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How to resist your iPad 2 craving

If you need something to fend off the urge to buy an iPad 2, think about these potential upcoming products from Apple.

Fight your temptation with more temptation. John Rios/grafixjam.com

I won't name names, but we have an editor here in the office, who, every time a new Apple product comes out, says he isn't going to get it. He had the iPhone 3GS and said he was going to wait for the iPhone 5 and not get the iPhone 4. Two weeks later, he had the iPhone 4 and had given his 3GS to his wife.

I said, "Dude, where's your discipline?"

"I know, I know," he replied sheepishly. "But I wanted it. I couldn't resist."

He's got an iPad, the original. I know he's going to get an iPad 2, even though he says he isn't. How do I know? Because the moment Steve Jobs got up on stage and showed his first slide, he said, "Gee, that looks pretty nice." He had him at hello.

The iPad 2 didn't look any different from what we expected it to look like--and it didn't look all that different from the original iPad. But suddenly there on stage in the flesh it had taken on a new, irresistible sheen. Not the Charlie kind of Sheen. Just the Apple kind.

"Dude," I said, "Buckle down. You've got a kid, you live in a small, overpriced New York apartment that you can't really afford on your editor's salary. Save your money. You don't need another iPad."

"I know, I know," he muttered again. "But those graphics, the games..." And then he got that I-can-rationalize-this-purchase look in his eyes. It was the look that had sent his older-generation iPhone packing to his wife. Little did she realize she was about to inherit his so-last-year tablet.

I decided there was only one thing to do: tempt him with the future to kill the present temptation. There were other Apple products worth holding out for, I said. Four to be exact. Or four that I could think of anyway.

I offered to write a column about it and put the products in a nice, bullet-pointed list. Like this:

  • MacBook Air with Intel Sandy Bridge: Sure the iPad 2 is nice, but a lot of Apple lovers have their eyes on the MacBook Air. CNET Editor Dan Ackerman has given the latest-generation Air high marks, saying that despite its limited connectivity options, it's now "powerful enough to use as a mainstream laptop." But there are plenty of folks who think the Air's still a little underpowered and are waiting for it to get a processor upgrade to the Intel Sandy Bridge chips that are now in the new MacBook Pro notebooks.

    Sure, some people can afford an iPad 2 and a next-generation Air, but many can't. And given the choice, if I had an original iPad (which I do), I'd rather take the dough I'd spend on an iPad 2 and apply it toward a next-generation Air, which after all, is a full-fledged machine that supports Flash (yes, truth be told, I'm becoming increasingly irritated that I cannot access Flash content from my iPad).

    Of course, the big question is when will Apple upgrade the Air line? It took its time going from gen-1 to gen-2 and I suspect it may be a few months (Brooke Crothers says June), before it gets the performance bump. It's worth the wait, however.

  • iPhone 5: In June, Apple is due to roll out its fifth-generation iPhone. Rumors have been all over the map, with some suggesting that multiple models will be available and that we might even see Apple go with a larger 4-inch screen and a design more reminiscent of the iPad 2. Opinion is divided over whether it will have true 4G support or not, but the one thing you can rest assured on is that it will have the new dual-core A5 processor in it.

    My fellow editor, who owns the iPhone 4, suggested that if he caved and bought the iPad 2, he wouldn't get the next iPhone. I told him, "Wouldn't it be better to wait for the next iPhone before you make that decision?" He grudgingly agreed that I might have a point.

  • iPad Mini: OK, here's the product I'm personally holding out for. You can call it what you want: A jumbo iPod Touch, an iPad Nano, an iPad Mini, whatever. It's basically Apple's version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab or Barnes & Noble Nook Color. Steve Jobs says going smaller with the iPad has big drawbacks and Apple won't do it, but the fact is, it makes a lot of sense. Critics of tablets with a 7-inch screens describe them as "tweener" devices, but I actually like the form factor of a 7-inch tablet and I expect we'll start seeing a lot more Android tablets in such sizes. I also wouldn't be at all surprised if Apple heads them off at the pass--despite Jobs' claims to the contrary.

    Ideally, of course, such a device, if it were to come into being, would start at $300 (for a 16GB version)--and that's probably doable for Apple. As for possible launch dates, I'd target this one to coincide with Apple's launch of its new iPods in September. Just a guess, but with the iPod Touch pretty full-baked (sure, it could use a high-resolution camera and faster processor, but what else?), it might be a good idea to extend that line to include a larger Touch.

  • iPad 3: I always argue that when it comes to Apple's mobile products, it's good idea to skip a generation. For what most people are doing with the iPad (e-mail, Web surfing, reading books, streaming video, and playing games like Angry Birds), you can make do just fine for another year with the original iPad. OK, so you won't be able to conduct FaceTime video chats, but it's not the end of the world. You know the next 9.7-inch iPad, which will most likely be released in March 2012, will be thinner, lighter, have a faster process, and a better screen. And you only have to wait 365 days to get it.
  • Bonus selection: It's worth noting that Apple will eventually add the iPad 2 to its list of refurbished products. In October of last year, Apple started offering refurbished iPads for $50 off, then dropped the price a bit more in December. Now it's offering the original 16GB base model for $350 or $150 off its initial price (of course, you can also go the used route on eBay or Amazon).

My nameless colleague probably won't listen to any of this, of course. In which case I might have to resort to Plan B. Lock him in a room for 24 hours with five Android fanboys. Or at least threaten to lock him in a room with five Android fanboys. That should do the trick.

What do you guys think? Any other upcoming Apple products you'd rather put your money toward instead of an iPad 2? Yeah, I said "Apple products," but if you've got anything else to suggest, I'm game, too.