Apple reveals prices for iPad 2

  • iPad 2 will be thinner, faster and with a sharper display
  • Cheaper than original iPad
  • As low as $579 for 16GB Wi-Fi model

Apple has revealed the iPad 2 will cost less than the original iPad in Australia, with prices starting from $579 for the 16GB model.

The iPad 2 goes on sale in Australia on Friday, following its launch in the US earlier this month. Apple stores and authorised resellers will start selling the iPad 2 from 5pm local time, while online shoppers can start ordering from 1am.

In Australia, iPad 2 with Wi-Fi will cost:
$579 for the 16GB model
$689 for the 32GB model and
$799 for the 64GB model.

iPad 2 with
Wi-Fi + 3G will cost:
 $729 for the 16GB model
$839 for the 32GB model and
$949 for the 64GB model.

This represents a saving of $50 for the cheapest model, up to a $100 saving for the most expensive 64GB 3G model. The cheaper price appears to reflects shifts in the exchange rate from last year, as the Australian dollar has strengthened against the US dollar over the last 12 months.

The Smart Cover, available in a range of colours, is priced at $45 in polyurethane or $79 for leather.

Apple slashed the price of the original iPad following the announcement of the iPad2 and offered refunds for customers who had bought an iPad recently. On the online Apple store, the cheapest iPad now costs just $449.

iPad 2 has received good reviews in the US for its lighter, thinner design. The new model is 33% slimmer and 15% lighter but has the same dimensions as the original.

A new dual-core A5 processor has increased processing power for better grapics and the iPad 2 includes a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime and Photo Booth, and a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video. Battery life is still up to 10 hours, according to Apple.

Customers who want to access the internet anywhere, not just in areas with a Wi-Fi signal, will need to buy one of the more expensive 3G versions and separately pay for a Mobile Wireless plan.

Apple iPads use a microSIM, which most mobile providers offer. Optus offers a pre-paid microSIM for the iPad 2 for $30, which includes 3GB of data. The data lasts for a limited time, from 15 days to 60 days, depending on the value of your recharge. Give Optus a call on 1300 137 897.

Vodafone, Three and Telstra also have great plans for the iPad, catering for different types of users.