iPad expensive in Europe, cheapest in U.S.

European gadget lovers are better off to buy an Apple iPad in Asia, the United States or Australia. Buying Apple’s latest creation in Europe costs noticeably more than in the United States.

Britain and Europe are the world’s costliest places to buy Apple Inc’s new iPad computer, with prices around a quarter higher than in the United States, a new study has found.

While the much-hyped tablet should trade at broadly the same price globally if exchange rates were properly adjusting, Australia’s CommSec iPad Index found big savings for Europeans traveling to Asia, the United States or even Down Under.

“In the UK, Germany, France and Italy an iPad costs 20-25 per cent more than in the U.S.,” said Craig James, chief economist at the CommSec share trading division of Australia’s Commonwealth Bank.

“The question is whether Apple has priced its product too high for the European market, or whether the UK pound and euro need to depreciate further to bring global pricing into line.”

CommSec’s index is a modern variation on the long-running Big Mac index compiled by The Economist magazine and compares the price of iPads in 10 countries, including Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Britain, Japan, Australia and Canada.

Prices for the cheapest, WiFi-only version range from $499 in the United States to the equivalent of $620 in Britain for the entry-level 16 gigabyte model. Canada ($520), Japan ($536) and Australia ($533) rounded out the price basement countries.

At the top end, an iPad 64gb model with WiFi and 3G connectivity cost $829 in the United States against $1,010 in Britain and $980 in Germany, France and Italy.

The tablet device, CommSec said, is identical across the globe so theoretically the only difference in pricing should be freight charges and local taxes.

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