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Summary:

If you were patient enough to hold out on the wave of iPad releases, and if you specifically wanted to grab a 3G-capable model, then today is probably already clearly marked on your calendar.

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If you were patient enough to hold out on the wave of iPad releases, and if you specifically wanted to grab a 3G-capable model, then today is probably already clearly marked on your calendar. That’s because it’s April 30th, the official release date of the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G in the U.S.

Customers who originally pre-ordered before Apple’s recent cut-off date should expect their iPads to arrive in the mail today, or you can try your luck with retail stores, which are going to be selling the new iPads beginning at 5 p.m.. today. Pre-orders for the Wi-Fi + 3G models were originally lower in volume than those for the WiFi-only version, so it’ll be interesting to see what the response is like at brick-and-mortar retail.

I personally am also very interested in seeing how soon unofficial sales start across the border here in Canada. Following the launch of the original Wi-Fi model, you could buy one the same day at a not completely ridiculous markup, so I predict the same thing this time around. Of course, international iPad users won’t yet be able to get 3G service, since no deals or pricing have been announced with carriers yet, but presumably the devices will work fine with those networks late in May when the Wi-Fi + 3G iPad ships worldwide.

Don’t just show up at the Apple store this morning expecting to pick up a new iPad, though. The launch is scheduled for 5 p.m., and Apple stores across the country are closing down between 4 and 5 specifically to set up for the launch. It’s odd timing, and will no doubt cause some confusion at retail sites in terms of people coming by too early, but Apple must have a reason for not just starting the shopping day with the iPads on the shelves. Whatever the case, expect a lot of confused customers being ushered out the doors at 4 p.m. who are oblivious to the product launch.

The 3G capability is a killer feature for the iPad, in my opinion. Undoubtedly the iPad’s UI is a hit with consumers, as is the user experience in general, but the ability to remain connected while traveling, be it just around town or internationally (as international providers become available) elevates the device from being an amazing entertainment and media player to a lifestyle changer, in terms of both work and play.

Are you getting one? Does your local Apple Store have stock? Is there a lineup? Are you upgrading from a Wi-Fi only model? Let us know your thoughts on all things 3G iPad in the comments.

Related GigaOM Pro Research: How AT&T Will Deal with iPad Data Traffic

  1. Pre-ordered the 3G 64GB model on March 25. Mine is currently sitting at the local Fedex facility, waiting to go out for delivery (it will be delivered by 3pm), currently 10:20 am local time. I called to see if I could just pick it up, but Fedex has an agreement with Apple to not allow pickup until after the first delivery attempt.

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    1. THE PHONE BOOKS ARE HERE! My iPad arrived about 12pm local time. It is syncing as I type this… More waiting >.<

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  2. My buddy in the US will have mine delivered to his house shortly and then ship it directly to me in Norway. Can’t wait for Monday!

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  3. Chris Williams Friday, April 30, 2010

    No iPad 3Gs yet at the local Best Buy here in Melbourne, FL. Said they were suppose to be in this afternoon.

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  4. That’s great news … still a bummer for European developers …

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  5. Ordered mine online, shipping date was ‘by May 7′. Got a notice yesterday that it had shipped. Arrived at 10am this morning! Very nice surprise to get it a week early. Well done Apple.

    Sent from my iPad 3G!

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  6. I have already pre-ordered for two of these little tech miracles :)

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  7. Can anyone confirm if 3G service is working outside the US, if inserted a local micro-SIM card?

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  8. One quick question: I’ll be in the USA on May 7th for a couple of days. What should I do in order to make sure I’ll be able to get an iPad? I mean, guess they might run out of stock? :-(
    Any suggestions appreciated

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  9. So unfortunate this version relies on ATT. Though I’m only 40 miles out of NYC, ATT service here is just downright horrible, with no 3G.
    Other the other hand, my iPad wifi works flawlessly when I’m out and about with my verizon MiFi 2200. The map commercials are right.

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  10. Can’t wait to use mine on the american airlines wifi service, so i don’t have to be bored for hours flying.

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