I'm a longtime fan of refurbished gear--especially Apple's refurbished gear, which looks and operates like new and comes with the same warranty as the new stuff.
I speak from experience, having purchased several refurbished iPhones and iPod Touches. But I've yet to land an iPad this way--mostly because Apple didn't offer them. Until now.
For the first time, refurbished iPads are available from the Apple Store (online only).
Like their smaller counterparts, they come with a new battery, a new outer shell, and a full one-year warranty. You also get all the same accessories (USB cable and power adapter), and even the same free shipping.
So what's the catch? There isn't one. These units are literally good as new. The only noticeable difference is the box: refurbished iPads (and iPods and iPhones) come in a plain cardboard one. The only time I can see that being an issue is if you're wrapping one up as a gift--but even then, it's what's inside the box that counts, right?
Apple is offering all three Wi-Fi models: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. (Alas, if you want 3G, you'll have to stick with new--for now.)
So, how much do you save by going the refurb route? The three models are priced at $449, $549, and $649--just $50 less than their new counterparts. I was hoping for a slightly bigger discount, but, hey, 50 bucks is 50 bucks. You can put the savings toward apps, a good case, or, you know, food.
I don't know how long these refurb iPads will last, but I have a sneaking suspicion they'll sell out very quickly. Think you'll jump at this deal, or wait until the iPad gets a bit more affordable?