Pricing: Heard Ya Got Robbed

Let's quickly recap Apple's iPad pricing. The base model only supports WiFi and starts at $499. It also comes with 16GB of MLC NAND flash for app/photos/music/video storage. You can double that capacity for an extra $100, or take it up to 64GB for $200. Note that these two upgrades alone work out to be $6.25 and $3.13 per GB. Intel will sell you an 80GB X25-M for $2.75 per GB.

The accessories also take you for a ride. Want a case? That's $39. The case is actually more important than you think because it doubles as a stand, which is useful for typing while laying down or for watching videos on.

Apple iPad 16GB 32GB 64GB
WiFi $499 $599 $699
3G $629 $729 $829

Keyboard? That's $69 for the wireless version or $69 for the keyboard dock. Either way, Apple is getting its $69 from you if you want a physical keyboard. This is also useful if you want to do a lot of typing on the iPad.

 

Want to put pictures on it from your camera? Apple will sell you a $29 camera connection kit with a dock-to-SD card reader and dock-to-USB port adapter. Otherwise you'll need to carry around a computer to sync your iPad to.

There's also an optional VGA output, but no digital outputs (HDMI, DVI, DP). It looks like the A4 is missing a TMDS as all of its optional outputs are analog (VGA, composite, component).

So the $499 base price is really more like $530 or $600 depending on what sort of use you want to get out of it. This is a new category of device, but I just feel that Apple is being a little too aggressive on the profiteering with the iPad (we'll get to the app store in a bit).

Later this month Apple will be shipping 3G enabled versions of the iPad. The 3G adder will set you back $130 and isn't retrofittable. AT&T is the sole provider of data service for the iPad, but the pricing is actually fairly reasonable:

Apple iPad 3G 250MB per Month Unlimited
Monthly Data Charge $14.99 $29.99

Anyway you slice it, it costs a lot to get into this concert.

Like a netbook, the iPad isn't a Mac/PC replacement but rather something you buy as a second, third or fourth computer. The problem is unless one of those computers is a notebook, the iPad doesn't really serve as a replacement for a powerful mobile computer. It's more of a notebook alternative depending on your needs, and at times it can be a great one. If you've got a desktop and a notebook then the iPad could fit in as a third device, but if you don't have a notebook the iPad is no notebook replacement as you’ll soon see.

It's a Tablet Running a Touch OS It Was Meant For You
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  • TGressus - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    "I don't think anything anyone can write can convince you"

    That's a tough sell right there :( Nothing against your post.

    This is the challenge all tablets have faced so far. That said, if anyone has the ability to succeed in this form factor it's the iCult.
    Reply
  • Mike1111 - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    "While I realize that Atom hasn't been suited for such an application until now, there's no reason Apple should've picked the A4 over Moorestown. "

    I really think it was the right decision for Apple to go with ARM for the iPad, and that it's the right decision to stick with ARM for at least the next few years.

    (1) Mobile version of Moorestown is not available yet, the netbook one draws too much power
    (2) Apple has to use ARM in it's iPhone and iPod touch for the next few years, so for cross-device OS, app and SoC compatibility and development ARM was the right choice for the iPad (e.g. if Apple makes safari use the hardware better on the iPad, the iPhone and iPod touch will directly profit from it too)
    (3) Moorestown would have been more expensive
    (4) With ARM Apple can control and modify the CPU design as needed, they have total control. And Apple likes that.
    (5a) There is a clear upgrade path for ARM with the Cortex-A9 and a multi-core version of it.
    (5b) The A4 is already fast enough for most people and most iPad tasks (how many reviews mention that the iPad is unpleasantly slow, even for the average consumer?)

    It's a real possibility that an iPad with a more optimized OS and safari, a better utilized (and more programmable) GPU (like the SGX545 with OpenCL etc.) and a dual-core Cortex-A9 @1.x GHz will improve the browsing performance beyond that of a netbook. And IF APPLE SAW THE NEED FOR IT (but I don't think they do), it could happen as early as next year (other ARM SoCs like Tegra2, OMAP4 and the dual-core Snapdragon will be available by then with comparable specs, so Apple should be able to pull it off too). Intel's Atom will still be a more power consuming, more expensive and way bigger multi-chip system early next year. And beyond that are ARM quad-core CPUs and dual-core GPUs...

    It will take Atom at least 4 years to overtake ARM, in the areas that count for dedicated smartphones/slates/tablets, if at all. At some point, real life browsing will just be fast enough on an ARM slate and Intel netbook, so that 99% don't care about browsing speed as a feature anymore (like it will happen with video thanks to all these powerful but small dedicated decoders/encoders like IMG's VXD/VXE).
    Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    are you saying that there is no clear upgrade path for intel's moorstown line?
    and that apple has complete control over the future of ARM?
    i didn't know they had already gone that far.
    i seem to remember apple fumbling out of the power series of CPUs and crawling into into intel's arms when they realized it was the way to go.
    there is nothing to prevent apple from switching to moorstown in a couple of generations, and they have proven that they are willing to make those kind of changes when the situation demands it.
    Reply
  • Mike1111 - Friday, April 9, 2010 - link

    "are you saying that there is no clear upgrade path for intel's moorstown line?"
    Of course not. I'm just saying that even if you think the ARM Cortex-A8 used in the iPad is not powerful enough, that there are clear CPU upgrades coming your way for years to come (higher frequencies, Cortex-A9, dual-core Cortex-A9, quad-core Cortex-A9). It's not like Apple is using a quad-core Cortex-A9 @ 4 GHz in 22nm right now, with no better ARM architecture on the horizon and standard lithography reaching a dead end...

    "and that apple has complete control over the future of ARM? i didn't know they had already gone that far."
    Sorry, what I meant was that Apple has complete control over how they implement the ARMv7 architecture in a chip (since Apple has most likely an architecture license like Qualcomm).

    "there is nothing to prevent apple from switching to moorstown in a couple of generations, and they have proven that they are willing to make those kind of changes when the situation demands it."
    I agree that Apple can and most likely will switch to Intel if their chips are clearly superior in all the ways that matter for a mobile product. I just think that's at least 4-5 years out for retail devices so there's no point in talking about how Apple should have used Moorestown for this year's iPad... or any iPad for that matter. I don't even think that Moorestown's successor will be ready (Medfield). Maybe Medfield's successor's successor in 22nm will be clearly superior (although parity could be reached a generation earlier). We'll see.
    Reply
  • MadAd - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    Its huge. Way too big for car centre consoles. If they cut it in half, so its mid way between that and an Iphone then I would definitely want to upgrade my existing car PC.

    Its got all the right airs and graces to be a super satnav/speedcam/music/incar wifi unit, just need to cut the size and sell it with some kind of some kind of quick release device for power and cabling (or ill fabricate one) and its a winner.
    Reply
  • teng029 - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    "Companies like Crestron and AMX supply ridiculously poor touch screen interfaces to their very expensive home automation installations."

    How exactly did you come to this conclusion? Have you extensively either used or program a control system touch panel?
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    Used, but not programmed. Those touchscreen controllers are just not in the same league in terms of UI as the iPad/iPhone honestly. I haven't used the latest incarnations but from the looks of them, they haven't changed tremendously.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • athreya - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    1. Does writepad (phatware) or sketchbook pro (autodesk) allow one to take handwritten notes on the ipad? As in, im not looking for handwriting conversion to pages or word but can notes be taken and emailed across in the body of say a gmail or a Mail message? WHich stylus is the best for the ipad?

    2. How do you think iphone os 4.0 will solve the multitasking problem?

    3. Between the wireless keyboard and the keyboard with dock which would you recommend and why? Will ANY BT keyboard work with the ipad?

    4. Can you tell us how good it is at projecting powerpoint ppts onto a standard VGA projector? Does it support Office for Mac yet?

    thanks a lot Anand. Terrific balanced review as always.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, April 9, 2010 - link

    I doubt any stylus works with the iPad, due to the capacitive screen. Reply
  • dagamer34 - Friday, April 9, 2010 - link

    A capacitive stylus would work. Reply

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