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Researchers rip iPad apart to reveal Apple's profits

While Bill Gates just rips it apart

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Apple stands to make a profit of up to $483 per unit on its iPad according to a very literal breakdown by industry analysts iSuppli.

The research firm said the total cost of materials and manufacture for Apple's big iPhone ranged from $229.35 for the 3G-less, 16GB version, which sells for $499 to $346.5 for the top of the range 3G 64GB version, which carries a $829 price tag.

While the top end product produces a profit of $482.85, it is the 32GB 3G version which iSuppli says will produce the biggest chunk of profit. That's because while it sells at $729, its manufacturing cost is a mere $287.15, less than 50 bucks more than the bottom end iPad, producing a bumper profit of $441.85.

iSuppli points out that the vast majority of the costs remains standard across the range - the display, processor, networking, and other components remain the same in every model.

Differentiation comes with the addition of 3G at $24.50, GPS at $2.60, and Flash memory.

The figures are a tribute to Apple's ability to press its users' buttons - and wallets.

However, it has not impressed everyone.

Bill Gates dissed the iPad to the Bnet blog yesterday. "It’s a nice reader, but there’s nothing on the iPad I look at and say, ‘Oh, I wish Microsoft had done it," he said.

Gates reckoned a mix of voice, pen and a real keyboard was the way forward. He has of course been a fan of tablets for years. On the other hand, that enthusiasm never translated into wide takeup of Microsoft's attempts at tablet PCs. ®

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