It hasn't taken long. Just days after Apple's announcement of the iPad 2, prices of the first generation iPads are falling dramatically. First, there was the price drop from Apple itself, which saw the Apple iPad 16GB version crash to $449 RRP from $629. But now Australian retailer Big W has lowered the prices of iPads again, with the base Wi-Fi 16GB version, selling for an incredible $398 and the very top range 64GB Wi-Fi and 3G iPad selling for $798.
At this prices, the older model iPads are a great deal, when you consider that until recently $400 or less only got you a no-name Android tablet. While not as powerful, as slim or as light as the new iPad 2, it's the first generation iPad is still a great tablet. In terms of OS platform, apps and functionality, it's virtually identical to the iPad 2 (much to the relief of many first generation iPad owners!).
The price cuts at Big W run across the range. All iPads have had $200 lopped off the original Big W prices.
All iPads with Wi-Fi:
16GB model - from $598 to $398
32GB model - from $748 to $548
64GB model - from $873 to $673
iPads with Wi-Fi and 3G
16GB model - from $796 to $596
32GB model - from $898 to $698
64GB model - from $998 to $798
If you want an absolute bargain iPad, the 16GB one with Wi-Fi only will do the trick. In our experience, if you're not planning to store trillions of songs and videos, 16GB is plenty. There is no difference in performance between a 16GB iPad and 64GB one. The difference is just storage and that will be mostly eaten by multimedia rather than apps.
With Wi-Fi only iPads, however, be aware that the moment you step out of range of a router or hotspot, you lose the internet connection. Don't buy the Wi-Fi only model if you want to use the iPad on the road a lot. We actually have been using the original 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad that we bought in San Francisco when it was first launched in the US last April, and have found ourselves teaming it up with a Netcomm Mobile 3G router (the MyZone a tiny portable, battery-powered Wi-Fi router which turns uses your smartphone's SIM to feed broadband access to other devices). The 3G version iof the iPad means you can take the iPad with you anywhere within 3G range and have it connect to the Net.
While several competitor tablets are in the works - ranging from the Blackberry Playbook to the new Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet and impressive Motorola Xoom - we've seen nothing that makes the first gen iPads obsolete. While they won't be as powerful as the others, they still do the tablet fundamentals - such as web surfing, email and media playing - spectacularly well. And, of course, they access the Apple App store and all its applications.
See the Big W ad below (linked to store's offer)