Friday, January 14, 2011

iPad 2: CDMA or GMS Version?

Cat’s out of the bag about Apple offering native CDMA support for Verizon. And given the timing, it’s not likely Apple will offer this support in the current iPad. Rather it’ll have to be for the iPad 2.

Now’s the important question: should you get the CDMA version or the GSM version of iPad 2?

For me, it’s a bit more complicated. I’ve got the iSpot that I use as my main wireless Internet hub. However, I am still interested in the 3G version of the next iPad because of the added GPS functionality that is likely to be available only for the 3G+WiFi version. Right now, I rely totally on the WiFi signals where I happen to be, which is useless since I already know where I am.

The cell signal on the iSpot is good but not great since there are parts of LA that still have no WiMax coverage.

So you see, this is different from deciding between getting an iPhone or an iPod touch. With the iPhone, you’re required to sign up for a two-year contract in order to get the GPS function. Having said that, which version should I, or you, get? And for a moment, forget that I have to pay a premium for the 3G with GPS version of the iPad.

I like the possibility that the CDMA version running on Verizon’s network might have unlimited data access. You might ask why would I need it since I can obviously get faster WiMax through the iSpot.

Well, between the two, I would use the iSpot because, for one, I’m already paying for the service. And you’re right, it’s also a faster service. But call my decision about this saving up for a rainy day.

See, Clearwire is in a bit of a financial trouble. It has quite a bit of debt and, recently, one of its main investors, Sprint, passed additional investment. I am a bit worried that one day, I’ll wake up to find out that wireless Internet through my iSpot has been shut off because Clearwire can’t pay its creditors.

And then there’s the announcement from Virgin Mobile that started throttling its “unlimited” service after 5GB of data has been reached. Clearly, Clear can do the same thing to its customers as well.

By going with Verizon, it's possible iPad users might get unlimited wireless Internet for $30 a month. With GSM, you obviously have to go with ATT. And Internet access is metered at $15 a month for 200MB or $25 a month and you get 2GB. Sorry, that isn't anywhere nearly enough for my needs.

Now, you might argue that with ATT, you get faster 3G access. However, what is the point of having faster limited access? It only means that we get to the 2GB limit faster on ATT.

I am leaning towards the CDMA version. But I still hope out hope that competition from Verizon might prompt ATT to wise up and go back to the unlimited Internet access it once offered when the 3G iPad first went on sale.

Outside of my unique situation, a regular mobile warrior's need would be a bit different. I think most folks will look favorable upon the CDMA version should Verizon give users unlimited 3G access.

Consider the situation, anyone can think of a reason to get a GSM iPad anymore?

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