The Third Device

A blog about the iPad.

To 3G or not to 3G?

Today marks the day that the 3G iPad finally hits the shelves – in the United States, of course. For those of us outside the US of A, we still anxiously await the launch of any flavor iPad, 3G or otherwise.

Preliminary reports are not encouraging. iLounge finds that the 3G iPad runs into a few problems, notably with video apps that detect the cellular bandwidth and either downscale the quality (YouTube) or refuse to play entirely (ABC).

While I pride myself on being an early adopter, I think I’ll stick to the WiFi iPad for now. I’ve been using my iPad with a portable, battery operated 3G router called the Cradlepoint PHS300. This takes the signal from my Huawei USB 3G modem and feeds it via WiFi not just to my iPad, but to any other WiFi devices I happen to be carrying (iPhone, Blackberry, laptop, etc) as well as to anyone else in the vicinity with whom I care to share the password. It’s a neat gadget that comes in especially handy in the car during a traffic jam.

As of this writing, I have yet to read reports from anyone who’s tested the 3G iPad with a cellular network other than AT&T. While the 3G iPad is theoretically unlocked and compatible with any carrier, the fact that it uses a Micro SIM card makes it difficult to test with non-AT&T SIMs.

As Gizmodo discovered, the upcoming iPhone will also use Micro SIMs so the format may eventually become the standard, but for now it’s an odd choice.

I’m sure enterprising hackers (and you know who you are) have already cooked up workarounds – cloning SIM contents to blank MicroSIMs, perhaps, or even physically trimming a normal SIM to fit the tray. No going back from that one, though!


May 1, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. I, too, am using a WiFi-3G device with my iPad WiFi. Whilst I have yet to see the benefit of having A-GPS on a huge iPod Touch, my iPhone 3GS beats that due to its portability. Getting a device from your pocket to get your location is easier than opening a bag and taking out a huge device. 🙂

    Anyway, I am using a Huawei MiFi and it works great with my iPad, iPhone and NexusOne – with PhP50/day unlimited package, it is perfect.

    And oh, heard that the iPad WiFi+3G does not allow Skype on 3G. Now, with the MiFi, it will definitely work. 😛

    Comment by rom | May 1, 2010 | Reply

  2. hmm makes me rethink my position re buying the 3G version. I also have the cradle point but i thought i’d be o-ey naman walking around with it. In the car yes. In the mall it’s wifi. But what about those times you’re in between – like in the office elevator or church?

    Comment by Jerry Tieng | May 1, 2010 | Reply

  3. @Jerry, the church? Seriously? 😀

    Anyway, the Huawei that I have is small enough to fit in the pocket, with my NexusOne or iPhone 3GS. Unfortunately, the Cradlepoint is just a tad bigger to fit in one’s pocket, unless s/he loves cargo pants! 🙂

    Comment by rom | May 1, 2010 | Reply

  4. My solution – I’ve got a satchel that holds both my iPad and the Cradlepoint. If I need internet access, I just reach into the pocket that holds the Cradlepoint and flick it on without taking it out of the bag.

    It’s a military bag, and probably will get you extra attention at an airport or security check, but you definitely can’t call it a man purse.

    Comment by Vic | May 1, 2010 | Reply

  5. Vic,

    Does the iPad fit in the Versipack? I use a Versipack as my daily walk around bag… right now, there’s nothing in it other than my GF1 an extra lens and my Kindle. Still contemplating on getting an iPad.

    Comment by Hoho | May 6, 2010 | Reply

    • It fits in the Jumbo Versipack just fine, with space for my LX3.

      Comment by Vic | May 6, 2010 | Reply

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