TiPb Asks: Would you want a cheaper iPad subsidized by advertising?

TiPb Asks: Would you want a cheaper iPad subsidized by advertising?

Would you want an iPad that, like the newly announced Amazon Kindle discount, is subsidized by advertising? Now the new Kindle is only $25 (?!) cheaper which isn't really a big enough subsidy in my opinion but what if the numbers were more interesting, like $100 off, $200 off, $300 off, or even free with iAds? Is there a discount level appealing enough that you'd put up with an iAd banner at the bottom of your home screen or 15 seconds of pre-roll several times an hour when you launch an app?

If you buy an iPad for $499 or up you pay once and the device is yours forever. If you get a cheaper or even free iPad you save once but pay with your attention and personal information forever. With carrier subsidies for the iPhone, North Americans have shown time and again we'd rather save money up front even if we get locked into a 2 or 3 year contract that ends up costing us thousands of dollars. Would advertising be just one more way to save up front?

And do you think Apple would ever go there or is that more a Google, and now Amazon play?

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Georgia

Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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TiPb Asks: Would you want a cheaper iPad subsidized by advertising?

70 Comments

Well I imagine any such ipad would probably be jailbroken fairly quickly to disable this.
However, outside of this probability probably not for me. Especially if they went with Amazon's paltry discount. Take 1/2 off and I might consider letting you beat me over the head with apps. $25 off? No deal.

To be fair the $25 discount on the Kindle is 18% off of the $139 price. That same discount would make the entry level ipad around $409. That makes it more compelling but still not enough for me to consider. The implementation of this idea would be interesting on an ipad though. I imagine your lockscreen and maybe wallpaper would be a permanent billboard or something. That seems kind of tackey and I can't see this happening while Steve Jobs is around.

kindle is relatively cheap anyway, why would anybody go for that?
iPad, subsidized with iAds? probably not, I can't stand em now, I can't imagine how annoying it would be with every app, everytime

I haven't seen it in action yet, but apparently, the ads are only visible at the bottom of the home menu screen and on the "screen saver" that appears when the device is on standby. It's a pretty minimal exposure to the ads, and since the Kindle doesn't really have much of a built-in browser, the ads aren't likely to generate much impulse purchasing. The small discount is probably just a function of Amazon's not really thinking they'll get a ton of money out of the ads.

Isn't that how Windows PC advocates are always mocking Apple products as being "too expensive?"
Apple doesn't load their Macs with bloatware the same way Dell, HP, and Asus do in order to subsidize the prices. Personally, in all my years of Windows PC computing, I have never kept on a single piece of software that was preloaded onto the machine.
I don't think Apple would ever go this route, and if they do, it is ultimately a disservice to their customers.

I think it would work if the content owners invest enough and manage the ads as the TV channels are managing ads..
If the ipad is not considered a net oil, but a multimedia device

Absolutely not, the only reason I deal with phone subsidies is because I know I'm going to have a cell phone for the indeterminate future, so the only downside is that I'm promising to pay a specific company for something I'm already going to be paying for anyway.

I couldn't have said this better myself. Every app on my iPad is ad-free. If it means I have to spend for the privilege of remaining ad-free, I'm fine with that. Some people are cool with ads- I detest them!
As far as subsidized pricing for something I'm going to be paying for anyway I don't see how ads would help there.

No way! Contracts don't bother me as much as junk software and/or adds do. Like Joe says, I'm going to stay with the particular carrier ANYWAY, so why not benefit from it. It's also the reason I'll never buy another PC. Apple all the way for me. Paying a higher price is fine as long as you're buying quality which, IMO you get from Apple.

In one word: NO.
And I can't embellish that word enough in this response to reflect how enthusiastic a NO that really is.
Ads in apps is one thing - most of the free apps with ads in it have premium versions without ads, so that's a choice.
But to have the entire device with ads?
FAIL OF EPIC PROPORTIONS!

I would never go for that deal. There are too many ads in my life already. There are ads everywhere, they are unrelenting. I ordered an iPad a couple days ago and then set about to find a browser for it that would allow me to block ads, because I loathe ads so much (thank you Atomic Web). I want less ads, not more.

I also don't think apple should go this way. Cheapens the image. No blotware on macs, keep it that way. I don't own a Mac only idevices.

Don't be too sure -- Apple has applied for a patent for precisely this use case. Actually, Apple's patent is worse in that it deals with specifically disabling portions of the operating system until the ad is viewed.
Link at US Patent Office: http://goo.gl/YWlL1 (Yes, Jobs is listed as the first inventor)
Summary text:
"Among other disclosures, an operating system presents one or more advertisements to a user and disables one or more functions while the advertisement is being presented. At the end of the advertisement, the operating system again enables the function(s). The advertisement can be visual or audible. The presentation of the advertisement(s) can be made as part of an approach where the user obtains a good or service, such as the operating system, for free or at reduced cost."

The patent might be there, but Apple has hundreds of patents that have not been implemented. Most large companies do this just to fight patent wars and get money from people who have come up with sellable versions of these ideas.
The patent you describe actually goes against their design philosophy. It would severely disrupt the user experience and Apple is all about the user experience. Do you want to have to view an add every 10 minutes while trying to do your work? And you can't have two versions because then you have two different experiences, Apple only wants one experience for all.
The chances of this being implemented based on Apple's previous behavior is highly unlikely. You can't every completely discount anything of course but you can say the possibility of it never happening approaches infinity.

I agree, it would be a horrible thing. But, since Apple has applied to patent it, it is incorrect to say that they have never considered it. I still think they might use it, as it seems odd Jobs would be listed as the primary inventor on a purely unused or defensive patent, but I hope you are right.

Just because Jobs is listed as primary inventor means nothing. He's not God for real and not every idea of his comes to fruition.

No way. Bad enough we are constantly bombarded with ads everyday...imagine watching a purchased movie with an add for mcdonalds stalking a corner

I would not mind buying a cheaper Ipad2. I'm sure jailbreak would have a fix to get rid of the ads. :)

In the end, just like cable TV started off ad free, you'll eventually pay for the iPad and get the advertising too. Its inevitable.

They would have to keep the ad-free version as well, because ads would never fly with business and enterprise users. The Kindle doesn't apply in those cases, since it's only targeted for personal use. I don't think Apple will go there.

P.S. If this succeeds for Amazon, we could see Apple experiment with ads on the iPod. Music and video (consumer media) is definitely an area ripe for destruction by advertising. But the iPhone and iPad are productivity devices.

One thing to consider: This could be good for businesses who wish to rent iPads out to customers or use them in some other way. Business gets stock of iPads for free/cheap, and then makes money with them.

...because netzero was so successful
but yeah, i've considered this in regards to cell phone service, electronics, and the like...would be interesting

No, however....
Apple needs to field a low cost iPhone to handle the low-end market Android phones are gobbling up, like they did with the iPod against other music players. What about a 3Gs-level ad supported iPhone 5? Put an iAd in the top row of the home screen so that there are 12 apps, not 16 shown. Cheaper 1/2-res screen, maybe only 8GB of memory. Sell for 1/2 price. That could be the "clever" marketing strategy that was talked about in the earning call...

Well, with 3GS specs, they wouldn't need advertising in the OS. The 3GS already sells for $49 from AT&T.

That $49 price is still with a 2 year contract. I think they meant a full price model that would be much cheaper. You can buy an unsubsidized LG Optimus for $150. In most of the world phones aren't sold the way they are in North America. In most places they pay full price for a phone and in those areas a $200 iphone makes alot of sense.

If Steve announces this at the WWDC I'm sure we will have comments about how magical the idea is.

No, and speaking if ad's, I want to thank the person responsible for the reason we get no more pop down in TiPb. That was getting annoying. I am on an apple device, no I do not need a Dell

No. On the contrary, we are fast approaching the need to boycott and delete ad-riddled apps from our iDevices.

I would go there in a heartbeat. For what I would use an iPad for, I can't justify the $500 and up. If I got it for cheap with ads, that would be alright with me, and I'm sure a hack would come out a few minutes later to jailbreak it away from the ad site anyway.