If you stop in to your local Apple Store, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, or Target, you’ll see that all current iPads are $100 off their original prices, in anticipation of the iPad 2, arriving on Friday, March 11th. If you bought an iPad in the last month, Apple is offering a $100 refund (I’m not sure how someone would claim the refund, as my iPad was bought nearly a year ago). Ironically, new iPads are selling at the same price that a limited number of iPads sold (like crazy) at TJ Maxx stores this past December.
Apparently, the new iPad will be available at Apple Stores, Best Buy Stores, Wal-Mart Stores, AT&T Stores, and Verizon Stores. No word about Target at this point.
I have mixed feelings about the lower prices. It’s great that Apple isn’t holding to their old pricing until the new model comes out. For many buyers, it might be a great time to get into an iPad.
I do worry about the schools that went with 1-on-1 initiatives this year, and were planning on liquidating some current devices with their graduating seniors (offering the chance to purchase at a reduced price). If normal depreciation for an asset with a life of four years is 25%, Apple has nearly matched the depreciated value that a school should ask for a used iPad. (25% of $499 is $124.75, or a total value of the device at $374.25). Why would a student buy a used iPad for $375 when they could have a new unused unit for $399? Or a refurbished unit for $349?
The only way for 1-to-1 initiatives where the devices are owned by the district to work is to liquidate old models to provide partial funding for new models. But if a school district can’t get more than $300 per device (basically a 40% depreciation in a year), 1-to-1 initiatives are going to fall apart rather quickly.
In my mind, two things need to occur. First, a different model–a model where students purchase the devices themselves–is probably necessary for a continuing 1-to-1 initiative. I’ll write about that in another post. Second, Apple needs to offer a deeper educational discount for these devices. At the moment, it appears that the education page of the Apple Store is selling the iPad 2 at the same price as the “normal” Apple Store. Even the original $20 discount isn’t listed.
It is a great time to buy an original iPad, if you don’t need the speed or cameras. Some people don’t. But it is a bit of a “bummer” for schools that went on the leading edge of technology and helped the iPad to become the success that is has become. Hopefully Apple will cut those schools some breaks on new iPads.