Friday, November 5, 2010

Buying an iPad for Verizon

I bought an iPad earlier this year. And, I've been happy with it. Back then, you could only buy an iPad from Apple. That is, from an Apple Store, and Apple Dealer, or online from

Now, though, you can buy one from Verizon, or a bunch of other places.

You may be wondering if you should buy one from Verizon. I'm not going to say you should or shouldn't, but here is some information that Verizon ... or Apple ... might not tell you.

3G or not 3G?

If, like me, you want to be able to connect to the Internet without depending on 3rd-party hotspots -- like at a Starbucks, McDonald's, a hotel, or other places, or when you're in the car (the passengers using it, not the driver!) --  then you need to be able to carry the Internet around with you. Okay, not the Internet, but an Internet connection.

I bought mine from Apple, and bought the 3G version. That meant that I could connect to the Internet from just about anywhere.

To me, it's worth considering getting the ability to connect to the Internet. And that meant getting the 3G version. But maybe not anymore.

Verizon's option

You can buy an iPad from Verizon. They are promoting the heck out of their bundle. That's a WiFi-only iPad, plus their MiFi hotspot thingy. And, from their Website, it's next to impossible to find an iPad without the MiFi bundle. They want you to buy both.

But, you might not have to.

AT&T vs Verizon

I have Verizon as my cell phone provider. I can sit on my couch (like right now, as I write this) and use my Verizon phone. When my daughter, who has AT&T service, visits, she cannot sit on my couch and user her AT&T phone. Verizon service is more reliable in more places ... for me. It might not be for you, but it is for me.

If AT&T is more reliable for you, then you should get an iPad with 3G, which means using AT&T for non-wifi connectivity.

If, though, like me, you prefer Verizon, then you have some options.

Your Own Personal Hotspot

If you have one of those fancy new phones that can work as a hotspot -- like my Droid does -- or if you have some other personal hotspot device, you can use it, then you only need a WiFi version of the iPad.

Verizon says they'll sell you one, but, gosh, it sure is hard to find how to do that online. You might have to go to a Verizon store.

But, does it work well? Well enough. I'm using it to post this. Yes, I'm sitting on my couch writing this, but I'm connected to the Internet via the hotspot device (a Droid X, in my case).

So, if you have your own hotspot device already, and it performs satisfactorily, you don't need to get a new one.

Connectivity Pricing

How much does it cost to connect?

AT&T has a couple of plans: $15/month for 250 MB, or $25/month for 2GB. If you run out of data, they'll renew to start a new month. If a month passes, they'll renew unless you cancel. My usage has always been more than 250MB, but less than 2GB. There's no overage charges, because when you run out, they start a brand-new month.

Verizon isn't quite as simple, and there is the risk of overage. If you go with the MiFi 2200 plan (part of the iPad bundle), it's $20/month, but you only get 1 GB.

If you have a hotspot device -- say, a phone that can work as a hotspot -- it's $20/month for 2GB. Cheaper than AT&T, more data than the MiFi 2200 plan, but as an add-on to your cell phone bill, you run the risk of overages; it doesn't recycle like AT&T's plan.


If you already have a portable hotspot device you're happy with, you can buy a wifi-only iPad from anywhere. In my case, there's a local dealer, and I'd buy from him.

If, though, you don't have a personal hotspot, then you really want to consider getting either an iPad and a hotspot device (like Verizon's), or get an iPad with 3G built-in (that means pay as you go AT&T service).


  1. Just needs a keyboard:

  2. Oh, my. I think that's what I want for Christmas!


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