Monday, May 10, 2010

With Today's Pricing The iPad Looks a Frivolous Buy

As Apple shares hit record highs a US blogger is quoted in The Week comparing how if you investing in Apple stock rather than buying their new products at launch you would be a lot better off. Kyle Conroy claims that if you had spent the equivalent money to the cost of the AppleMac Server G3 300, they would be worth $205,444 today. $249 on the iPod in January 2004 would be generating $6,103 profit today.

So its interesting to read the cost of owning an iPad, or investing in Apple from mobile operator Orange.

The 3G models iPad will cost from £529 for the 16GB model, £599 for 32GB and £699 for 64GB. Aternatively you could shell out £429 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model, or £499 for 32GB,or £599 for 64GB versions. Once you have sunk that investment you find the cost of ownership. Apple has added a £100 premium for the addition of 3G functionality.
Today Orange declared their rate card in the UK. Short term has two rates; £2 a day and capped at 200MB, or a week's browsing capped at 1GB for £7.50. Monthly has two rates Monthly 15 which costs £15 per month and offers 3GB of mobile data and 750MB of Wi-Fi access through BT Openzone hotspots, and Monthly 25 which is priced at £25 and offers 10GB of 3G browsing and 750MB of Wi-Fi access. Finally, pay as you go at 5p per MB of data.

So the iPad is probably one of the defining technology gadgets that shows us just how gulable we actually are to slick marketing and technology hype. So tablets have been tried before and failed and the iPad is going to redefine the table and change the world as we knew it? The iPod changed how we listened to music, created iconic desian and iTunes. The Nano shrunk it down to the right size. The iPhone, redefined the mobile smartphone, once again gave us iconic design, introduced the app and app store and gave both old and young a new device. The iTouch was just an iPhone without the phone and was a device waiting to be gazumped.

So why has the iPad sold so well and been received so warmly by the consumer market?

After all I has no phone, its e-reader software isn’t preinstalled and, doesn’t display other reading material such as magazines and newspapers. It has games but is hardly a serious Xbox 360 or Nintendo killer. It competes with netbooks and laptops but can’t support the basic software or have a basic file access system or print facility. For many it forces the world of the web into new devilment and shuns tools such as Flash. So is its purpose to merely put a stake in the ground for what is to come and if so should we not wait for the proper version and avoid the prototype? Perhaps Apple had to throw all the balls up in the air so they could position the market for tomorrow.

Let’s state the obvious you will still need a mobile phone and a computer so the iPad looks an expensive designer label with limited functionality today. Unless the firm is buying one, why on earth would you?


Mauricio Longo said...

Asking your base question: Why would I buy an iPad, given its limitations probably means that you either are not part of the target public for this device or that you haven't tried it out.

It is not really about the iPad doing away with your phone or your computer. Its about it being a better fit for many or possibly most of the activities that a lot of people use computers for.

In my household there are more computers than people, and that is the case for a lot of people. Could I replace them all with iPads? No. Could I replace most of them for iPads? Certainly.

Doing so would actually be a huge improvement in some cases.

As an example I'll take the case of my wife. Her main (99.9%) computer use is browsing the Web and using email. For that she has a low-end Dell notebook which weighs around 3 kilos. It doesn't take up that much desktop space, but try to surf from the living room's sofa and see how you like holding a hot three kilo brick while surfing. :-)

An Wi-Fi iPad weighs less than 700 grams and doesn't get warm as you use it.

She couldn't care less if it does Flash or doesn't. All sites she regularly uses don't use and just about every news site in the planet is scrambling to get rid of it.

Not all people are like or like my wife, for that matter. Not two households will have the exact same computer usage pattern, but as sales show and user reviews seem to indicate a lot of people have a role to be filled by the iPad. One of the best user reviews I've seen so far if by Chuck Hollis, a VP of EMC that describes how his family has been affected by the device. Here is a link to his blog post.

It is quite possible that you personally, as a lot of other people, have computer usage patterns that would not be improved by the addition of an iPad or the replacement of an existing computer with an iPad.

Anonymous said...

Having placed my online order in the early hours before day-break and opted for the 64GB + 3G version, keyboard dock, camera connector and case I have to say that your comments are very fair... I am still buying one though.

BVan said...

There are reasons greater than just a marketing ploy that makes the iPad successful. While Apple and its name makes it easier, it really is not just a marketing ploy. It is the start of a platform.

The onr thing that Apple that has been successful at doing is changing how we interact with devices. It's advantage and its detriment at the same time is the restrictions Apple has placed. Because it forces developers to use the unique technologies of the iPad, it creates a certain standard of applications. The ma in reason I believe the origami devices were not successful 5 years ago was the fact that developers are lazy and are unwilling to change unless they have to. By pushing developers forward it pushes the tablets forward.

As a tester and early adopter of the iPad, it is understandable where the iPad falls. There are so many instances where a laptop is unnecessary to take with, but is not really effective or efficient to do on a smartphone. It is In the middle. To give an exempla, I no longer carry a textbook or a laptop with me because 90-95% of what I need to do is able to be done on the iPad. Are there Instances that require a larger and more powerful computer, yes, but not for day to day tasks. One would ask why not a net book? That is because the software that I am using on the iPad are designed for portability as opposed to net books with applications that are not.

While I have a bias because I do indeed own an iPad, I am not blind to the marketing power Apple has. The thing that I feel people should not discount is peoples feelings after they interact with the device. People were very harsh on the device before even using the device but are now praising it. I am not saying that there aren't things that can be improved on the device, but the iPad is a very impressive device that I believe should not be discounted as frivolous.