While I was on my recent vacation, I got into a discussion with a fellow cruiser who was going to wait for the 3G model before taking the iPad plunge (as Macworld's Jason Snell suggested). He wanted to know why I wasn't waiting, so I gave him the following reasons:
1) I want to gloat. Yep, while those other people are waiting another month to pay an additional US$130 to get their 3G iPads, I'm going to have a month to play with my iPad, watch movies, see how well it works when blogging or writing, and otherwise just show off with the damned thing. Woo-hoooo! When it comes to Apple technology, I always demand the latest and greatest, and the iPad is no exception. In fact, I haven't been this excited about a new Apple product since 1993 when the Newton MessagePad hit the streets.
2) Free Wi-Fi. Most places I frequent have Wi-Fi connectivity that is much faster than 3G, and it's usually free. When the gentleman on the ship sneeringly asked where I found all of these free Wi-Fi hotspots, I pulled out my iPhone and showed him the free JiWire Wi-Fi Finder app. Since it even allows offline searching of a large database of free or paid Wi-Fi locations, I was able to show him several locations on St. Barthélemy where he would be able to get free Wi-Fi... and get a drink at the same time. In the "real world" off of cruise ships, it's amazing how many free Wi-Fi hotspots exist.
3) MiFi is your Fi. Where I don't have free Wi-Fi and I'm still in the good ol' USA, I have my Sprint MiFi to fall back on. I bought the MiFi to replace an aging USB 3G modem while I was facilitating training all over America, and I got hooked on being able to use it almost anywhere as a pocketable Wi-Fi router. Yeah, it's twice the cost of the monthly AT&T 3G plan for the iPad, but I can share my connection with up to 4 more iPad-toting buddies at the same time. For those folks who are lucky enough to live in one of the growing number of cities where Sprint is rolling out their 4G network, you can get even faster connectivity that will make the AT&T 3G connection for the iPad seem poky by comparison. And if you hate Sprint as much or more than you hate AT&T, you can always fall back on the highly-vaunted Verizon network, as that carrier also sells the MiFi.
4) I expect imperfection. I had heard from some local Apple geeks that they were waiting for the 3G model because "the first unit is bound to have some problems, and they'll fix 'em by the time we get our 3G iPads." Yeah, the first batch of any new groundbreaking device from Apple usually has some quirks that are incredibly annoying. I remember the issues with activating my first iPhone in 2007; I recall having some problems with my first iPod back in 2002 that made me want to throw it through the window of the local CompUSA Store. But in each case, a fix that resolved most of the niggling problems came out within a month or two, and as soon as the patch was applied I was a happy camper.
In the case of the Newton MessagePad, it took a few years -- until the MessagePad 2000 arrived -- before I was really convinced that Apple had actually made a close-to-perfect product. Do I think this first iPad is going to be perfect? Heck, no. But I'm willing to work around some of the issues until they get fixed. I've done it before, and I'll do it again.
How about you, dear TUAW readers? Are you holding out for the 3G model? If so, what are your reasons? Leave a comment below.
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