Some news from the UK: Orange and T-Mobile may start offering the 3G iPad for less than its standard retail price if purchasers sign up for data contracts at the same time. The Telegraph states that their parent company, Everything Everywhere, has said that purchasers could get the iPad for £200 ($318) instead of the standard £429 ($681) cost when they sign up for an 18-month or 2-year data package for £15 ($24) per month. The plans would be available before Christmas.

What the article doesn’t say is whether this deal is going to be offered in the USA as well. It only lists UK prices, but T-Mobile is an American company…isn’t it? The article does note that Apple is expected to come out with its next iPad in the spring, so this could be an inventory-clearing strategy—and buyers who snap it up without being aware of that might feel cheated when the next model comes out. Still, if you don’t care about the next generation of iPad, this might prove a good deal. 65% of iPad owners read e-books, so this could be a good deal for those who only care about reading in color on large screens.

Interesting that the iPad has moved from contract-free to a cheaper contracted offering, rather than moving from contract-only to a more-expensive contract-free option the way cell phones often do.


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