iPad Versions, Availability, and Price Plans

By J. Gerry Purdy  |  Posted 2010-03-19 Print this article Print

iPad versions, availability, and price plans

The iPad comes in two versions: one with WiFi and the other with both WiFi and third-generation (3G). iPad includes the latest 802.11n WiFi, and the 3G versions supports High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA). The iPad includes on-device activation.

The iPad will be available in late March for a suggested retail price of $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the 32GB model and $699 for the 64GB model. The WiFi + 3G models of iPad will be available in April in the United States and selected countries for a suggested retail price of $629 for the 16GB model, $729 for the 32GB model and $829 for the 64GB model. Thus, for $130 more, the customer gets a modem for 3G wide area wireless.

The customer still has to purchase a data plan from AT&T: $15 for 250MB per month and $30 per month for unlimited access (no long-term contract required). I suspect a lot of people are going to take the WiFi-only model and use it at home or at the office using WiFi. The agreement with AT&T is not exclusive on the iPad so I anticipate that we'll see a version running on Verizon Wireless later this year.

The development world for the iPad seems very exciting. I hope that iPad developers will create, for example, animation for the education market to help the learning process, "active" newspapers and magazines like the one in the Sports Illustrated vision video, and make the reading experience on tablets have a far greater value than traditional "static" printed books. Thus, publishing is not about the ability to "pour old content" into the iPad but, instead, to create new publishing paradigms that will make the reading experience more enjoyable and productive than ever before.

It was rather surprising that Apple didn't include any announcement with Verizon Wireless during the iPad announcement. But on second thought, Apple is likely still under an exclusive with AT&T until mid-2010 with the iPhone and, therefore, any mention of a relationship with Verizon Wireless regarding the iPhone was premature. I would expect to see the iPhone announced for Verizon Wireless this year.

It's important that Apple adds Verizon Wireless for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. After all, Verizon Wireless has just as many subscribers as AT&T Mobility and represents a large, incremental market. I have a number of family members and friends on Verizon Wireless who ask me all the time, "When is the iPhone going to be available on Verizon Wireless?" They are locked into family plans and can't or aren't about to move to AT&T. Adding Verizon Wireless isn't intended to slam AT&T but, rather, to simply provide 80+ million more customers with access to the iPhone, iPod touch and, now, the iPad.

Finally, Apple will likely make MobileMe more important so that it can pervasively sync between your MacBook, iPad and iPhone via wireless communications rather than just when docked. Synchronization will eventually move forward from being transactional (sync your devices) to pervasive (always in sync).

J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D., is Principal Analyst of Mobile & Wireless at MobileTrax LLC.
Dr. Purdy has been covering mobile, wireless, cloud & enterprise for the past 20+ years. He writes analysis and recommendations each week in an easy-to-read manner that helps people better understand important technology issues and assist them in making better technology purchasing decisions.

Disclosure Statement: From time to time, I may have a direct or indirect equity position in a company that is mentioned in a column. If that situation happens, then IÔÇÖll disclose it at that time.

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