Budget $1,170 If You'd Like Your iPad To Have Basic Accessories

At $499, the iPad may sound like an almost, maybe, sorta okay deal. But add extra memory, 3G, a few choice accessories like a keyboard ($69), USB power cord ($29) and a case ($39), and you’re up in MacBook territory. Jeff Fox of Consumer Reports tallies up his expenditures and comes up with a way to justify the purchase to his wife: it’s his birthday — almost.

[H]ow did I go from an $829 iPad to a $1,170 tab? In a word: Accessories.

Knowing I’ll want to do some serious typing on the iPad, I sprung for the $69 keyboard dock (ka-ching!). To protect my iPad (and prop it up on any flat surface), I went for the $39 case (ka-ching!). I added the $29 USB power adaptor because I will want to charge my iPad in multiple locations, and the $29 VGA adapter so that I can view it on any display I own (double ka-ching!).

Oh, and I took the $99 AppleCare Protection Plan, which extends the 90 days of tech support and 1 year warranty (including the battery) to two years. (Big ka-ching!) Shipping was free, but sales tax added another $76.58 to the tab (ka-ching! to the State of New Jersey).

Of course, once Jeff gets his shiny new iPad + keyboard + case + cables, he’d better be prepared to really start spending, if he wants to get some apps.

How my $499 iPad purchase became a $1,170 credit card bill [Consumer Reports Electronics]

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