iPad 2: What to know before you buy
iPad 2 is set to hit Aussie shores on March 25. Be in the know before grabbing your next-generation tablet.
Hype is building around the Australian release of the iPad 2 with less than a week to go before it hits local stores. Critics have praised the upgrade of the trendsetting-tablet and the gadget has sold out in just days across the US.
The next-generation iPad is lighter, faster and more powerful than the original and has new features like front and rear cameras.
And while Apple is remaining characteristically tight-lipped about the product and is yet to set a price for Australian retailers, our guide will help prepare for the frenzy to come.
>> Where can I get one?
Apple stores are expected to secure the initial units headed for Australia, with major electronics retailers, department stores, telecommunications providers and authorised Apple resellers scrambling to grab stock for the March 25 release date.
Foad Fadaghi, director of telecommunications consultancy Telsyte, said it was highly likely the iPad 2 would vanish quickly.
“We saw lines for the iPad 1. This device is a better device than the iPad 1, so naturally we’d expect just the same sort of demand,” Mr Fadaghi said.
“As we’ve seen in the US it’s quite likely that many people will have to wait some weeks if they don’t get onto it straight away.”
Justin Lewis of Apple reseller Beyond the Box in Moonee Ponds said they would be selling it from March 25, but stock would be spread thinly around the country.
“There will be a feeding frenzy for the first six months,” Mr Lewis said.
Profiteers are also expected to start flogging the device on trading sites such as eBay and Gumtree for an increased price, in addition to the used original models which will be up for sale from tech-heads eager to upgrade.
>> How much will it cost?
Apple traditionally prices its product upgrades the same as the previous model, and the iPad 2 is predicted to be no different.
The original launched in Australia on May 28 last year from $629 for the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi model.
Stores have already slashed the price of the original iPad to $449 with discount department store Big W selling it from $398.
Mr Fadaghi said the older version may come down further in price as demand rises for the iPad 2 and that they would be competitively sold on trading websites for negotiable prices.
>> Should I upgrade?
The iPad 2 is touted as being twice as fast as the original, lighter and thinner than the iPhone 4 at just 8.8mm.
It houses both front and rear cameras, allowing for FaceTime video calling. It has the capability to print wirelessly, includes the Smart Cover, which magnetically protects the screen, and comes in both white and black designs.
But there are still no USB ports, no slots for SD cards and no support for Flash.
Mr Fadaghi said trends from the US indicated many iPad owners would be making the switch.
“Some of the early figures that have come out of the US suggest that up to 30 per cent of the original iPad owners have gone ahead and bought an iPad 2,” he said.
Tim Grey, online editor of Australian Macworld said the upgrade means the iPad would continue to define the tablet category.
“Now that it’s twice as powerful it can do much more complicated tasks than it could in the past. Much faster graphics processing is going to mean a really impressive games and multimedia system,” Mr Grey said.
But Mr Lewis said whether users made the upgrade would depend on what they wanted to use their iPad for.
“The person that will really jump on it will want to use the video connectivity with Skype and FaceTime,” he said.
“If they want an iPad and don’t want a camera the iPad 1 is probably a great option now.”
Mr Fadaghi recommended consumers buy an iPad with both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity.
“If they’re going to use it like a smartphone-type device, they should definitely look at spending the bit of extra money that it costs to get one that has 3G connectivity,” he said.
He also recommended a pre-paid SIM card so buyers could test their usage before opting for a plan.
>> What should I do with my old one?
Some authorised Apple resellers are offering trade-in options for original iPads.
Hillel Lithwick, owner of PalaeoGraphics in Elsternwick, said they would allow iPad owners to trade-in the original for the iPad 2 by paying the difference.
“In the Mac realm people like staying up with the latest stuff, so it’s essential to have something in place so we can do that,” Mr Lithwick said.
Mr Lewis said Beyond the Box will also offer trade-ins with the price depending on the function, condition and age of the original iPad.
You could find a new home for your old tablet by selling it on an online trading site and using the cash on your new gadget.
Just be prepared to be competitive as many other iPad owners will be thinking the same thing.
Mr Lithwick said users could also donate their old iPad to schools who are jumping on board new technology to revolutionise the way they teach.