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The DP1500 is the old model and the DP1550 is the new one. The price you mentioned is the standard retail price for both. The DP1550 has a different motor and a different table. There are some other differences but I can not remember exactly what they are. I got the DP1500 for 30% off back in the spring. I got the table saw and the jointer so he gave me a break on the drill press.
And if the guys in the tool dept shrug about getting the 1550 until the sell their remaining 1500's go to the Special Services Desk and ask them to order them or do a search and they can tell you which store has them in stock. My local HD still has the same 1500 that has been there for at least 3 years.
Home Depot has the nasty habit of using the same SKU (their part number) for different products, so they are clueless about what they have available. For example, the SKU for the TS2424 and the TS3612 was the same.
I looked on the shelves, said "will you sell me that one" and took my 3612 home even though the sales slip said 2424. Maybe the same applies to drill presses.