Apple Tablet Needs a Sub-$700 Price Tag, Says Survey

Online retailer Retrevo surveyed site visitors about what they want and don't want from an Apple tablet. Price was a major factor, Retrevo reports, as were connectivity, battery life, e-reading capabilities and even solar charging for the mobile device.

If visitors to the Retrevo Website are any gauge, price will be a major factor in the success of the tablet or slate device Apple is expected to introduce on Jan. 27.

Retrevo, an online electronics retailer, surveyed 500 visitors to its site between Jan. 16 and 20 and asked what would encourage or discourage them in purchasing an Apple tablet. According to 70 percent of respondents, a price point over $700 would be a deal-breaker, while a deeper-pocketed 30 percent would still be game. (In a similar Retrevo survey in November, only 36 percent said they'd buy an Apple tablet for over $600.)

When asked what features an Apple tablet would absolutely need to have to make them buy one, 75 percent of the January participants said a battery life of more than 6 hours. Thirty-nine percent named 3G or similar connectivity as a must-have, and 28 percent wanted an e-book store with a big selection.

However, Retrevo found that women voted slightly differently from men, with 38 percent saying an e-book store is a must-have feature, while only 25 percent of men felt the same.

"Women also expressed a stronger interest in seeing iPhone features on a tablet, with a 46 percent rating iPhone features high on the list compared to 35 percent of men," Retrevo wrote on its blog. "Women also indicated a stronger interest in solar charging, with 40 percent of women wanting to see solar power on the tablet, compared to only 33 percent of men."

Solar power?

"Retrevo asked consumers what features they'd like to see on a tablet. No. 1 on the list was solar charging, which beat out a forward-looking video camera and 4G connectivity," Retrevo wrote on its blog.

A camera for video conferencing was voted for by 24 percent of respondents, 22 percent voted for WiMax or LTE connectivity and 19 percent said they'd like the slate to have two screens, like a book-or like the e-reader Asus introduced in September.

And what, aside from a high price, would turn consumers away from an Apple tablet?

A required monthly data plan would be a major barrier in the eyes of 44 percent of respondents, according to Retrevo, and 34 percent said an AT&T-only 3G contract would be a deterrent.

Aaron Vronko, CEO of Rapid Repair, which tears down devices, told eWEEK that he expects the unsubsidized price of the 7-inch slate to be about $750, and for a 10-inch version to have a price point near $1,000, also unsubsidized.

"I think they'd want broad 3G coverage, so I don't think an exclusive AT&T tie-up is likely," Vronko said. "They may release it for multiple carriers right out of the gate, otherwise they may go with Verizon."

Vronko also expects Wi-Fi connectivity, e-reading capabilities and a long battery life that could potentially offer up to 30 hours of e-reading time. Which means those Retrevo shoppers aren't likely to be disappointed.