Apple announces unlocked iPads with AT&T 3G support

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Folks were a bit disappointed early on in the iPad announcement when it started to sound like it’d be WiFi only – but there was a twist!

Late in the show, Steve Jobs announced that there will be 3G-enabled models. While Apple specifically named AT&T as the carrier who will offer up the 3G, he also stated that all iPads will be sold unlocked. It relies on GSM microSIMs – so while you’ll be able to take it around the world, don’t expect to take it over to Verizon or any other CDMA carrier.

The pricing of 3G through AT&T is a bit strange; you can pick up 250 Megabytes of data for the stupidly expensive price of $14.99, or unlimited data for the surprisingly cheap price of $30. There is no contract whatsoever.

Alas, 3G support doesn’t come built into every model. Nothing in life is free, right? Gettin’ a 3G chip thrown in will set you back an additional $130 bucks – on the most expensive model, the 64GB edition, that brings the price up to $829. The 16 and 32 gigabyte models with 3G support will cost $629 and $729 respectively.

Alas, the 3G-enabled versions will take a bit longer to hit the shelves than their WiFi-only brethren; whereas the WiFi-only versions will be in stores within 60 days, Apple expects the 3G-friendly iPads to reach retail in 90.

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