Don’t forget the additional expenses

As I alluded to in my first post, the total price of the iPad you’re drooling over is more than you think. You may have already discovered this with your purchase of a smartphone. You shopped around to find the best bang for your buck, carefully considering the features of iPhones and Androids, and trying to find the perfect balance of “cool” with cost. But you soon found that the ticket price of the item you decided on was only the beginning of what you would have to spend. All sorts of other additional expenses followed (some optional, some not) in order to protect, equip or augment your new gadget.

The iPad is no different. A new iPad 2 will cost between $500 and $700, depending on the features you want. But don’t forget to consider the following additional expenses:

  • A case to protect your investment.  The Apple tablet feels sturdy in your hands, but I wouldn’t place any bets on its surviving an impact with the ground when it slips out of your hands or briefcase. ($20-40, although premium leather cases are available for a lot more.)
  • Applications or “apps.”  Out of the box, with just the apps it ships with, your new iPad is not terribly more productive than a read-in-the-dark agenda or address book. (Most apps fall somewhere between $10 and free.)
  • A 3G data plan. Only necessary if you want to use all the iPad’s features when away from your home or church wireless network. ($15/month, can cancel at any time.)
  • Keyboard. The onscreen keyboard works well enough for short notes, but for any serious typing you’ll want something like Apple’s wireless keyboard.
  • AppleCare Protection Plan. Quality service and support for two years after purchase — for peace of mind. ($79)
  • A stylus. Can be helpful for drawing or writing more precisely than your greasy/stubby fingertip allows. ($8-15)
  • Cables and adapters. With a VGA adapter, you can add an external display (think projector or large screen TV) to your iPad. Apple’s Camera Connection Kit will allow photos from your digital camera to be loaded directly onto the iPad from a thumb drive or SD card.

Some of these additional expenses are certainly optional. Some are one-time purchases. For me, since I didn’t purchase the 3G option, the App Store represents the greatest ongoing expense. There are simply too many exciting apps that come out each month. More on those apps later.

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