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Fridays with your iPad/iPod/iPhone….3G or not 3G….that is the question….

May 27, 2010

3G or not 3G? That is the question. At least, that has been the most popular question I have had in the last two weeks regarding the iPad. The answer is crystal clear: it depends. Here is my take on some possible scenarios and what I would choose:

1. Scenario: You have wireless Internet at home and wireless Internet at work. You only plan to use your iPad at home and at work. Choice: no 3G. The 3G will only provide you with the same capabilities as an iPhone with no phone. Your wireless networks will provide everything you need to get all the capabilities of the iPad.

2. Scenario: You have wireless Internet at home and wireless at work, but you travel on a regular basis and would like to use your iPad on the road. Choice: maybe 3G. If you only have an iPad and no other device (i.e. a laptop computer, iPod, iPhone) that would enjoy using a wireless network, then get the 3G. However, if you would like to use any other device with a wireless network, you may consider a portable wifi hotspot rather than the 3G. For about the same price as AT&T’s data service for the iPad, you can get a Verizon Myfi that will allow up to five devices on a very portable wifi network. And, you will not lose any of the capabilities of the iPad.

3. Scenario: you plan to use the iPad for personal use only and do not have Internet access at home and you only plan to use it at home. Choice: it depends. If you have other devices you would like to use on a wireless network, look into either a portable wireless hotspot or a broadband wireless router. If you do not have any other devices, consider 3G. But, only if you are able to get a 3G signal at home. Ask one of your friends or family with an iPhone to come over and see if they get a 3G signal. If you find that you cannot get a 3G signal, go back to the portable wireless hotspot or a broadband wireless router. Just make sure you check around to see which carrier has the best signal in your area.

I hope this helps you if you are considering a 3G iPad. The bottom line is: The 3G iPad can provide wireless access to the Internet for the iPad and the iPad only. If that is all you want, then get the 3G. If you would like to have wireless capabilities for other devices, no 3G necessary.

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