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Would iPad 3 Spoil Apples Under the Tree?

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The release of a new version of Apple’s tablet in February might rankle those who give or receive an iPad this month.

The company may be gearing up for its release of the iPad 3 in just two months, according to a report by Richard Gardner, an analyst with Citigroup Global Markets, citing several unnamed sources.  The news might seem a cruel joke to those giving and receiving an iPad this month, but it’s unlikely to keep gadget buyers from holding off, analysts say.

Customers no longer expect new releases to be timed to the holidays, says Robert Passikoff, the founder of Brand Keys marketing firm. “Technology is playing a leapfrog game of delight-expectation, delight-expectation. We enjoy trading up.”

But if the iPad 3 really is just around the corner, it may be worth it to delay gratification, says Mark LoCastro, spokesman for DealNews.com. “If the cost of an iPad 2 doesn’t decrease rapidly in the coming days/weeks or in time for the December holidays, people should wait to buy the iPad 3.”

For those unwilling to wait, there is another option: buy the iPad 2 and then sell it when the new one comes out. IPads retain their value better than most gadgets, says Alex Goldfayn, founder of TheTechnologyTailor.com. The going resale rate for iPads is 70-90% of the full market price, he says.

And Gift givers shouldn’t worry about their presents getting upstaged at the next Apple keynote. Daniel Post-Senning, great-great grandson of the grand dame of etiquette Emily Post, who founded the Emily Post Institute, believes there’s nothing inappropriate about giving an iPad 2 this holiday season: “If you’re always anticipating the release of the next thing, you’d never get anybody anything.” Post-Senning suggests writing a personal note to brace your loved one for any imminent upgrade. “I love giving a gift with a little story,” he says. “You could write a card like, ‘Here’s to wishing the iPad 3 doesn’t come out too soon.”

Others believe there’s less need for such good manners or good sense when it comes to paying for upgrades. “We are American,” says retail analyst Jeff Green, “and we need our toys now.”

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