Thanks to the major marketing boost that the iPad received from parent company Apple, we now have the impression that it is the best device to experience the Web, watch online streaming video, and connect with friends via social networking services.
The opinion is backed with good reason and real results because the iPad is filled to the brim with Internet-savvy features and services. Despite the initial skepticism expressed by most industry pundits when the computing device was unveiled at a press conference in San Francisco, positive reviews by tech experts who had the privilege of testing the first few commercially available iPads—from Walt Mossberg to the guys at Engadget—had to admit that, indeed, Steve Jobs has unleashed a worthy competitor to netbooks.
It is equipped with built-in, high-speed 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, which makes downloading files and streaming videos fast and easy. You can forget about buffering, which takes up so much time that it lengthens a four-minute video into eight minutes of waiting. Although some connections may tend to slow down—particularly when there is heavy gateway traffic or when too many subscribers are using the network—it is not going to affect your iPad browsing experience, thanks to its combination of a beefed-up Safari app (which is Apple’s answer to Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer), and the latest Wi-Fi standard.
Browsing most of the online content that you’ll be accessing on an iPad is mainly handled by a specially designed mobile version of Apple’s proprietary web browser called Safari, an app that, according to Apple engineers, is the fastest browser among its league. Considering its reputation as the fastest app to render mobile webpages and the degree of advanced Wi-Fi technologies that are built into the iPad, it can be predicted that browsing the Web for information on the device will take your breath away at lightning speed.
These days, Wi-Fi hotspots are easy to come by; one does not need to remain in highly metropolitan areas to stay online because even rural towns and suburban communities have Internet access. However, that is not to say that we are entirely wirelessly connected. Some Internet connections can be accessed through 3G technology. Fortunately, the iPad does not only operate on Wi-Fi but on 3G as well. That means you are not solely tied up to Wi-Fi and feel completely powerless when a hotspot is not available because 3G, via your mobile telecommunications provider, will keep you connected.
Depending on your location, most major network providers have 3G service contracted by Apple. For instance, AT&T has monthly Internet plans that allow you to swiftly switch from a Wi-Fi network to a 3G connection seamlessly. All the processes can be completed online on your very own iPad, so there is absolutely no need to go to an AT&T store or contact their customer support to purchase the plan.
When you have used up all your surfing minutes, an interactive push notification will pop up to tell you about your impending state and will provide you with two options: switch to the latest Wi-Fi standard with a frequency emanating within your vicinity or upgrade to the next data plan. Data usage and plan information can be monitored and managed on the iPad itself because that, too, has its own app.