The Apple iPad is available in two versions: Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G. Each of the versions is available in three models based on storage capacity: 16 gigabyte, 32 gigabyte and 64 gigabyte. The iPad features a Maps application that, according to Wired, is a "fast, intuitive piece of technology for geographical navigation." All iPads are able to provide location information, but not all iPads have GPS.
All six models of Apple's iPad can use the built-in Wi-Fi capability to provide your approximate location. The location is determined by the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot. The hotspot needs to be in a location service database to provide accurate information. The closer you are to the hotspot, the more accurately it will pinpoint your location. If Wi-Fi is turned off, however, your iPad cannot determine your location.
The Digital Compass feature of the Apple iPad provides directional location: north, south, east or west. A GPS does not provide this information. All six models of the iPad use the Digital Compass to provide location information to the device and its applications.
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a utility that provides users with positioning, navigation and timing services. The U.S. Air Force maintains and operates the 24 satellites in the GPS. According to Apple, the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models include assisted GPS, while the iPad Wi-Fi models do not include it. Assisted GPS does not rely on satellite signal alone, obtaining additional information from other servers or networks.
In addition to GPS, the Wi-Fi + 3G models use cellular signals from GSM towers to provide location information. According to GSM World, "GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) is an open, digital cellular technology used for transmitting mobile voice and data services." More than 80 percent of the world's population is covered by a GSM network.
- Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images News/Getty Images