Over the last few weeks, Apple has quietly made some changes to the iPads that are available. They quietly removed the 16GB iPad 2 (which was selling for $399) and have replaced it with the 16GB 4th Generation iPad (Retina screen) for $399.
This is really an amazing thing; people generally thought that Apple couldn’t sell the Retina iPad at the $399 price point; and others thought that Apple kept the iPad 2 because of education–not so much price but for creating a common device in schools (if you have iPad 2s, you might not want 4th Generation iPads mixed with them).
So, as of today, you can go buy a brand new 4th Generation iPad for $399 in a 16GB configuration. This is the device that many schools buy for their students (as it is the cheapest). Refurbished iPad Airs (lighter, faster) are available now on the Apple Store (see this link). So you can currently buy a refurbished iPad Air, which is twice as fast as a 4th Generation iPad, with 16GB of RAM and a 64 Bit Processor for $419, or a new 4th Generation iPad with 16GB for $399.
If the iPad is for you, spend the extra $20 for the refurbished model. Just trust me on this one. And realistically, get at least the 32GB version for yourself.
Still…for schools that were just spending $499 per 4th Generation iPad this past fall, adding additional (new) models for $399 might be a wonderful thing.