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The new iPad has only been on store shelves for less than a week and the complaining is already shifting from “My iPad is too warm!” to “Streaming video is eating up all of my 4G LTE data!” -- clearly first-world problems if ever they were.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting on one not-so apparent downside of those new iPads with 4G LTE data on board -- apparently the lower-tier data plans can get slurped down after just a couple hours of watching college basketball. But is it an Apple problem or a user problem?
"It's kind of a Catch-22," says Brandon Wells, the 31-year-old Web developer who chewed through his 2GB Verizon Wireless data bucket watching college basketball and was forced to pony up $10 for an additional gigabyte. "It streams really fast video, but by streaming really fast video you tend to watch more video, and that's not always best."
Wells’ father Steve also discovered how fast 4G LTE can consume data on his new iPad. “While he was at the basketball game with his son, his wife was using his iPad as a video baby monitor for his granddaughter while she napped in another room,” the report explains. “By the time the two were back from the game, the app had burned through his two gigabyte plan.”
"All the advantages of the iPad device are completely neutralized by the two gigabyte data limit," explains the elder Wells.
There’s little doubt that faster data will increase consumption, which means that somewhere down the road, carriers will have to increase data plans accordingly. For now, users should consider themselves lucky that this lightning-fast 4G LTE data isn’t coming at a premium -- for end users, it costs exactly the same as older, slower 3G data speeds.
That extra value is little consolation to 24-year-old Texas resident Albert Park, however. After attempting to stream YouTube videos using a slow Wi-Fi network at a local café, Park decided to switch gears and use the AT&T 4G LTE data on his new iPad instead -- and soon discovered he’d burned through two-thirds of his 3GB allotment for the month.
His solution? "I'll probably avoid watching videos outside my home," Park says.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter