07 March 2012

Should I buy an iPad 2 or an iPad 3?

First, iPad basics:
  • 3 memory sizes: 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB
  • 3 network options: WiFi, WiFi+AT&T, WiFi+Verizon
  • 2 colors: Black, White

Memory size: It used to be that you had to buy a big enough one to hold your whole music & video collection.  But with the iCloud service, this is no longer true.  For $25/year, you can store all your music up in Apple's servers and either stream it or selectively download it (and maybe delete it from the device later).  You can have as many devices as you want on the same account!  All your iPods, iPhones and iPads. Recommendation: 16 GB w/ an iCloud subscription.

Network options:  The mobile network options are cool if you are traveling and want to use your iPad somewhere that doesn't have WiFi - like in your car.  But it takes a wireless account w/ data.  These are not cheap, although I think you can turn them on and off. So maybe you can turn it on for a trip.  You'd have to check w/ AT&T and Verizon.  If you use either of these mobile providers now, you would probably want to stick with them and try to get a good price.  An alternative is a mobile hotspot.  These are little hockey puck sized units that run on battery (or a power supply in a hotel room) that connect to the cellular network and allow up to 4 devices to access it via WiFi.  This means that you have to carry another gadget around, but then you can use other devices that do WiFi, like laptops and iPods/iPads. Search for "AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G" in Google (AT&T doesn't support deep linking.)  Verizon Jetpack™ 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MiFi® 4510L  Recommendation: WiFi  w/ a Verizon MiFi if you want cellular connectivity.

Now on to iPad2 vs. iPad3:

The only difference I can see is that the iPad3 is great for watching HiDef movies, costs $100, and will have a 4 to 6 week wait to get one.  I'm sure it has some other cool features but they weren't part of the announcement. Recommendation: iPad 2.  If you want it quicker, cheaper, buy one off eBay or from a local Apple store (Village Pointe) or Best Buy. Otherwise, order if from the Apple store.

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