All iPads WiFi vs Cellular... My personal observations

Discussion in 'iPad' started by KeepCalmPeople, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. KeepCalmPeople macrumors 65816


    Sep 5, 2012
    San Francisco Bay Area, California
    I'm sitting in a Starbucks typing this on my AT&T iPhone, which cannot connect to AT&T's wifi hotspot here...

    My observations really concern the US, for iPad users who cannot tether:

    1) Cellular iPads do not hold their value. You pay $130 extra for cellular capability but you'll be lucky to recover $30 of that selling used.

    2) Cellular iPad data is relatively cheap IF you have a shared data plan or can get away with using 200MB a month or less on T-Mobile.

    3) If you NEED a reliable, high-speed data connection while out and about, free public wif-fi hotspots just don't cut it. The bandwidth isn't there. The fastest I have found is at Target (I downloaded an HD movie while shopping there once, in less that an hour).

    4) Public wi-fi can be difficult to connect to. If you cannot connect, you have no recourse.
  2. ugcop macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2012
    Traveling @ Warp Speed ...... USA
    So, what is your decision?

    Personally, I have had cellular on every iPad since day 1of 1 and thus have grandfathered unlimited.
  3. Jasonkrick macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2013
    I wish I had an unlimited tablet data plan...

    What I do have though is unlimited data on my phone. It is a slight pain to tether but other than isn't too bad.

    This is why I do not have a single iPad with cellular. Everything tethers off my unlimited phone data. Including my laptop etc.
  4. KeepCalmPeople thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 5, 2012
    San Francisco Bay Area, California
    Oh - I have a cellular iPad (see my signature) and I make good use of the cellular capability. I can appreciate that the added expense is not worth it for some people however, particularly if you can tether.


    That makes perfect sense. The inconvenience of tethering is more than offset by the fact that it is essentially free.

    If you can't tether, or have limited cellular phone data to share, then the argument for a cellular iPad becomes more compelling.
  5. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    Public wifi is generally not that great, I agree. I was pleasantly surprised to see that wifi at SFO is now quite fast. One hotel I stayed at, a Holiday Inn in rural Oregon had incredibly fast wifi.

    I was in Englanlast month and both cellular and wifi were terrible. My switched between Edge and GPRS. At home I download the PDF of our paper in 10 seconds or so. In the hotel it took an hour.

    I have cellular data on my iPad air with AT&T. Coverage is pretty good, speeds vary a lot. With our plan it is $25 a month to add the iPad and we pool all the data in the family.
  6. CoMoMacUser macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2012
    I got the iPad 1 with cellular. I dropped service after a few months because I rarely used it. I'll never buy another tablet with embedded cellular. If I'm ever someplace where Wi-Fi is unavailable, I can just tether.
  7. michael31986 macrumors 68040

    Jul 11, 2008
    Do they really lose a lot of its value when you try and sell cellular ones?
  8. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    I have data plans on two phones (250mb and 300mb) and both ipads (3gb and 5gb) ... 4 data plans ;)

    You can never have enough internet ... :D
  9. CEmajr macrumors 601

    Dec 18, 2012
    Charlotte, NC
    For a percentage of what you get selling them compared to what you paid for them brand new, they don't return as much as the base 16gb wifi versions. Those are the ones most people go for.
  10. JackieInCo macrumors 603

    Jul 18, 2013
    This. I have T-Mobile on my iPad and 5S, plus I have the $30 5GB T-Mobile plan on my old Nexus 4 just for the data on it that I can tether on as well.

    Good for when the power goes out.

    Doesn't matter what I get when I resell my iPad to buy next years, it will always pay for at least half of next years model.
  11. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    Anything other than the base spec is going to have a higher depreciation rate - it's normal.

    Personally, I tend to upgrade my iPad every 2 generations. So that works out to be an extra £50/year. £25/year once resale is added on. I think I can stomach £2 a month for the convenience.
  12. michael31986 macrumors 68040

    Jul 11, 2008

    Same here. I had the iPad 2. Now got the air. I'll have the air for probably two years since the next iPad will probably be an S type upgrade. I bought the 16gb cellular so we will see how much it gets me later on.
  13. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    Yep, I held out for a retina mini. I can't see myself wanting anything more for a couple of generations - I love this thing!
  14. bniu macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2010
    You buy cellular because you have a need for cellular. You're not going to get much of that 130 back. Everyone who tries to offer to buy my iPads get shocked when I quote them a price $100 over the price of a wifi only version they saw on craigslist. Most weren't even willing to pay a dime more than the wifi version. I told them exactly where they could stick their money. I quote those prices because if they really want to buy it off of me at those prices, I will go ahead and sell it to them and upgrade to the next model. Otherwise, I will continue using my iPad happily.

    16GB Wifi Air will get lots of buyers second hand because price sensitive people who want to "buy in" to an Air would be willing to deal with second hand to get a bargain because it still gets them an iPad air.

    128GB Cellular Air will get very few second hand buyers. People looking to buy these models are generally not price sensitive, and would rather have the convenience of buying from Apple directly versus saving a few bucks and buying off of someone else.

    I don't give a crap about resale values. I pass my used devices onto my family and by the time they're done with them, they may take those overseas and give to relatives as "gifts".
  15. ARH1956 macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2007
    Who buys a cellular iPad for the resale value?
  16. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Resale value was not part of my decision matrix. I chose my LTE rMini for its features not for when I get ready to sell it.

    I pay 10 dollars a month, that's pretty cheap, less then the cost of 2 coffees.

    I had a wifi only iPad and found it very difficult to find public wifi. Sure if you go to a starbucks or something but how about in the car, or in a building that locks it down.

    Correct, and I find that the LTE enabled iPad gives me a lot more flexibility and freedom. Well worth the initial investment and small monthly increase in my cellular bill.
  17. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    $10 a month for LTE on the Ipad is indeed cheap and would not have a problem at that price wonder what you get for that. Personally, I use an LTE Iphone with free tethering for my Ipad and am happy to save the extra cost of the Cellular Ipad.

    Where do you pay $5 for a coffee seem high.
  18. s2mikey macrumors 68020


    Sep 23, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    I have the $25 for 1GB plan that I have three months to use. So, that's about 333 MB a month for about $8 bucks a month. Not too bad and is more than I'd ever need. It's also NON auto renewing which I like.

    The jury is still out for me on whether the cell support was worth it or not. I've only used a few MB thus far. Have to see how things look in six months.
  19. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    I'm happy with my mobile wifi router, LTE and can connect 5 (or 10?) devices the same time. Good for my iPad and iPod touch. Or MBA ...
    My first two iPad had SIM; but since then wifi only. Don't need it for navigation normally plus wifi-based navigation seems good enough for where I am. The iPhone fills the gap in case needed.
  20. SeanR1 macrumors 6502


    Jan 4, 2009
    I was just going to ask where he drinks coffee :)
  21. VI™ macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2010
    Shepherdsturd, WV
    I'm just going to use my phone to tether. My first iPad was Cell, but my other ones were not. I just went to and it showed 16Mb/s download speed. That's fast for where I live. When downloading from Steam and other sources at home, I get about 2-3Mb/s. When I'm at my girl's house where she has DSL, the average speed is 70Kb/s. Yes, 70 kilobits. It's ridiculous, but when you're other options are even worse there's not much you can do about it.
  22. csixty4, Feb 2, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014

    csixty4 macrumors regular

    Apr 8, 2010
    Somerville, MA
    I've given up on cellular iPads, personally. Too little extra resale value and an extra bandwidth bill every month I don't need. I already lose money from the 32gb upgrade. Co-workers got me hooked on Karma Wireless which has those little hotspots and pre-paid bandwidth. Much cheaper, and I can use it on my laptop too. They use Sprint's WiMAX network, so there's a few dead zones, but they're planning an LTE upgrade in the first half of this year.

    Between that and all the free wifi around here, I'm set.

    Edit: I should add that I end up using the hotspot a lot when there's public wifi but it's super-busy. The deal with Karma is that strangers can log into your hotspot to get 100mb free, and then you get 100mb free as "karma". I've gotten at least half a gig so far just turning it on at Starbucks.
  23. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    I upgraded to a wifi-only iPad mini 2 as well. Rationale being that after almost 2 years of using my ipad3 with 3g, I realised that 99% of the time, it was on wifi (either from home or at work, where I have my own 3g router). I rarely ever used 3g on my iPad at all (the notable one time probably being when my home internet went out for a day).

    I don't really care about resale value much, but hey, if I know I won't need it, why spend extra on it?
  24. ratsg macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2010
    just purchased my first iPad, an iPad mini 2.

    Even though I don't have, and don't plan to purchase a data plan, I made sure to get the cellular model.

    at least for me, the extra expense of the cellular model is worth it for the built in GPS alone.
  25. Lucille Carter macrumors 65816

    Jul 3, 2013
    I would not own an iPad without cellular as I use mine in the field. I have no desire to download movies at target, I would not even shop there!

    Resale value does not even occur to me when I make a purchase like an iPad. I am looking for function and it's ability to get my work done when ever. And where ever I want.

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