Dear Aunt TUAW,
I decided to sell my iPad 1 and pick up an iPad 2 or 3. not sure which one yet. I will see what the [next iPhone] launch brings. Also, in your opinion will the iPad 2 be supported longer than the iPad 1 was? Just trying to decide what to buy next.
Your loving nephew,
The move from iPad 1 to iPad 2 was revolutionary; from iPad 2 to "new iPad" more evolutionary. Auntie's pretty sure that some new tablet hotness will appear next Spring, but she's uncertain whether Uncle John is right about an upcoming miniPad this Autumn-- he's been sounding the drums loudly, when he isn't sneaking cookies from the pantry.
It's hard to make buying decisions mid-year, when you're out of phase from the normal delivery time, but Auntie (as always) has an opinion. She recommends buying a new or refurb iPad 2. (The refurb models are $130 off, and give you 3G and GPS for the same price as new WiFi models.)
iPad 2 models currently start at $399 and Auntie thinks they'll retain a good part of that value come this Spring, when you can do the eBay-mambo-trade, and swap up to the newer new iPad, i.e. what the marketplace will call the iPad 4.
The "new iPad" a.k.a. iPad 3 (see what Auntie did there?) is a great device, and Auntie thinks it's dripping with tech hotness, but we're already almost 5 months into its life cycle. If you have the money, sure, go ahead and buy. The Retina display is brilliant -- or it is when you can see it through your drool tracks -- and who doesn't love Siri? But most of us are counting our pennies these days and Auntie thinks the 2 is currently a better buy.
Will the iPad 2 be supported longer than the iPad 1? Given that the 3GS, which the iPad could beat into a jelly, is still supported, well, Auntie cannot say. Do not listen to the wind, and do not depend on Apple to support your babies longer than it must.