Is AT&T a deal breaker for the 3G iPad?

The lesson here is clear: if you're itching to buy the iPad, stick with the version that uses only Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Well, we know the details on the long-awaited Apple iPad . Yes, it's pretty and it offers a lot of features, but the required AT&T service for the 3G version is none too thrilling.

Though I've never had a huge problem with AT&T's service on our CNET iPhone, I admit that I don't use it as my primary device. Frequent iPhone users, however, have more nuanced opinions , and I know that they're not imaging their dropped calls and intermittent data connections. Indeed, AT&T service remains the biggest gripe for many iPhone users. And though the AT&T monopoly hasn't stopped the iPhone from becoming hugely popular, I still hear from many CNET readers that they're not buying Apple's handset until they can use it with another carrier.

So the lesson here is clear: if you're itching to buy the iPad, stick with the version that uses only Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Think about it: if you're not happy with AT&T now, you shouldn't shell out $629 (and that's for the cheapest option, mind you) for a device that requires the same service. Granted, the reason for the iPhone's reception issues are more complex than just "AT&T sucks," but the problems remain three years after the first iPhone was unveiled. Before I buy, Apple and AT&T need to assure me that I won't have the same experience on the iPad.

Even if AT&T was stellar, I don't love the idea that I have to select just one provider for the 3G-equipped device. The AT&T plans are pretty reasonable--though I'm not sure how a person on the $15 per month option is supposed to keep track of 250MB--but I'd much rather have more options for a wireless provider. T-Mobile isn't really an option since the U.S. iPad is not compatible with T-Mobile's 3G network and T-mobile does not offer a compatible plan. On the upside, it's great that the iPads are unlocked and you don't need a contract (not that AT&T could require one without a service rebate) but I'm always about customer choice. And there doesn't appear to be much here.

So what do you think? Is AT&T a deal breaker? And what the heck is a micro SIM card and why did Apple choose that format? You won't be able to slip a standard SIM card into a micro SIM slot.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

Mac running slow?

Boost your computer with these five useful tips that will clean up the clutter.