iPad owners chuck original to get iPad 2

The original iPad has flooded the resale market and depressed prices after Apple's announcement of the iPad 2.

Jeff Chiu / AP
Apple Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs stands under images of the iPad 2 at an Apple event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco, Wednesday, March 2, 2011. Since then, thousands of first-generation iPads have been listed for sale online.

It almost floats.

That’s what Apple CEO Steve Jobs said of the thinner, lighter iPad 2 that he unveiled on Wednesday. As it turns out, the original iPads actually do float, and since the announcement of the new iPad, they’ve been surfacing by the thousands for resale online.

Owners of the first iPad are chucking them to get their hands on an iPad 2.

It’s not because they’re frustrated with the old one, it’s because they love it and want the “latest greatest speed,” said Bill Brock, an iPad owner and application developer based in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Mr. Brock plans to order an iPad 2 soon and give his old one to his wife. He was sold on the speed of the new model, for Internet browsing, and its lighter weight, for reading books. “Maybe it’s a little addictive in nature,” admitted Brock, who has done the same thing with his iPhones.

“We’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Michael Schneider, a spokesperson for Gazelle, an electronics buy-back company based in Boston. Since the announcement of the iPad 2 Wednesday, it has bought more than 3,500 of the original models. The surge in sales has also dropped prices.

SOUND OFF: Is the iPad2 worth having or will you spend the money some other way?

Immediately following the announcement yesterday, Gazelle was paying between $375 and $595 for different iPad models in mint condition. By Thursday afternoon, Gazelle was offering between $300 and $510. Another factor: Apple’s own markdown of the original iPad from $499 to $399.

By comparison, on the day that the iPhone 4 was unveiled last June, Gazelle bought between 1,000 and 1,500 previous iPhone models. It took several days before the price of a used iPhone began to fall.

Early adopters of Apple products act like teenie-boppers at a Justin Bieber concert, says Julie Hall, executive vice president at the public relations firm Schnieder & Associates in Boston. “They have to have the new one, even though their old ones might be working perfectly fine.”

The new features of the iPad 2, plus the appealing price, which is the same as the original price of the first version, have encouraged the huge trade-in.

But even some iPad enthusiasts aren't ready to buy the new model.

Cameron Parker, a junior at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, is impressed by the new model, particularly with the design of the new case and the thinness of the tablet. He'd like to own one, but alas, is on a student budget.

“If I had the disposible income, I would definitely do it,” Mr. Parker said.

He's consoled by the fact that he can update the software on his iPad without a hardware upgrade. He's been watching iPad prices on eBay, and he still has the original packaging for his iPad. Just in case he wants to make a quick sale.

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