spend another $40 instead of simply copying my apps over. If these applications are being installed on a 3G iPad, the iPad premium is astronomical.
New Bells and Whistles
As the iPad develops, there will be new ideas of how to use it, and many of those will require new accessories. A new case, keyboard dock, and the SD adapter will cost you nearly $130. Who knows what new gadgets and gizmos will be developed in the coming months for the iPad. Each one will require a new investment raising the total cost of ownership even higher. Without these premium accessories, the iPad will never reach its full potential.
Just to recap, in the first year a 64GB 3G iPad, a few apps, a keyboard, case and SD adapter will cost $1480; a MacBook costs $999, and a MacBook Pro runs $1199. Ouch.
In the End
Does it matter? I am an early adopter, and despite all of this logic, I am an iPad owner. I am a fanboy; I own that. While I don’t know exactly how I will use the Apple iPad, I am sure that I will find something useful for it. I did only get the WiFi version, and I opted for the 16GB so my expense isn’t so great, but my early adopter fee is quite steep. I am sure I am not alone.