Can anyone make a cheaper iPad?

Wired thinks no.

But when we try to decipher why the iPad costs $500, we have to consider the sum of all parts, not just the retail strategy.

Apple is the most vertically integrated company in the world. In addition to operating its own retail chains, all Apple hardware and software are designed in-house, and Apple also runs its own digital content store, iTunes…

…At the end of the day, the iPad might be worth well above $500 for all we know. (Part estimates made by component analysts such as iSuppli aren’t very useful because they fail to measure costs of R&D and other factors.) It’s most likely that Apple can afford to absorb the costs of producing and selling the iPad because of the tenacious ecosystem backing it, and also because it has such tight oversight over every aspect of the company to control price.

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