How serendipitous that today is the day that I am writing my first mobile blog post. I have just returned from the Apple store after purchasing my new 32GB WiFi + 3G iPad. It wasn’t cheap and retailed at a base price of $729. This doesn’t include the high rate of sales tax we pay here in Silicon Valley. Since I can’t leave an expensive item like this exposed to mishandling and accidents, I also added an additional book jacket from Incase that tagged on another $59.95.
There’s no need for me to spend time on this blog to talk about the iPad, starting it up, or how it looks beyond the back that it is very sleek and I really like the amount of real estate available on the screen. The liquid crystal display (LCD) screen measures 9.7″ (25 cm) diagonally and has a display resolution of 1024 x 768 and 132 pixels per inch (ppi). I’ll end the technical specs there. First off, the iPad has been out for over six months when it was first released on April 3, 2010 and there are plenty of websites available where the specs are available. Second, I want to focus this blog posting on a slightly different topic: and that is the implications of Verizon starting to support the iPad 3G network at the end of this month.
Much to everyone’ chagrin, AT&T was really the only official game in town since the first generation iPhone was released in June 2007. The crappy network, bad customer service, and bandwidth overloading have caused much frustration and consternation over this. But, while AT&T has pretty much had a monopoly over the iPhone here in the US, little has been done to improve the service. Now, we finally get to have some competition that will give us consumers a choice in the matter and should drive down costs as well as enhance data services. The standard AT&T data service for the iPad’s with the 3G card cost either $14.99/month for up to 250MB of data or $25.00/month for 2GB of data. The good news is that long term contracts are not required to subscribe for this service. The latest information regarding Verizon is that they have three price points: a 1 GB data plan for $20/month, a 3GB data plan for $35/month, and a 5GB one for $5/month. On a pure dollar/GB comparison, the Verizon plan does come out ahead by a little bit. However, there is one catch. With the purchase of an iPad from the Verizon store starting on the 28th of October, customers will be required to bundle in the MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot. This is a small portable hotspot device that allows up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices at once. The cost for this will depend on your particular subscription package, but is an added cost to consider.
Nevertheless, competition is good. As the ancient Roman poet Ovid wrote, “A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace.” And to continue down this road, sources at the Apple Insider are also saying that Apple will be making 3 million CDMA iPhones in December to get them ready for Verizon in early January, 2011. This is significant since all of the current iPhones on AT&T’s network are currently on the GSM network. The Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) is the standard used by AT&T as well as about 80% of the world’s handphones today. CDMA, or Code Division Multiple Access, is a far less used standard and Verizon and Sprint are the only two major carriers in the US that use it.
Although the iPad is not a cellular phone, it is certainly a mobile device and I look forward to experimenting with it over the next few days. Having used my iPhone now since early 2009, I don’t see any major challenges in getting my system up and ready. I’ll write up a quick review in the coming days of my own exerience on the iPad and how I expect to utilize it differently from my iPhone.