When Steve Jobs said the iPad 3G would be available “90 days” after Apple’s January 27 press event, he meant it in a general way. Ninety-three days later, the 3G-enabled iPad will arrive in the Apple Store on April 30. International iPad customers will have to wait until the “end of May,” according Apple.
iPad 3G sales begin Friday April 30, at 5 p.m. If you pre-ordered the iPad 3G online will also receive their tablets at home that day according to Apple. New iPad 3G pre-orders, as of Monday, are scheduled to arrive on May 7.
Keep in mind that before the Wi-Fi iPad arrived on April 3, Apple also delayed new online pre-orders. Still, plenty of stores had the device in stock. So if you’re late to the party, a visit to the Apple store could spare you the wait.
iPad availability hasn’t gone exactly to Apple’s plans. The company delayed the device’s international launch until May 10 for pre-orders, presumably to ensure a smooth arrival in the United States. The iPad with Wi-Fi only was supposed to launch in late March, but it slipped back into early April. Before the launch, one analyst said there would be production bottlenecks.
On the other hand, the iPad is beating sales estimates, and buying one isn’t really a problem. I walked into the Apple Store on day one, sans pre-order, and picked up an iPad without any issues. Apple has boasted about iPad sales, revealing that more than 500,000 devices sold in the first week of availability.
It should be interesting to see how the 3G iPad performs by comparison. In my experience so far, the iPad rarely leaves the house. It’s best left on the coffee table or by the bed, and when I do take it somewhere, it’s to a friend’s house, where Wi-Fi is also available. There aren’t enough times where I need 3G for the iPad to justify the extra $130 for the hardware and $15 or $30 per month for service.
I don’t know if that situation is typical of iPad buyers. We won’t know unless someone breaks down the sales of Wi-Fi iPads versus 3G models, but such a comparison would say a lot about how people are using this new device.