What Does an iPad Really Cost?

My personal opinion on the iPad is that it is not something you buy out of necessity.  Unlike and iPod or iPhone, I don’t think that anyone can sit back and justify the purchase.  The combined features make it compelling, but at a starting price of $499 it is a very expensive eBook reader.  I have been trying to find ways that I could integrate my iPad into my daily work and been marginally successful.  However the integration necessitated the purchase of several additional programs.  I work in IT, so I understand that I may not be the norm, but here is a list of what I needed.

Tool App Price
Email Mail Built In
Calendar – Exchange Calendar Built In
Calendar – Google Calendar Built In
Contacts Contacts Built In
Cisco VPN VPN Built In
Microsoft Word Pages 9.99
Microsoft Excel Numbers 9.99
Microsoft PowerPoint Keynote 9.99
SSH Client iSSH 9.99
Windows Remote WinAdmin 8.99
LogMeIn LogMeIn Ignition 29.99
VNC Mocha VNC Lite Free
FTP FTPOnTheGo 9.99
Printing Print n Share 6.99
PDF Reader GoodReader 0.99
Tasks TaskTask HD 4.99
 

If I count Accessories (Capacitive Pen, Dock, Case), I have spend over $200 trying to make my iPad be more useful at work.  There are plenty of other accessories, like a bluetooth keyboard and TV/VGA adapters on the market.  On the app side it’s just the apps I use;  I’ve been pretty discerning, but there have been a few failures.  Many do not have trial versions, you are entirely dependent on customer feedback and have no options for refunds should the app not work the way you need it to.  I have friends who have spent much more than I have finding the tools that were right for them.

Many of these apps have special requirements like ActiveSync on your mail server or require a level of technical expertise to configure. It’s fair to say that even with all of these additions, I still mostly use my iPad for email and quick fixes when I don’t want to boot my laptop up.

If I were to be asked today if the iPad was something the company I worked for could easily use and was worth the purchase price, I would have to answer with a resounding no.  The iPad is certainly marketed for consumers, not businesses.  While there is an undercurrent of Business Productivity apps on the market, the ability to integrate the iPad into an existing business infrastructure is not easily or inexpensively achieved.

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