Apple Squeezes Competition With $100 Price Drop on Original iPad

At the launch of the iPad 2 today, Steve Jobs noted the “redesigned” tablet would keep its current price structure while adding new features. However, for consumers who believe price is the most important feature, Apple (s aapl) is selling all models of the original iPad for $100 off while supplies last.

Under the “Special Deals” section of the Apple Store online is a link to a clearance page for the six original model iPads. Wi-Fi iPads cost $399, $499, and $599 for 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB respectively, while 3G iPads start at $529 for 16 GB, and range up in $100 increments. Clearance 3G iPads are for UMTS/GSM networks like AT&T’s in the U.S. These are great prices for an original model iPad, but consumers can currently do even better.

Refurbished iPads are now selling for as little as $349 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi model, $50 off the clearance sale price. At $479, the 16 GB 3G iPad is also $50 off the clearance price. All other refurbished iPads are $70 less than original model iPads at clearance prices, and all refurbished iPads come with the same one-year warranty. Refurbished or new, these prices are a win for cost-conscious consumers, as well as for Apple, since it should help get the iPad into as many hands as possible.

The only losers here are iPad competitors. While the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab is now selling for around $250 to $300, that’s for the 3G model with a multi-year wireless contract. The minimum price for the Wi-Fi version is around $500. Motorola’s XOOM (s mmi) costs $600 for the 32 GB version, which matches the price of a new 32 GB Wi-FI iPad, but that’s the entry-level model for Motorola. RIM’s PlayBook(s rimm), which is expected to launch this month or next, is rumored to be priced at $500 for a 16 GB Wi-Fi model with a 7-inch display. The HP TouchPad (s hpq), which has a 9.7-inch display like the iPad, is expected to launch this summer at $699 for the 16 GB model.

Apple’s deal likely only lasts as long as its existing stock of first-generation iPads, but that might be long enough to clip the wings of at least a few competing devices.

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