The new iPad (which isn't being called the iPad 3) has been announced, complete with retina display and some LTE support. Australians will get it on March 16 -- just over one week from today, and the same time as the US. Pre-orders begin today, and we've got all the pricing details below.
The specs on the new iPad seem fairly impressive, and so does the price. The basic 16GB model costs $539; adding 3G takes it up to $679. For a 32GB basic model, you'll pay $649; the 3G model is $789. And for the top-level 64GB model, you'll pay $759, or $899 with 3G. (Given the ability to use a new version of iPhoto, it's slightly surprising that 64GB remains the largest model.) All those prices are $40 or $50 below the list prices for the previous equivalent iPad 2 model.
The US entry-level pricing starts at $US499; once you factor in sales tax for US buyers compared to our GST-inclusive price, there isn't actually a major difference.
While Apple has called the SIM-equipped models 4G in the US, the bands the new iPad supports (700Mhz and 2100Mhz) don't match Telstra's local LTE offering. So for now, it remains more accurate to call them 3G. (700MHz will presumably work for Optus if that trial network eventually goes commercial, but that's some way off.)
The only iPad 2 model that is remaining active is the 16GB model, which Apple is selling for $429 in the basic version -- down $150 from the $579 it charged for that before. The 3G version is now $569, down from $729. We expect to see bargain deals on the existing iPad 2 to clear stock; Dick Smith appears to be first off the rank, undercutting Apple and offering the full range of models, not just 16GB tablets.
As you'd expect, Apple is taking pre-orders on its site, though time-outs have been quite frequent. Also worth noting: pre-ordering won't guarantee launch-day delivery.
We'll update any prices for iPad SIMs if those change, although right now that seems unlikely. We're also keeping an eye on whether any telcos start selling the new iPad on contract, though again based on prior history that won't be Apple's priority.
Each generation of iPad has come out in Australia more quickly than the last. The original iPad was released in the US in early May 2010, but didn't hit Australia until late May, after several delays. The iPad 2 reached Australia a fortnight after the American release in March last year.