With the reports of long lines and brisk sales of the Apple iPad2, you may be tempted to rush out and buy one.  No doubt the iPad is a useful and cool device, but before you part with your hard-earned dollars, take a closer look at your needs to determine if the iPad is right for you.

But first, let me shed some light on those long lines.  The iPad 2 is not available in China yet.   The result is a vibrant black market  for the genuine Apple product.  The product that costs $499 in the US can easily be sold for more than twice that amount in China.  Many of the people in those long lines are actually being paid upwards of $200 to buy 2 iPads each.  (Apple limits the sale to 2 per person.)  Do the math.  Those long lines are as much a statement about grabbing a piece of the black market as they are about the usefulness of the product.  Don't let the long line hysteria suck you in to buying a device that doesn't really suit your needs.

So who should consider the new device?

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If you need convenient,  anywhere / anytime access and your computing and media consumption requirements are fairly light, a tablet device is a good choice.  The iPad2 has a great catalog of applications, offers longer battery life, nearly doubles the performance its predecessor, adds video calls and maintains the same price tag as the original.  If you've been waiting for the right device to buy, the iPad 2 is great choice.  You get a lot more for your money.  However, if you already own an iPad, there may not be enough reasons to upgrade.  Read on.

If you already own an iPad and Video calling is an important requirement, then upgrading would be a good choice.  Retail outlets such as Best Buy are offering buy-back plans so that you retain some of the value of your original investment.  While the iPad 2 is not for taking high quality still photos, its ideal for video calls to long distance family and friends, one-on-one video conferencing for business calls and calling home during business trips. The front facing camera is for face-to-face calling while the back camera gives your video callers a view of your surroundings.

iPad 2 has added the iMovie and GarageBand multimedia apps and upgraded to a dual core processor which makes it a credible device for creating multimedia content.  If you needs have gone beyond multimedia consumption into multimedia creation, the iPad may be worth upgrading to, and again, if you've been waiting to buy, this would be a good time.

So who shouldn't buy the iPad 2?

If your primary needs are heavy reading,  then the iPad is not a good choice.  Unless of course, you find an iPad 1 for under $300.  But I definitely don't recommend paying full retail for the iPad 1 or going for the iPad 2.  More appropriate devices are the  Kindle or the Nook. 

If open standards are important to you, you should stay away from Apple products.  Despite my UNIX System heritage, PCs have always been the device of choice.  Apple just never offered enough to entice me over to the other side.  Apple nearly won me over with the introduction of the iPad.  It was shiny, new, lightweight, relatively inexpensive, fast and functional.  I nearly succumbed until I realized that taking the plunge would mean getting roped into the Apple ecosystem.  While the ecosystem is not completely closed, (music is not, movies and TV shows are licensed only within the Apple family) it's much easier to buy content from within the Apple system.   Once you own it Apple, you are more likely to upgrade to another Apple rather than orphaning some of your content.  If you use a lot of different platforms, you will have a hard time getting the iPad to work with your existing content, even content that in in an open standard file format.  Better choice for you is to wait for a really good Android tablet.

And finally, the worst reason to buy an iPad 2 is because you have the iPad 1 and love it.  Unless you have requirements for multimedia content creation or Video calling, there is nothing compelling enough about the iPad 2 to make it worth the additional investment.   The original device is worth holding onto for another year until the next generation of competitor tablets hits the market. 

If you have an iPad 2 I'd love to hear about your experience.   Or if you have questions about which device would best meet your needs.  You can drop me a line at  info@jksWebDesign.com

Janet Sullivan is a Director at jks web design, llc, a marketing company that uses leading edge technology and traditional marketing best practices to ensure clients achieve their revenue goals.  Services offered include web design, social media marketing, search marketing as well as direct consumer, channel and business to business marketing services. Prior to jks, Janet held various executive marketing and business development positions at technology companies such as Novell, AT&T, Microsoft and UNIX System Laboratories.

She earned an MS in Computer Science from NJIT, an MBA from Pace University and was certified in Web Design and Development at Bloomfield College.  Janet can be reached at 908 731-5571, jsullivan@jksWebDesign.com or post comments to the columns or the blog, which is at  http://www.jksWebDesign.com/blog