Saturday, March 10, 2012

The actual cost of The New iPad - why the new real-world minimum is a 32 GB model

iPad's Retina display means the real-world price of an iPad has gone up and here's why.

Tom Semple wrote the following excellent points in a comment to the first blog post here about the new iPad, and it merits wider exposure, so I've taken the liberty of posting the public comment as a blog entry that is, in effect, a follow-up to the earlier post.
' Tom Semple   Mar 7, 2012 06:59 PM

I would just point out that Apple has done its usual PSYOPs in retaining the same price points as iPad2. But the reality is that if 16GB was good enough for you before, you'll need 32GB now. If you needed 32GB before, now you'll need 64GB. So they have effectively raised the price (albeit while also including improved performance, camera and display, offset by reduced costs for memory and economies of scale). The more honest thing to do would have been to have 32/64/128 models at higher price points, but that would have had a dampening effect on their marketing message.

That is because apps that support iPadNew's retina screen will be significantly larger, as all bitmap resources grow by 4x, as will much of the content designed for it (1080p video, 5MP stills, for example). Some of the iBookstore textbooks are 1-2GB each, and may get larger yet if targeting iPadNew. Apple is rumored to be working on a higher def audio format, which will again be larger. And so forth. So if people want to replace their 16GB iPad 1 or 2 with an iPadNew, or are getting one for the first time, they had better think about getting one of the higher capacity models, since there is no way to expand storage (apart from wireless storage). (For reference, at last check, my 32GB iPod Touch is using about 1GB short of 16GB: 4GB for system, 8GB for apps, 3GB for content. 16GB is 'enough', but barely. Shooting a 20 minute HD video would eat it up.)

The price drop of iPad2 may make it attractive for some, but I would find it difficult to justify because I would rather spend a little more for a better screen. Having been hearing the retina rumors since before iPad2 shipped, and having enjoyed sharper screens on the mobile devices I've acquired in the mean time, I think I'd be disappointed with one at any price. Plus there will be some Android options soon for retina-like screen experience (Asus Transformer Prime for example, probably also something from Samsung/Motorola and perhaps Amazon), which I would want to include in the consideration.

There are the iPad Mini rumors, but it's not clear how such a thing could do anything except needlessly and disruptively expand Apple's product line, something they should be institutionally averse to, if Steve Jobs had any impact. It would either have to represent a 3rd form factor in the iOS line (needing specific SDK/app support), or a shrunken iPad2 (so it could run existing iPad apps, which might not work well since some UI elements could thereby become too small to be manipulated). I don't think they will ship one this year. iPad2 fills this gap adequately, and should remain profitable for awhile even at the lower price. '

Again, factor in what the cost of that much more data means to your current data plan as I mentioned in the earlier post.  At the end of that post suggested a read of article Andrew Tarantola's article for Gizmodo, which explained in detail the impact the new resolution will have on your data plan, cautioning that what brings you that much finer an image "at thoseo speeds [4G] could also decimate your data cap Why? Because nicer visuals means bigger file sizes."

  He also points out that AT&T and Verizon measured a variety of factors when estimating data usage and that the "new look" won't mean you'll be showing off your fonts in email or showing off music jacket art -- "No, you're going to use the iPad HD for sweet-looking HD apps and streaming clearer than real life video.

He then goes on to explain in detail how much data usage the new iPad will entail on a 4G connection compared to how much the same consumption would be with the iPad 2 on a 3G connection and how you can "limit the damage to your wallet."

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