Apple has announced that the iPad will officially be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK on 28 May 2010. Customers will be able to buy it through the online Apple Store, Apple retail stores, and select Apple Authorized Resellers; online pre-orders will be accepted as of 10 May 2010.
Apple also said that the iPad will be released in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Singapore in July 2010.
Apple appears to be keeping its markup low over U.S. prices, which is rare. But given that the iPad can be used worldwide, and that the 3G flavor is unlocked and may be used with any GSM carrier, Apple may be trying to avoid the lightweight iPad being purchased in large quantities in the United States and sold overseas. In most cases, the price differences between countries are less than surface shipping costs.
Device Costs — Apple revealed iPad pricing for some countries in its press releases. We’ve pieced together prices in other countries from press reports. Prices below are for the Wi-Fi iPad in 16, 32, and 64 GB versions, followed by the 3G iPad in the same capacities.
- Australia, in Australian dollars: Wi-Fi, $629, $759, and $879; 3G, $799, $928, and $1,049 (prices include the 10 percent GST)
- Canada, in Canadian dollars: Wi-Fi, $549, $649, and $749; 3G, $679, $779, and $879 (5 percent GST and 0-10 percent PST is not included)
- Germany: Wi-Fi, €514, €614, and €714; 3G, €614, €714, and €814 (Germany’s prices are about €15 higher than in other European countries due to a copyright levy on top of 19 percent VAT)
- France and Italy: Wi-Fi, €499, €599, and €699; 3G, €599, €699, and €799 (includes 19.6 percent and 20 percent VAT, respectively)
- Japan: Wi-Fi: ¥48,960, ¥59,040, and ¥68,880; 3G: ¥58,230, ¥67,920, and ¥77,280 (5 percent tax is not included in prices)
- Spain: Wi-Fi, €479, €579, €679; 3G, €579, €679, €779 (price includes 16 percent VAT)
- Switzerland, in Swiss francs (CHF): Wi-Fi, 649 CHF, 779 CHF, and 899 CHF; 3G, 799 CHF, 929 CHF, and 1049 CHF (price appears to include 7.6 percent sales tax)
- UK: Wi-Fi, £429, £499, and £599; 3G, £529, £599, and £699 (prices include the UK’s 17.5 percent VAT)
While these prices may seem like steep markups over the $499 to $829 range of iPad pricing in the United States, U.S. prices don’t include mandatory national taxes. Some U.S. states have sales tax approaching 10 percent, and Apple charges sales tax in every state in which tax is collected. Non-U.S. iPad pricing, once tax is removed from the price, appears to have a 5 to 8 percent markup over base street prices in the United States.
Service Plans — The plans announced by most carriers outside the United States should make Americans glad to have AT&T to kick around, for once. Very few carriers are providing anything like unlimited monthly service; several offer a data cap after which service is throttled to 64 Kbps, but no additional charges accrue.
One or more carriers in every country but Australia and Switzerland have provided plan details. Several transnational carriers, like O2, Orange, and Vodafone, have different offerings in each country in which they provide service.
Only Softbank in Japan offers a contract-based service as an option; all other plans are one-time only (typically for day or week use), or recurring billing until canceled with no penalty.
- Canada’s Rogers Communications is offering service comparable to its iPhone plans. For $15 Canadian per month, you get 250 MB of usage and for $35 per month, 5 GB of usage. Both plans include unlimited Wi-Fi. No overage fees are described.
- In France, two carriers will offer iPad service plans, but only Orange (which provides service in many countries) has so far provided pricing. Orange’s plans in France are 200 MB for €10 per month and €39 for 2 GB per month. Both plans include unlimited Wi-Fi on Orange’s 30,000-hotspot network. Additional units of 300 MB are available at €10 each and must be used within 31 days. Orange is offering a 15-percent discount to voice subscribers. Orange’s footnotes say that VoIP, newsgroups, and peer-to-peer networking are forbidden.
- O2 in Germany has a capped service that provides HSPA 7.2 (7.2 Mbps raw rate) downstream service until you pass the cap – at which point you throttle down to 64 Kbps. Service costs €10 per month for 200 MB, €15 for 1 GB, and €25 for 5 GB.
- Also in Germany, Vodafone has a somewhat less appealing offer. The company will charge €19.95 per month for up to 200 MB and €29.95 per month for up to 3 GB. When you run out of data with the 200 MB plan, you’re finished. There’s no option I can see to renew. The 3 GB plan throttles usage each month to 64 Kbps after you hit the limit. VoIP, instant messaging, and P2P are forbidden.
- In Italy, Vodafone is taking an interesting approach: usage is limited to 500 MB per day, and you can pay either €2 per day or €30 per month. After 500 MB of usage each day, service is throttled to 64 Kbps. VoIP is forbidden.
- Orange in Spain will charge €3.50 per day at up to 250 MB usage per day or €35 per month at up to 2 GB per month. After the daily or monthly limits, rates are throttled, likely to 64 Kbps.
- Vodafone’s charges for Spain aren’t revealed without entering a legitimate address, but other sites report service is €17.40 per month for 250 MB of usage and €37.12 for “unlimited,” which is likely just a few GB per month with a throttle as with Orange.
- Softbank in Japan offers both prepaid and postpaid plans, in a unique twist. You can pay ¥4,410 for 1 GB usage over 30 days, or pay ¥2,910 per month with a two-year contract for unlimited use during that period – although with a throttle past some undefined usage limit.
In the United Kingdom, three carriers are providing iPad plans, all of them offering many options with lots of provisos:
- O2 has three plans: £2 a day for up to 500 MB of data, and monthly plans of £10 for 1 GB and £15 for 3 GB. If you’re paying by the day and run out of data you can add another 500 MB for £2. If you’re paying by the month, you can add either 1 GB for £10 or 3 GB for £15. However, no matter what plan you have, you cannot use more than 5 GB in a month. All three plans include “unlimited” hotspot Wi-Fi, which excludes streaming audio and video, VoIP, and P2P, among other unspecified “excessive” uses.
- Orange has five plans. You can pay as you go at 5 pence per MB up to a total of £40 per month (800 MB, in effect), but you can use the service until you hit 2 GB in a month. A daily plan costs £2 (up to 200 MB), valid until midnight of the day you sign up, while a £7.50 weekly plan includes up to 1 GB, good until to midnight of the seventh day. Two monthly plans run 3 GB for £15 and 10 GB for £25. The monthly plans include “unlimited” Wi-Fi, which is just 750 MB per month of usage!
- Vodafone will charge £10 per month for 1 GB and £25 for 5 GB. The Vodafone site isn’t yet providing full details on related terms, limits, caps, and Wi-Fi.