app advice for speech-language pathologists, educators and parents

choosing an iPad

When you are in the Apple Store or browsing online, you will see that brand new  iPads start at about $500 and go up from there. You can buy them with 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB of memory space, and you can buy them with or without 4G (cellular) capability.

So which iPad should you buy?  Well, if you have come to this site for app advice on how to help a child with speech-language needs, chances are you would be fine to buy the entry level 16GB model without 4G.

A 16 GB iPad technically has about 13.3 GB of available space on it, because some of the space has already been allocated to the internal operating system and apps that come hard installed.  But 13 + GB will still give you plenty of space for all kinds of apps, photos, music and even a movie or two.

Larger apps might take up to about 500 MB (or half a gig) and a full length movie might take up 1 gig.  Most of the apps you will download, however, will take up far less space.  And here’s the key thing — you can always delete items to make more space as you need to, and then retrieve those same items from the app store or a back up later on (see Arranging and Deleting Apps). If you are going to use this iPad to show a lot of movies or run a lot of augmentative communication apps, and you want to keep those items regularly available on the iPad itself, then do consider going up to the 32 GB iPad.

Do you need 4G? My answer to that is no.  The basic model iPad includes WiFi access, so you do not need cellular capability to access the internet.  Your iPad will function like a laptop and receive WiFi wherever it finds an available signal.  That means you can use the internet, receive email and access the app store from your home, from your place of business or from your local Starbucks just like you would be able to do with your laptop.  If you want to have the same mobile internet access that you would have with a cell phone, then you would want to add 4G.  That might be something you’d want if you have bought this iPad for business use.  But generally speaking, an iPad bought for speech therapy and/or family use would not require this feature.

Bottom line — the entry level basic model at $500 (plus a protective case) is probably all you need.  In fact, until they run out of iPad 2′s, you might want to save another $100 and go get one of those.