One of the few complaints you hear about the iPad is that you have to buy it outright; unlike mobile phones and many tablets, it isn’t currently available on contract in Australia as part of a 3G service. That could change soon, with Vodafone announcing that it will begin selling the iPad 2 on contract deals “in the coming weeks”.
There are two obvious issues with this announcement. Firstly, it’s Vodafone, which still has a pretty patchy reputation when it comes to network performance (and it’s not yet clear how much difference its ongoing 850MHz upgrade will make). Secondly, we don’t have any pricing details, so it’s hard to assess whether it will be a worthwhile investment (or whether you’d be better off getting a personal loan and a prepaid SIM plan if you don’t have the cash up-front.)
Where possible, we tend to favour buying devices outright here at Lifehacker. Signing up to a contract means you’re stuck with a gadget that will probably get updated in that time, and on a network whose performance might degrade (or become non-existent if you move house).
That said, the dominance of the contract model for phones suggests that many of us like to budget that way, so we’ll watch this one with interest. Vodafone has indicated there will be both 12 and 24-month contract options. You can register for updates on the plans as they are announced at the link below.