The iPad 3Gs are not in stores til this evening, but those who pre-ordered and had them shipped are already receiving the devices. Mine arrived an hour ago or so, and I've been playing around with it a bit since then.



Obviously it's pretty much identical to the iPad WiFi, with a few marked difference both in software and hardware.

The top has a black plastic area instead of metal to allow for better 3G reception. It wraps around from the back of the iPad 3G to flush with the bezel on the front - so you've got both a bit of black in the silver frame of your iPad, and the black on the back.



There is also a SIM slot, which is essentially the same design as the iPhone SIM slots - although on the left side of the device. Same story - popping a paper clip in the SIM slot opening pushes the tray out to show the SIM. There is no unlock for the iPad yet, but once there is you should be able to also get 3G data through any other provider that offers it on the iPad 3G's supported spectrums (UMTS/HSPDA 850/1900/2100MHz, GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz, and EDGE). EDIT: The thing comes unlocked, my bad.



The SIM included is a MicroSIM, roughly half the size of a standard SIM card. You /can/ actually cut a standard SIM card to fit these, which I imagine unlockers will eventually be doing to use the iPad 3G with T-Mobile or in countries it's not supported. EDIT: The thing comes unlocked, my bad.



Once initially connected to iTunes (required before the thing will even turn on, same as the iPad), it will ask you to set it up as a backup of a previous iPad or a new device. Then your iPad 3G will let you know it's awaiting activation, which for me took about a minute.



There is a new option in the Settings app for Cellular Data. You can choose to turn it on or off, as well as with roaming. You can also view your data account (which needs to be set up, more on that in a sec), and edit APN and SIM PIN settings. AT&T settings for APN came preset working with APN set to broadband, and both Username and Password are blank.



The first time you attempt to access anything which calls to the web (I opened Safari), a pop-up appears asking you if you'd like to set up a Cellular Data Account, or skip it and access it via Settings at any time.



Press Now, and a window pop-over opens asking for your name, telephone, password for the account, and email. It also asks which of the two data plans you'd like to choose. There is a $14.99 for 250MB/month, or $29.99 for unlimited usage. You are also asked for your payment information, via Visa/MasterCard/AMEX/Discover. Sorry, folks without credit cards, those are the methods.

Assuming everything goes through correctly (my card didn't go through twice, with no specific errors, and the bank saying all should be fine, and I had to use a separate card - seems the validator may be off), you'll get another pop-up alert letting you know your account has been activated.



You should be able to immediately use 3G at the speeds you're familiar with from your iPhone 3G/3G[S]. Some reports of people having to restart their devices before getting 3G data (even though the 3G bar at the top says its connected with good reception) have been heard, although mine worked fine immediately.

You can view your account info and change it via the Settings app at any time. You'll be asked for the name and password you set up initially.



3G so far is working well, and other than those software and hardware differences, this is pretty much an iPad WiFi - which you're familiar with by now. Netflix streaming over 3G works great - annoyingly, the ABC app won't play anything, and requires you to be on WiFi.

comex's Spirit jailbreak should work fine on the iPad 3G, and is being released "sometime after the iPad 3G release" - from talks I've heard, it is close. Obviously testing on the iPad 3G will need to be done before they release a jailbreak, but assume it's their priority.