Every time I go overseas I get tempted to spend up on tech. But is it worth it?
With the iPad, local prices were better than in the US in stores. It might not look like it when you compare prices on Apple's website but remember that prices quoted in the US don't always include all local taxes whereas local prices include GST. And iPads can sometimes be found on discount.
Another option was to shop in the airport duty free stores. In theory, duty free prices should be lower than retail as they don't include GST. However, we found the prices slightly higher than we expected.
With the laptop, we were surprised to find US and local prices to be on a par. However, discounted items were more more readily available and more heavily discounted in the US.
One other consideration is that if you're a GST registered business then you'll be claiming back the GST when you complete your BAS. If you're not GST-registered then you can take advantage of the Tourist Refund Scheme to get back the GST on purchases over $300. You can read up on that on the Australian Customs website