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Why an iPad with cellular? (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

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Here we are on the verge of new iPads being announced and I have an interesting question that I am aiming for everyone to chime in on, but in particular, @Sam Posten as I know he is getting the cellular option on his next device.

Why is it necessary to get cellular on an iPad?

Now, mind you, I currently own an iPad Pro with cellular connectivity. However, my reason is that at the time I bought it, there were navigation apps I was keen on using over my car's navigation that insisted on having an iPad with a cellular modem. You didn't have to connect to cellular with a plan, but just having that option allowed the maps and navigation to constantly update.

These days, with Apple Car Play, I no longer need that option.

But getting back to the question...

Getting cellular connectivity, at present, is a $150 upgrade option.

Why is it necessary when you can easily create a 5G hotspot with your iPhone and run your iPad's internet connection off of that?


Please note: I am not slamming anyone who gets 5G connectivity. I am just trying to understand it as it certainly could become a buying option for me.
 

Clinton McClure

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I can’t speak for personal iPads needing cellular, but there are businesses whose service technicians carry iPads instead of laptops and they need a cellular connection to look up parts and service manuals for equipment as well as gain customer signatures on work orders.
 

Thornhill

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My first iPad had cellular and I used to pay for the cell plan on it when I would travel for work. Some hotels didn't used to offer free wi-fi so I used the cellular option in those cases to connect to the internet. Nowadays there's more free wi-fi available and if I'm really in a pinch I have my cell phone to look things up or check in etc. I feel it's mostly for work related purposes, when you absolutely must have connectivity at all times.
 

Scott Voth

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I think it's mostly for people that use them for business on the road. I've run into a few instances where i wish I had it on mine when working on my car in my garage that is just out of my router's range when I need to look something up. I'm not a fan of adding to my monthly charges list - all those bills add up.
 

Ronald Epstein

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The problem I have with the cellular option is twofold...

First, it's a $150 extra option

Second, it's a $10 a month additional data plan

Just seems like an awfully expensive option when you can simply tether from a phone.

So, basically, I was just curious as to why some of you felt you absolutely needed it, that's all.
 

DaveF

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Don’t want to drain iPhone battery supporting tethering.

I mean, this isn’t for me. I have no need for cell plan iPad. But if you need it, or it makes your life easier, or it’s a business expense, then it’s only $120-ish a year.
 

dpippel

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I can’t speak for personal iPads needing cellular, but there are businesses whose service technicians carry iPads instead of laptops and they need a cellular connection to look up parts and service manuals for equipment as well as gain customer signatures on work orders.

Academia frequently uses cellular iPads as well, for collecting survey data in field studies. For personal use, as Ron points out, just tether to your iPhone. Works great.
 

sfyalek

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If you only use the iPad occasionally, you do not need to pay for the Cellular option. Dave fs right. Using the iPhone tethering, you will drain the phone battery faster and shorten the life of the phone battery. In addition, some carriers, such as AT&T, charge extra $10-$15/month for generating your own hot spot. They also limit your hot spot data cap.
 

dpippel

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Yep, if you're tethering your iPad and using it enough to cause iPhone battery problems or hit a data cap, then a cellular iPad might be for you. Otherwise, I feel it's a waste of money. I've supported a LOT of people who insisted that they needed it, and ended up never using it more than once or twice. An expensive lesson.
 

DaveF

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The first iPad we ever bought, and iPad 2 for my wife, we splurged for the cell capability thinking she’d use it / benefit from it. Never enabled it.

Haven’t bought a cell iPad since.

I’ve got a hand-me-down apple watch with cellular. I’ve got that enabled. It was great when I was jogging. now that I’m not jogging anymore, it’s just wasting money. I’m uncertain if I’ll pay up for cell Apple Watch when I replace it. I know my use case for Apple Watch cell data, but not sure I need it at $10/mo anymore.
 

Todd Erwin

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Yep, if you're tethering your iPad and using it enough to cause iPhone battery problems or hit a data cap, then a cellular iPad might be for you. Otherwise, I feel it's a waste of money. I've supported a LOT of people who insisted that they needed it, and ended up never using it more than once or twice. An expensive lesson.
I can see Real Estate agents using an iPad with cellular, especially during these pandemic times, to show homes to their clients.
 

Ronald Epstein

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The first iPad we ever bought, and iPad 2 for my wife, we splurged for the cell capability thinking she’d use it / benefit from it. Never enabled it.

Haven’t bought a cell iPad since.

I’ve got a hand-me-down apple watch with cellular. I’ve got that enabled. It was great when I was jogging. now that I’m not jogging anymore, it’s just wasting money. I’m uncertain if I’ll pay up for cell Apple Watch when I replace it. I know my use case for Apple Watch cell data, but not sure I need it at $10/mo anymore.

Yeah, Dave, I meant to mention...

I have cellular enabled on my Apple watch and it has been costing me $10 a month.

I really don't need it.

Once in a while I forget my phone and it's kind of cool to be able to take calls on the watch.

However, I really try not to forget my phone and keep it on me at all times. When the watch runs without the phone nearby, the battery depletes much quicker.

I think I am going to cancel the cellular plan on my watch. It's just a $10 charge I can do without each month.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I only entered the world of iPad in late 2019, and I went with the Wi-Fi model. My intention for the iPad was to use it primarily to stream video and surf the web in my kitchen - my twins had just been born, we were still living in an apartment, and I just wanted to be able to make the space a little bit more comfortable to hang out in. It was a great way to bring a tiny home theater into a spot that would have never fit an actual TV. In other words, I knew I’d be using the iPad only in places where I had my own WiFi.

If I had been in the market for an iPad when I still had a 90 minute train ride in either direction five days a week, often with an extra hour of waiting in the station for the train, that might have been worth the cellular option.
 

Ted Todorov

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I’ve always had the cellular version since the original in 2010.

All about travel, be it reading on public transportation, or when traveling abroad getting a local SIM for the iPad rather than the iPhone. I could then use the iPad to tether all other device, and was getting a far better deal on the SIM than I would on an iPhone SIM for the same amount of data. And I was talking to people via the iPad anyway, using FaceTime or Skype for the non-Apple people
 

Ronald Epstein

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And you know what? When all is said and done, with me getting an approx. $50 GVT discount on the new iPad and if it doesn't go up in price, I might have opted for the cellular model since I plan to hold on to this new device for several years before another upgrade...

...but then the alleged video of the new Apple Pencil leaked and if there is a huge advantage of owning it over v2, then that's another freakin' $100 I have to spend so the cellular option suddenly becomes a "no go!"
 

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