Tablet computers have transformed the way we communicate, play and do business electronically. As we watched laptops become smaller and phones become more sophisticated, Apple and its competitors turned the computing world on its ear with the introduction of the bigger-than-a-phone, smaller-than-a laptop tablets. It should come as no surprise that the iPad and its many "generations" lead the pack in the tablet market. If you are in the market for an iPad there are ways to save money and get the device that is right for your needs.
Apple Certified Refurbished
Buying refurbished Apple products is a great way to save money while still getting the same world class Apple quality. Each refurbished product carries the same one year limited warranty that is included with new products. Refurbished devices are also eligible for Apple Care's extended warranties - 3 years for Mac and 2 years for iPod, iPad, iPhone and Apple TV. What will you get if you buy an Apple Certified Refurbished product? According to Apple, each product:
- is fully tested (including full burn-in testing).
- is refurbished with replacement parts for any defective modules identified in testing.
- is put through a thorough cleaning process and inspection.
- is repackaged (including appropriate manuals, cables, new boxes, etc.).
- includes the operating software originally shipped with the unit and the custom software offered with that system.
- is given a new refurbished part number and serial number.
- is placed into a Final QA inspection prior to being added to sellable refurbished stock.
Apple stands behind its refurbished products as if they are new. You should have no concerns about going this route. Whether a desktop iMac or an iPod that will fit in your pocket, these products are indistinguishable from like items purchased new.
How much will you save if you go with a refurbished product?
|Product||Condition||Memory||Specs||Price||Where to Buy|
|iPad 2||New||16GB||Wi-Fi, 3G||$529||Apple|
|iPad 2||Refurbished||16GB||Wi-Fi, 3G||$349||Apple|
|iPad 3||New||32GB||Wi-Fi, Cellular||$699||Amazon|
|iPad 3||Refurbished||32GB||Wi-Fi, Cellular||$499||Apple|
A point of caution - make sure to buy an Apple Certified Refurbished iPad. Other companies may offer refurbished iPads, but may not offer the one year warranty and Apple may not sell the extended Apple Care for the device. Do your homework before you buy.
Don't buy more iPad than you need and save big!
If you are in the market for an iPad, you may find iPad 2 has all the features you need. If you aren't dazzled by the extra memory, faster processor and retina display don't be afraid to save money. Those features you really don't care about can zap your budget. The first thing you should do is list all the ways you might use your iPad. This can help you decide if the features available on the newer generation tablets are important.
The biggest differences are in the displays, processors and storage and they probably won't matter to the average buyer. The faster processors in the newer generation iPads might be important if you are compressing or converting movies, but for reading web sites, checking email and doing basic browsing you won't notice a difference in speed.
The iPad 2 comes with 16GB of memory as its only option, which is enough if you plan to use your iPad for browsing, chatting, storing some photos, watching videos and reading. The iPad with Retina Display offers the option to buy 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of memory. There is no option to add more memory and the iPad does not have a USB port. You are, however, able to backup your iPad to iTunes. The 4th generation iPad is so close in stats to the 3rd generation device that Apple only sells refurbished 3rd generation iPads on its website. The 4th generation is sold as iPad with Retina Display. The 3rd gen is available new through other retailers and can periodically be found at deep discount. For example, in December 2012, Walmart discounted the 16GB Wi-Fi iPad to $399. The iPad 2 is a viable option for buyers looking for a quality tablet at a lower price point and it is still sold new by Apple.