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Apple Australia has set prices for the new iPad 2 – due to go on sale in Australia on Friday – at $50-100 below pricing of the original models when they were released in late May last year.

The pricing was announced in a press release late yesterday which also said the new iPad will  go on sale in Apple stores and authorised resellers across Australia at 5pm on Friday, local time. This is the same practice adopted by Apple for the US release.

The top 32GB model, with Wi-Fi and 3G links will be $949 rather than the $1049 sticker Apple put on the original 64GB Wi-Fi/3G iPad. The cheapest Wi-Fi-only version will go for $589 rather than $629.

The new prices appear to reflect the change in value of the Australian dollar v. the US dollar since last May. In the US, the new models are identically priced with the originals.

Australian prices for the three Wi-Fi only iPad 2 models (with original iPad 1 prices in brackets) are: 16GB $579 ($629); 32GB $689 ($759); 64GB $799 ($879).

Prices of models with both Wi-Fi and 3G connections are quoted at: 16GB $729 ($799); 32GB $839 ($928); and 64GB $949 ($1049).

The new iPad model is thinner and lighter than the original and has a more powerful dual-core A5 processor, and two cameras: a front-facing VGA camera for video chats and a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video.

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