iPad to launch in Australia on May 28, telcos reveal data plans

Apple will finally release the long-awaited iPad device in Australia on May 28 and is currently taking pre-orders for the gadget, with prices ranging from $629 for the stripped-down 16GB Wi-Fi version to $1,049 for the high-end 3G 64GB model.

And in a relief for would-be owners, Apple has confirmed the iBooks Store will be available for Australian customers following speculation local users would miss out.

Some telcos have also announced pricing details for their iPad 3G plans, with costs to start at $20 per month for 1GB of mobile data.

The company finally announced the release and pricing details late last week, following months of speculation and delays. While Apple originally said the iPad would be released in “late April”, unexpected demand in the US caused that date to be pushed back.

The iPad will cost:

  • 16GB WiFi – $629
  • 32GB WiFi – $759
  • 64GB WiFi – $879
  • 16GB 3G – $799
  • 32GB 3G – $928
  • 64GB 3G – $1,049

Additionally, Apple began taking pre-orders for the device at 7am this morning, with users able to reserve their gadget before the May 28 release date. While Americans were forced to wait about a month between the WiFi and 3G release dates, Australian users will see both versions of the iPad launch on the same day.

A number of accessories are also available on the store, including the keyboard dock for $89, a case for $48, a docking station at $38, camera connection kit at $39, USB power adapter at $39 and a VGA adapter at $39. These are expected to be shipped along with the iPad on May 28.

But not long after Apple finally announced its pricing, two major telcos finally revealed their 3G data plans for the device. Each recharge will last 30 days, with users able to buy a new SIM whenever they feel using 3G data is necessary.

Telstra’s plans are:

  • 1GB – $20
  • 3GB – $30
  • 6GB – $60
  • 9GB – $80
  • 12GB – $100

Optus soon followed with its own pricing details:

  • 2GB – $20
  • 3GB – $30
  • 8GB – $60

While both companies have said they will offer data plans for the iPad, they will not actually be retailing the device, so users must purchase their gadget elsewhere and then combine it with a data pack from either Telstra or Optus. VHA has also said it will introduce a data plan later this week.

And in a surprise for Australian users, Apple has confirmed the iBooks Store will launch on May 28 as well, following speculation the new service wouldn’t even be available at launch. This was caused by a line of fine print stating the iBooks Store would only be available in the US earlier in the year.

The launch of pre-orders in Australia will prove to be a significant testing point for Apple. While the iPad has achieved success in the US with over one million units sold, analysts question whether international demand will be as high.

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