Apple computer advertised 2 different models of the iPad: one at $500 with wifi only Internet capability, and one with wifi and 3G coverage for $14.95 for 250 MB of data per month, or $30 a month for unlimited data (provided by AT&T)
This 3G was a no contract plan, requiring no longterm committment from consumers and was a Major buying factor for a large number of buyers, myself included. The fact one could upgrade to a reasonably priced unlimited plan at any time for a single month enticed us to purchase the more expensive unit.
Now AT&T, 32 days after the huge initial rush of iPad with 3G models were sold, and 1-5 days after they became ineligible for returns to Apple, AT&T announces effective June 7, 2010, they are completely changing the two iPad data plans to:
200 mb a month for $15 with $10 for every 200 MB thereafter
2 GB a month for $25 with $10 for every GB after
I view this rate hike and significant change to the costs of ownership of the iPad 3G to be a material change to the functionality of the device. While AT&T is offering to grandfather subscribers to the unlimited data plan , I purchased a device I was supposed to only have to pay for 3G coverage in the months I needed it. As it is, I will have to either give up the unlimited plan, or pay $360 a year to maintain it or lose it forever, effectively placing me under contract
Either Apple Computer should be forced to refund the difference or portion thereof of the iPad vs iPad 3G difference, or AT&T should be forced to offer continued a la cart per month unlimited plans for all people who purchased the iPad 3G before their announced price change, for at least 365 days from the American release of the device April 30, 2010, Or apple computer should be forced to accept returns of all iPad 3G models purchased before the AT&t plan change announcement for an additional 90 days with no restocking fee and no requirement the consumer also returns the box.
No cellular provider in the US is an alternative to AT&T coverage in the US market.
If enough people do that, Apple will need to respond to this.