Zachery Bir, on his Urbanape blog, explains how he used an iPhone 4 with the new Personal Hotspot feature in iOS 4.3 to add GPS to his Wi-Fi-only iPad. A tweet from Bir earlier in the day caused some skepticism when he posted:
From a technological standpoint, I must admit I was a bit skeptical as well. When deciding on which iPad 2 to get, I debated many of the same pros and cons as other customers wondering if the $130 upgrade to enable 3G on an iPad was worth the money.
Ultimately, I decided to put the extra money toward more storage and I settled on a black, 32Gb, Wi-Fi-only iPad 2. Upon seeing a post from Daring Fireball's John Gruber about Bir's findings, I feel as though my decision may well be completely justified.
Using an iPhone 4 and the Personal Hotspot feature, Bir reported, it seemed as though his iPad was able to maintain an uninterrupted GPS connection when traveling. Of course, this could be triangulating location awareness capabilities, but it doesn't seem likely that technology would be able to keep up with a moving vehicle uninterrupted.
For the time being, connecting a Wi-Fi-only iPad (Bir's was a first-generation iPad) to an iPhone 4's Personal Hotspot seems to add a GPS or GPS-like capability.
The true test, as noted in the comments on Bir's post, may be to drive where no other Wi-Fi signals are available and see if the location adjustments hold true. One commenter claims to have done so with negative results.
More evidence that this could be a working solution can be found in a TabletMonsters.com post.
In any case, when deciding whether or not to get an iPad with 3G, having an iPhone 4 with iOS 4.3 on hand can certainly be a deciding factor in your decision, thanks to the Personal Hotspot feature.
What was your deciding factor in choosing a 3G-enabled iPad or not? Let me know in the comments!