So you’ve decided you just have to have an Apple iPad? You’ve looked at the alternatives… but there is only one option for you – the iPad.
So, the iPad comes in 6 different flavours and how do you go about choosing which is right for your needs? Well, here’s 3 simple steps to guide you though that process with an example of how that fits personally for me…
1. How much Does an Apple iPad Cost?
Set your price. If you decide what the maximum is that you can afford then you may immediately be able to remove some choices particularly the expensive 64GB WiFi + 3G version.
Here are the prices so first question is what can you afford?
- WiFi 16GB = $499 (£325)
- WiFi 32GB = $599 (£390)
- WiFi 64GB = $699 (£455)
- WiFi + 3G 16GB = $629 (£410)
- WiFi + 3G 32GB = $729 (£475)
- WiFi + 3G 64GB = $829 (£540)
Prices outside of the US are yet to be announced so I’ve used a rough conversion in brackets above.
My answer: My top price if £500 so the WiFi+3G 64GB version is off limits and we’re down to 5 options.
2. Can You Live Without a 3G Connected iPad?
What do you want to on the iPad and where are you likely to be using it? if it’s for surfing the web in the comfort of your own arm chair then a “WiFi only” option is fine for you (provided you’ve set up your WiFi router of course!) If you’re out and about (on holiday, a work trip, commuting) and want to surf the web with your iPad then you need to consider a 3G version. The key is if you’re likely to be close to a WiFi source (cafe, hotel, bar etc.) then great and you may be able to get by without 3G but living in the UK, this is unlikely.
Your other alternative is to prepare the iPad before you leave home by syncing any music, film, podcasts, games and apps that you may want before you head out. You could also use an app like Instapaper to grab content off the web that you can read when you’re offline. In reality no-one is that organised so if you want to surf on the move you’ll need a 3G iPad and 3G provider. We don’t know yet what deals will be available on the iPad for the 3G providers, based on the US solution you just have a simple monthly cost that you choose to dip in and out of when you need it. If you don’t need the 3G connection for a month then you don’t pay but if you’re going on holiday then you can easily pay and get connected via the iPad’s interface. The bonus here with getting a 3G connection is you can also get hold of an app like Sugarsync and access the files that are on your home PC, on your iPad. This way you reduce the amount of memory you’ll need.
My answer: Limited WiFi coverage means I need the 3G option so can discount the 3 WiFi only versions that were still in the running after the question 1
3. What Size Memory Do You Need On Your iPad?
I’m assuming you have a desktop PC or laptop as you need one to get your iPad working. We now get into how much content you want permanently on the iPad and how easy it is to sync and swap media files from your PC to your iPad.
Of the 3 different options, here’s some stuff to think about for your own personal usage…
64GB iPad – For Power Users
64GB is for someone who wants to hold their entire music collection, a lot of films, books and podcasts all on the device. Remember you can easily keep your entire collection on your PC or Mac and set up a system to sync certain folders to the iPad for what you need on any given trip.
32GB iPad – For Balance
32GB is a pretty good balance of price and memory so you can hold a pretty big library on this sized iPad. Don’t expect to hold a huge library of films and heavy weight apps on this device but equally you can sync a decent sized choice of stuff to keep one the iPad at anyone time.
16GB iPad – Low Cost Option
16GB isn’t very big if you want to hold a few films, a reasonable music and podcast collection and apps or games. This is the inexpensive option but be prepared to constantly be moving files between your iPad and desktop or laptop iTunes.
One tip here – don’t hold on to lots of podcasts these add up very quickly taking up memory that you’ll rarely listen to twice
My answer: Well I want the option of apps, music, games and films so I’m in for a 32GB WiFi +3G.