Which iPad Is Right for You?

by Kevin Slimp, April 2010


Which iPad Is Right for You?

It didn’t take long. Less than an hour, to be exact. That’s how long it took before I received a post on Facebook asking how I liked my new iPad. That’s right, less than an hour after the first iPad was offered for sale at the Apple Store, I received the message, “How do you like your new iPad?”


Imagine the poster’s surprise when I answered, “I don’t have one yet.”


Like millions of tech lovers, I was tempted to get in line to purchase the new device on that Saturday morning in early April. But after looking over the choices, I realized that the iPad I wanted wouldn’t be on sale till later in the month.


The iPad comes in six flavors. Basically, there are two types of iPads, with various amounts of memory. The Wi-Fi only version sells for $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the 32 GB model and $699 for the 64 GB model. Wi-Fi only means you’ll have Internet access in areas that have wireless service available. Just as you do with your laptop or Macbook, this works great in your office, home or local Starbucks. However, you’ll be paying for wireless service in many airports and hotels.


That’s why I decided to wait for the 3G model. This option gives the user access to the Internet using cellular networks. This allows me to check my email and browse the Internet at airports without having to pay their Wi-Fi fees. For $15 to $30 per month, iPads can access the AT&T network for 3G access without having to sign a long-term contract. This allows users to sign up on the spot for 3G service when needed.


The $15 version offers up to 250 MB of data per month, while the $30 version offers unlimited data. If you’re not sure which you need, you can purchase the $15 version and upgrade on the spot when you reach your limit. While this might seem like a lot to spend for 3G access, I quickly realized I can cancel my Boingo account which I use to access Wi-Fi in airports and some other locations. That’s $22 per month I can put toward the $30 cost of unlimited access.


3G iPad models list at $629 for the 16GB model, $729 for 32GB, and $829 for the 64GB version. Which is best for you? That’s for you to decide. However, I can’t imagine having an iPad without Wi-Fi. If you’re like me, you usually have your computer with you in Wi-Fi areas when you need it. The 3G iPad will allow me to access Internet, work on projects and more while I’m in areas without Wi-Fi. To me, that’s worth an extra $130.


So which iPad did I order? You know me. I ordered the $829 version. Sure, I’ll be ready to toss it for a new model when they come out in a year or so. But till then, I plan to put my new toy to work.


And with a VGA adapter making it possible to hook the iPad up to a projector, expect to see me leading a presentation using Keynote on my iPad in the near future.