The reviews are in: here are our favorite bloggers' early reactions to Apple's mouthfullishly-named iPad with Wi-Fi+3G. In IT Blogwatch, your humble blogwatcher summarizes their verdicts for your reading pleasure. Not to mention an impossible helicopter...
Jeremy Horwitz reviews 3G pros and cons:
There are now two versions of the iPad: the original model ... "with Wi-Fi," and now the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G. ... The two iPad versions ... differ in ... pricing, small cosmetic changes, and a few hardware tweaks. ... The 3G version of the iPad represents the future of the product line. ... The value of anytime access to the Internet is particularly visible. . . .
A large matte black plastic panel ... lets the device's cellular wireless antennas communicate. ... Micro SIM card slot. ... Apple charges a $130 premium ... primarily for the cellular networking hardware. ... AT&T currently offers ... [a] better than decent ... deal. ... 250MB per month plan for $15, and an "unlimited" plan for $30. . . .
[But there's] no provision whatsoever for existing iPhone customers. ... These two devices should be able to co-exist on a single service plan ... AT&T's inability to do so is inexcusable. ... YouTube ... strips even HD videos down to an ... unwatchable resolution over a cellular connection.
Matt Buchanan has benchmarks:
Even though the performance of the iPad and the [iPhone] 3GS over the same AT&T 3G network were almost identical, the iPad felt slow, mainly because of how much faster the iPad's CPU can render pages. ... Still, it's totally usable, and nothing quite beats the feeling of ubiquitous internet.. . .
While the iPad was much slower to ... GPS lock than the 3GS running iPhone OS 4.0 Beta 1 ... the iPad's GPS was more accurate and consistent, tracking our progress totally smoothly and nearly instantaneously. ... The iPad is slower to lock, but the lock is stronger.
Philip Lam wonders if he can get T-Mobile working:
Apple claims that the iPad 3G isn't carrier-locked, but it won't ... support the band (1700 MHz) that T-Mobile 3G uses. However, ... EDGE ... [is] confirmed to work by several users with some handiwork. ... Perhaps you're a long time T-Mobile customer with the $5.99 T-Zones data plan that is no longer offered.. . .
Take out the AT&T Micro SIM and place it on top of the T-Mobile ... SIM ... and trim it with a scissor ... (Be sure not to cut the gold contact).
Walter Galan offers his now-traditional teardown:
Major differences include the 3G chip, SIM card board, and the plastic antenna cover. ... The 3G iPad is not nearly as barren as the Wi-Fi-only iPad, but it's still not jam-packed. . . .
New to the 3G iPad, there's an antenna attached to the backside of the display. ... Copper foil ... connects to the silver metal LCD frame. Apple has cleverly used this same piece of metal for both structural and electrical purposes. ... More subtle is an additional small IC above the A4 chip next to the connector for the GPS antenna.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Geller has a secre... oh, wait:
It's not a secret that both ... iPads ... are jailbroken, but what's really interesting is that the world-famous iPhone Dev Team has managed to get the native SMS application from the iPhone working on the iPad.. . .
Who wouldn't want an SMS app on their new iPad? Whether you can actually send or receive messages on AT&T in general is another story.
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, e-mail, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.
This story, "Apple iPad 3G: Review Roundup" was originally published by Computerworld.