Belfast Telegraph

Apple tablets and Guinness added to inflation rate goods

By Jamie Grierson

Tablet computers such as Apple's iPad and Samsung's Galaxy Tab have been added to the basket of goods and services used to calculate inflation rates - while old-fashioned photo processing has been booted out.

Tablets have been added to reflect a "significant and growing" market, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, while developing and printing colour film was ditched.

The latest snapshot of the nation's spending habits also showed the addition of bundled communication services to reflect the way consumers pay for their telephone, TV and internet packages.

The consumer prices index (CPI) and retail prices index (RPI) rates of inflation are calculated using 180,000 price quotations every month, covering 700 goods and services from 150 areas across the UK. The inclusion of tablet computers comes less than a week after Apple unveiled its latest iPad model, while a number of rival devices, such as the BlackBerry Playbook, Asus Transformer Prime and Motorola Xoom 2 will step up competition in the market.

The ONS said: "As in most years, developments in technology influence the basket update and in 2012 tablet computers are being included for the first time.

"This mirrors the evolution of computer equipment through desktop personal computers, laptops and now tablets, and they are being introduced to capture price changes in this rapidly expanding market."

Smartphones and the "apps" that run on them were added to the basket last year, replacing mobile phone downloads such as ringtones and wallpaper.

Teenage fiction, such as the vampire romance Twilight, was also added to the basket this year to reflect the genre's growing presence.

Cans of stout, such as Guinness, have also been added to widen the coverage of beers in the basket, along with pineapples, hot oat cereals and takeaway chicken and chips.

Other casualties included glass ovenware casserole dishes, step ladders and annual leisure centre membership.

TV licences will now be included in both rates of inflation.

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