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Apple's iPad Offerings

Apple's iPad Offerings

As of March 2011, there are eighteen different versions of Apple's newest iPad 2 tablet available, available in black or white, priced starting at $499.00. The first six configurations are for the iPad with Wi-Fi only, which can only connect to the Internet when a Wi-Fi Internet connection is present. Since many of the apps available for the iPad require access to the Internet, before purchasing one of these less expensive models, make sure you'll have a Wi-Fi Internet connection available wherever and whenever you plan to use the tablet device.

Once you decide you want one of the iPad with Wi-Fi[nd]only models, the next decision is how much memory you'll want or need within the device, keeping in mind that they are not upgradable after the fact. The three memory configurations currently available include 16GB ($499.00), 32GB ($599.00), and $64GB ($699.00). The iPad with Wi-Fi does not require any additional ongoing service contract for Internet access.

Finally, you'll need to choose between a black or white bezel (the "frame" around the screen).

Apple also offers the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G Internet connectivity. This means that you can choose to access the web via an available Wi-Fi Hotspot or utilize the AT&T Wireless or Verizon Wireless 3G networks. Keep in mind that AT&T and Verizon Wireless networks use different technology (GSM vs. CDMA, respectively), so if you purchase an iPad 2 that is compatible with AT&T's network, you will not be able to use it on Verizon's network (and vice versa).

To access the AT&T Wireless or Verizon Wireless 3G networks, you must set up an account and purchase a data plan. Both offer multiple data plans, including month-to-month (i.e. no long-term contract required).

Once you opt to purchase an iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G, there are three system configurations to choose from, including a 16GB version ($629.00), a 32GB version ($729.00), and a 64GB version ($829.00). Aside from the amount of memory built into the unit, all three hardware configurations are identical, and all use the same Apple iOS operating system.

Finally, as with the Wi-Fi versions, you'll need to choose between a black or white bezel (the "frame" around the screen).

The Apple iPad is a state-of-the-art device that can be taken anywhere. However, you'll definitely want to take steps to protect the unit's screen with an optional screen protector, plus invest in a quality (and padded) case to protect the tablet from accidental drops during transport. Investing in the AppleCare service plan ($99.00 for two years of coverage plus unlimited tech support from Apple) is also a smart strategy, although this protection plan does not cover certain types of damage or theft.

For more comprehensive insurance coverage, you'll need to purchase an optional policy from a third-party company such as the Worth Avenue Group or SquareTrade, which will cost up to an additional $100.00 per year.

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