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The iPad secret Apple didn't announce today

The company cut prices on previous-generation models Thursday, but you can get them even cheaper.

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A price cut on previous-gen iPads means even deeper cuts on refurbs. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

My Cheapskate radar went "TILT" after Apple's iPad announcements Thursday. The original iPad Air would stay in the lineup for $399? The iPad Mini 2 for $299? And the original iPad Mini for $249?

Okay, maybe those prices still aren't cheap, but I find it interesting that yesterday's top-of-the-line iPad now costs $100 less. And a Mini at $249 -- even a first-gen model -- feels like a solid deal.

But, wait, it gets better. Having lowered the list prices on those older iPad models, Apple had to lower the prices on refurbished iPads as well, right?

Right! Sure enough, as of this afternoon, you can get a refurbished first-gen iPad Air (16GB) for $339. A refurbished iPad Mini 2 (16GB) for $249. And a refurbished iPad Mini (16GB) for $209. (I've occasionally spotted that one at retail for $199, but the other prices are just about unheard of.)

But doesn't refurbished = used = bad? Not the way Apple does it. As I noted nearly three years ago, when shopping for something like an iPad or iMac, I choose refurbished every time. That's because Apple spit-polishes these units to within a micron of new, giving iPads in particular a new outer shell, a new battery, and a full one-year warranty.

In other words, if you want a last-gen iPad, be it Air or Mini, forget about the price cuts Apple announced today and instead focus on the price cuts it didn't announce. Head to the clearance section of the online store and score one for... dare I say?... cheap.