Apple drops iPad 2 price to $399 for the 16GB WiFi-only model, $529 for the 3G version

Facing soaring demand for budget tablets (and one in particular), Apple has announced it will sell the iPad 2 alongside the new iPad, with last year's model tumbling to a more palatable price of $399 for the WiFi-only model, or $529 for the 3G version. That entry-level price in particular puts it in more direct competition with a slew of mid-range tabs that previously undercut the iPad, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus and others. Specifically, though, Tim Cook & Co. hope that lower price will attract not just thrifty consumers, but schools looking to issue iPads in large numbers -- a move that dovetails with the release of iBooks textbooks and the iBooks Author OS X app earlier this year.

Though this is the first time the company's offering two iPads at once, this strategy is old hat for Apple, which has long been taking that tack to sell more iPhones. What's notable is that usually the trade-off (aside from year-old specs) has been that users have had to settle for devices with minimal built-in storage, which you naturally can't expand with a memory card, this being an iDevice and all. In this case, though, the iPad 2 will still be offered with 16GB of built-in storage, as opposed to, say, eight gigs. Still, depending on the size of your library, this might be a good time to get acquainted with iCloud, if you haven't already.

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