If you’re thinking about getting an iPad, don’t shoot yourself in the foot by getting the Wifi-only version. Get the 3G version, even if you aren’t convinced you’re willing to pay for 3G. Here’s why:
I’ve had an iPod Touch for a long time. An iPod Touch is basically an iPhone without the phone — and without 3G. It runs iPhone apps wonderfully, and I use it for everything: email, appointments, note taking, music, audiobooks, movies, Web browsing, games, shopping lists — you name it.
The problem is that it only has wifi, and this means that anytime I don’t have a wifi signal, there’s a lot that I can’t do. This can be very frustrating, especially when I’m around people with iPhones, who have constant access to the Web over 3G, and who simply don’t have this problem. Having to drive to a different part of town to find free wifi so I can check email (or whatever) really detracts from the value.
With the iPad, you are given the opportunity to deal yourself the same kind of misery. People tell themselves, “I don’t need 3G, because I won’t use the iPad anywhere but home and work.” They’re fooling themselves, because the “use it anywhere” nature of the iPad is one of its biggest advantages. If you buy the wifi-only version, you’re likely to be disappointed, and also stuck with an expensive iPad that isn’t what you need.
With the 3G version, on the other hand, the worst that will happen is that you’ll pay more up front for the iPad itself. You don’t have to sign up for 3G service, and even if you do, it’s month-to-month with no contract. You can cancel it at any time and avoid the ongoing expense of 3G. Compare this to the wifi version, where you’re basically out of luck when you realize that 3G is mighty handy! And 3G on the iPad is a lot cheaper than 3G on my cell phone, oddly enough.
I’m very fond of my 3G iPad and I use it all the time when I’m away from home. A laptop is too heavy and klunky to take with me everywhere, but the iPad works just fine. I can do all kinds of work wherever I am with the iPad. I use the Apple slipcase with it (I think it’s indispensible), and also a small Samsonite netbook case to carry the iPad, a spiral notebook, and some other necessities.
The iPad is not a cheap device, so you need to make sure you get full value from it. And that means 3G.