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The physical differences between the two versions of the Apple iPad — the standard Apple iPad and Apple iPad 3G — aren't many, but CNET.com's Donald Bell guides us through what 3G buyers can expect.
One of the tell-tale signs that you're holding a 3G version of the iPad is the matt black plastic strip that runs across the back and wraps up around the top edge. This plastic panel makes it easier for the iPad's internal 3G antenna to grab a signal.
You're not required to establish a 3G data plan for the iPad 3G to work, but an initial pop-up window will remind you that the option is available.
The iPad 3G's settings menu includes two additional options not found on the standard iPad. An airplane mode switch at the top of the menu will temporarily disable the iPad's 3G capabilities. A menu selection for cellular data allows you to set up and manage your 3G data plan.