9 to 5 Mac reports that Best Buy has launched a new iPad bundle deal that offers Apple's tablet and a free mobile hotspot device. However there's a catch to the holiday special-- consumers must sign a two-year contract with either Verizon Wireless, AT&T or Sprint.
Called the 'iPad Anywhere" campaign, the bundles feature one of three WiFi models: the 16 GB iPad for $499.99, the 32 GB version for $599.99, or the 64 GB version for $699.99. For those that choose to sign up with Verizon, the iPad/MiFi combo currently starts at $629.99 over on Verizon's website, so the Best Buy bundle sounds like a great deal.
The drawback to the promotion is that the 16 GB and 32 GB versions are backordered on Best Buy's website-- the 64 GB model is still in stock. This could possibly mean that local brick-and-mortar outlets may already be sold out-- a quick zip code-based search revealed that only one store had the 16 GB model on-hand, located nearly two hours away.
Also over the weekend Best Buy said via Twitter that it's no longer charging a restocking fee for most of its products. Now Best Buy's return policy states that a "25-percent restocking fee applies to Special Order Products, including appliances, unless you are a Reward Zone Program Premier Silver member, the item is defective, or the fee is prohibited by law."
As for the iPad holiday bundles, the promotion is slated to end on January 2. Apple is expected to reveal the 2nd generation iPad next month, so it's safe to assume that Apple and retail outlets are trying to flush the 1st generation models out to consumers to make room for the new possibly arriving in April 2011.