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iPad & mobile broadband guide

Apple iPads have revolutionised mobile entertainment. Offering large screens, a host of multimedia content from the Apple store and e-reader functionality they are the ideal middle-ground between smartphones and laptops.

All iPads are WiFi compatible, and some models also support 3G and 4G mobile connections for high speed internet. To get the most out of an iPad’s portability you will need a mobile broadband connection, but the SIM cards that provide this are not included if you buy directly from Apple.

Compare uSwitch’s latest ipad and mobile broadband deals to get the best deal on an iPad with 3G or 4G SIM included.

How does an iPad differ from a laptop?

iPads lack the physical keyboard and touchpad that you find on all laptops, instead replacing it with a large touchscreen. Text is entered through a keyboard that shows up on the touchscreen. Physical keyboards are available for the iPad through a special Apple dock accessory, much like the docking station for the iPhone.

Need a laptop instead? Compare the latest free laptop offers here.

Who are iPads for?

Almost everyone can find a place in their life for an iPad. Here are just some of the people who will appreciate its advanced entertainment capabilities:

Commuters

If your life involves extensive travel or you have to commute long distances to get to work, an iPad could be just what you’ve been waiting for. With a limitless supply of books, movies and music, you never need be bored during a journey ever again.

Readers

One of the iPad’s many great features is that it doubles as an e-reader – a device that lets you read books straight off the screen. What’s more, if you download the free iBooks application you’ve got access to a huge selection of titles, including modern fiction and classics to keep you occupied wherever you are.

To turn a page, all you need do is making the appropriate gesture on the screen and, unlike actual books, you can read in the dark without turning the lights on.

Film and music fans

The largest iPad's 9.7-inch richly colourful screen is perfect for watching movies, making the iPad ideal for cinephiles. And support for iTunes and a powerful speaker mean it’s just as apt for music fans.

As its name suggests, the iPad mini packs a smaller 7.9-inch screen. But it's amply sized for enjoying media on the go. And it's that much more portable than its bigger brother too.

Gamers

Pads' expansive screens and motion control capabilities make them ideal for gaming, and support from major games developers means there is a huge range to choose from.

What are iPad apps?

The term 'apps', or applications, refers to software that can be downloaded to the iPad and which add new functions to the device. Apps take in everything from map applications to fun games and diversions.

As well as being able to run the apps available for the iPhone, the iPad has a massive range of software specifically designed to take advantage of its unique capabilities.

Mobile broadband iPad deals explained<

Mobile broadband iPad bundles combine a mobile broadband contract with a set amount of usage per month and the iPad itself.

As with mobile broadband laptop deals, these are a brilliant way of spreading the cost of the device. What’s more if you’re planning to use your iPad outside the home, you’re going to need mobile broadband access.

Which providers offer iPad deals?

A host of providers now offer the iPad with 3G, 4G and WiFi data bundles on contract offers.

UK networks also offer 3G and 4G SIM only iPad deals. Aimed at people who already own their iPad outright, these provide a SIM card and a set amount of usage every month.

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