Can you smell it? That's the scent of new Windows-based tablets in the air, and Microsoft is preparing consumers for the big wave of gadgets getting ready to flood retail isles this October with a new promotion aimed specifically at iPad owners (opens in new tab). Sorry Googlers, you're not included.
According to Microsoft, Apple loyalists can trade in their "gently used" iPad 2, iPad 3 and iPad 4 and get a minimum of $200 on a gift card to the Microsoft store. This promotion began on September 5 and ends on October 27, days after new Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 tablets are set to North America. There may even be an updated Surface and Surface Pro on standby.
The drawback is that the credit can't be used online, so customers will need to hunt down an actual Microsoft store. "Offer only valid for the exchange of listed iPad products, no exceptions," reads the fine print. "To be eligible for trade-in, device should include power cord, if available, and device cannot be password protected. Microsoft Store gift-card value will be equal to trade-in value, and is subject to Microsoft’s discretion and manager approval."
Naturally Microsoft suggests purchasing a Surface RT or Surface Pro tablet with your new found wealth. However the credit is good for any product sold within Microsoft's brick-and-mortar stores. Don't know where there's one located near you? Head here and Microsoft will point the way (opens in new tab) once you enter a zip code. If that doesn't work, find a location by state instead. For some, it may cost $200 in gas just to find the nearest store, so the promotion is useless.
TUAW points out that Apple customers should be a little insulted, as the lowest qualifying tablet on Microsoft list, the iPad 2 with 16 GB of storage, can bring in better prices on eBay (opens in new tab) even in a "decent" used condition. Trade-in prices aren't determined until the device is brought into the store and evaluated by a Microsoft employee, the company indicates.
Earlier this summer, Microsoft launched a back-to-school anti-iPad ad campaign while Best Buy offered its own $200 iPad trade-in promotion. Microsoft just recently ran a series of ads comparing the capabilities between Windows 8 tablets and the iPad, indicating that the iPad's price tag is a bit over-inflated for what it can (or cannot) do. The company has also been pushing the platform's business readiness as well, addressing the enterprise sector.