Pin Me

Should I Get an iPad or an iPhone?

written by: Donny Yankellow•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/9/2010

Can't decide between an iPad or an iPhone? This article will point out the differences between the two devices and try to help you make your decision.

  • slide 1 of 8

    One is a Phone, One is Not

    I recently wrote an article comparing the iPhone to the iPod Touch and pointing out the differences. Well, now it is time to compare the iPhone to the iPad.

    iPAD Let’s start with the two obvious and biggest differences. First, one is a phone and one is not. The iPhone is a phone and has all of the features of a phone that go along with it: texting, mms, voicemail, etc. The iPad is not a phone, although (as with the iPod Touch) there are apps you can install that give it phone-like capabilities.IPhone 

    The next obvious difference is the size of the devices. The iPhone is the smaller device with a 3.5 inch screen versus the 9.7 inch screen of the iPad. Being smaller, the iPhone also weighs a lot less.

  • slide 2 of 8

    Pricing and Internet Access

    The iPhone also comes with a smaller price (sort of). You can get an 8GB iPhone 3G (older model) for $99. Other options come in at 16GB ($199) and 32GB ($299). The iPad starts at $499 for the Wi-Fi 16GB model and goes up from there. Other Wi-Fi models include 32GB ($599) and 64GB ($699). You can also get each size with 3G for an additional $129 to each model.

    While each model of the iPad costs more, don’t forget the monthly fee you are paying with the iPhone. Over time that adds up.

    All iPhone models come with the capability to get on the Internet through your cell phone signal or Wi-Fi. This allows you to get Internet anywhere. The Wi-Fi iPad will not allow you to do this. However, if you get the 3G model you can have the same Internet availability. The great thing about the 3G plan on the iPad from AT&T is the fact it is month to month and no long term contract is needed.

  • slide 3 of 8

    iPad and iPhone Apps

    While both the iPhone and iPad can run many of the same apps there are apps specific to each device. The iPhone has apps that are specific to the iPhone, although most are not. Many of these apps take advantage of the iPhone’s phone or camera features.

    The iPad also has many apps specific to the device. Many of these apps take advantage of the larger screen of the iPad (check out the Top Ten iPad Apps).

    With that said, there are also many apps that are universal. They combine an iPhone version with the iPad version and the right version will run depending on the device you are using.

    Speaking of apps, there are many preinstalled apps on the iPhone that Apple chose not to include with the iPad (ie. Stocks and Calculator). While these apps are not on the iPad there are many apps that can do the same thing or even more available in iTunes for free and for a price.

    One current, soon to change difference, is the iBooks app on the iPad. iBooks is Apple’s ereader/bookstore app. Currently, it is only on the iPad. When the iPhone 4.0 OS update comes out shortly iPhone users who upgrade will have access to iBooks too.

    Also, in the app category the iPhone has GPS and can take advantage of GPS apps. The iPad 3G also has GPS, but you need the Wi-Fi model to really take advantage of these apps and capabilities.

  • slide 4 of 8
  • slide 5 of 8

    iPad and iPhone Accessories

    If you want to accessorize your iPhone and iPad you will find many differences there too. While many options work for both there are many that are device specific. Cases (obviously) will be different. There are also other devices that are device specific like the iPad Camera Connection Kit. When shopping for accessories that are not cases be sure to check compatibility for your device. Even though it might look like it will work, it may not.

  • slide 6 of 8

    The iPad is REALLY Fast

    The iPad has Apple’s new A4 processor in it and I can tell you from experience it is fast. It is much faster than the iPhone, and the Internet is REALLY fast. In fact I would say the Internet is faster on the iPad then an iMac sitting in the same room on the same Wi-Fi.

    The touch screen is also more sensitive in the iPad making for a smoother experience.

  • slide 7 of 8

    Other Minor Differences

    Besides the size difference, which make the two devices look different, there are other cosmetic differences between the iPad and iPhone. The iPad only comes in one color or material. It is that brushed aluminum look that Apple is using in the laptops and iMacs. The iPhone comes in a white or black model.

    The color isn’t a major difference, but the placing of the buttons might confuse some. Unlike the iPhone and iPod Touch which have all of the buttons on the left hand side of the device, the iPad has the buttons on the right hand side of the device. Not sure why there is the change. I would have thought they would be on the left side for consistency. Must be a design requirement.

  • slide 8 of 8

    What Are Your Needs?

    As I said with the iPhone and iPod Touch, the decision of buying an iPhone or iPad depends on your needs. Do you want a phone? Do you want a bigger screen? Do you want something that is closer to a laptop and bigger in size? Or do you want the pocket size of an iPhone? Whichever device you choose, I am sure you will be happy. If you can’t decide and have the spare money, why not get both?

    Of course, many items on this list may go away and others might be added as the next generation iPhone is released this summer. Only time will tell.

    Note: Above pricing is US pricing. International prices may, and probably will, vary.