Apple iPad, Day 26: Adding It All Up

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I don't want the glass touchscreen getting scratched or cracked while the iPad is sitting around, or while it is in transit, so it needs some sort of case or cover. I started out with the Apple SmartCover. The SmartCover comes in two versions (and a variety of colors)--there is the synthetic cover for $40, and the leather cover for $70.

I had the leather cover, but I returned it on Day 11 when I decided to go with the Logitech Keyboard Case to meet my typing needs when using the iPad 2 on the go. For $100 the Logitech Keyboard Case serves double-duty protecting the glass front of the iPad 2, and providing an adequate Bluetooth physical keyboard.

The Logitech Keyboard Case was $100 well spent.
Cumulative Price Tag: $879

Depending on the printer you have, you might need to invest in an upgrade in order to print from the iPad. Whether you use the AirPrint functionality native to iOS, or a vendor-supplied app, connecting the iPad to a printer wirelessly requires compatible printer hardware. I got lucky because my Epson Artisan 710 is supported by the free Epson iPrint app, so no additional cost for me here.

When it came to setting up my iPad as a desktop workstation, though, I incurred some additional expenses. I won't count things like my monitor or speakers because I already owned those peripherals. But, I needed the $40 Apple Digital AV Adapter to connect my iPad to the HDMI connection on the monitor, and I invested another $70 for a full-size wireless keyboard.

Cumulative Price Tag: $989

So, when all is said and done, I spent roughly $1000 to make my iPad experience as close to my Windows 7 notebook experience as possible. Obviously, your mileage will vary depending on the apps and peripherals you end up needing.

If you are truly going sans PC, the $30 for the LogMeIn Ignition app is unnecessary. But, if you don't have a compatible printer you could end up spending another $200 or $300. You could choose a different model iPad 2, a different case or keyboard, etc. For me, it tallies to just under $1000.

For comparison sake, the new 11" MacBook Air--with a physical keyboard, slightly larger display, USB and Thunderbolt ports, Intel Corei5 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB SSD storage--is also $1000. The Dell XPS 15z--with a more powerful Intel Core i5 processor, 6GB of RAM, a 500GB drive, USB and HDMI ports, and a DVD/RW drive is also $1000.

While the iPad itself starts at a reasonable $500, turning it into a platform capable of replacing a PC quickly adds up. The iPad does still bring some unique advantages into the mix, but when you look at the total investment required it is much more difficult to make a case for switching from a PC to an iPad.

Read the last "30 Days" series: 30 Days With Ubuntu Linux

Day 25: Can a Business Replaces PCs With iPads?

Day 27: How Will iOS 5 and iCloud Change Things?

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