Skip to Content
Skip to Table of Contents

← Previous Article Next Article →

ATPM 16.11
November 2010



How To



Download ATPM 16.11

Choose a format:

The iPad Chronicles

by Robert Paul Leitao,

Why I’m Glad I Purchased the 3G Model

When the iPad was released in April, I thought about being among the first buyers. I didn’t see a real need for the 3G model, which was not yet available, and the $499 price point was an attractive one for my budget considering the accessories I also desired to purchase.

I’m not one to buy personal digital devices and leave myself wanting for the accessories that enhance productivity and usefulness. I waited over three months from the April release date and purchased my iPad in early July. I’m glad I waited for the 3G model. ATPM readers are familiar with My $1,000 iPad Purchase Odyssey.

Along with the iPad with 3G, I purchased the Apple keyboard dock, the Apple iPad case, and the 6-foot auxiliary power adapter. The auxiliary power adapter was purchased principally to allow for better positioning of the keyboard dock on my work desk. All of these accessories have proven to be necessities.

I knew the additional $130 for the 3G model would blow my budget, but the 3G capability has proven to be essential for using the iPad as a business tool. About two weeks ago, I attended a four-day professional conference and activated the 3G service for the first time. While the convention center where the conference was held offered Wi-Fi in the open areas and exhibit halls, the service was non-existent in the conference rooms. The 3G service allowed me to keep working throughout the day.

This morning, when I arrived at my office, Internet service wasn’t available. The Internet service provider for the organization had a regional service outage, and it took over three hours to correct the problem. Although outages of this duration aren’t common, they are too common when they happen. I pulled the iPad out of my backpack and downloaded, read, and responded to the work e-mails over 3G that otherwise would have stacked up until early afternoon when Internet service at the office was reestablished. If I lose a morning due to a lack of Internet access, I’ve lost virtually all productivity for the day.

The iPad with 3G activated searches first for available Wi-Fi networks before using 3G. This saves on 3G data use under the AT&T monthly service that has a 250 MB quota for the first tier of the pricing plan. The importance of being able to be connected anywhere and under virtually all conditions cannot be overstated if one desires to use the iPad as a home and business tool.

When I purchased the iPad in July, I was aware I’d be spending, accessories included, more than what most people would invest in a netbook or notebook PC. After almost three months of very active use, I’ve come to the conclusion that the iPad isn’t a replacement for a netbook or notebook PC. Rather, it’s a device that transcends the PC paradigm completely.

I’m pleasantly surprised how comfortable it is to position the iPad in my lap to compose or respond to e-mails. As a resource to find and consume news, it’s beyond compare. The application environment is a superbly efficient means to get at the news I need, and do so quickly. Productivity apps such as Pages and Keynote are as intuitive on the iPad and they are on the Mac.

If you’re contemplating the purchase an iPad and deciding between models, I recommend the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G. It’s worth the additional dollars for anyone desiring to use this amazing device at work or anywhere away from home.

iPad As A Navigation Device

Not to let my September investment of $14.99 for a month’s 3G go to waste without making the most of the dollars, I took the iPad on a short road trip to test its uses as a navigation device. For those of us who have made use of an iPhone or other smartphone to find directions and track progress to a selected destination, the iPad is a singular delight. The iPad’s comparatively massive screen eliminates the need to squint when tracking progress, and the “pinch and zoom” ability allows one to travel greater distances without moving the map in response to the miles already travelled.

Absent the desire for audible turn-by-turn directions, there’s no reason to look beyond the iPad for a navigation solution when 3G service is activated. In addition to providing a much larger screen to track progress to a destination, locations detailed along the way are much easier to see and note.

Alas, I cancelled the 3G service hours before its automatic renewal to save on another month’s charge. For now, the service isn’t needed. But I won’t hesitate to activate it again if for no other reason than to have the 3G iPad’s navigation tools available for the next business or personal trip out of the area and to unfamiliar surrounds.

Also in This Series

Reader Comments (0)

Add A Comment

 E-mail me new comments on this article