The Apple iPad 2 is out and is selling well. But I'd like you to consider a slightly radical idea: you could get a first-generation iPad instead.
Why do I think you should pass on Apple's latest and greatest? Money. Getting the tried-and-true model will save you quite a bit of cash.
Used iPad models with Wi-Fi and 16GB of storage in good condition are going on craigslist for $300. The iPad 2 with this same configuration cost $500 -- nearly twice as much. A friend of mine picked one up that had been used for less than a month because the owner just had to have the iPad 2.
If you must have one that's brand new, check out Verizon. It's selling the 32GB Wi-Fi version with a MiFi mobile access point and a case for $520. Or you can get the 32GB iPad 2 with Verizon's 3G service built-in for $730. There's a $20 per month access fee included with the first-generation model, but if you want a data service anyway it's still a good deal.
And here's something else to consider: many accessories designed for the original iPad don't fit the iPad 2, so these are going on sale soon. You'll be able to pick up a nice case for a low price.
If the monetary reasons don't sway you, think about how nice it would be to get your new tablet today or tomorrow, rather than a few weeks from now. The iPad 2 is backordered while the first-generation one is most certainly not.
Is 2 Better than 1?
I understand the desire to have the newest model, but when choosing an iPad or iPad 2 you should weigh the costs and benefits.
To me, there's no doubt the newer model is better, but not tremendously so. It has a few advantages over its predecessor, but not so many that the first version has become obsolete.
The screen size and resolution are the same on the iPad 1 and 2. Considering these tablets are basically a screen with a casing wrapped tightly around it, this is enough to make these two very, very similar.
The second-generation device has a better processor, and the new Apple A5 dual-core chip is one of the few features that might make you consider picking this version. It also has more RAM. The original model has very good performance, but the faster processor in the new one is probably going to give the device a longer useful lifespan.
Another new feature that you should consider is the front-facing camera. Being able to video chat with your friends, family, and co-workers when you're on the road is nice. But be realistic -- you're only likely to use this with people you don't see every day. If you rarely travel, or don't have relatives you want to talk to in distant cities, getting an iPad 2 just for this feature is a waste.
The rear-facing camera on the latest model is so low resolution it's practically worthless.
So weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of new vs. old, consider the whether you really need the latest features or $200+ more, and make your decision.
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