No small margins here. It seems that the iPad, while certainly not a cheap device to make, will end up lining Apple’s pockets considerably — if they sell any. A bill of materials analysis puts the cheapest iPad’s manufacturing cost at just over $270, which of course sends $230 in Apple’s direction. The 3G radio runs for around $36, and of course they sell it for $130.
Now, I know we were all pleasantly surprised by the price, but we were all unpleasantly surprised by the limited capabilities of the device, so I think the surprises kind of cancel each other out. A real tablet computer by Apple would have a higher price point and better parts, and would have a smaller margin since Apple would stand to make money on software and OS sales for it. I mean, the iPad really uses no crazy parts — not a lot of innovation on the actual hardware except for the high-density capacitive screen.
It also leaves a lot of room for taking a bite out of the price if necessary. I doubt Apple will lower it any time soon, as that would be an admission of failure, but I foresee holiday sales and such. Right before they release iPad 2.0, of course.
This is only an estimate, however — iSuppli is going to put their opinion in the pile soon as well, we’ll keep you guys informed on that.