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Execs say Apple could lower iPad price if market demands it - report

If the market does not respond well to the iPad and its price range of $499 to $829, Apple executives have reportedly said they could be "nimble" on its cost.

Analysts with Credit Suisse met Sunday night with Apple executives, and according to The Wall Street Journal, company officials indicated they could become even more aggressive in pricing the hardware. Currently, the 16GB model without 3G will cost $499 when the hardware debuts in March.

"While it remains to be seen how much traction the iPad gets initially, management noted that it will remain nimble (pricing could change if the company is not attracting as many customers as anticipated)," analyst Bill Shope wrote.

When Apple revealed the iPad with a $499 starting price, it caught many off guard. Previously, analysts had expected the new touchscreen tablet to cost around $1,000.

To add 3G connectivity to the iPad comes with a $130 premium, making the 16GB model $629. The iPad will offer up to 64GB of capacity which, when paired with a 3G radio, will make the device cost $829 at its highest price. The 3G model is expected to ship by the end of April.

Apple made waves in 2007 when, less than two months after the iPhone debuted, the Cupertino, Calif., company slashed the price on its handset by $200. Apple began selling its 8GB first-generation iPhone for $399, down from its initial asking price of $599.

Another option to lower the price of the iPad could be carrier subsidies. Last week, a rumor surfaced that wireless carrier Hutchinson Austria plans to offer a 333 euro rebate on the iPad if customers agree to a two-year contract with 5GB of data each month for 29.90 euros.

So far, only the U.S. iPad data plan has been revealed. Carrier AT&T will offer 250MB of data per month for $15, or unlimited access for $30. Both plans come with no contract and can be enacted or canceled directly from the iPad at any time. One report alleged Apple chose AT&T over Verizon for the iPad data plan because AT&T outbid its competitor by offering lower prices.