Facing Facts About the iPad

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-04-20 Print this article Print

5. More app possibilities

Part of the value of owning an iPad is the access to Apple's App Store. Since the iPad comes without several apps users might want, the App Store quickly becomes the go-to place to find all the functionality that Apple doesn't bundle with its device. In many cases, that means needing a connection to the Web for the app to work as described. When a user is home, connecting to the Web via WiFi isn't any trouble and using such apps is a cinch. But when away from WiFi, only a 3G connection will be able to keep the iPad as functional as a user wants.

6. More
GPS ability

Unlike the WiFi-only version of the iPad, the 3G model comes with full GPS functionality. As soon as a user boots up the iPad 3G and works on it away from a WiFi hot spot, GPS satellites will be able to pinpoint its location. The WiFi-only model, on the other hand, uses known WiFi hot spots to find a user's location. Although that's better than nothing, it doesn't truly pinpoint the exact spot at any given time for use with location-based apps. That might not be a deal breaker, but given the recent popularity of location-based services, more users than we think might want to have their exact locations broadcast to the rest of the world.

7. 3G coverage is optional

The beauty of the iPad 3G is that users aren't forced to enter into a contract when they buy the device. So, if users decide that 3G might be useful down the road, but for now they will be content with WiFi only, they can still buy an iPad 3G. If or when they decide they want to connect to the Web via 3G, they need only pay $15 per month for up to 250MB of data or $30 per month for unlimited data. And they can cancel that service at any time. Not bad.

8. The WiFi-only version won't be supported for long

If we consider Apple's history with mobile products, it becomes clear that the underpowered, old models that it once offered are quickly phased out in favor of new, capable versions of the respective device. Remember the iPhone 2G? Yeah, it's history. And since multitasking will only make its way to the iPhone 3GS, it looks like Apple is trying to push users to the newer version of its mobile phone. Apple has a long history of doing that. The iPad won't be any different.

9. The time factor

The iPad 3G has been in the cooker a month longer than the WiFi-only version of the tablet. That's important. Lest we forget, the WiFi iPad suffered from connectivity issues that Apple is still attempting to address. That doesn't necessarily mean that the 3G model won't suffer from those problems too, but given the fact that Apple has known about it for a month, it's entirely possible that a fix has already been implemented in the 3G model. The same can be said for any other quirks Apple might have found along the way. The WiFi-only iPad might be a robust offering, but the 3G version will likely be a little better.

10. This is Apple we're talking about

If Microsoft was offering two versions of the same product, getting the hobbled model probably wouldn't be a bad idea. That company has a long history of supporting products until it really shouldn't. But Apple doesn't. Steve Jobs has made it clear with every product his company offers that the most expensive versions of that device will get preferential treatment over the cheaper versions. It makes sense. Apple can make much more off the more expensive models. Plus, by only giving desired features to the more capable versions, Apple is softly prodding customers to move to the new product. Apple doesn't like less capable products. That will quickly become clear with the WiFi-only version of the iPad.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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