Apple’s iPads have really grown up in the past few years. A cellular iPad lets you merge a laptop’s power with a smartphone’s connectivity, and it all comes in a super-portable package.
They’re a lot more than just Netflix machines. But whether you use your iPad for fun or productivity, choosing a cellular model lets you turn your tablet into a do-anything, go-anywhere device.
It’s easy to get stuck deciding between a Wi-Fi and a cellular iPad, so here are our top six reasons why we think your next iPad should be cellular.
1. You Have Plenty of Options
When it comes to picking out a cellular iPad, there’s no shortage of choices. Every iPad model has a cellular version available. Better yet, all of Apple’s latest iPads are 5G enabled, allowing you to access the full speed of the 5G network.
But keep in mind that the additional capabilities of cellular iPads aren’t free. Cellular iPads cost more. If you’re choosing between a cellular and a Wi-Fi-only iPad Air, you’ll need to shell out another $150 for the cellular model.
If you’re stepping up to the cellular iPad Pro, it’s another $200 on top of the base price. On top of that, you need to pay for a cellular contract to actually make use of that functionality.
But cellular iPads don’t have to be expensive. If you’re on a budget, older cellular iPads like the iPad mini (5th generation) can get you on the 4G network at the same price as the latest Wi-Fi-only models.
2. Hotspot Isn’t Always Your Best Option
If Wi-Fi isn’t available, you can always get your iPhone online by connecting to your phone’s hotspot. The iPhone’s hotspot feature, AKA tethering, is when you use your phone’s mobile data to connect another device to the internet. This is a great way to get your iPad online in a pinch, but it’s not always a great long-term solution.
While most carriers offer unlimited data plans for phones, when it comes to tethering other devices, they’re not always so generous. Almost no carriers offer unlimited hotspot data to stop people from using their phone’s mobile data as their home internet connection.
Mobile hotspots aren’t always your best option in terms of data speeds either. Although 5G on phones can be mind-blowingly fast, you probably won’t get that speed when tethering. Most cellular providers will throttle your hotspot data speed. Although your iPhone might have a perfect 5G signal, your hotspot might be slowed down to 4G or even 3G speeds.
But even if you won’t always get the fastest speeds, if you want a reliable connection you can take anywhere, choosing a cellular iPad means you don’t need to rely on hotspots at all.
3. Only Cellular iPads Have GPS
GPS is one of the most useful features of any smart device. Gone are the days of pulling out giant paper maps and asking strangers for directions.
Don’t own a Tesla with a giant infotainment screen? No problem, get a car mount and put your iPad on your dashboard. iPads can be a great tool for plotting out directions or planning your next big trip, but only cellular iPads have GPS built in.
In Apple’s manufacturing process for iPads, the GPS module and the cellular module are on the same chip. So, if you don’t get a cellular iPad, it also won’t come with GPS.
If you have a Wi-Fi-only iPad, you can still use Apple Maps or Google Maps, but you’ll have to rely on Wi-Fi positioning instead of GPS. Although it can detect your general location, Wi-Fi positioning isn’t nearly as accurate as GPS.
4. Cellular iPads Are Great for Work
With the increasing shift to remote work, boardroom meetings have become living room meetings, and many former office workers are becoming full-time digital nomads. As a result, a built-in data connection on your iPad can greatly boost your creative workflow.
If you’re traveling or living somewhere without a stable internet connection, a cellular iPad can deliver the speed and reliability you need to meet with teammates or download large files.
MacBooks are the go-to for many professionals, but there’s still no MacBook available with a cellular data connection. Thankfully, devices like the cellular iPad Pro are blending laptop-level performance with the go-anywhere data connection of a phone. And for this reason, cellular connectivity is a great reason to choose an iPad over a more traditional laptop.
Being hooked up to a cellular network means you can take your meeting in that coffee shop you love without worrying about the spotty Wi-Fi. It’s a liberating experience.
5. Mobile Data Is Way More Secure Than Wi-Fi
Ever been forced to connect to that sketchy, unsecured Wi-Fi network at the hotel you’re staying at? Hopping on networks you don’t trust is like playing Russian roulette with your data.
Any time you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, there’s always a possibility that it’s been compromised. Trackers and scammers love to leech onto unsecured networks and steal personal information, passwords, and bank account information.
While there are services like VPNs that can make using public Wi-Fi more secure, an iPad on a cellular connection avoids that problem completely. By choosing a cellular iPad, you will always have the option of connecting to a secure network that’s managed by a nationwide service provider, not some guy in a back room.
6. You Can Take Cloud Gaming Anywhere
A built-in cellular connection can turn an iPad into a mobile gaming powerhouse. With the rise of cloud gaming, an iPad can go from a tablet to a mobile console. Services like Xbox Cloud Gaming are bringing games that were once only playable on consoles or high-end PCs to almost any device with an internet connection.
While these services are great, they need a solid internet connection to work well. And depending on your location, it can be hard to find a fast and reliable connection for cloud gaming. So, a cellular iPad model lets you take your game almost anywhere.
Cellular iPads Just Give You More Options
Whether it’s for work or for play, a cellular iPad can be a game changer. Choosing a cellular iPad over a Wi-Fi iPad means you’ll always have the speed, reliability, and security of a mobile data connection, giving you the power to use your iPad in many more ways.
So, for all the reasons we listed above, if you’re looking for the best iPad Apple makes, make sure you pick up a cellular model.
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