iPad 3G Will Be Available April 30 After All…Sort of


Good news for those of you who’d already pre-ordered the fancy dual radio Wi-Fi + 3G model iPads prior to this week: you’ll have the device in your hot little hands on April 30 as promised. Apple announced today that all existing preorder customers will still get their iPads on that originally announced date, contrary to previous reports.

The May 7 date reported earlier does apply, but only to all preorders made beginning this week. You might fare better just showing up at the store on April 30 and taking your chances (though no doubt many of those units will have been reserved beforehand) since Apple also assured buyers that the dual radio iPad would be in retail stores starting at 5 PM on that day. No mention is made of whether or not retail partners like Best Buy will also have stock.

Personally, I’ve been waiting for the 3G version, because I have both an iPod touch and an iPhone, and in my opinion, the lack of cellular network connectivity on the touch places it in an entirely different category of usability. And I don’t mean that as a complement. The iPod touch feels almost like an at-home only device, despite the fact that many places nowadays offer Wi-Fi. In terms of my mobile usage, if I can’t use it in transit, I likely won’t use it at all.

Of course, I’ll have to wait till May 10 to even preorder my device, thanks to the delays to the international ship dates of the iPad. Apple is clearly doing everything it can to keep the launch on track in the U.S., but the week-long delay for any new orders being made shows that its supply chain is being severely tested thanks to strong demand.

Service for the 3G-enabled iPad isn’t locked to a specific carrier, but so far its internal radio will only work with AT&T’s 3G network. That carrier is offering plans starting at $15 per month for 250MB, or $30 for unlimited usage. Obviously, it’s assumed that these services and the microSIM cards the iPad requires to use them will be available on day one.

I know a few people who are already planning on (or already trying to) sell their Wi-Fi only iPads in order to help fund their purchase of a 3G-capable model. By contrast, I also know a few who are completely satisfied and think the 3G radio is an unnecessary and expensive upgrade. Which camp do you fall into, existing iPad owners?


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