AT&T activated 4.1 million iPhones last quarter, but only 442,000 tablets. Considering Apple shipped 7 million iPads during the same period, we wonder where the love for 3G data has gone.
Oh, I think we all love 3G data, but it’s all about context… when and where we use iPads. Mark Zuckerberg caused a stir a few weeks back when he said, “The iPad is not mobile,” but for many typical users he’s exactly right. Me, I use my iPad almost exclusively when I’m in places that have wifi: home, offices, coffee shops, airports, hotels, airplanes. Unlike my phone, which I constantly use in unwired (and unwifi-ed) places, the iPad is a device of settled contemplation. It’s form dictates that: it’s difficult to use when you’re not sitting down.
I bought my WiFi iPad the first day the iPad was available, a month before the 3G models came out. My expectation was that I’d flip it immediately for a 3G device, but during that first month I realized that I didn’t miss 3G even once. I haven’t looked back. For the millions of others who consider the iPad primarily a device for breakfast table, bed, and living room, the WiFi-only features are just fine, thank you very much.
As the price of the device drops, more may be willing to pay a few extra bucks for 3G. But for now, it seems it’s not urgently needed enough to be worth the cost.