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iPad myths: It’s too expensive

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It’s a new device from Apple so it was never going to be cheap but is it too expensive ?

The argument seems to be that because netbooks are selling at around £250-£350 then the £429 entry level price of an iPad is too high. But I don’t think this is the correct comparison. First, how does the pricing it fit within Apple’s product range and, second, how does it compare against the new generation of internet oriented tablets that have started arriving.

So, to start with, how about comparing the price of the iPad against the price of the iPhone ?

OK, the iPad isn’t a phone but they do run the same (more or less) operating system, similar applications, and have the same UI. The iPhone 4 starts at £499. So, the iPad has a screen several times the size of an iPhone making it a practical proposition for productivity applications such as email, word processing, etc., but costs £81 less than the iPhone. With this comparison, the pricing actually looks about right.

However, you could argue that the iPod touch is a better comparison as this is also ‘an iPhone without the phone’. Apple doesn’t currently make a 16Gb iPod touch so the comparison must be made between the 32Gb iPod touch at £249 and the 32Gb iPad at £499. This comparison does begin to make the iPad look expensive as you could argue that the only hardware differences are the larger screen of the iPad and the built-in GPS receiver.

However, both these comparisons are a little unfair because we’re comparing a first generation iPad with third and fourth generation devices. While Apple’s pricing for the iPad might not change with the next generation iPad because, to some extent, it’s about market positioning , it is likely that it’ll offer more for the money and therefore be better value.

So, how about a comparison against the other tablet devices now appearing on the market ? It’s difficult to make a direct comparison because none of these runs Apple’s iOS or has exactly the same form factor but the ones that come closest are the new tablets from Archos, Samsung, and ViewSonic.

First, the prices… The Archos 101 Internet Tablet runs Android 2.2, has 16GB storage and a 7  inch 1024 x 600 pixel screen for £267. The Samsung Galaxy Tab at £469 has a similar specification but is a little smaller than the Archos. It also has 3G as standard where the Archos has no 3G capability at all. Finally, the ViewSonic ViewPad 10, priced at £463, also has 16Gb storage, a 10 inch 1024 x 600 pixel screen, and runs both Android 1.6 and Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium but has no 3G option.

The Archos isn’t a direct competitor as its specification falls a long way short of the other two. For example it has 256Mb RAM rather than the 1Gb of the ViewSonic and no 3G option.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab and the ViewSonic ViewPad 10 clearly are competing against the iPad but are offering less functionality than the iPad for a higher price and both are less accomplished products with chunky construction, shorter battery life, and lower resolution screens.  At the very least, you can say that the iPad costs less and is a much more convincing product.

Apple doesn’t sell cheap products but there doesn’t appear to be an iPad alternative with a similar specification and capability that costs less. So, while the iPad might be expensive it appears to be the cheapest option unless you’re prepared to settle for a lower specification such as the Archos 101 Internet Tablet.

Written by Sea Monkey

December 10, 2010 at 8:00 pm

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