The iPad Air 2 LTE release date is finally here with widespread availability in stores for the WiFi + Cellular model of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3.
Apple started selling the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 in stores last week, but the LTE model that connects to Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile was not available for purchase.
After a short wait this new, more connected iPad Air 2 with a new Apple SIM is available to purchase from many retailers for $130 more than the WiFi only model.
You can now find the iPad Air 2 LTE in stock at most Apple Stores, many Best Buy locations and direct from many carriers stores.
The iPad Air 2 LTE starts at $629 for the 16GB model and is available in 64GB for $729 and 128GB for $829. For most shoppers the 64GB iPad Air 2 offers the best value with ample storage without a huge price jump like the 128GB model.
Gotta Be Mobile editor Adam Mills explains why many shoppers should skip the 16GB iPad Air 2,
“Last year, I bought the 16GB iPad Air. All year, I’ve been regretting that decision. See, over the past year or so, I’ve slowly filled up my iPad Air with applications and other files like photos, messages, and more. And while the iPad Air itself is great, the storage is a constant headache and a source of immense frustration.
For most of my time with the iPad Air, I’ve had no more than 1GB of available space.”
Although it is tempting to go with the largest capacity, not everyone needs the extra space that you gain by spending $100 more for the 128GB iPad Air 2.
There are not many great iPad Air 2 deals, but for shoppers looking to buy the iPad Air 2 LTE with a contract there is $100 off at Verizon. This drops the starting price to $529. The T-Mobile iPad Air 2 is still coming in a week or so, but if you buy one you can score bonus data deals and you can get it for $0 down.
The AT&T iPad Air 2 LTE is available for $0 down as well, with monthly payments of $31.50 for 20 months. The Sprint iPad Air 2 LTE release is also here, with $0 down options, but shipping is delayed one to four weeks.
Shoppers will find the best overall selection and in store availability at an Apple Store, but Best Buy sells the iPad Air 2 LTE online and should soon have it in stores. You can reserve the iPad Air 2 LTE model you want for in store pickup through Apple or the Apple Store app.
When Gotta Be Mobile stopped at the Apple Store in San Francisco to buy our iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 review units there was a huge line outside, as you can see in the video below. Unlike previous iPad releases, this line was not for a tablet, but instead filled with shoppers still looking for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in stock.
iPad Air 2 Smart Cover
The iPad Air 2 Smart Cover is an official Apple iPad Air 2 case that protects the front of the iPad and leaves the back open so you can show off the color option and keep the iPad Air 2 nice and slim.
This is a polyurethane design and is available in seven colors including bright options like green, pink and orange. When in use it connects with magents to the edge of the iPad Air 2 and detaches with a pull when you don't need it.
There is not much thickness to it and you can use it to prop the iPad Air 2 up for watching videos or making video calls or to prop it as a keyboard for typing.
$39.99 at the Apple Store