Close to a month after Apple launched the Wi-Fi only version of iPads in the US, the company shall be releasing the 3G enabled version of their tablet device today.
Apple has confirmed that the Apple Stores shall commence the sale of iPad 3G at 5p.m local time on April 30 (today). Additionally, the company has also noted that the Apple Stores shall be closed between 4PM and 5PM in preparation for the launch.
Apple has had a hugely successful launch of the Wi-Fi only version of iPad. While the device has received predominantly positive reviews since it hit the stores on April 3rd, it is to be seen if iPad 3G can match up to the high demand that Apple experienced with the Wi-Fi only version. The release of iPad 3G models in the US is momentous not just for Apple, but also for the company's carrier partner AT&T. The success of iPad 3G depends to a great extent on the reliability of the network carrier and there is no doubt that the launch shall be a litmus test for Ma Bell to gauge the performance levels of the company's network.
In preparation for the iPad 3G launch, AT&T has published a "Fact Sheet" that offers users a gist of the data plans on offer. As you may be aware, there are two domestic data plans for users to choose from. The $14.99 per month plan comes with a data cap of 250MB while the $29.99 per month plan offers unlimited data bandwidth to users. AT&T has also noted that users are welcome to cancel the contract at any point in time and that the plans shall be automatically renewed at the end of the 30 day billing cycle in order to ensure a "seamless data experience". You can find the complete document here (PDF).
iPad users wishing to sign up for a 3G data plan will need to procure a micro-SIM card from AT&T. Folks at Boy Genius Report have noted that the stores have already started receiving stocks of these micro-SIM cards. BGR writes:
"If you’ve never seen a micro-SIM before, you’ll probably be pretty shocked to learn that it’s simply just a smaller SIM card… just like the name implies. What’s interesting, however, is that the SIM isn’t actually different as the chip is exactly the same, the only difference is that the plastic surrounding it is minimized. In any case, just in time for the Apple iPad 3G launch and upcoming next generation iPhone launch, AT&T stores have started receiving new SIM cards which have cutouts for both the regular SIM standard, and the new micro-SIM all in one."
We are pretty excited about today's iPad 3G launch. How about you? Will you be queuing up outside the Apple Stores in the evening today? Let us know in the comments section below.