The True Cost of iPad Ownership: Oy Vey

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So you’re buying an iPad. You either want to buy one of the current models, or hold out for a 3G. Either way, it’s going to cost you anywhere from $499 to $829, plus tax, and that’s about it, right?  Not so fast. You might want a few accessories, like a protective case, a charging dock or keyboard and of course the Apps. You can’t forget the Apps.

Still, it’s important to know that this story isn’t a sort of, “OMG! The iPad has hidden costs,” alarmist piece. This is really about taking a step back and looking at the big picture before you decide to dive in. The first major choice you must make is whether or not you need a 3G capable iPad. Then you must decide on how much storage capacity you want from you new gadget. The pricing structure is as follows:

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As seen above, the wifi models range anywhere from $499 to $699 depending on the amount of storage you desire. The 3G model, which will be available later this month, ranges anywhere from $629 to $829. Those getting the 3G iPad are buying if because they want to jump on the 3G network, which will set them back $14.99 with a monthly bandwidth cap of 250 megs while $29.99 a month will give them unlimited data. At about a year, this is $179.88 on the low end, and $359.88 for a year of the unlimited plan. Still, there is no contract, so users aren’t obligated to pay the monthly fee.

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That breaks down something like this, using a year as a benchmark:

3G

16GB

Total with 250MB plan for a year – $808.88

Total with unlimited data plan year – $988.88

32GB

Total with 250MB plan for a year – $908.88

Total with unlimited data plan year – $1,088.88

64GB

Total with 250MB plan for a year – $1,008.88

Total with unlimited data plan for a year – $1,188.88

As you may know, the iPad’s screen is basically a thin sheet of glass. Dropping it probably isn’t a question of if, rather it’s a question of when. And chances are. that if it takes a spill, you are getting a cracked screen (Ouch!) Fortunately, there are various cases for the iPad. For the sake of simplicity, the Apple-branded case ($39.00) will be used as an example. It costs the same as most of the third-party cases on Apple’s website, and $20 less than the Incase Travel Kit Plus ($59.95).

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The prices with Apple’s case are as follows:

Wifi

16GB – $538

32GB – $638

64GB – $738

3G

16GB

Total with 250MB plan for a year – $847.88

Total with unlimited data plan year – $1,027.88

32GB

Total with 250MB plan for a year – $947.88

Total with unlimited data plan year – $1,127.88

64GB

Total with 250MB plan for a year – $1,047.88

Total with unlimited data plan for a year – $1,227.88

After purchasing the $39 case, an iPad owner is looking at anywhere from $538 to $1,227.88. Now you need the Apps, which are probably the reason you purchased your iPad in the first place. There is no telling which Apps you will choose to buy, but there are a few that will turn your iPad into a device for productivity as well as a fun gaming machine. Most of these Apps will add about $10 each to your iPad.

Pages – $9.99

Keynote – $9.99

Numbers – $9.99

Scrabble – $9.99

Brushes – $9.99

Plants Vs Zombies HD – $9.99

Total = $59.94

Doing the math, that runs each SKU up to:

Wifi

16GB – $597.94

32GB – $697.94

64GB – $797.94

3G

16GB

Total with 250MB plan for a year – $907.94

Total with unlimited data plan year – $1,086.94


32GB

Total with 250MB plan for a year – $1,007.82

Total with unlimited data plan year – $1,187.82

64GB

Total with 250MB plan for a year – $1,107.82

Total with unlimited data plan for a year – $1,287.82

Of course there is nothing forcing you to buy any or all of those Apps, but each is worth looking at for any iPad owner.

Besides all the above mentioned add-ons, there are peripherals that can add even more functionality to the iPad. None of the following are needed, but they are great pieces to add. The VGA Adapter allows for the iPad to be connected to a television for video, the Keyboard dock acts as both a charger and a tactile keyboard for typing and the iPad Camera Connection Kit makes it possible to import photos from a digital camera.

Here are the prices for each of those:

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iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter – $29

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iPad Keyboard Doc – $69

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iPad Camera Connection Kit – $29

Total = $127

Adding that total, should one choose to buy all of these peripherals runs the iPads up to:

Wifi

16GB – $724.94

32GB – $824.94

64GB – $924.94

3G

16GB

Total with 250MB plan for a year – $1.034.94

Total with unlimited data plan year – $1,213.94

32GB

Total with 250MB plan for a year – $1,134.82

Total with unlimited data plan year – $1,314.82

64GB

Total with 250MB plan for a year – $1,234.82

Total with unlimited data plan for a year – $1,414.82

Just how much does pimping out your iPad run? Anywhere from $724.94 to $1,414.82. Again, many of these purchases are nothing more than add-ons, but the bare minimum requires one to at the very least purchase a protective case, unless they are feeling brave. Breaking any item down to individual expenses can easily reveal how much it really costs. Whether it’s an iPad or a Nintendo DS. The important thing, however, is knowing what sorts of costs are associated with any product you purchase before making a decision, and determining what best suits your needs.

Important Note: Because tax and shipping vary depending on your state or the retailer you purchase from, they have not been factored into any of the costs above.

 

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