Are iPad 2s going to drop in price soon?
February 22, 2012 2:24 PM   Subscribe

I am going to buy an iPad 32 gig, but am thinking of waiting until the 3 comes out ('early March', apparently) to see if the price drops. However my brother is coming over from Australia next week and it would be nice to have the 'pad so we can make music on it. Is my hope of a price drop reasonable? Or is it more likely to be confined to the bottom end, based on past Apple pricing behaviour?
posted by Sebmojo to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If I had to guess, there's no way the base iPad 3 will be less than $499 (especially if they go with a Retina display as is widely expected). However, it's entirely possible that Apple will follow the discounted pricing model for the last generation (iPad 2) to entice folks at a lower price point.
posted by lamprey at 2:27 PM on February 22, 2012

Response by poster: Yes, I should have been clearer - I'm thinking of getting an iPad 2 and taking advantage of the price drop. Is there a clear enough pattern that this drop is essentially guaranteed?
posted by Sebmojo at 2:29 PM on February 22, 2012

No, not necessarily. While Apple still sells older iPhones at reduced price points, it hasn't so far with the iPad.

That said, I do think it's likely that Apple will keep the iPad 2 around at $399 or $449, possibly in a reduced 8GB configuration just as a bulwark against the flood of cheaper tablets coming out now. The 16/32/64 price points will be taken up by newer iPad 3s.
posted by Oktober at 2:35 PM on February 22, 2012

The Apple event is rumored to be March 7th, and you can return something to Apple within 14 days of purchase, so you could buy now and return if they do announce a cheaper model.
posted by smackfu at 2:42 PM on February 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

If there's a lot of iPad 2 inventory around they may drop the price on new iPad 2s to unload them, but not by much. MacBooks sometimes will drop $50 and back in the day iPods might drop by $25. Apple tries to manage inventory so it can maintain price points and not need to unload the old models when the new ones come out.

One thing that could help you judge the inventory situation is to bookmark the Apple Store and a few iPad retailers and see if the shipping times start to stretch or they show models not in inventory. If the "ships in 24 hours" becomes 2 weeks all the sudden it means they're running out and you probably shouldn't look for discounts when the iPad 3 comes out.

Also, check out sites like and other fanboy sites for the latest in speculation and inventory supplies.
posted by birdherder at 2:44 PM on February 22, 2012

The return policy is something to consider, but I'm pretty sure they still have a 10% restocking fee on everything that isn't an iPhone if it's opened. So that'd be a $50+ hit to return it.

Looks like you can get a refurbished iPad 2 from Apple now for $80 off if that helps.
posted by lamprey at 2:45 PM on February 22, 2012

You can buy a Ipad 2 refurb for $419.

Based on the retina iPod touch debut, it was priced higher than the previous generation ($229 vs $199). I wouldn't be surprised if the iPad 3 MSRP is more than $499, while the iPad 2 sells for the same price.
posted by wongcorgi at 2:48 PM on February 22, 2012

Also, consider that the iPad 3 will almost certainly have a QXGA screen, which is going to be extremely awesome.
posted by Oktober at 2:48 PM on February 22, 2012

It's likely that Apple will announce something on March 7. But beyond that, it's all guesswork. Replace the iPad 2 with an iPad 3 at the same price points? Keep the iPad 2 but make them all $100 cheaper? Make them all FREE!? Okay, not that. But "Maybe they'll keep the 2 around" is pure conjecture, based on A) the fact that the iPhone 4 and 3GS are around as discount models even though the 4S exists, and B) the fact that there's a reasonable case to be made that a super-high-rez display will force the iPad 3 to start above $499, which would imply that Apple would want to have a less-expensive option still around. But it's still all guesswork and assumptions piled upon guesses stacked on wishes.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:49 PM on February 22, 2012

That Apple is releasing a new iPad in early march remains, at this point, speculation, based on their past pattern and various bits of leaked information. That it will be called the iPad 3 is, again, speculation, based on past behavior and rumors.

That they will sell the iPad 2 at a lower price point after the next iPad is released is also speculation, based on past behavior. I'm not aware of any leaks that lend credibility to the theory, but I may have missed something.

However, if they do indeed sell an iPad 2 at a reduced price point, then there is a strong argument to be made that they will limit it to a single model with a storage capacity at or below that of the cheapest iPad "3" It is pretty unlikely that it will have more than 16GB.

There is another option to consider: Once the new iPad ships, you can expect refurb versions of the full range of iPad 2 models to be available for a while, and I would expect those prices to drop to less than the $499 they currently charge for a 32GB WiFi iPad 2.
posted by Good Brain at 2:52 PM on February 22, 2012

You won't want an ipad2 once the 3 comes out because the screen is going to be so much better. If you must, buy one for the visit and then return it.
posted by michaelh at 2:55 PM on February 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I know you want an iPad in the short term, but I think you have to wait for the next release. There's 2 things that can happen.

1. iPad 2 prices drop due to the iPad 3. Which means you may miss out on buying the iPad at a reduced rate.

2. iPad2 prices don't drop, in which case you should have bought the iPad 3 for the same price.

All told if you buy know, you're likely going to be kicking yourself 3 weeks from now when you either paid too much or you're toting around a last gen iPad.
posted by bitdamaged at 3:09 PM on February 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

What happened last time: iPad 2 comes out at the same price, $500. Apple starts selling refurb iPad 1 models for $350, essentially putting a cap on prices a used iPad 1. However, I saw people pay $300 for a used iPad 1. So my guess is you'll be out $120, unfortunately. That's the difference in price between a current refurb iPad2 and what you'll likely get for it afterwards.
posted by wnissen at 3:20 PM on February 22, 2012

Best answer: You can either have fun with your brother, making music on an iPad or you can wait for the price to drop and do other stuff with your brother. Which one will create the most memories/fun?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:31 PM on February 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

Prices for the iPad 2 won't drop. They just won't offer them. They'll likely still offer refurbished ones on the Apple Store online, but they won't offer new iPad 2s when the 3 comes out. The 2 will be discontinued.
posted by inturnaround at 3:41 PM on February 22, 2012

That really depends on whether Apple can bring the iPad 3 in at the $499 price point, since I really think they need some product at that price.
posted by smackfu at 3:48 PM on February 22, 2012

If you've got a lot of money, get the iPad 2 now, otherwise I'd wait for the iPad 3 based on bitdamaged's reasoning.

Buying an iPad 2 today is just going to speed up how soon you need to update it. If the rumours weren't suggesting a March 7th announcement, I'd say just get it and enjoy it - but it looks like it's going to be a pretty nice update, and it's only two weeks away (although maybe a tad longer until you can actually get your hands on one).
posted by backwards guitar at 4:34 PM on February 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pretty much every Apple-related site, including the ones that nearly always have accurate information, are saying that a new iPad will be launched in early March. At this point I think that's almost certain to be true.
posted by The Lamplighter at 5:14 PM on February 22, 2012

Nobody knows. We're all guessing and speculating. The iPad line is new enough that Apple hasn't established any sort of pattern worth extrapolating. Given how "right on" all the iPhone 5 rumors were, I wouldn't be surprised if Apple announces a walkie-talkie in March.
posted by chairface at 6:55 PM on February 22, 2012

Keep in mind, the iPad 3 is almost a certainty for an _announcement_ on Mar 7th. The first iPad was announced months before it was available for purchase, and the iPad 2 was announced more than a week before it was available to purchase in a store or online.

It's unlikely (although possible) that they will announce the new iPad March 7th and have it for sale's far more likely that there will be the ability to order it online that day, for delivery at some point in the future.

I will say, now is a particularly bad time to think about buying an iPad. Any chance you could borrow one from a friend for the time when your brother is here? iPad rental somewhere? Does your local library circulate them?
posted by griffey at 7:10 PM on February 22, 2012

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