After months of intense speculation, the Apple iPad has been released, to great fanfare. Upon its debut, the tablet was instantly panned as underwhelming and overpriced, by the blogosphere and Twittersphere alike.
How Much Does It Cost?
The number thrown around most often is $499, which is for a 16 GB version that's been described as a big iPod touch; you can only connect to the internet via wireless networks, rather than 3G. There are, however, a wide range of prices for different models, ranging from the one $499 to the $829 64 GB version, which allows users to connect via wireless or over 3G networks.
How Does It Compare To E-Readers?
The iPad has drawn a lot of comparisons to the Amazon Kindle, but how do the two stack up? The Kindle is less expensive, as it starts at $259 and doesn't require an extra data plan. With its e-ink technology, it is also easier on the eyes than the iPad's LED, backlit display. But, the Kindle is also limited in what it does: It is solely an e-reader, on which you can pay to subscribe to books, newspapers, magazines and blogs on the Kindle. (The less-popular Barnes & Noble Nook is also priced at $259 with no extra data plan necessary.) On the 3G iPad, the unlimited data plan costs $29.99 per month, though no contract is necessary. Some of the features of the iPad are:
• Safari, a full-fledged web browser
• App Store
The iPad Is Cost-Effective...If You Don't Own A Computer Or An iPhone.
But we're not saying that this machine can really take the place of an actual computer. Or an iPhone, since it's not a phone. The iPad is really cool because you can access your mail, photos, videos, YouTube, iPod music, iBooks, apps, maps, calendar, notes, and more. Its graphics look great, it's light and portable, and sensitive enough to sense your movements so you can move it for physical games as on an iPhone. We're not certain that it's much more useful than either an iPhone or a computer, but it's fun. As a result, we see it as a purchase that needs to come from your extra, disposable income. If you can spare it--and you think it'll improve your life either in terms of fun or utility--then plan accordingly.
You Might Want To Wait.
Unless you absolutely worship at the temple of Apple, you might want to wait for your iPad. History has shown that Apple almost always drops prices after its first release of a product. When the first iPhone was released in 2007, it cost $499. That price was quickly dropped to $399, and you can now get a new iPhone 3G (not the newest model) with a two-year contract on AT&T for $99. When the MacBook was introduced in 2006, it sold for $1,099; today, MacBooks sell for $999. Our best guess? Unless you have a need to buy the iPad immediately, you'll do best to hold off for now.