There are many things you can complain about when it comes to the iPad -- from the less-than-stellar working conditions of the supply chain Apple hires to make its tablets to the high prices the company charges for them -- but apparently your electricity bill shouldn't be one of them.
According to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), you should be able to pay what it costs to charge your iPad annually with the coins in your change jar. The EPRI conducted lab tests that led it to conclude that a person charging his or her iPad every other day would pay $1.36 in yearly electricity costs for the privilege. Even if you're like me and need to fully charge your iPad nearly every day, it's still probably cheaper than a single trip to Starbucks.
Charging the iPad in the EPRI's scenario would require about 12kWh of electricity over the course of a year, compared to the 358kWh needed to power a plasma TV. But before you start feeling too good about the miniscule cost, you might want to consider the total effect of everyone charging their millions of iPads: The EPRI claims that if the number of iPads sold were to triple in the next two years (a not-impossible scenario), the total electricity used by all of them would require the equivalent of a pair of 250-megawatt power plants running at 50-percent utilization. The institute also points out that the latest iPad will slurp up 65-percent more electricity thanks to its Retina Display requiring a bigger, more powerful battery.
Throw in all the other tablets that aren't sold by Apple, and that's a whole lot of power necessary for a new product category. But at least your tablet isn't costing you as much in electricity as your vampiric TV set-top box.