Now is a Great Time to Buy a First or Second Generation Apple iPadFirst, while it could be easy to find yourself in a quandary when someone starts talking about the different iPads, you should understand that the confusion is just a result of Apple failing to assign different mantras to the three different generations of its popular tablet. This confusion has been specifically noticed with the release of its newest upgrade, which the company is simply calling the iPad, while doing nothing to denote that it is not referring to the original iPad (aka the first generation iPad).

Again, this would not be much of an issue except that Apple is still making both the first and second generation units available and the fact is that either of these older iPads can still meet most of our needs. In fact, it seems odd to me to refer to the first generation iPad (released in April 2010) or the second generation iPad 2 (released March 2011) as being ‘old,’ since only those among us with an unlimited bank account have any reason to trade up for the newer version. However, we all know that there are those among us who won’t sit idle until they have the latest and greatest toy in their arsenal of electronic toys despite the fact that the basic features remain the same across the board of iPads.

Let me explain my thinking before being chastised by the Apple fanboys. Tablet computers serve our basic needs with all three generations of the iPad bestowing on the user the ability to surf the Internet, get email, and/or participate within the confines of social networking sites. However, when compared to its predecessors, it appears to me that the newer generations of iPads add a few additional features but that the biggest thing for the consumer to be aware of is cost. The differences are:

Apple iPad 2 compared to the original iPad:

  • FaceTime with two cameras — one front facing, one rear facing
  • HD video recording
  • Dual-core A5 chip (processor)
  • Available in white as well as the traditional black case
  • RAM increased from 256 MB to 512 MB
  • Supports magnetic ‘smart cover’

New iPad compared to the original iPad and iPad 2:

  • High-definition ‘retina display’ contains four times the pixels
  • 5 megapixel front facing camera
  • Quad core graphics on chip
  • 4G Internet speed

There aren’t too many differences, and while there are some other minor changes, the above list shows what are considered the major improvements.

So if you don’t need the cameras, or 4G and better graphics, an older model of the original iPad may serve your needs. At the Apple store in the refurbished section are options, which vary by stock in hand, for buying the 16 GB original iPad for as low as $299.

Apple iPad refurbished products

Apple iPad 16 GB refurbished original for $299

If you need an Apple iPad with the cameras, but you can forgo the latest and greatest in technology like 4G, Apple is offering the 16 GB second generation iPad 2 for as little as $399.

Apple iPad 2 16 GB on sale for $399.

Now that the third generation of the Apple iPad is available for pre-order, people who own the original and the second generation will start selling their used units. Some great places to look are on eBay, Craigslist, or even your local newspaper for used Apple iPads for sale.

In a recent post on the Gnomies Facebook page, Kim Landwehr posted this comment:

OK. This is a warning: This post is going to make me look like an Apple fan; so be it. I had an iPad 1 that I decided to sell, so I could get the iPad 3. I ended up selling it to a fellow Gnomie. It was working fine, I had charged it up the night before, and reset it to its default status. Then I sent it to the buyer by priority mail. About a week later, I got a Facebook message saying it wouldn’t charge, and they were taking it to the Apple Store. First, I felt awful; I didn’t want him thinking I had purposely sent a bad product. Second, I wanted to know how I would make it better, since I had already spent the money on the new iPad. Fortunately, I got a new message a few hours later saying that Apple told his wife it was dead, but it replaced it with a new one. Another reason I am an Apple fan.

Her post made me curious, so I took a look over at eBay and then at Craigslist to see what was available on either of these sites. In my search I found an original Apple iPad with 16 GB for as little as $250. That is a great price point for those of you who have been waiting for a great deal since it puts an iPad in the price category of the lower priced Amazon Kindle Fire and/or the Barnes & Noble Nook. The deal part comes in with the fact that not only are you getting a quality Apple product, but remember that both the Fire and Nook have smaller screens and less horsepower than even the original iPad.

Now before anyone thinks that I am badmouthing either the Amazon Kindle Fire or the Barnes & Noble Nook, you should know that I am the proud owner of a Fire, which I use just about every day to reply to emails. I find that using the pint-sized tablet helps to keep my responses short.

There are plenty of options available for everyone who is looking for a deal when buying an Apple iPad.

Comments welcome.

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by cordiaz2000.

Note: Prices quoted in this article were at the time it was written and may have changed.