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True Cost of iPads

True Cost of iPads

I covered the decision taken to buy the iPads for SBC Councillors and Officers in an article a while ago, went into some depth why the decision was flawed and why they are a poor investment. It is time for an iPad cost update since SBC have amazingly answered an FOI request early. I’ll put some money on the Euromillions too since it appears that miracles are happening this week.

On Friday Feb 24th 2012 gullible Councillors at SBC voted for some new shiny iPads on the basis of information from Council Leader Tom Fox. Fox said they cost £160 each and that buying 70 of them will net savings of £53k for SBC. Some other folks have put in FOI requests about the cost, but SBC have not revealed the true cost until now. These units are not leased, but you’ll not be amazed to find out that the iPads do not actually cost the £160 Tom Fox said they did since they’ve bought them bundled with a 3G contract. When you purchase a mobile device for a price substantially lower than the current market price the provider typically charges for a fixed term connectivity contract at a much higher price than the current Sim Only contract so the cost is partially hidden. The costs are now revealed:

Cost of 16GB iPad 2 with WiFi/3G: £165.00
Cost of Stylus and Cover: £25.00
Cost of Apps: £40.00
Cost of cables: £2.29
Cost of 2 Year 3G Contract with 2GB Data: £20.00pcm
Total Cost of 2 Year 3G Contract with 2GB Data: £480.00

The following costs are shown for comparison only to attain the true cost of the iPads.

Cost of Sim Only 3G Contract with 2GB Data: £10.00pcm
Total Cost of Sim Only 2 Year 3G Contract with 2GB Data: £240.00
Hidden iPad Cost due to 3G Contract: £240.00

The actual cost of the iPad over two years is £712.29.
When the hidden cost of the 3G contract is removed the unit cost is £472.29.
Without the accessories and apps the unit cost is £405.00.
The total cost to the tax payer is £49860.30.

Please bear in mind that SBC have not released the training costs. It may be the case that IT staff have been sent on a training course with one or two with overnight stays to enable them to train members and officers to use the iPads. Obviously there will eventually be support costs to consider, but short of them being dropped and damaged in the first two years those costs are difficult to foresee. They’ve also not detailed the full installation costs since their IT staff will have spent time integrating them into SBC networks. I can see the total cost to the tax payer rising by at least another £10k. Has Tom Fox lied to all elected members about the true cost of the iPads?

Article first posted to Real Whitby on May 11 2012.

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