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At $499, the stripped down, bare-bones version of the iPad -- a 16-GB device that connects to the Internet through WiFi only -- does not seem that expensive. Even the the souped-up 64-GB WiFi + 3G model does not seem overpriced at $829 -- especially if one has become acclimated to Apple's pricing in general. However, the costs don't end there. Even with the $829 device -- especially with the $829 device, in fact, due to its extra bandwidth and capacity -- the costs are almost certain to continue to mount.
Gorsh, Erika, no one warned me about the high cost of DVD movies when I bought that DVD player!!! Or about games for the Playstation, Nintendo DS (games? really? you can get games for them?). And, God forbid I should want to install Microsoft Office or Adobe CS on my Mac or PC. The "true" cost will be whatever the iPad owner wants it to be.
This article is based on the flawed premise that the users of the iPad will be purchasing those "add-ons" for the first time. Instead, tell me how much I save by switching my print Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, Financial Times subscriptions to the iPad version. How much do I save buying a digital book vs. a hard cover? Sure the apps may be more expensive than the iPhone/iTouch version, but there are plenty of free apps as well. As far as mobile hot spots costs, I have a laptop and I haven't invested in a hotspot yet, why do I need to now? I have not ordered an iPad yet, but plan to in the next 6 months. I think it will be a fine alternative to my laptop and a great way to consume digital content. I am especially excited to see what new apps are offered over the next year. Look at how many apps there are for the skimpy screen on the iPhone/iTouch. I think the sky's the limit here.
I wonder whats the big deal here. When I buy a desktop or notebook PC, the cost definitely does not end there - I still need to buy the software and internet service. When I buy an xbox or playstation, I still need to spend much more to buy games and accessories. Heck, when I buy my TV I still need to pay monthly for cable. This predicament is not unique to the iPad.
To evaluate a device in this way makes no more sense than it would be talk about the cost of a television set in terms of what it's going to cost to add expensive cable packages to it. Everybody knows that there are different levels of service. For some people, the WiFi-only option is going to be good enough -- and that doesn't have to cost a penny, depending on where you want to use it. If you want to have full-time unlimited use of 3G for two years, yes, that will cost you about $720, but it will be half that if you are satisfied with less date use. And what about people who just get the 3G service when they go on trips or some such? The point is that it's dishonest to take the MOST you can spend on a device and pretend that you're looking at the actual cost of ownership. The cost of ownership is the price you pay for it, because you don't HAVE to add the 3G or paid WiFi services. It's just a sensationalistic approach to write what's in this article. It's not honest.
If you are trying to use the iPad as a giant iPhone, it might have a high cost of ownership, but I imagine a lot of people will be using this device as a secondary home computer--something you can play a game on, or surf the web and check email on at night, in bed. WiFi on your existing home internet connection would be fine for that.
If you take your iPad to work with you, most workplaces big enough to have computer networks have WiFi networks, so no additional costs. All my local coffee shops have free WiFi, so that would be cheaply covered, too. Lots of hotels have WiFi, so if you want to surf the web in your downtime at the hotel, that should be doable.
If you always buy the latest books specifically to read on your iPad, that could get expensive fast, but not any more expensive than buying those same new releases in hardback. Besides, there are thousands of books in the public domain that most people haven't read yet, and those are available free. Just download them from a free or already paid for WiFi access point.
Apps are going to set you back, but non-free apps always do, so what's unexpected about that?
'Jeez, Erika—How was I supposed to know when I bought that shiny new car for a whopping $45,000 that I'd have to actually buy gasoline to make it work?!? What a rip off. Insurance and maintenance cost extra, too!
It sounds just as ridiculous when you use that same FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) in regard to the iPad.'
I don't get your argument on the tco for the iPad, or maybe you don't get the iPad. It almost seems like you are arguing that the iPad user will spend more bucks than they would otherwise. You don't see the iPad, as Apple does, as a replacement for media consumption. The iTunes Store replaces record stores (pardon the anachronism), and video stores (as does Netflix). Now with the iPad, Apple is replacing the orginial digital media players' sound and weak video player with a much bigger one. In addition, the iTunes/iBook/iPad store will also replace the bookstore and newsstand.
The begs the question about TCO of an iPad or similar device. If it replaces the cost of books /newspapers/magazines with an online purchase, can you really consider that an iPad cost or a user savings since a hardbound version costs so much more.
The actual cost of using 3G on the iPad is much less than Erika leads us to believe. There is no contract. The 3G service can be turned on and off at whim, in one-month chunks. For example, I'm planning to buy the 3G model.The 3G is a just-in-case feature for me, to avoid locking myself out of internet access if I'm ever on an extended trip where I'll need internet access without wifi.
That might happen maybe once a year. in my case, the total annual cost of the 3G is no more than $30, and might well be zero.