Is the Apple iPad 3G worth the sticker shock?

The Apple iPad 3G hits stores around the country today. But is the Apple iPad 3G – compared to the cheaper Wi-Fi-only iPad – priced too high?

Flipping pages on the Apple iPad. On Friday, Apple launched the iPad 3G, which costs between $630 and $830, depending on the model.

BlackBerry Bold phones, and Apple iPhone 4G scandals, and iPhone OS updates, and Nokia N8 smartphones, oh my!

Hey, anyone remember that little old tablet thing called the Apple iPad? Yeah, kinda slipped our minds, too. But it turns out that the 3G version of the iPad hit Apple stores and BestBuy outlets around the country today, just in time for high spring, the time of year everyone really wants to sit inside in front of a big plastic rectangle.

So! Interested in picking up an Apple iPad 3G? Here are the pertinent stats: Like the regular old iPad, the iPad 3G is compatible with Wi-Fi, but also works with a 3G signal, so you'll be able to surf the web in the airport, or the street, or the beach, or wherever you can get a cellphone signal. The cheapest 3G iPad costs $629; that'll get you 16GB of space. The 32GB iPad 3G costs $729, and the 64GB model sells for a whopping $829.

Obviously with the 64GB iPad 3G you're moving into laptop/desktop territory in terms of price – and we can't imagine too many folks will go with that option, especially considering that you'll also need to buy a data plan to get your Apple iPad 3G up and running. The data plan is only available through AT&T – a network regularly skewered by many members of the media, including recently Jon Stewart – and comes in at two price points.

There's a $15 per-month plan, which puts the download cap at a relatively hefty 250MB of data. Or you can go whole hog, as it were, and buy unlimited data for $30 a month. Again, this stuff could add up pretty quickly. For instance, we already pay about a hundred bucks a month for our iPhone voice and data plan. If we bought an Apple iPad 3G with an unlimited data plan we'd be forking over upwards of $1,500 a year to AT&T.

Talk us down. Are we getting it wrong? Is the Apple iPad 3G actually a better choice than the Apple iPad with regular old Wi-Fi? Let us know in the comments.

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