Apple details iPad 3G pricing gauge

Apple appears to be emphasizing the flexibility of its 3G pricing plans for its new iPad tablet that it will be releasing soon. In addition, the company will include a data usage monitor for the device. 

Apple iPadIn its marketing efforts, Apple said it will be the primary point of contact for users, and not AT&T Mobility, the company's wireless partner for the iPad. The details, released as the gadget became available for pre-order, note that users can sign up for 3G service whenever they want, right from the iPad. AT&T's service for the device offers 250 MB for $14.99 per month or unlimited data for $29.99 per month, both without a contract.

"There's no need to visit a store or call customer service," Apple states. "Just tap Settings and choose Cellular Data." Apple also said the iPad will monitor customers' data use and offer those on the 250 MB plan a chance to move up to the unlimited offering when they near their allotment of monthly data. By doing so, the company said it hopes to push users to the appropriate data plan.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson recently predicted iPad users would primarily rely on WiFi and not AT&T's cellular network. "We think it's going to be a largely WiFi-driven product," he said. AT&T has around 20,000 WiFi hotspots across the country.

And how many iPads have been pre-ordered since Friday? There's no exact estimate, but Fortune, citing Venezuelan analyst Daniel Tello, estimated there were around 152,000 pre-orders of the device as of Monday morning. According to Fortune, more people have reserved the WiFi-only iPad devices so far. The WiFi-only version will be available April 3 and the WiFi + 3G version will be available in late April.

For more:
- see this Apple page
- see this Wired post
- see this Fortune blog post

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