When you walk into any Apple store, you will realize that the best iPad models—the iPad Mini, the iPad Pro, or iPad Air—have included cellular connectivity in their latest versions. These iPads are pricey compared to preceding Wi-Fi models, making you wonder if the added benefits are worth the extra investment from a business perspective.
An iPad Pro with 5G cellular connectivity can be a critical business tool, depending on your use. It boils down to value addition which is best determined by analyzing the pros and cons of an iPad with cellular connectivity.
What Is an iPad With Cellular?
An iPad with cellular is a portable computer (tablet) made by Apple that comes equipped with cellular mobile technology, primarily used by a mobile phones. This cellular system sends and receives information between the mobile phone and cellular tower.
In the simplest terms possible? The iPad with cellular is an iPad that can send and receive messages and connect to the internet via a data plan as it would have been a mobile phone, in terms of connectivity.
To connect to the internet via your cellular network, you need to purchase a data plan that will serve your purposes. Your iPad should also be capable of receiving signals from your cellular network on top of Wi-Fi.
Pros of iPad With Cellular
An iPad with a cellular connection is great but why spend the extra money to purchase one? Here are 3 key reasons with examples on why this is great for your business.
Flexibility While on the Go
It beats the Wi-Fi model for a business requiring mobile internet connectivity. The benefits extend beyond business. Accessorizing with a wireless smart keyboard is always available for the full laptop experience.
Internet outages are known to happen and if your business relies on an internet connection, having your iPad equipped with cellular allows you to stay connected even when wired/wireless internet is down. This makes for a must-have addition to any (small) business owner’s arsenal.
The iPad becomes much more versatile, with functions ranging from music streaming, navigation, and Wi-Fi calling to making and receiving cellular phone calls.
Imagine you start a restaurant but due to the way the building is constructed, wifi just cannot reach the terrace, where most people are enjoying a meal. A data-enabled / cellular iPad can work perfectly as an ordering device even outside the limits of your wifi router.
Another example would be for people working in construction and on the field. Equipping them with an iPad with cellular can allow them to access training manuals and schematics even when unable to connect to a wireless router.
It also enables you to avoid public Wi-Fi networks that render your communication susceptible to hacking and may expose any sensitive information you are dealing with. They pose a serious financial and legal risk, depending on the nature of the information you are dealing with. The higher the risk, the more you will be at peace with a private cellular connection.
Cons of an iPad With Cellular Capability
It Is Pricey
Several iPad models can’t transmit cellular data. The new models that do will retail for approximately $200 or more. This, coupled with the extra cost of purchasing a data plan, makes it an expensive option compared to Wi-Fi. If you intend to use data on your iPad consistently, the bill might run a bit high.
There are ways to bring the cost down, and you should take stock of your current data usage to establish how much data you need and the appropriate speeds. Here is how to do this:
- Bundle the data package plan with the phone plan you are already using
- Inquire about the data cap and if it can be shared between all your devices
- Before making your final decision, compare what different service providers in the market
It Is Not Supported by Some Carriers
iPads that entered the market after 2019 typically have both the traditional physical SIM card and an eSIM. The physical SIM card option enables you to pick a service provider anywhere in the world.
The eSIM, on the other hand, is limited in terms of the number of service providers with the capacity to handle it. This limitation is compounded by the possibility of locking yourself from accessing the rest of the telecom providers through your electronic SIM card once you connect to one of them.
The electronic SIM card is yet to be adopted everywhere in the world, meaning you may need to activate and carry a physical SIM card when traveling outside the country. They work across most established cellular companies in the world.
Does Your Business Require an iPad With Cellular?
If you are constantly on the move and need to execute tasks that require internet connectivity, a tablet with an internet connection is a good solution. Suppose you are a frequent flyer or constantly have to make house calls or deliveries. In that case, a mobile device with a large display and continuous internet connectivity can be an essential business tool.
What Are Your Options if You Can’t Afford an iPad With Cellular?
Acquiring an iPad with cellular capability and paying for the data package concurrently might stretch the budget too thin for normal business operations. There are ways to enjoy the perks of an iPad with cellular connectivity and internet access as you get your finances in order.
You can turn on the Wi-Fi on your iPad and tether it to your smartphone, which uses cellular data. The phone creates a mobile internet hub that is much safer than public Wi-Fi connection. This option allows you to use cellular data on your iPad when you need to and turn it off when you don’t want to.
That being said, it shouldn’t be a permanent solution because it is not efficient; it drains both the phone’s and the tablets battery resources at the same time, and your cellular service provider might charge extra for tethering.
Mobile Hotspot Devices
These small electronic devices have individual data plans and can be used as internet hubs for various devices. It is similar to tethering; only the Wi-Fi hotspot is facilitated via a device that is not a phone.
They are handheld and easily portable, so you can have them on your person as you move. You won’t need to come up with the price of a cellular model iPad to enjoy the benefits.
Wi-Fi vs Cellular Internet Connection – Which Is Better for Your Business?
A Wi-Fi network is generally faster than a cellular network. It is more efficient than cellular connection as far as the internet is concerned. However, it is limited regarding the distance from the router where it can be applied. Its speed is also affected by the number of users or devices connected at any particular time.
A Cellular internet connection offers flexibility for a mobile business, allowing continuous internet access wherever your business might take you. Recent developments have also contributed to increased internet speeds on a cellular network, lessening the gap between it and Wi-Fi.
The more you are on the move, the more applicable cellular connectivity is.
Where To Next?
This blog is a blog dedicated to using modern computing devices to run and manage a business. If you’re interested in using an iPad for your business, either as an entrepreneur, a small business owner or for your employees to use I recommend reading the following articles: