Pay At Starbucks With Your iPhone

I’m not sure whether to think this is creepy or cool. Starbucks announced last week that you can now pay for that Mocha Soy Latte with an app you can download onto your iPhone or iPod Touch. It’s called the Starbucks Card Mobile App and basically will function as your Starbucks Card once you plug your card number into the app.

Right now the only stores accepting the digital payment are select stores in Seattle and the Silicon Valley. Strangely, you can also use it in all US Target Starbucks Stores. That’s odd to me because those “leech” type stores always seem to be behind the times in Starbucks technology.

Feels a bit strange to me overall. Sure it’s convenient to pay for everything with your phone, and I know it’s just a matter of time before every Tom, Dick and Harry follows suit. I also know micropayments via a cell phone are all the rage in Japan. Still seems futuristic and kind of like technology is taking over my life (as if it hasn’t already). Maybe I just need to get with the times.

Anyone try this app out yet?


How Much Does That New iPad REALLY Cost To Make?

Fortunately for all of us, that burning question has a relatively reliable answer. A company named iSuppli broke the costs down and determined that the components for each of the released models of iPad come in at the following totals for parts:

iPad 16GB version – $259.60 ($236.40 profit for Apple)

iPad 32GB version – $289.10 ($309.90 profit for Apple)

iPad 64GB version – $348.10 ($350.90 profit for Apple)

Roughly a 50% margin, give or take. I don’t believe that includes assembly or getting the devices to the States, as well as other charges involved with product marketing, store shipments, etc. Still not bad given that prices on hardware will continue to decline over the life of the product giving Apple even more margin over time.

Interestingly enough, more than 40% of the iPad’s costs are consumed with components powering the touchscreen display and user interface of the device. Here’s what I gathered for individual component costs for those interested:

Touchscreen Display – $95.00

Processor/Main Chip – $26.80

Flash Memory Chips – $29.50 (16GB); $59.00 (32GB); $118 (64GB)

Broadcom Chip for Bluetooth & Wi-Fi – $8.05

Texas Instruments Chip to help control touchscreen – $1.80

2 Additional Chips used to control touchscreen – $3.70

Ciruss Logic Audio Chip – $1.20

Aluminum Casing on Device Back – $10.50

For as expensive as everyone complains Apple hardware has always been, a 50% gross margin doesn’t seem out of line by any stretch. They make great devices that I’ve always felt last longer than their counterparts.



Apple Got Me…Again

I really had no intention of buying an iPad on Saturday. My plan was to wait for the 3G version thinking the built in connection to AT&T would come in handy. Well, Saturday came and something happened around mid-afternoon. One of my kids asked, “Dad, are we getting an iPad today?” which led to game over. It was like the unseen Apple gods had flipped a switch in my Apple psyche and I started dialing for iPads.

I tried two different Apple Stores, both of which were either out or almost out. I tried several Best Buys. No luck. Then…JACKPOT!!! What I assumed to be the busiest Apple Store in Portland reported having all three models in stock with barely a line. They closed at 8:00pm and I got there at around 7:30pm. After less than 5 minutes in line, not even enough time to partake in the snacks they had out for customers waiting to get into the store, I was introduced to my Apple sales guru and ushered into iPad-land.

I opted to skip all of the hands on fluff and just buy. I was out of the store, iPad in hand, less than 10 minutes later. Don’t know if it’s true, but a couple of the store employees mentioned the iPad allotment to their store was based on the number of pre-orders that were to be received in the same location. They had a counter full of iPads left when I walked out at near the end of the day on Saturday.

So, why did I break down and get an iPad on Saturday? There were 3 big things that swung me to accelerated purchasing:

1. New Apple Toy Envy – This is probably why I buy just about anything new Apple comes out with. They just make sweet gear. Having something THE DAY it comes out from Apple is like going to see a highly anticipated movie at midnight on the day of it’s release. It’s just plain fun and all your friends envy you.

2. Wifi/Non-3G Version – After committing to the 3G version, I decided that that WiFi version of the iPad actually made more sense. I already have a Sprint Overdrive that gives me both 3G and 4G service (on Clear’s network), so in most areas I’ll use an iPad, I will actually have faster service than if I had the built in 3G service from AT&T. Not to mention I won’t be saddled with another $30/mo in fees. The Overdrive fits in a pocket, is a no brainer to use and acts a personal hot spot, so it will be only slightly less handy than having the service built into the iPad. Also, it’s just rare anymore that I’m not in a spot with WiFi of some sort.

3. Cost Savings – The WiFi version is cheaper and I’m now saving $30/month on service fees. How often can you be an early adopter and actually SAVE money?! Hey, I didn’t say all 3 reasons for impulse buying were solid.

In the end, I really have no complaints. Even when my wife said, “So what exactly are you going to do with it?” That’s actually part of the fun of the iPad in my opinion…figuring out what you’re going to do with it.


Will It Blend – iPad Edition!

Well, I haven’t stepped up to the plate and snagged an iPad yet (although other team members have, so hopefully we’ll get some good hands on here soon) but there’s nothing like a good Will It Blend episode with a new Apple product at the heart of it.

Enough rambling, check out the video.