Last week, Apple confirmed a delayed release for the Wi-Fi and 3G models in the UK, but remained silent of pricing plans for both the hardware and any accompanying data plans.Apple may grant exclusive distribution rights for the 3G iPad in the UK to one provider, from a short list of O2, Orange and Vodafone adds New Media Age (NMA). The decision could depend on how much operators are prepared to subsidise the cost of Apple's latest gadget, and any associated data plans.
"Apple usually gives guidelines to operators on how much it wants them to subsidise any data plans. Depending on the size of any subsidy, this is where Apple might go down the exclusivity route," Ben Wood, director of research firm CCS Insight told NMA.
A Vodafone spokesman confirmed to NMA it was interested in negotiating with Apple for the 3G right's to iPad in the UK, although O2, who had two year's of exclusivity on the iPhone here, declined to comment."The big question is whether you need 3G to use the iPad. If you tie up with a mobile operator you get the golden asset of subsidy," Wood added.
Since last week's announcement of a delayed release for the iPad, Apple has actually removed the US pricing listed since January on the UK store along with brief information regarding any 3G data plans. Play.com and Expansys have both announced plans to sell the iPad, although Play is only listing the Wi-Fi model at present.
Macworld UK currently estimates the following UK pricing for the iPad at launch: iPad Wi-Fi: £417 (16GB); £500 (32GB); £584 (64GB)Wi-Fi + 3G: £526 (16GB); £610 (32GB); £693 (64GB). More on how those figures are calculated can be found here.