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skfinkel's avatar

Buy the current i-pad or wait for the next version...

Asked by skfinkel (13511points) March 5th, 2012

This will be my first ipad; is the current version good enough, or since the newer version is coming out soon, should I wait and get the newer version? Also, do you have to buy a wifi connection to use the ipad? If you have a smart phone, does that connection work for the ipad?

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21 Answers

ratboy's avatar

According to the rumor mill, the next iPad will be a substantial upgrade and will be priced similarly to the current model. On the other hand, the price of the current model should drop after the next one is released. In either case, it would be wise to wait a week or so. WiFi means a wireless router; if your home is already networked, it doesn’t cost much to add wireless. Also wireless is widely available in fast food places, coffee shops, etc. As things stand now, you cannot tether an iPad to a smartphone without modifying the iPad’s software.

SpatzieLover's avatar


It’s what I just decided to do. Apparently the upgrades are supposed to be worth waiting for. Even if they’re not, the price on the older model should come down.

Dog's avatar

Since you only have two days till the iPad 3 is announced there is no harm in waiting. I can tell you that I have had the iPad 1 and 2 and both are great. It would take a LOT of improvement for me to trade up to the 3.

At my work we have been writing up all the rumors (I am a staff writer) and really the rumors are out of hand. I would not put any real stock into any except for the most obvious- it is a given that it will be faster than it’s predecessors.

Regarding the wifi need. You can purchase versions that allow you to buy a data plan like your phone. there is no contract- it is month to month. I use it when traveling but use wifi all other times.

Here is a suggestion for when you DO get your iPad:

Get this free app: Free WiFi Finder
You would be surprised how many free connections there are out there. You have the option of downloading the database ahead of time so it works off WiFi too.

Do you have any other questions about iPads or Apps?

janbb's avatar

I would wait at this point and see what the new one is and does. When I was looking, I waited for the 2 to come out. As Dog says, you can pay for a data plan monthly or connect to local or inhouse wifi for free. There is also something you can buy which uses your smartphone as a wifi hotspot for your tablet. I have wifi only and just augment with my iPhone when wifi is not freely available.

skfinkel's avatar

Not really clear on the wifi thing. If I have wifi at my house, will that work for my ipad? It seems there would be no reason to get any other stuff for the ipad, if the wifi’s at home and at every coffee shop work. It’s kind of like the the computer then, and not the phone (which does require an additional monthly expense)...right?

janbb's avatar

Exactly. You just need to sign in to the wifi in your house – or anywhere else it’s available – and you’re good to go. You can pay for a data plan which will allow you to connect where there is no wifi but there’s rarely any need to have that.

Dog's avatar

Yes- it will work on ANY WiFi connection that you have access to. It is pretty great!
There is no monthly expense unless you want to use it away from WiFi.

There are tethering plans but by all accounts they are expensive and not all that reliable. Most people use them to connect a laptop.

Other apps you might want to look into:
eBook Search- Find free books for iBooks (It is great for finding the classics! Gutenburg for the win!)

Oh a word of caution about the ratings in the AppStore- many are fabricated by companies hired to deliberately inflate the ratings. When buying an app be sure to search for it on Google for other party reviews.

Look at this article to see what I mean about the App Store. Apparently there are services (overseas usually) that have thousand of “legit” accounts who, for a price, will push up the ratings to 5 stars on any app- no matter how crappy.
Sad really.

zigmund's avatar

Like others here have said, your home wireless fidelity will work just fine with your new iPad, but don’t let that be the determining factor about whether or not you but the iPad with 3G capability (the standard is WiFi only. WiFi + 3G is about $120 more) I would strongly suggest spending the extra. I just knew that the first time I wanted to use my iPad2 and wasn’t near a reliable WiFi source, I’d be kicking myself for going the cheap route.
I lurve mine. It’s hard to put it down sometimes…

Dog's avatar

^ I totally agree with @zigmund. I have the 3G and it was well worth it.

zigmund's avatar

It actually came in veeery handy when I was stranded in Vermont after Irene hit. The small town I was in had no power, so no land DSL service. They all used the local Verizon provider, and it was down, too. I was the only person who could get 3G service through AT&T and was able to set up my iPad as a WiFi tether so that the town could start getting disaster reports out to the state government to aid in rescue.

Dog's avatar

Wow! That is amazing and great to hear. I have found my iDevices to be completely indispensable. It found me a gas station in a remote area, gives me storm warnings and enabled me to finish and submit my articles while in a car driving through two states.

I just cannot imagine being though a hurricane. Seriously- I would rather keep my earthquakes and fires here in CA. (Apps for those too! Ha!)

Oh and @skfinkel Please- the first thing you should do is get your iPad signed onto an iCloud account (free) and activate FIND MY PHONE. It is a LoJack for your iPad.

I can link you to dozens of stories of recovered iPads/iPods/iPhones using the free app. But I will just link you to my very favorite one that I just had sent to me this morning:

The moral of this story is- if you steal an iPad do not hide it in your meth lab…. story

janbb's avatar

I thought with the 3G you had to commit to a monthly data payment. You can turn it on and off?

Dog's avatar

It is a monthly option- you pay as you go and sign no contracts. I usually only use it for a month twice a year.

jerv's avatar

Given how soon the new one is coming out, I would hold off. You will get either a better iPad, or a better price on last years model. However, the Retina display alone is worth waiting for.

@Dog Droids are handy for the same reasons, so I would say that modern technology in general is useful. That said, once it becomes vital, problems arise when things go awry… and they often do in New England.
Irene was relatively manageable, but the ice storm back in ‘08 was another matter entirely. And considering that I lived where no cell network had reliable coverage even in the best of times, and DSL didn’t exist in most of the county, well, as handy as technology is, you cannot survive unless you know the difference between “handy” and “indispensable”. Take it from someone who spent a week in the woods with no heat (kind of an issue during a NH winter), water, phone, unreliable road access, in a county that was starting to run low on gasoline.

zigmund's avatar

@jerv The town I was in let folks buy $5 of gas each day…
You can turn it on at any time, instantly. I disabled mine when I realized I had paid for months without using it at all. I could turn it back on right now if I wanted to. $25 a month…

jerv's avatar

Whether or not that is worthwhile depends on where you live. For instance, downtown Seattle is one huge wifi municipal hotspot, not counting all of the little ones like Starbucks, so 3G is not needed at all. And places like where I used to live in NH had no 3G coverage period, also rendering it moot. Somewhere in the middle, you have places like where I work; at work, there is no wifi (at least none that I am allowed on) with no nearby public-access ones, but my smartphone still has 3G.

So, how is wifi coverage in your area?

@zigmund The town I lived in was about 15 miles from any working gas pumps.

Rarebear's avatar

I didn’t get the 3G because I had it on my phone. 95% of the time I’m using the ipad at work or home, both of which have wifi so I’m fine. Today, though, my friend was downloading lyrics off of 3G for our band and it was kind of cool. I don’t need it though.

I’m fine with the ipad2. Mostly I use it for the usual crap, email, web surfing, occasional video, news reading, etc. I hear the new one will be a little thicker but with a faster processor. If I were to get one now, I would probably wait to see if it’s siginificantly better, and if not, then get an ipad2 that is being unloaded.

skfinkel's avatar

I have a very smart phone that does just about everything. Is the ipad just a bigger phone?

jerv's avatar

@skfinkel I have a Droid X and a 7” tablet. I thought the same way when I got my phone, but I use the tablet quite a bit even though they both use the same CPU simply because there are certain things that are easier/better on a larger screen. Typing, for one. Movies and certain games are better on a 7” screen than on a 4.3”, and reading PDF-format e-books in incomparably better on a tablet.

janbb's avatar

“Bigger” is the operative word. I have watched TV programs on it while cooking. I could never watch anything on my phone. It also keeps me Fluthering while on the road.

sinscriven's avatar

Wait. Tomorrow is the iPad3 announcement, and it will likely be sold at the current iPad2 price right now, with the iPad2 being cut down in price. That’s how Apple usually does things.

While it’s not technically required to have Wifi to use an iPad, you will be severely crippled without access to one, or have a data connection plan. Wifi is available in a lot of places, so depending on where you work/live, you may get easy access to that for free, otherwise you will need to have a wireless router hooked up to your home internet connection.

If you want one that uses 3G (maybe 4G?) data on a wireless network then you will have to buy the iPad from that carrier, and it will be a new plan. The iPad can’t share your smartphone’s data connection unless you have a wireless hotspot device.

As for it being an oversized iPhone, it is and it isn’t. They both run iOS so they operate nearly identically, but the iPad3 will have significant more screen space and power to run more robust applications, for example Microsoft is doing a port of MS Office to the iPad, and Adobe recently released an iPad version of Photoshop.

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