With a base price of $499, the recently announced iPad isn’t exactly cheap. Most netbooks, smartphones, and other mobile computing devices available today can be picked up for significantly less. But for an Apple product, $499 ain’t bad. COO TIM Cook had previously indicated that he didn’t think the company could produce anything worthwhile in the netbook space (and he’s not a fan of traditional netbooks) for less than that price. So most pundits kind of expected the Apple Tablet to run $800 or more. As it turns out, the most expensive version of the iPad will run $829, and that’s for a model with 3G connectivity and 64GB of storage.
Anyway, long story short, that’s bad news for some of the companies that were hoping to put out their own tablets and market them as cheaper alternatives to the Apple Tablet. DigiTimes reports that Asus, MSI, and other would-be tablet makers were hoping to sell their products for 20% to 30% less than Apple’s. But that would have been a lot easier if the iPad cost $1000.
That doesn’t mean we won’t see some of the promised iPad competitors hit the streets later this year. But the profit margins are likely to be slimmer and we could see companies cutting some corners to keep costs down.
Of course, there have also been plenty of chip-makers promising that $200 tablets could hit the streets at some point. But I haven’t seen a manufacturer actually follow through on that promise yet, and my guess is that we’ll have to rely on telecom subsidies to bring tablet prices down to that point.