Foaming at the mouth for a new iPad? If you want a 4G model of Apple’s newest tablets, you’ll have to wait a little longer. The iPad Air (also known as iPad 5 or fifth generation) will hit AT&T and Sprint stores November 1, while the iPad mini with Retina display will be available later in the month. On either carrier, you can get the 16GB iPad Air for $629 up front (32GB: $729, 64GB: $829, 128GB: $929) on either carrier, or for zero down with AT&T Next. The iPad mini with Retina display will retail for $529 (16GB), $629 (32GB), $729 (64GB) or $829 (128GB). AT&T has yet to finalize pricing details for its early upgrade payment plan.
AT&T offers several data packages, including a new pay-per-use plan announced on Thursday. Tablet users who don’t need ongoing service can pay $5 a day for 250MB or $30 for a 5GB 30-day pass. The new payment option can be an affordable alternative for travelers who don’t want to shell out for expensive hotel Wi-Fi.
Existing AT&T Mobile Share customers can add the new iPads to their bucket of data for an additional $10 a month. You can also purchase the DataConnect monthly plan for full-time data for your tablet. AT&T also offers $100 off on every tablet purchased with a two-year contract, which can shave off a fraction of the iPad’s price.
Sprint’s 4G LTE footprint is currently just 185 markets-strong and the carrier continues to expand its 4G coverage. With tablet plans starting at $5 per month, Sprint’s attractively-priced data packages may appeal to customers who don’t see themselves traveling much. Those who want to use 4G on their iPads everywhere should consider AT&T, as the carrier’s LTE network reaches some 437 markets nationwide.
Other carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile will no doubt announce the same news in the days to come, and the jury is still out on the best iPad package.