Here are some alternatives:
* MacBook Air with Intel Sandy Bridge: Sure the iPad 2 is nice, but a lot of Apple lovers have their eyes on the MacBook Air. The latest-generation Air gets high marks, saying that despite its limited connectivity options. It's now "powerful enough to use as a mainstream laptop." But there are plenty of folks who think the Air's still a little underpowered and are waiting for it to get a processor upgrade to the Intel Sandy Bridge chips that are now in the new MacBook Pro notebooks.
* Sure, some people can afford an iPad 2 and a next-generation Air, but many can't. And given the choice, if I had an original iPad, buy a next-generation Air, which after all, is a full-fledged machine that supports Flash. Yes, it is irritating that you cannot access Flash content from your iPad.
Of course, the big question is when will Apple upgrade the Air line? It took its time going from Gen-1 to Gen-2. It may be a few more months before Air gets the performance bump. It's worth the wait, however.
* iPhone 5: In June, Apple is due to roll out its fifth-generation iPhone. Rumors have been all over the map, with some suggesting that multiple models will be available and that we might even see Apple go with a larger 4-inch screen and a design more reminiscent of the iPad 2. It may have true 4G support. It will have the new dual-core A5 processor in it.
* Wouldn't it be better to wait for the next iPhone before you buy the iPad 2?
* iPad Mini: You can call it what you want: A jumbo iPod Touch, an iPad Nano, an iPad Mini, whatever. It's basically Apple's version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab or Barnes & Noble Nook Color.
* Steve Jobs says going smaller with the iPad has big drawbacks and Apple won't do it, but the fact is, it makes a lot of sense. Critics of tablets with a 7-inch screens describe them as "tweener" devices, but the 7-inch tablet has a role in the market with many 7" Android tablets in such sizes. It wouldn't be surprising if Apple heads them off at the pass--despite Jobs' head fakes to the contrary.
* Ideally, of course, such a device, if it were to come into being, would start at $300 for a 16GB version--and that's probably doable for Apple. As for possible launch dates, this one may coincide with Apple's launch of its new iPods in September, probably an iPod Touch 2 has a higher resolution camera and faster processor. So, it might be a good idea to extend that line to include a larger Touch.
* iPad 3: I always argue that when it comes to Apple's mobile products, it's good idea to skip a generation. You know the next 9.7-inch iPad, wich will most likely be released in March 2012, will be thinner, lighter, have a faster process, and a better screen. And you only have to wait 365 days to get it.
* Go used. Apple will eventually add the iPad 2 to its list of refurbished products. In October of last year, Apple started offering refurbished iPads for $50 off, then dropped the price a bit more in December. Now it's offering the original 16GB base model for $350 or $150 off its initial price.