With the iPad 3 all-but-confirmed for release next week, lots of people will be planning to grab themselves a shiny new chunk of Apple goodness. Others will be thinking it's a fine chance to grab a discounted iPad 2. Here's what you should be taking into consideration.
While Apple's customary secrecy means that we haven't specifically been told that Apple's next big announcement (on March 7, which translates to early morning March 8 in Australian timing) is the iPad 3, everyone is taking it for granted. Gizmodo notes that the device might well have ditched the home button in favour of an all-touch interface, and it's likely additional specs will leak before the actual launch.
The most important bit of advice up front? Right this minute is not the best time to buy yourself a new iPad 2. Last year, the iPad 2 went on sale in Australia a fortnight after its US release (which was, in turn, a week after the actual announcement). However, we didn't get told the actual price until two days beforehand.
What Apple did immediately do on launch day was drop prices on the original iPad model. (Right now, Apple's pricing for the iPad 2 is: 16GB $579; 16GB 3G $729; 32GB $689; 32GB 3G $839; 64GB $799; 64GB 3G $949.)
If it follows a similar pattern of reductions this time around, then we can expect to see prices for the iPad 2 fall. Apple has been shrinking the release gap between US and Australian releases, so it's also conceivable that the discounts might happen earlier.
Regardless, if you're in the market for a new tablet, it undoubtedly makes sense to wait until next week and see what the new prices are. You'll either decide you want the latest and greatest (in which case financial common sense may well go right out the window), or you might be happy to get the iPad 2 at a reduced price.
One other useful note: if you really must have an iPad 2 in the next week, buying it direct from Apple might be your best bet. Apple's price guarantee policy will refund you the difference if the pricing on the iPad 2 drops within 14 days of your purchase.
Excited by the notion of the iPad 3? Still happy with your iPad 2? Want to wait and see before spending? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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