If you haven’t got an iPad, you’re no doubt considering getting one. And if you’ve already got one, chances are your son/daughter/wife/husband has ”repossessed” it, and you’re probably looking to buy another.
But there are at least eight different models, plus the very important consideration of buying it cash upfront or taking out a 24-month contract which we’ve seemingly become addicted to when it comes to mobile phones. With contracts comes an ever-increasing amount of options.
The choice between iPad models is dead easy: the New iPad (third generation with retina display), like the previous iterations, comes in Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi and Cellular variants. At launch, “cellular” was “4G”, but the higher-speed 4G refers only to specific networks in North America.
In each of the two variants of the New iPad, there are three models with varying storage capacities (16GB, 32GB and 64GB).
The iPad 2 remains on the market, but is limited to two models (both 16GB, one with 3G and Wi-Fi, other with Wi-Fi only).
Which model will suit your needs? It depends on what you’re looking to use it for. If you (or your family) are going to use it primarily as a consumption device (surfing the web, e-mail, social networking, reading, magazines, games), it’s doubtful you’ll need the 64GB model. You’ll likely manage with 16GB, but 32GB gives you more flexibility.
If you already have Wi-Fi at home (/work), and you’re going to primarily use it there, its probably not worth getting the Wi-Fi + Cellular version. If you don’t have Wi-Fi at home, or if you’re planning on using your iPad while mobile (and need to be online), then you’ll need the Wi-Fi + Cellular version.
With all these options and with a growing number of retailers selling iPads, there are deals in the market which are serious value for money. You simply need to look hard enough (and shop around!).
So cash or contract?
If you can afford it, and don’t want to be tied down to a 24-month contract, buy your iPad cash upfront. That means you’re not paying it off while Apple release two new models in the next 24 months. More importantly, you’re not going to be tied to a data contract for 24 months, when data prices are decreasing rapidly (or data bundles increasing).
If you’re buying cash (and have the cash), order online from Dion Wired immediately. It has discounted the prices for all new iPads by anywhere from 3%-6%. These are for the online store only, and there’s no indication of when this promotion will end.
If you’re not too fussed with the difference between the iPad 2 and the new iPad (faster, with a brilliant retina display), then get an iPad 2. Makro is selling the 16GB Wi-Fi and 3G model on special for R4 999 until Monday, which is a bargain.
Buying an iPad cash means you’ll need to add on a prepaid data bundle (you could add a contract, but then rather do that in the first place!) 8.ta offers some good value for money on its iPad only data deals, and you can also easily buy an up-front offer like Cell C’s 2GB per month for 12 months for R1 299. Alternatively, top up with data bundles as and when you require.
However, there are some contracts that offer decent value for money, especially MTN’s 2GB deals available at the iStores. For example, on a new iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (32GB), you’ll pay R429 per month. That’s a total of R10 296 over 24 months. Subtract the retail price of the iPad (R7 699) and you get R2 597. Over 24 months, that’s R108 per month for 2GB of data. Not bad at all. Vodacom’s prices, for both its My Gig 1 and My Gig 2 contracts, are noticeably more expensive (at iStores and other retailers).
The other contract options which are interesting are the data bundles and mobile Wi-Fi modem with the Wi-Fi only iPad. This is useful if you’re not going to use a lot of data, and would like to connect smartphones and other devices to that bundle while at home. Again, the MTN 2GB contracts are cheaper than Vodacom’s offers which only include 1GB of data per month.
Finally, if you’re an FNB cheque account client and don’t want to pay for your iPad cash, you’d be naïve in not taking up its iPad offer. Essentially, the cost of the iPad is subsidized over 24 months, with no interest (in fact, the price is discounted slightly). No wonder tens of thousands of South Africans are moving to the bank for this reason alone.
iPad 3 Wi-Fi only
|iStore (and list price)||R5 299||R6 399||R7 399|
|Dion Wired (online only)||R5 000||R6 000||R7 000|
|iStore + MTN 2GB1||R349pm x 24||R389pm x 24||R439pm x 24|
|Game + Vodacom Std My Gig 1 (1GB)2||R399pm x 24||R449pm x 24||R489pm x 24|
|Dion Wired + Vodacom Std My Gig 1 (1GB)2||R399pm x 24||R429pm x 24||R469pm x 24|
|FNB||R205pm x 24 + monthly account fees|
iPad 3 with 3G
|Wi-Fi + Cellular||16GB||32GB||64GB|
|iStore (and list price)||R6 499||R7 699||R8 799|
|Dion Wired (online only)||R6 300||R7 300||R8 300|
|iStore + Vodacom Std My Gig 1 (1GB)||R399pm x 24||R479pm x 24||R529pm x 24|
|Game and Dion Wired + Vodacom Std My Gig 1 (1GB)||R399pm x 24||R449pm x 24||R489pm x 24|
|Incredible Connection + Vodacom Std My Gig 1 (1GB)||R419pm x 24||R469pm x 24||R529pm x 24|
|iStore + MTN 2GB3||R389pm x 24||R429pm x 24||R469pm x 24|
|iStore + Vodacom Std My Gig 2 (2GB)||R449pm x 24||R529pm x 24||R579pm x 24|
|FNB||R259pm x 24 + monthly account fees||R299pm x 24 + monthly account fees||R339pm x 24 + monthly account fees|
|iPad 2||16GB (Wi-Fi + 3G)||16GB (Wi-F only)|
|iStore (and list price)||R5 499||R4 199|
|Dion Wired||R5 500|
|FNB||R219pm x 24 + monthly account fees|