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The Globe and Mail

Apple iPad wireless deals impress in U.S., but what about Canada?

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs announces the new iPad as he speaks during an Apple Special Event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California.

Justin Sullivan/The Globe and Mail

The U.S. wireless carrier AT&T will offer customized data packages for Apple Inc.'s newly announced iPad, Apple announced today, and at surprisingly low rates.

The company will offer 250 megabytes of data per month for $14.99 (U.S.) and an unlimited data plan for $29.99.

The device will be sold in the U.S. without long-term contracts. It will also be sold unlocked, which means it would be sold at-cost and without the subsidy common to many Canadian smart phone plans.

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There was no clear announcement on when the device would be available in Canada, and what plans or rates would look like once partnerships had been reached, likely with one of the national wireless carriers such as Rogers Communications Inc., Telus Corp., or BCE Inc.'s Bell Canada.

  • $499 (U.S.) for a 16-gigabyte model
  • $599 (U.S.) for a 32 GB version
  • $699 (U.S.) for a 64-gigabyte model with Wi-Fi only.
  • It will cost an additional $130 for units that use 3G, making the most expensive model $829 (U.S.)
  • AT&T will charge $29.99 a month for "unlimited use" and $14.99 a month for up to 250 megabytes

Announcing the device at a press conference in San Francisco, the company announced several versions of the iPad, some more expensive models are enabled to operate on 3G networks. Others, slightly cheaper, will connect to WiFi. AT&T will also offer free use of its network's wireless hot spots, Apple said.

The device will be available in the United States in about 60 days, with 3G models shipping 30 days after that. An international roll out will likely gain speed by the summer of 2010, with large, industrialized western countries like the United Kingdom and Germany likely first on the list. Canada has traditionally received Apple's products and devices such as the Amazon Kindle at a later date.

Rogers, which is AT&T's roaming partner in Canada, declined to speak about the launch of the device. In an e-mail, spokesperson Odette Coleman said that "for competitive reasons" the company does not comment on potential new products or services "before they are officially launched."

All three of Canada's big wireless carriers declined comment for this report.

The iPad is not designed to replace a cellular phone in terms of providing voice services, though it will be able to run applications - apps - such as Skype, which permit users to phone over the Internet. The iPad is more geared toward providing a new platform for consuming content, with major deals struck with book publishing houses and newspapers, such as the New York Times .

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