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Infographing the cost of iPad

IPad_600px_mar10The cost of the iPad gets the infographics treatment here.

I feel a little weird about featuring this item.  Helen E., who created the chart/poster, urged me to write about it. The link seems to connect to a commercial site but doesn't look too commercial -- and since the iPad fever is upon us, I thought why not.

There are two elements on this poster that qualify it as data graphics.

The surreptitious blue bars that are sized to match the inflation-adjusted prices... except for the Apple Lisa when the bar was chopped prematurely.

And the image equation gimmick at the bottom.


The 43 iPads = 1 Lisa visualization is definitely effective. I'm not so sure if anyone should care about this particular comparison though.

The blue bars are a super, light touch on a chart that could be otherwise quite boring. The varying heights of the bars exaggerate the larger prices, and can cause confusion.  For example, Apple III, costing $11,412.88, is a midget next to Macintosh Portable, costing $11,358.59.

The choice of which products to feature images and bolded text appears somewhat arbitrary... are those keystone products? Nice use of foreground/background though.


I sent a note back to Helen about the (ab)use of decimals, indicating that dropping decimals and rounding off to the nearest $10 would improve readability.

She replied, saying "moving forward, they will be a little cleaner without such a paranoid focus on accuracy".

She explained further:

We were really concerned with accuracy as we knew that the Apple fan base would be tough on us if our calculations were even a little out.

So legendary Apple fanboys, take your decimals with you on your way out!


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I think the problem here with decimals isn't just about readability but also implied accuracy. Inflation adjusted figures are never going to be precise facts, as inflation doesn't apply equally to all categories of goods or even all goods within a given category they're more like guides to aid comparison, show affordability in context.

Also what does bar thickness represent? Are the values shown as areas. Confusing.


I tried reworking this infographic into a data graphic, Junk-Charts-style, over on my blog. Any feedback that you or your readers are willing to offer will be appreciated. Thanks!


Mmanti: good job with the re-do. I just want to put the link up here so other readers can find your chart.


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The visualization is effective, it's amazing how quickly all the new "needs" add up :)

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