Faced with previously unmatched pressure from competitors, Apple will almost certainly cut iPad prices--but I don't think we'll see any "official" moves until January (at the earliest). In the meantime, it looks like the company is testing the price-cut waters with refurbished iPads.
Specifically, the online Apple Store has the 16GB iPad 2 Wi-Fi for $419 shipped. That's for the black model, though you can also get it in white. Either way, it's the lowest price to date on an iPad 2.
As I mentioned, these are refurbs--but don't let that give you the slightest bit of pause. Except for being packaged in brown cardboard instead of the fancier white box, Apple's refurbished iPads are indistinguishable from new. They have new outer casings, new batteries, and a full one-year warranty. Indeed, I've said it before and I'll say it again: when it comes to Apple gear, buying new is a waste of money.
I don't think there's anything I can tell you about the iPad 2 you don't already know. It's still the gold standard among 10-inch tablets, offering an overall user experience that's second to none. (That's just my opinion; I haven't yet tried any Android 4.0-powered tablets, so it's possible they're just as good or better.)
Of course, even at $419, the iPad 2 is hardly the tablet deal of the century. Office Depot, for example, has the 10-inch Lenovo IdeaPad K1 for $299.99 shipped (plus sales tax), and that model has 32GB of storage. And that's far from the first sub-$300 10-inch tablet I've seen.
Even so, I suspect these will sell out very quickly at this price. If you've been waiting to pull the trigger on an iPad 2, this is probably the best deal you'll find until next month. (That's just a guess, of course--I've been wrong before.) Show of hands: who's gonna jump on this?
Bonus deal: Here's a killer gift item: Planet Earth Limited Collector's Edition (Blu-ray) for $27.98, plus $3.95 for shipping. That's after applying coupon code D6911 at checkout. This dazzling documentary series comes in a rather cool (IMHO) globe case.
Bonus deal No. 2: Safeguard your laptop and a friend's with the LoJack for Laptops BOGO deal. When you buy one LoJack subscription (Standard or Premium, one year or three), you'll get a matching subscription to give away. Not the sexiest gift item, but definitely one of the most practical.