Originally Posted by wizard69
A $100 is a $100 and if you intend to use AT&Ts service anyways it might be a good deal. The qualifier is this; is the device unlocked? If not then no deal.
$100 is not $100.
The qualifier is not if the device is locked vs. unlocked.
Lets walk through this:
1. Firstly your buying into old tech (iPad 3) for $479.99 after instant savings of $100.
2. Assume that you have an AT&T's new "share plan"
3. Baseline price will be $719, an additional $240 over the course of 2 years if you don't go over the 250 MB monthly data usage.
Here is where things get interesting.
If you don't have a new "share plan" or aren't an AT&T customer, to take advantage of the $100 subsidized discount, you will need to add a qualified mobile plan which starts at $15/month for 350 MB, add $10/month for device share. This adds an additional $360 to the $719 which brings your grand total to $1079 to use an iPad 4th generation with 250 MB each month for 2 years.
I would be negligent if I didn't say that a 250 MB plan is meant for very light email usage and minimal browsing (very light). Any streaming apps, an afternoon of browsing, downloading magazines will easily put you over and incur overages.
Most people will tend to use the 3 GB plan which is $30/month which adds an additional $720 to the $719 price of device and 2 year device share @ $10/month - putting the grand total at $1,439.99 (taxes, fees not included).
Even if you plan on using the device with constant LTE service you will not recoup the value of the initial $100 discount.
Here's why. Your locked into a mobile share plan for 2 years! That is the real qualifier. AT&T has designed their plans and the discount to look attractive initially to those who can't afford to spend the initial $$ and obtain the service they desire.
I don't know the price of the iPad 3, but i'm sure the pricing structure will be similar to the iPad 2 a-la iPad 3. Therefore lets assume the standard $100 off the price of the iPad 4 (the same discount last year). Therefore for an iPad 3 16GB + 4G will be $529. If you were to just buy the device for $529, and add a month to month service for the iPad for $30/month ($720 for 2 years) + $529 for an iPad 3 brings the total to $1,249.
Compare buying the iPad outright $1,249 vs. subsidized with the same service $1,439 and you will see $100 does not equal $100. I'm not even going to talk about ROI, depreciation - you will have to do your own cost/benefit analysis for a more in-depth look at acquiring this device.
Seriously though, there is a rule of thumb that my fiance told me when she did her MBA, "...companies sole purpose is to increase revenue. Any offering they provide only seeks to bolster this purpose." It's up to you as the customer to seek the most value for your dollar. Companies will not do it for you. Does help to have a little common sense though.
After some thought, I realized this offering by AT&T is very weak and is borderline desperate. Exploiting those who are either less knowledgable or less financially capable of buying the device in full and adding service.
Edit 2: 250 MB and
Edited by iceweasel - 11/10/12 at 11:42am