Choosing the perfect iPad

A lot of our customers look a little dazed when they are confronted by the number of options they have to choose for their new iPad. From generation to capacity to cellular service or not, it can feel a bit overwhelming for the new owner. We’re always happy to talk the options through and make sure people are getting the best match for their needs, and we thought we’d do a quick refresher on what to look for.


#1) Generation. There are currently three generations of the iPad available — the newest Retina Display iPad (generation 4), the iPad mini, and the iPad 2. 

-The mini is the easiest to explain — the iPad mini boasts a 7.9″ screen vs. the full sized iPad’s 9.7″ screen. It has a non retina display (although it’s still pixel packed!), and has the processor of the iPad 2. It also features updated cameras — a high definition FaceTime (front-facing) camera and the 5 mp rear facing camera.

-The 4th generation iPad has the retina screen, meaning graphics and text remain crisp and clear even when zoomed in. It has the same updated cameras as the mini, and features the A6x processor (benchmarked at twice as fast as even the previous iPad). It is a full sized screen at 9.7″

-The iPad 2 is, unsurprisingly, the second generation iPad. It has an A5 chip, so it shares its processor with the iPad mini. It does not have the updated cameras or the retina display, but at $399 for the base model it can be a good entry level iPad for a new user.


#2) Capacity

-iPads come in three different capacities — 16gb, 32gb and 64gb. What capacity you should be considering depends entirely upon your needs. The big space hogs are always going to be music, pictures and movies. How much each will take varies widely, but to give you a quick idea:

A single movie, compressed for the iPad, will use approximately 1.5gb to 2gb of space. An HD movie can take up to 4gb.

1000 songs can take 4gb of space, depending on length of each song and encoding.

A single photo can take from 500kb to 2mb, so up to 1000 photos can fit in a single GB, depending on pixel count and quality. Pictures taken with another camera and then imported to the iPad will take more space than pictures taken on the iPad itself.

If the iPad is going to be the only device in a household, we typically advise new owners to think about getting a larger capacity — there is no way to increase the iPads capacity once it’s been bought, so plan for the future! If there’s already a computer in play in the household, it can be safer to purchase the smaller capacity iPad; just be aware that you may need to manage your iPads storage on a semi-regular basis by moving items on and off your computer. 


#3) Wifi vs. Cellular


All iPads are able to connect to wireless internet — so if you’re using your iPad at home and you have a wifi network, you don’t need to worry. But if you are a traveller on the road frequently, or often in areas without wireless access, you may want to consider an iPad with cellular service. This allows your iPad to connect to the internet by using the same networks smart phones use — Verizon, AT&T or Sprint — so if you aren’t in range of a wifi signal you can still access your email and browse the web. They also have a GPS chip enabled, allowing you to use the iPad for accurate directions. 

The cellular models are more expensive than their wifi only counterparts, as they have more complicated electronics inside. There is also a monthly fee associated with cellular data. You have the option to have it added to your current cellular contract, or you are able to control it directly from the iPad. That is non-contract based, so you can cancel at any time. Monthly charges range from $15 to $50, depending on how much data you use and what carrier you choose.

Keep in mind that each carrier has a distinct iPad, so make sure to buy the one supported by the carrier of your choice.


All of us at Cape Mac are very familiar with the iPads and all they are capable of, so we’re always happy to answer any questions and guide you to the iPad that is the perfect fit for you! Come in to either location today to learn more!