The Apple iPad 2 Is Here: Should You Trade Up, Stay Put or Switch Teams?

Apple iPad 2As expected, Apple unveiled the iPad 2 today. Like it does with all Apple products, the first rumors of this improved version started popping up as early as September of last year -- and now it has finally arrived.

The new version is 33% thinner, and .2 pounds lighter. On the inside, the iPad 2 adds two cameras, a gyroscope and a new dual core processor, which Apple claims will deliver twice the speed with the same power consumption as the current iPad.

It will launch with a Wi-Fi only version, as well as 3G versions for AT&T or Verizon. Prices for all models are the same as the old iPad. New accessories include a high definition HDMI adaptor ($39) and innovative smart cases that stay in place thanks to magnets ($39/$69).

The original iPad hit store shelves on April 3, 2010, and in "Apple years" that makes the current product horribly outdated.
Of course, as with any new product release from Apple, there are bound to be some customers that are left disappointed -- many of the rumors from the past months included a lot of potential new features that didn't actually make it into this new iPad. Bottom line -- current iPad owners can stay put, upgrade to the new one or switch to a different brand.Is the Upgrade Worth Your Investment?

Let's face it - if you got in on the iPad craze early on, you'll probably be eager to upgrade. The iPad 2 certainly includes features that make it better than the original iPad, but only you can decide whether those features are worth your investment.

Thankfully, your current iPad hasn't lost much of its value. In fact, a 32GB Wi-Fi plus 3G iPad may only have depreciated in value by $200 since you purchased it.

Assuming you want to switch to the new iPad 2, your total investment could be well under $500, depending on whether/where you sell the current one. In fact, if you decide to downgrade from a 3G enabled iPad to the cheaper $499 Wi-Fi 16GB iPad 2, you could even end up making some money off the transaction.

If you feel the iPad 2 does not offer anything new, there is no shame in sticking with the one you have for a while longer -- Apple wouldn't be Apple if they were not already working on the third version of the iPad, which will probably be even better. Keep in mind that the longer you keep your original iPad, the lower its resale value will be.

Alternatives to Upgrading to the iPad 2

Not much happened in the tablet world since the launch of the original iPad. One of the most popular alternatives is the Samsung Tab, but since it is only available when purchased with a two-year data plan, it's not a very affordable option.

The Motorola Xoom launched last month as the first real alternative to the iPad and iPad 2. Its dual-core processor, large hi-definition screen and Android operating system make for a fantastic tablet, but the transition from an iPad may be too much.

When switching to any new platform, you'll lose all your purchased apps because Apple's iOS applications will not work on any non-Apple product. The Xoom retails for $799 (or $599 with a two-year data plan from Verizon).

If none of the current tablets suit your needs, you won't have to wait too long for some more alternatives. New tablets will be coming out at a record pace this year. Before summer, HP will introduce its TouchPad, and Research in Motion (of Blackberry fame) is expected to launch its PlayBook in April.

Upgrading to an iPad 2

Upgrading to the iPad 2 is going to be a pricey experience, but there are ways to lower the cost. The easiest way to get an iPad 2 is to walk into an Apple store on March 11, hand over your credit card and leave with your new tablet. Then, keep the old one in a drawer somewhere, or hand it down to your kids so they can play Angry Birds without constantly borrowing yours.

Of course, that option is pricier than it needs to be, especially when you have a tablet that's less than a year old.

We looked at five different ways to sell your current iPad. We based the numbers off a 32GB iPad with Wi-Fi and 3G with "light wear." This means there are no major scratches and no dents or dings. The audio jack must be working and there can not be any personal engravings on the back.

Reseller Trade-in value
Best Buy Buy Back program $295.01 / $222.01
Gazelle $313
Nextworth $350
Cash for iPads $450
Ebay (average of past 25 completed listings) $580


Nextworth is the only electronics resale site with both online and retail options. The process for an online sale is simple -- select your gadget, fill in some questions about its condition, and they'll make you an offer. Once they receive your item, their inspection department will verify its condition and send your money within 10 days. They will make a revised offer if the condition does not match what you told them.

Alternatively, you can bring your gadget to a Nextworth retail partner and complete the trade-in immediately. The service is currently available in Target and J&R retail stores. A store employee will inspect the product and issue a store gift card.


Like Networth, Gazelle walks you through a couple of questions about the condition of your iPad before it makes an offer. We told them that our iPad had "Slight wear such as faint scratches or scuffs" and were offered $313. Shipping is free. When selling fragile products, Gazelle will send you a shipping box. For other products, they'll email you a prepaid USPS, FedEx or UPS label.

Gazelle promises payment within one week through check, PayPal, Walmart Prepaid Visa or Amazon gift cards.

If your description of the condition turns out to be less than accurate, they will let you know, and issue a revised offer. You have five days to accept or decline their offer. If you do not respond to the revised offer, they will automatically accept it.

Cash for iPads

Cash for iPads offers the highest resale value of the conventional electronics resale sites. Its offer of $450 is based off an iPad that arrives in good condition, with its charger and sync cable.

Cash for iPads only asks a few basic questions, and makes an immediate offer. Like the others, their offer can be adjusted once they actually receive the iPad, and any lower offers they make need to be accepted within 30 days.

Best Buy Buy Back Program

Since the Best Buy Buy Back program only launched a month ago, the only way you could use it for a trade-up is if you purchased the option when you bought your iPad. At the time of purchase, the Buy Back program costs $69.99 for a 32GB Wi-Fi+3G iPad.

If you trade your iPad in within six months, you'll receive a Best Buy gift card for $295.01 ($369 trade in value - $69.99 Buy Back program purchase). Trade in after six months and the final value is a mere $222.01 ($292-$69.99). The trade-in payment is only provided on a Best Buy gift card, so you'll essentially be forced to buy your new iPad 2 at a Best Buy store.


Ebay is currently the best place to sell your iPad. Based off the same example as the other sites, we checked resale prices of a 32GB iPad Wi-Fi+3G in excellent condition. We took the average final price from 25 completed listings, and arrived at $580.

Of course, you will need to deduct Ebay and PayPal fees from this, which can add up to about 10% of the sale price. Ebay is not without its risks, so be sure to follow these tips for safe selling.

Tips to Follow Before Selling

Before you ship your old iPad, be sure to take some precautions to protect your personal data.
If you are switching to a new iPad, connect your old iPad to your computer and make a backup with iTunes. Then, when you connect your new iPad 2, you'll be able to fully restore it.

If you are reselling a 3G-enabled iPad, you'll need to cancel any AT&T 3G services you activated:

  • Tap settings, then tap cellular data
  • Tap "View Account Data" and log in using your AT&T account
  • Cancel any services shown here
To restore your iPad to its factory condition and remove any personal information:
  • Tap settings, then tap general
  • Tap reset
  • Tap reset all settings
Read Full Story
  • DJI27433.4846.480.17%
  • NIKKEI 22522329.94-88.26-0.39%
    Hang Seng24377.43-154.19-0.63%
  • USD (PER EUR)1.18-0.0012-0.11%
    USD (PER CHF)1.09-0.0043-0.39%
    JPY (PER USD)105.920.05000.05%
    GBP (PER USD)1.310.00160.12%

From Our Partners