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Earlier today, we wondered why anyone would buy the newly revamped iPod touch for $299 when the even newer iPad mini is available for just $30 more. We're now taking that questioning a step further: for consumers who just want a budget-friendly Apple tablet, why buy the iPad mini at all?
Once again, the iPad 2 has made it through another Apple announcement, and the manufacturer will continue to sell the 16GB WiFi model for $399. That's $70 more than the base mini model (also 16GB with WiFi), priced at $329. This difference has prompted sites like Business Insider to declare that the iPad 2 is a pointless purchase. The publication argues that, aside from the size difference, "the iPad mini is the same tablet as the iPad 2, but it costs a lot less. It's going to be tough for people to justify buying an iPad 2 over the iPad mini."
But since Black Friday is now just a month away, we will respectfully disagree with that assessment. The mini of course won't be discounted around Black Friday, unless a lone retailer decides to knock a few dollars off in the name of wild publicity. But promotions for the iPad 2 are a different story, and the now two-generations old tablet will likely return to its lowest price ever.
We've already seen the iPad 2 drop to $299 once this summer, and we're predicting that at least one vendor will do the same around Black Friday. Even if you're skeptical that the iPad 2 will drop to $299, it's very reasonable to at least expect a moderate $50 discount, for a price point of $349. Our reasoning? We've seen 13 deals on new iPad 2 units since March 2012 that cut the tablet to prices between $339 and $369. If our more "extreme" prediction of $299 is correct, then the iPad 2 will cost $30 less than the mini this November; with a more moderate price prediction of $349, the iPad 2 will be within a stone's throw of the mini's cost, at just $20 more.
We understand that many folks will be drawn to the iPad mini purely based on its convenient, mainstream size. But a key selling point for smaller tablets in general has also been the fact that they're more budget-friendly. However, with Black Friday around the corner, and a past-generation, full-sized iPad still in the game, you might end up having to pay a premium for that smaller screen — a somewhat counter-intuitive move within the tablet market. Is it worth it? Readers, will you buy the iPad mini, or wait for a deal on the iPad 2?