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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  • softdrinkviking - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    it occurs to me that i would want a way to protect the screen from getting scratched, and that would mean a
    cover or case that would take the place of the clamshell design of a netbook/notebook.
    why would i want to pay a price premium for a device with slower performance which only achieves acceptable functionality with the addition of expensive peripherals?
    even after all the peripherals, i still lose the ability to effortlessly prop-up a netbook on my lap and type an email, or set a netbook up on a table in a coffee shop.
    nothing about the tablet form factor is convenient for on-the-go usage for me.

    the only situation where i can possibly imagine this being a preferable form factor is for wall mount usage or some other kind of "always left out in the open" type of use, like a universal remote control, or a mini home television viewer in the kitchen.
    but it seems too expensive for those uses to me.
    there must be a better alternative.
    Reply
  • MacTheSpoon - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the great review. I was shocked you'd typed 40% of it with the iPad.

    Would you mind doing a comparison between the iPad keyboard and a physical keyboard? Since there is no utility to measure WPM for the iPad, maybe you could time how long it takes to type the same passage on both--something with some semicolons, quotation marks, and/or em dashes would be ideal, as I'm curious how the virtual keyboard stands up when the user must switch between layouts.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    You know, this was something I was dying to address a few times. I'm hoping that the iTextspeed application developers update their code soon to be iPad compatible, because that's something I want to test for sure.

    I've gotten to the point where I can touch type in landscape pretty easy, but I can also type pretty fast on the iPhone (around 80 WPM using their application). If and when it's updated, we might do something and include the update.

    If it helps any, this was also composed pretty quickly from an iPad. ;)

    Cheers,
    Brian Klug
    Reply
  • solipsism - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    1) How did you get a 720p video on the iPhone for the video test when the allowable maximum "up to 1.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second" video?

    2) From my testing, the iPad uses about 20MB more than the 3GS on startup. Most, if not all, of this is for the GPU. I've also noticed that native apps are also using more RAM. While the 3GS has enough to support standard multitasking the iPad does not. Even switching pages in Safari on the iPad would have to be reloaded while the 3GS does not. This will even more of an issue with the 3G version of the iPad. This gives me doubts about multitasking unles iPhone OS v4.0 is much more efficient (making 3.2.2 a stand in, which looks to be the case) and Apple has a more intuitive quasi-multitasking concept to unveil today.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    I can't speak about the RAM usage - are you using iStat or similar?

    However 720P H.264 video is certainly supported, which is what we used. I tested all the different profiles in handbrake, all of them work if you keep the video at or under 1280x720:

    "H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format"

    That's straight from http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/

    I think you're getting confused with the MPEG4 limitation which is indeed 640x480. ;)

    -Brian Klug
    Reply
  • Ph00 - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    sorry to be ot but is that a black mouth cur dog? Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    I'll wait for iPad v2 with reliably working wifi, no overheating, working PDF export, at least a backside camera for snapshots and maybe short flicks and perhaps multitasking. Ill stop here because any more missing features would seem greedy - apple needs a reason to sell you the 2012 iPad...

    As for atom based ipad - are you nuts? Nobody wants that garbage. Gimme a dual core cortex A9 instead.
    Reply
  • Mike1111 - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    You mean the 2011 iPad, right? Because there's no way Apple isn't gonna do a yearly refresh cycle like they do with all their iPhone OS based products. Reply
  • Mike1111 - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    My mistake. You meant even iPad v2 in 2011 won't be feature complete because Apple needs some features for the 2012 iPad v3.

    Hm, how do I delete a post?
    Reply
  • Lemonjellow - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    "Sure, but so could a TV that made me pancakes. Neither is ready yet or guaranteed."

    Can you confirm or deny that someone is working on said TV project? :- D
    Reply

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