Yesterday I posted about why I think the iPad 2 is the deathblow to all other tablets, today I want to talk about some of my thoughts surrounding the iPad 2 itself (instead of the tablet industry). I want to touch on why I want a 3G model, why the Smart Cover is a good thing for everyone, why you shouldn’t wait for the iPad 3, and the color choices.
To 3G or Not
The last time the iPad was launched I bought the WiFi only model for one reason: it was the first iPad available. This go around all signs point to a simultaneous release of both the WiFi and WiFi+3G models and I am buying the latter. I am buying it to save money and add a tremendous amount of convenience.
Let’s start with the money aspect first. It is $130 more to buy the 3G model over the comparable WiFi only model, so one would think that you can’t save money buying the 3G model — but I can. Currently I pay (roughly) $60/mo to Verizon for the 5GB of data on my MiFi. The times that I use the MiFi are all times that I could easily do the same work on the iPad (with exception of blog posting which we will ignore because I want to keep this post under 10,000 words). Effectively, in just a tick over two months time, I will have paid back the added cost of the 3G model by eliminating the MiFi bill — but that’s not fair because I still need to pay for data on the iPad.
Here is the great part though: 3G iPad data is pay as you go on a month-by-month basis. Therefore I can pay for the data only when I need it, and for the sake of argument I will assume that when I need data — I need data, and will go with the 2GB plan. Thus I will have to pay $25/per use when I want the 3G data. If I look at my expected travel plans for the next year and factor in how much I would use the data based on my MiFi usage (adding for convenience of built in 3G, I am upping the frequency of usage by 20% from what I used on the MiFi). I would guess that I will need to pay for data 8 months out of the next 12 months.
Or to buy the 3G iPad and pay for the expected data usage, for the next year, it will cost me: $330 for the year. By dropping the MiFi I will save: $720 for the same time period. Basically then I will come out $390 ahead, that is no small number — that’s presumably an iPhone 5.
Of course that is not the end of the story though, because as Shawn Blanc pointed out during our podcast yesterday I could use the personal hotspot feature on my iPhone. If the reports that I am seeing are right I would need to pay the $20/mo for tethering in addition to my normal iPhone data plan for the same 2GBs. That would seem to be an ideal solution because I wouldn’t also have to pay the $130 up front premium on the 3G iPads.
We also have to consider how these plans work though — I could certainly turn the tethering plan on and off for the iPhone, but not with the same ease I can with the iPad data. That means that I would effectively be paying for 12 months worth of data at $20 a month — or paying $240. Which is $90 less than I would be paying for the same data with the iPad 3G and the added bonus of being able to use that data connection with my Mac.
This is where the last factor comes into play: convenience. What is more convenient: having to pull out your iPhone and activate the hotspot feature, or just doing it all on your iPad. As someone who has had to effectively had to do that routine for almost a year now with my MiFi, I can tell you that there will be times that you won’t want to use your iPad when you could, because it is just too much of a hassle to get internet access. I want to eliminate that.
I want the future and the future is internet where you need it, when you need it.
Smart Ass Cover
A lot has been said about how great the new Smart Cover is for the iPad 2 and I would be lying if I didn’t say that it does look rather fantastic. There is no doubt in my mind that it will be a hit, especially since there is likely to be no other covers for the iPad 2 in the Apple Store when it launches on March 11th — a clever business trick Apple used with the iPhone 4.
John Gruber posted on Twitter when the Smart Cover was launched:
Third-party iPad case market is in trouble.
I can see where he is coming from on this thought: if Apple’s case is so fantastic, why would a consumer buy anybody else’s case? I think if one thing can be learned from the iPhone and the first iPad it is that consumers like cases and they like a huge diversity of them. What Apple did with the Smart Cover was to give every case manufacturer a killer way to secure their case to the iPad 2.
Everyone can copy the magnet trick to use with their cases and I don’t just mean for cases that cover the screen only.
I think the far more likely outcome is better cases across the board — which is a winning scenario for everyone. Third party case manufacturers should have no problems selling their versions.
Waiting for the iPad 3
Don’t wait for the iPad 3 because you think it will be better — I can tell you with 100% certainty that it will be better — otherwise why would Apple make it?
If you are waiting to get the iPad (whether you have one or not) because you think the next version will be better — then you will be waiting indefinitely. If you held off buying the first iPad and really want one — I don’t see any reason to keep denying yourself even if there is another new model in September — which is far from a guaranteed.
The big question is whether you should upgrade, or not — if you already have an iPad — to which I direct you to Patrick Rhone over at MinimalMac.com who hits the nail on the head:
I think if you were using and loving your iPad before today’s news, you can and should do so after it. It is still very much the magical and revolutionary […] device it was when you woke up this morning.
Indeed. The only people that should consider this a must upgrade immediately (outside of tech writers and enthusiasts) should be educators and presenters where the full HDMI mirroring is invaluable.
Doesn’t Matter if you are Black or White
So Apple is assuring us that we can get the white iPad 2 on day one, along side the black model. The internet seems split on these models with a slight preference to the black model. Initially I was all about the black model, but I am starting to be swayed in the white models direction.
The white looks terrible when the screen is off, but when the screen is on it blends with the screen far better than the black does. Add to that the general idea that it may look cleaner in the long run — given that black surfaces show a lot more dirt and grime than white surfaces do.
It is a tough call and honestly I am really hoping that I can see them both in person before I decide which to buy. Right now though I am 52% in favor of black, but trending towards white. Damn this indecision.