If you're looking for an iPad deal that won't break the bank consider going refurbished

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/08/21/if-youre-looking-for-an-ipad.html

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I write the following just in case a parent needs a device for virtual schooling and wonders if refurbs are really good deals.

I have always done well with refurbished electronics, in particular hard drives, flatscreens and tablets. Less so with laptops. I prefer to buy refurbished equipment in most cases.

Back in a previous job, buying storage was expensive. Upgrading storage was usually the best option. While drive failure rates were low, they did happen. Getting top of the line storage (large storage size with either low power use or speedy throughput) were needs that were met best by refurbs. I ordered OEM, original equipment manufacturer, refurbished that were rock solid. The failed electronics replaced, the drives worked flawlessly, and at a steep discount. This held true for flatscreens too.

This written, not all refurbs are recreated equal. I’ve never had issues with OEM refurbs, but I have bought I have bought refurbished equipment done by third parties that were less than stellar. I am currently using a retailer refurbed tablet and it’s fine. Look at the warranty. Is it comparable to the OEM? For me often the savings in ignoring an extended warranty and having a refurbished unit are worth it, because the odds of failure are low.

Also think of longevity and usefulness of the tablet. Older tablets locked out of OS, Operating system, upgrades may not run the applications you want.

I think what this rambling post says is, refurbs can be a great deal and are likely safer than meeting a stranger on a corner, but take a look at both the age of the equipment, it’s expected life and what the sellers warranty is.

Apple sells refurbs direct. There’s no good reason to buy from a third party.

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The iPad lifecycle isn’t based on the hardware.

How long an iPad is useful for is dependent on how long Apple supports it with new versions of iOS. After Apple stops updating an iPad with the new version, it starts getting harder to find new apps to run on it. The web browser stops getting updated and starts breaking web sites and crashing. Online components stop working.

The lifespan of a iPad is about 3-4 years of working well, followed by a declining user experience until you decide to upgrade.

This Wiki article has a chart showing what versions of the OS are supported by which iPads. I would highly advise the average consumer against buying anything that does not support the current version of iOS, and would recommend buying current or one prior version hardware only (with the understanding that buying prior version hardware will cut your device’s lifespan in half).

No, just no.

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