iPad 4G Data Plans Announced By AT&T And Verizon
If you've preordered your new 4G-equipped iPad -- hopefully you have, since Apple is already experiencing shipping delays for some models -- and thought you were done spending, think again.
To put the updated iPad's 4G LTE network connectivity to use, you'll need a data plan, and, as would be expected, that's going to cost you a small monthly fee, after you've purchased your new 4G iPad ($629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB, or $829 for 64GB units).
Apple currently lists data plans from both AT&T and Verizon up on its website.
AT&T will be offering monthly data plans of 250MB for $14.99, 3GB for $30, and 5GB for $50. Verizon will be selling monthly plans of 1GB for $20, 2GB for $30, and 5GB for $50. According to the Verge, Verizon will also offer a monthly data plan of 10GB for $80, though it's not listed on Apple's site.
So, is the 4G LTE network connectivity worth the extra buck for both the device and the data plan? If you're a frequent traveler, you might want to spring for it. According to Apple's website, an iPad equipped with both Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity "keeps you connected to the Internet using a fast cellular data connection when Wi-Fi isn't available. So you can stay connected when you're commuting on the train, hanging out at the park, or looking for directions during a road trip."
Furthermore, if you purchase a Verizon version of the 4G iPad, you'll also be able to take advantage of the new iPad's mobile hotspot feature, which, according to 9to5Mac, will allow "you to share your data connection with up to five other Apple devices, but it will only be supported on certain carriers."
Currently, this hotspot feature is available only on tablets outfitted for Verizon's network. However, an AT&T spokesperson told The Verge, "We are working with Apple to enable this feature in the future, but we currently do not offer it."
More good news for Verizon customers opting for a 4G iPad: The mobile hotspot feature will be included in Verizon's tablet data plans and won't cost the user extra money, as Verizon spokesman Albert Aydin revealed to 9to5Mac.
If you're in the market for a 4G iPad, will you choose AT&T or Verizon? Let us know in the comments.
[Hat Tip: iLounge]
Check out 11 big things you need to know about the new iPad.
The photo above shows the difference between the iPad 2's 1,024 x 768 pixel display and the new iPad's high-definition Retina display, which has double the resolution and four times the pixels (2,048 x 1,536 pixels). <a href="http://www.apple.com/ipodtouch/features/retina-display.html" target="_hplink">Apple has described a Retina display as</a> "pixel density is so high your eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels." And how does it stack up to other tablet displays? <a href="http://twitter.com/ryan/statuses/177548523254988800" target="_hplink">GDGT's Ryan Block said</a> of his first hands-on with the new device: "It's the best display I've ever seen. Anywhere, period."
4G, A First For Apple
Apple's March 7 event marked a first for Apple, the arrival of 4G LTE connectivity on a mobile device. Purchased with a two-year contract from either AT&T or Verizon, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/06/ipad-hd-apples-next-ipad-_n_1323535.html" target="_hplink">a 4G iPad</a> will, <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204603004577267441821060940.html" target="_hplink">according to The Wall Street Journal,</a> "allow users to connect a[t] speeds roughly 10 times faster than current 3G data networks." 4G models will also "work on any 3G network," <a href="http://gigaom.com/apple/apple-ipad-event-live-blog/" target="_hplink">per GigaOm</a>. New iPad models equipped with this unique feature, however, will cost users slightly more than models without 4G. (More on this later.)
The new iPad may look pretty similar to the old one, but it's packing some serious hardware upgrades within its thin frame. <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/07/new-ipad-vs-ipad-2/" target="_hplink">These include a faster processor</a>, the "quad-core" 1GHz Apple A5X, which Apple claims to offer twice the processing power of the A5 CPU (found in the iPad2) and four times the graphics-rendering power of the Tegra 3 processor found in many Android tablets, <a href="http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/03/live-blog-apple-ipad3-event/ " target="_hplink">per Wired's live blog of the event</a>. <a href="http://gizmodo.com/5891158/new-ipad-hd-the-third-generation" target="_hplink">Gizmodo argues</a> that Apple has also probably upped the device's RAM, "if only to handle the new resolution."
The new iPad did not get Apple standout iPhone 4S feature, the voice-activated virtual personal assistant, Siri. What it did get was Voice Dictation, which will be a blessing for anyone who has ever tried to type on the iPad's tricky virtual keyboard. To use the handy new feature, just tap the microphone icon on the keyboard and start talking. <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/07/ios-5-update-siri-speaks-japanese-voice-dictation-comes-to-new-ipad/" target="_hplink">Current languages supported by dictation</a> include U.S., U.K. and Australian English as well as Japanese, French and German.
While the new iPad offers quite a bit more than the iPad 2 in terms of display, hardware, and connectivity, the outside remains almost identical to its predecessor, measuring 9.5 x 7.31 inches. As expected, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/27/ipad-3-iphone-5-charger-dock-apple-rumors_n_1304388.html" target="_hplink">the biggest difference between the updated Apple tablet and its predecessor is its thickness...</a>
A Bit More Heft
Compared to the .34 inch iPad 2, the new iPad measures .37 inches deep, <a href="http://www.apple.com/ipad/compare/" target="_hplink">according to Apple's website</a>. In addition, the new iPad has .11 pounds on the iPad 2, weighing in at 1.44 lbs. The 4G version of the new iPad is even heavier, weighing in at a whopping 1.46 lbs.
Upgraded Photo Tools
<a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/07/new-ipad-vs-ipad-2/" target="_hplink">The new iPad boasts 5-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera that shoots 1,080p HD video.</a> The iPad 2's rear camera was only .7-megapixels <a href="http://www.apple.com/ipad/compare/" target="_hplink">and recorded video in a paltry 720p.</a> <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/07/iphoto-on-ipad/" target="_hplink">iPhoto</a>, Apple's photo-editing software, is now available for the iPad. The app can be used for editing, effects, beaming photos between devices and sending finished products to iCloud or social networking accounts. The app also lets users create photo journals, digital scrapbooks into which users can insert maps, notes and weather widgets. <a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57392601-1/apple-launches-ipad-app-for-iphoto-updates-others/" target="_hplink">The new iPhoto app costs $4.99 and is available today. </a>
The 4G version of the new iPad also comes with a feature called Personal Hotspot, which "can be used to share the fast network connection on your iPad with up to 5 other devices using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB," <a href="http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2012/03/07Apple-Launches-New-iPad.html" target="_hplink">according to an Apple press release</a>. Currently, this feature is available only for Verizon customers.
Even though the new features like Retina Display and 4G connectivity will be consuming a lot more juice, a larger, more powerful battery will keep the new tablet charged for the same amount of time as the previous model. Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, had the following to say about the battery during Apple's Wednesday event (<a href="http://live.gdgt.com/live-apple-ipad-3-event-coverage/" target="_hplink">per GDGT</a>): "You may recall we claim 10 hours of battery life, and 9 hours on 3G. The new iPad delivers the same 10 hours of battery life, and 4G is 9 hours."
Price And Availability
<a href="http://www.apple.com/ipad/compare/" target="_hplink">The WiFi-only iPad starts at $499 for the 16GB then jumps to $599 for the 32GB and $699 for the 64GB.</a> The 4G version starts at $629 for 16GB and tops out at $829 for the 64GB version. The iPad is available for pre-order now <a href="http://www.apple.com/ipad/" target="_hplink">and will begin shipping on March 16. </a> [<strong>CORRECTION</strong>: An earlier version of this slideshow incorrectly listed the pricing of the WiFi-only iPad.]
Along with Apple's announcement of the new iPad came a league of updated apps that will put the device's Retina Display to good use. According to Engadget, <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/07/apple-ipad-3-liveblog/" target="_hplink">all of the stock apps have been updated,</a> optimized, and scaled up so text will automatically be rendered in high resolution. In addition to uniform updates, several native Apple apps also received new features. <a href="http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2012/03/07Apple-Completes-iLife-for-iOS-With-Introduction-of-iPhoto-Major-Updates-to-iMovie-GarageBand.html" target="_hplink">Garage Band, for example, will now allow you to save creations to and easily share them through iCloud.</a> Also, <a href="http://www.macworld.com/article/165730/2012/03/apple_updates_imovie_garageband_iwork_for_ios.html" target="_hplink">according to MacWorld,</a> users will now be able to add an automatic string orchestra to their creations through the Smart Strings feature and fine-tune their recordings with Garage Band's Note Editor. Apple's updated iMovie app will feature more advanced editing tools and will enable sharing of videos in 1080p resolution to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and Apple TV, <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/7/2851783/apple-imovie-update/in/2615987" target="_hplink">The Verge reported.</a> The new iMovie will also let users cut trailers while recording video, take advantage of nine different genre templates, and incorporate custom soundtracks from famous composers. In addition to its own apps, Apple also introduced a new generation of apps made specifically with the new iPad's higher resolution and enhanced hardware capabilities in mind. According to Engadget, these apps <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/07/apple-reveals-next-generation-apps-for-the-new-ipad-infinity-bl/" target="_hplink">came courtesy of third-party developers </a> like game-maker Namco, which previewed its jet combat simulator SkyGamblers, and Epic Games, the developer behind popular role-playing sword-fighting game Infinity Blade and creator of the new Retina display-optimized Infinity Blade: Dungeons. In addition, 3-D design software manufacturer Autodesk showed off its Sketchbook app, which allows for a whole new level of sketch detail thanks to the new iPad's improved display.
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