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$499 iPad Is First Affordable Computing Device By Apple For Average User

By Erik Folgate

If you were following Twitter, Facebook, or any tech blogs today, then you know that the Apple event surrounding the announcement of the Apple iPad (insert feminine hygiene joke here) dominated today’s news, and it will surely dominate tech news for the rest of the week. I followed along with sites such as Gizmodo and Cult of Mac for their live blogging of the event, and I must say that while the iPad is pretty darn impressive, it is lacking in some areas (but then again I am a tech nerd). I have stronger opinions about technology devices than the average user. One piece of news that did REALLY impress me was the price of the iPad:

  • $499 for 16GB w/ Wi-Fi
  • $629 for 16GB w/ Wi-Fi and 3G
  • $599 for 32GB w/ Wi-Fi
  • $729 for 32GB w/ Wi-Fi and 3G
  • $699 for 64GB w/ Wi-Fi
  • $829 for 64GB w/ Wi-Fi and 3G

These numbers surprised me, because I was thinking Apple was going to brand it more like an alternative laptop and keep the base model price high enough to keep out the more price-conscious demographic, but at $499 for the base model, that will appeal to a lot of people in the market for a netbook and/or laptop alternative.  The prices for the models with 3G means that those models will be able to connect to the Internet using AT&T cell towers, but that comes with a monthly price.  It’s $14.99 for 250mb of data (which is nothing), and $30 for unlimited data.  Although, there is NO contract involved for these data plans.

What’s great about the iPad

  • It appeals to a wider demographic than Apple usually gets.
  • The price is appealing.
  • It’ll be a great alternative to buying an iPhone or iPod Touch.
  • Apps for the iPad will be cheap as well.  As low as $9.99 per app.
  • Great for mobile workers such as sales people, real estate agents, etc.

What’s NOT great about the iPad

  • No Multi-Tasking features.
  • No built-in camera (though there are rumors it may include one).
  • Jury is still out on the keyboard.
  • Does not support Adobe Flash.

Like every new Apple product, the next version will be a HUGE upgrade from the first.  A great example of that is the iPhone.  The first one had quite a few issues with the operating system and was on EDGE data network, but the 3G was a huge upgrade.  It might be smart to wait until the end of this year when they could possibly roll out another version, but if you’re looking for a great mobile device that acts as a combination of many different devices, Apple gets it right with the iPad, except the name of course.  Couldn’t they have come up with something a little more clever like iSlate?

If you want to check out all of the detailed specs, click here

Also, here is the video of the Apple event with demonstations:

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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  • jeccica simpson

    I really want one of these, I think I will wait for awhile to pass for the price to go down!!

    • Andy

      That’s what I’m doing! lol. I want it mainly because it’s an awesome ebook reader. : D

  • Anne G

    I can’t wait to see if this is successful or not, it seems like it definitely makes sense to wait a while before jumping in and getting one.

  • gina

    I think that it is too pricey at this time for me to rush out to buy. I would like to see the price go down, and also hear about performance ratings from the average user.

  • Erik Folgate

    That surprises me, I thought the price was right on the money. But you are right, next version will probably go down to $399.

  • http://www.artificialrobot.com Sean

    I agree, I will give it a few revisions, but there is a lot to like conceptually. I think that as apps come out that take advantage of the device this will become a lot more appealing. I would be curious to see whether they open this up to more multi-tasking or background apps. With the extra power it seems like it could handle it.

    The price does seem right, but I’d like to see the 3G version come down a bit, maybe this will happen as the chipset matures.

    • http://madsaver.com Mac

      I agree. I was surprised that their new device didn’t support background apps out of the box. I completely expected them to announce this new functionality AND mention that it comes with iPhone OS 4.0. So that was a bit disappointing. Thankfully, iPhones (at least) can be jailbroken to enable a few extra features to allow tasks that Jobs didn’t intend. ;)

      • http://www.artificialrobot.com Sean

        I didn’t even think about the jailbreaking on this thing…could prove to be interesting. I have to think that multitasking will come, but it may be awhile. My guess is that multitasking on the iPad will be like copy and paste was on the iPhone. Everyone will want it, but Apple won’t release it until the “perfect” way to do it. So it goes with Apple products, but they are often worth the wait.

        • http://madsaver.com Mac

          …and it’s done. Just a day or two after its release, and the iPad has been jailbroken. That happened quick! http://bit.ly/cBBuJT
          The 4.0 OS is probably going to be announced on 4/8/10, and it’s rumored to include multitasking, so if I’m lucky enough to get my hands on one, I doubt I’ll be doing any jailbreaking. All I really need is to be able to do multiple things at once!

  • Mike

    I was also surprised by the price. But its just a big ipod touch, with books. Unless the books part catches on, I don’t see the real benefit of it.

  • http://madsaver.com Mac

    I too thought the price was fair, however, I still can’t see myself being in the market for such a device for at least another year. I have a desktop, a laptop, and an iphone…I don’t have the need for yet another computer.

    I’m hoping the next iteration is OLED w/ better battery life (Kindle-like), and no monthly 3G fee (which will never happen). The main reason I’d buy an iPad is to read books, so the screen needs to be very high quality and not be a strain to look at for several hours straight.

  • DG

    affordable? hah! I laugh at the concept. Still, it does look sleek..might consider after plenty of people use it and they come out with a third generation

  • http://canadianfinanceblog.com Tom @ Canadian Finance Blog

    I wasn’t too impressed with the iPad. I’m pretty happy with my $300 netbook!

  • Connie

    I was hoping for cheap book downloads. But alas they are even higher than for the kindle. Darn…

    • http://www.artificialrobot.com Sean

      Apparently Steve Jobs in an interview after the event said that the book prices would be the same. I’m sure that Apple will be competitive in this space and it may even drive the price of ebooks down further. Also, you will still be able to read the kindle books on the iPad with the kindle app!

  • http://grandgiveaways.wordpress.com Mami2jcn

    It’s sleek-looking, but I’m happy enough with my netbook, which is just as small.

  • Karmella

    I am so disappointed! Or maybe I am happy that I’m not excited, because I just saved myself a bunch of cash.

    I think it’s great that there’s such an affordable option, but I feel like the entry option wouldn’t do enough for me that I’d want to pay $499 for it. But I already have the iPhone and Touch, so maybe I am just wanting something that really pushes beyond what I already would have expected the tablet to do.

    I *am* concerned about the implications for ATT’s 3G network – well, more like I am concerned about the implications for *me* as relates to this device’s potential strain on that network.

  • http://www.sushimustwrite.com Sushi

    The lack of multitasking and inability to install outside apps concern me. Apple really does have you trapped inside the iPad. This thing will be jailbroken within days of it being shipped.

  • http://zegiquiltbug.blogspot.com Kelley

    Am I missing something? 500 dollar minimum to be able to surf on your couch? Are we that spoiled?

  • http://www.chasingprosperity.com thriftygal

    I’m still trying to figure out what it’s technical advantages are over the iPhone for the average joe.

  • http://www.chasingprosperity.com thriftygal

    and couldn’t they have found a better name than iPad???? I think they are taking this ‘i’ nomenclature too far.

  • Jacquelyn McCoy

    Too bad you were not on the marketing team…iSlate is WAY more catchy and appealing than iPad! I think I will get one of these next year. I am in the market for a netbook and love Apple products…however the laptops they sell were too pricey for me.

  • JuliaA

    i’m really curious about this. i hadn’t really considered the price angle–thrifty as i am, i love apple products and put up with their prices.

    it’s a good point to consider that the next version will be much improved. i may wait for a newer generation release before considering one.

    • Karmella

      I think the next version will be much improved, knowing Apple’s way. I am interested to see that version for sure.

  • Elizabeth I

    Is it me or does this look like a supersize ipod touch?

  • Audra

    Let me say first that I love Apple. I was using a Mac back when they had Quadras. Some of you just went…”huh”? Those of you that laughed and nodded in agreement know exactly why Apple makes me smile. I would love to have one of these little gadgets, but as much as I’m an Apple fan, this economy has us all being stingy with our dough. Looks like I’ll wait a while and “see” and then maybe around Christmas Santa will bring me one. I do love the idea of surfing from the couch without having to buy a laptop. I just have to wonder how many people who already own a laptop will also want one of these? One negative thing I have to say…dudes…what’s up with that name? I get it…everything has to be “i” something, but PAD? That’s just asking for it.

  • http://lolmybloglol.blogspot.com/ anthy

    I really love the CONCEPT of the iPad – I have actually been waiting for an affordable tablet PC with the features I want for something like 5-6 years now, when they were $2000-3000 and all the tech writers were like..”Who’d want one of those? It doesn’t even have a keyboard!”

    But there are just two many drawbacks so far. The lack of flash support. The limitations on USB devices (unless you buy special adapters). Only being able to dock in portrait mode. The itty-bitty hard drive space. No multi-tasking.

    The average Joe/Jill may not care about techie stuff, but I assure you that they’re going to care about the flash thing when they go to the latest movie site and it doesn’t load, or they want to watch a flash video. And they’ll care about the USB thing when they can’t plug their thumb drive in.

    I’ve waited this long; I think I can wait a little longer and see if something better comes out.

    This was kind of disappointing, though.

  • http://lolmybloglol.blogspot.com/ anthy

    …also wanted to add that geez. Kelley is right. $499 is not cheap, not when you can get netbooks for less that have more power and space and a similar screen size. Not when the Archos 9tabletpc (which admittedly has its own limitations, from what I’ve read) goes for $550 and is only a little smaller.

    Your average person is probably just going to buy a netbook, or wait for a cheaper knockoff to come out. And I say that as someone who is optimistic about tablets!

  • SC

    i’ll let apple work out the kinks and maybe i’ll consider future versions of ipad 1.0

  • http://www.insweb.com Robert

    People will buy anything with an i in front of it these days, won’t they?

  • http://earngivesave.com Andrew @ Earn Give Save

    So tired of the “it’s just a giant iPod touch” analysis by most. The size of the screen totally changes what’s possible. This form factor running the iPhone OS or some variant will eventually replace the concept of a desktop/laptop OS for most people.

    • Karmella

      That may end up being true, but Apple didn’t do a very good job of communicating why such an analysis applies.

  • Winston

    I was so anxious about about the release of Apple tablet that I couldn’t sleep the night before the keynote event. Based on the history of Steve Jobs and Apple, I thought it was going to be a paradigm shifter. But based on what I have seen, it turns out to be a disappointment for me and I believe for a lot of other people too. The one really good thing about this iPad is its price, quite affordable for a lot of people.

    • http://www.artificialrobot.com Sean

      I dunno, I think that this is more of a game changer than a lot of people realize. Maybe not right out of the gates, but this device sets up a complete change in the way people use computers. I think Steven Frank really got it right with his article about the iPad: http://bit.ly/avOXOg Maybe it’s all just hype, but I think something big is afoot.

  • petpeeve

    I don’t know how you can call any apple product “affordable” for those of us who live in the real world and aren’t rich apple products are overpriced and don’t have alot of features.

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