iPad choice: to 3G or not to 3G

Posted on by Mike Evans

Mercifully, here in the UK we have an extra few weeks to make up our minds on whether to go for the basic wifi iPad or the more expensive 3G model. Friends in the USA report they have already placed their orders and are prepared to wait for the 3G model. I have very mixed views and all my doubts centre on that non-standard micro SIM that Apple have chosen to use in the iPad. The physically smaller iPhone still uses the larger, standard SIM card. But I suppose we can expect the micro model to be present on this year’s 4G iPhone when it arrives in the Summer.

The problem is that I want to be able to use my existing data subscription with both the iPad and my MacBook Pro. I wouldn’t mind swapping a SIM card around because, most of the time, it would stay in the iPad. Currently, as regular readers will know, I use a Novatel MiFi unit which means I can create a mini wifi network for up to five devices. At the moment, I’m minded to stick with the MiFi and with my £15-per-month 3GB Vodafone subscription.

Presumably, over the next twelve months, these micro SIMs will become more popular and it is highly likely that mini-routers such as the MiFi will soon become available with the smaller slot. In the future, therefore, I can see sense in having a 3G-equipped iPad for those occasions when I am travelling without the MacBook Pro and don’t even want the extra weight of the MiFi.

For the moment, therefore, the sensible decision is to buy the cheaper wifi pad and reserve judgement on the 3G model until the second generation model arrives in mid-2011. 

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