Buyer Research: Apple iPad2

This is the first of three articles on buyer research for tablet computers. As you know, our focus this month on the Digital Lovers Blog is tablet computers. So far, we have articles defining a tablet computer, the difference between a tablet PC and a tablet computer, and the history of tablets. We also have a podcast that introduces you to tablet computing. But as you can see by the article title, we are going to focus on the Apple iPad2.

The iPad was first released to the public in April 2010. The iPad2, and most recent version of the iPad, was released in March 2011 (less than a year apart). The iPad is the only brand of tablets where the operating system (OS) is unique. What does that mean? Apple is the only company that sales/licenses the iPad OS (which is the same OS as the iPhone and iPod Touch). iPad led the way for the year of the tablets (2010). Apple advertised the iPad as "a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, and web content" (Wikipedia). Apple has not said anything about the iPad replacing your computer, nor can it. Yes, it can be an addition to your computing devices, but the iPad cannot replace your computer.

iPad, like most tablet computers, is 100% touch screen and does not require an external keyboard or mouse. The iPad has a virtual keyboard that appears when typing information in the appropriate field. Your finger is considered the mouse. The iPad does not have any ports that allow USB use or other external devices. You cannot expand the memory either. When you purchase an iPad, the memory you have is what you are stuck with. The iPad has a decent battery life, "up to 10 hours of video, 140 hours of audio playback, or one month on standby. Like any battery technology, the iPad's LiPo battery loses capacity over time, but is not designed to be user-replaceable." (Wikipedia). Since Apple does not allow its users to change the battery, you have to send the it to an Apple Store.

iPad allows for users to install small applications called "apps." These apps can be a number of things such as games like Angry Birds, utilities such as Google Earth, and ereaders such as Kindle. Some apps are free, others are not. Apps that have to be bought start at $.99 and can cost up to $50 or $60. Most of the higher end apps are for developers who need "fancy" stuff. Apps bought through the Apple AppStore are charged to your iTunes account.

Apple did their research when they started selling the iPad. They knew that at the time nothing compared to their product. Because of that, they were not limited to other companies offering their product at a cheaper price. Since then, many companies have released their version of the tablet computer. But Apple has not changed pricing strategy. The new iPad2 is available in 6 versions: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB WiFi only | 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB WiFi + 3G. The 16GB WiFi only iPad2 can be sold for $499, $599 for 32GB, and $699 for 64GB. The WiFi + 3G versions cost more and a contract with AT&T or Verizon is needed for the 3G feature to work (for pricingVerizon Wireless | AT&T). The WiFi + 3G versions are as follows: 16GB $629, 32GB $729, and 64GB $829. (Apple Store). Apple, along with 3G providers, has however lowered the price for the original iPad (or iPad1). See for more details. All in all this is a good product, but when it comes to usage and features that is left to the customer.

Be sure to check back next week as we have more articles about the Android Tablets and Windows 7 Tablets. Also be on the look out for the second part of our podcast on April 26. If you thought the first show was good, then you will for sure enjoy the second half!

Resources | Links: 
3G for Verizon Wireless
3G for AT&T
Online Apple Store