Which iPad Should You Buy? iPad 2, New WiFi iPad or New 4G iPad?

×

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images"I want an iPad" is an incomplete statement. Once the new iPad hits stores on Friday, Apple's (AAPL) iconic tablet will come in more varieties than ever.

When the original iPad was introduced in 2010, shoppers had to decide if they wanted to buy the $499 WiFi model or pay an extra $130 for the 3G chip that would allow them to sign up for wireless carrier data plans and nab connectivity when they weren't near a WiFi hotspot.

They then had to decide if they wanted to pay $100 or $200 more for models with more storage capacity.

Last year's rollout of the appropriately named iPad 2 introduced a third question: Do you want the outer body of the tablet to be black or white?

This time around, potential buyers have a fourth question to ponder: Do you want the new iPad or would you rather save $100 by getting an iPad 2?

Which iPad is Best for You?

Let's go over the pros and cons of each model so you know exactly what you want to buy when you head to the Apple circus on Friday.

1. The iPad 2

Pros: Just as Apple is now keeping older iPhone models around to sell them at lower price points, the iPad 2 will continue to be available. If you were jealous that your friend or neighbor got an iPad 2 over the holidays, here's your golden opportunity to get the last laugh by buying the same model for $100 less. If you've read through the new features of Apple's third generation of tablets and find that they're not worth the extra $100, there's nothing wrong with settling for the iPad 2. It was good enough for 15.4 million buyers this past quarter -- at higher prices to boot. The cheaper iPad 2 is also available right now.

Cons: Only the entry-level 16 GB model of the iPad 2 will stick around. It will be offered in WiFi at $399 and WiFi with 3G at $529. The 32-gig and 64-gig models are being retired. There are also some pretty nifty features on the new iPad.

2. The new WiFi iPad

Pros: The new iPad is sticking to the same exact prices and storage capacities as last year's iPad 2, but with several upgrades. The Retina Display fills the screen with 3.1 million indiscernible pixels -- more than even an HD television. A quad-core chip delivers a hearty boost in processing speeds. The dual cameras have also been upgraded. It even offers voice dictation, transcribing your spoken words into text for emails, documents, and text messages.

Cons: Paying $130 less for the non-4G model means that you are limited to WiFi online connections. For someone buying a tablet just to go through email, surf Facebook, play apps, or stream regular-quality video clips, the cheaper iPad 2 may fit the bill.

3. The new 4G iPad

Pros: Apple is finally going where even no iPhone has gone before: This its first 4G LTE device. Yes, it's considerably faster than 3G. The new iPad also doubles as a 4G hotspot, giving users the ability to have up to five different approved devices go online through WiFi or USB at the same time.

Cons: 4G LTE isn't available everywhere. Buyers are also limited to AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) as their carriers. There are no long contracts to sign, though each iPad is specific to its 4G LTE carrier. In other words, you can't go from AT&T one month to Verizon Wireless a few months later.

Honestly, There's No Bad Choice

Apple is making a statement. Fans should expect beefed-up iPads every year without having to pay more for them. It's the same philosophy that has worked quite well for the iPhone.

However, the annual updates also make waiting a compelling option. After all, when the fourth iPad rolls out early next year, won't the third generation be marked down by $100? Waiting can be a hard game, though. Given the growing number of apps and features, it's getting harder to resist an iPad if you have the means to afford one.

Apple may be giving you more choices, but the world's most valuable tech company really wants you to know that there is no such thing as a wrong choice.


NEXT: Want an older model? Check out a comparison of the iPad 2 and iPad 1:




Longtime Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

How Financial Planners go Grocery Shopping

Learn to shop smart and save.

View Course »

Goal Setting

Want to succeed? Then you need goals!

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

19 Comments

Filter by:
ipad

You completely duplication our mean and the difference of our information.
http://www.ipad-34u.com/

November 10 2012 at 2:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Angela

Thank you for this article. I am currently trying to decide on which ipad to purchase, and some of the options on which I was less than savvy (Luddite that I am) were made clearer, here.

Regarding other commenters: why waste time commenting with rude ideas? You don't want one, don't buy one. You have jobs where you don't find efficacy with such a product, cool, good for you.

This little sucker will make my field work easier and will make my kindle obsolete. I'm all for streamlining and creating ease on my job when it comes to technology.

Thanks again to the authors!

July 10 2012 at 10:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dishboy

When will people, especially journalists, realize that the phrase "same exact" is redundant. Same means identical. If it's not identical then it's similar :)

March 14 2012 at 12:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DJL461

How about "none of the above?" Is that not an option?

March 14 2012 at 11:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SUE

fdf

March 14 2012 at 2:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
powermetal2000

Hmm, this article is posted in "Daily Finance". So, AOL's financial advice isn't whether you should spend $400-$700 on an unneeded piece of tech, but which one you should buy? Seriously? Here's some financial advice for you. Spend that $700 on something you NEED, not on something you don't.

March 13 2012 at 10:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RCC

Hmm, this article is posted in "Daily Finance". So, AOL's financial advice isn't whether you should spend $400-$700 on an unneeded piece of tech, but which one you should buy? Seriously? Here's some financial advice for you. Spend that $700 on something you NEED, not on something you don't.

March 13 2012 at 10:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
powermetal2000

Hmm, this article is posted in "Daily Finance". So, AOL's financial advice isn't whether you should spend $400-$700 on an unneeded piece of tech, but which one you should buy? Seriously? Here's some financial advice for you. Spend that $700 on something you NEED, not on something you don't.

March 13 2012 at 10:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
herkminer

How about not buying any of them..What is the practical use of these? How do you justify the cost of these and the cost of the contract? Another gadget another waste of money. I still cannot fathom watching a movie or tv on an 8 or 10 inch screen. Whats the sense? I have a simple cell phone because there is a pratical reason to carry one. I use it for calls and limited texting with the animal shelters i volunteer for. Thats it.. i dont need an app for that. I dont understand $70.00 , - 90.00 a month for these smart phones.. A person in a business environment yes.. practical.. but all these kids running around with I phones.. I just dont get it...

March 13 2012 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to herkminer's comment
tedchee

First of all, kudos to you for your volunteer work at the animal shelter. Due to your contribution, I felt the need to reply.

It's natural that we use ourselves as what everybody else should be doing. But everybody can't live the same way as you do.

Your remark about watching movies or tv on a 10-inch screen makes a lot of sense when you're home with 40-inch screens. However, when you travel a lot, you turn on the tv & channel-surf & catch shows in the middle. Since I got an iPad2 with NetFlix, I don't even bother to turn on the tv unless it's local news since I can watch programs from the beginning & stop any time I want & resume at a later time where I stopped. It has been quite a time-saver. So it's replaced the hotel tv but the first time I got it, I used it as a full-time GPS for 3 days. I have a Garmin that I like but I'm not going to replace it due to the iPad2. There's a lot of other things that I could mention but maybe the major one is that I don't travel with my computer any more even though the iPad doesn't have the power, I'm much less afraid of losing it than my computer.

Re Apple's rules on what you can download, I'm all for it & I'm not talking about free speech. Just do a search on Android devices & the nasty surprise 250,000 users got from an app. If you want freedom, go Android but be sure you're capable of warding off the zombies!

March 13 2012 at 10:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
randallalbin

the store salespeople just want to make the sale. the buyer should be forewarned about the hidden charges and fees and buying the apps, etc. these devices are too complicated for the average bear

March 13 2012 at 4:25 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply