Should you buy that Apple product? A guide to Apple’s product cycles.

Should you buy that Apple product? A guide to Apple’s product cycles.

Editors Note: This is a guest post by Sachin Agarwal, co-founder and CEO of Posterous. As an Apple fan and someone who worked at Apple for six years, we’re delighted to have Sachin share his thoughts and predictions on Apple’s upcoming releases and when the “right” time to buy an Apple product actually is.

Many people won’t buy a 1.0 Apple product because they think Apple will either add new features or drop the price quickly. (Other people are just haters looking for excuses).

When making a large purchase like an iPad, it’s important to be as informed as possible. Based on years of experience following Apple and their product line, here are my predictions for the future of the iPad:

  • Apple will not make hardware changes to the iPad for one full year. iPods are updated every September. iPhones are updated every June. The iPad will be updated every April.
  • The iPad will get free updates to fix bugs. So don’t think buying 1.0 means you have a buggy product (all iPhones are fully upgradeable).
  • The cheapest iPad is $499. This will not change. Apple might add more storage and features in future revisions, but $499 will be the low point for a while.
  • The high end iPad models are where Apple makes most of its money. The 3G and memory chips cost less than $10. So these are also the models that might drop in price the most.
  • There are way too many iPad models right now. This is very unlike Apple and I believe they will consolidate once they figure out which models people are buying.
  • Given all this, I predict that later this year the iPad product line will be something like:
    1. $499, 16GB WiFi
    2. $599, 32GB 3G
    3. $699, 64GB, 3G
  • Bottom line: If you are on the fence about buying a 1.0 iPad, go with the cheapest model.

I don’t think there will be a hardware revision this year, and I don’t think there will be a price drop on the $499 iPad. Whether you are buying a computer, car, or iPad, you get the most value out of the base model, and options have diminishing returns.

Being an early adopter can be super expensive if done poorly. But it is a manageable addiction. Buy the low end model, and be sure to sell it when you upgrade.

I don’t see the iPad as $500 lost. One year from now, I’ll buy an iPad 2.0 and sell this iPad for $400. So is $100 worth a year of iPad ownership? Hell yeah, it is.

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