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Apple Offers Free iPad Setup

Users who purchase Cupertino's tablet-style device at an Apple store will enjoy configuration services at no charge.

Apple is promising free setup services for customers who purchase an iPad at one of its retail stores. The services includes e-mail configuration, application loading, "and more," Apple said Monday.

The iPad is slated to be in Apple retail stores and available for online purchase starting Saturday.

In addition to setup services, the stores will offer iPad "workshops" to help users learn more about the tablet-style computing device, which combines the functions of a notebook, e-reader, and portable video and music player.

"iPad connects users with their apps and content in a far more intimate and fun way than ever before," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in a statement. "We can't wait for users to get their hands and fingers on its this weekend," Jobs said.

Tech fans aren't the only ones awaiting the iPad's debut. Numerous publishers, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, plan to introduce versions of their newspapers specially formatted for iPad viewing. Their hope is that the move will help boost electronic sales and advertising, and counter declining print revenues.

The iPad checks in at just .5 inches thick and weighs 1.5 pounds. Apple has said the unit's internal batteries should be good for up to ten hours without recharging.

Pricing for the Wi-Fi only version, which features 802.11 connectivity and is available April 3rd, starts at $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the 32GB model, and $699 for the 64GB version.

The Wi-Fi + 3G versions, available later in April, are priced somewhat higher. The 16GB model is $629, the 32GB model is $729, and the 64GB version is $829.

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