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The iPad Question: Buy iPad 2, Wait for iPad 3 or Hold Out for an iPad 4?

Ever see the commercial where a man goes out and buys version 3 of a computer, and by the time he gets home with his “latest, greatest” piece of machinery, he sees a delivery truck driver handing version 4 to one of his neighbors. That seems to be what’s going on with the iPad. No sooner is everyone comfortable with the latest model than Apple announces the launch of a newer version.

The iPad launched in April 2010. A little less than a year later, in March 2011, the iPad 2 made its debut. Now, the iPad 3 is scheduled to come out in early 2012. So, the big question looming in some minds is should I buy an iPad 2 or wait for the iPad 3 to come out in 2012? A better question might be should I buy an iPad at all?

Shortly before the launch of the iPad 2 in March 2011, Michael Hyatt wrote an article that recommended asking three questions before buying an iPad 2. These three questions could apply to any iPad. All three questions revolve around how one uses one’s computer. For example, anyone who needs a USB port would be better off buying a Mac laptop than an iPad of any generation. So, too, would anyone who does a lot of typing. Think about how frustrating and time consuming it can be to reply to emails using the keyboard on an iPhone or any other smart phone with a touch screen. Granted, the keyboard on an iPad is considerably larger than the one on the iPhone, but many of the same limitations exist.

For those who love all things Apple and want a high quality e-reader, then the iPad, iPad 2 or iPad 3 is probably the way to go. Apple quality is unparalleled, but their products aren’t a good fit for every budget. So, if it’s possible to arrange to get one as a gift – ‘tis the season of giving – have at it. But for those who have champagne tastes and beer budgets, the Kindle Fire or Barnes & Noble’s Nook might be the better choice.

Now some people just love being among the first have whatever new tech toy hits the market. That’s fine, too. But for those who have to choose their purchases wisely, it might be a good idea to follow Hyatt’s advice and think about how they will use their iPads before they shell out hundreds of dollars for the privilege of owning one.

According to Jason Gilbert in his article for the Huffington Post, it’s unclear how much difference there will be between the iPad 2 and the iPad 3, except that the iPad 3 will have better screen resolution, which is great for people who intend to use their Apple tablets for watching movies or television shows.

Since the launch of the iPad in 2010, Apple has churned out a new tablet every year. So, maybe it would be better to wait until the iPad 3 launches in 2012. That way, consumers could have a whole year to enjoy their new devices before Apple introduces the next upgrade in 2013.

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