AT&T Modio Smartcase

If you ever wanted to buy a cellular iPad but couldn’t wrap your head around forking out an extra $130 for LTE functionality, AT&T has you covered.

Here at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the #2 U.S. wireless carrier announced a new case that gives Wi-Fi-only iPads the ability to connect to its high-speed 4G LTE network.

It’s basically a case with an integrated mobile LTE hotspot and it’s available in several editions, including versions for the iPad Air and iPad Air 2, as well as all three generations of the iPad mini.

The AT&T Modio Smartcase includes a built-in 4,600mAh battery which should be enough to provide up to ten hours of use of the LTE hotspot, matching the iPad’s ten-hour battery life.

There’s even a microSD card slot to add 32 gigabytes of extra storage which can be accessed via AT&T’s Modio Data companion app. You can use the program to transfer files from the attached memory card and play media files, as well as monitor your data usage and connection.

AT&T Modio Smartcase

As mentioned before, AT&T will be providing versions of the Modio Smartcase suited for the iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 2 and the original iPad mini.

It may not be the fanciest case available, but if you own a Wi-Fi iPad and want to surf the web, read your email and FaceTime with your friends on the go using AT&T’s LTE network, it’s at least worth consideration.

The AT&T Modio Smartcase is coming soon and will be will available in AT&T stores and through its webstore. Pricing details will be revealed in due time.

Just out of curiosity, do you own a Wi-Fi-only or cellular iPad model?


  • Byron C Mayes

    Better be less than $130. And I don’t mean $129.99

  • Manuel Molina

    Curious to see the price tag on this down the road. It seems like this offers amazing value

  • JayDee917

    My guess is $150+. I’m sure they don’t want to piss Apple off by undercutting their LTE models.

  • George

    Just use your phones hotspot, an LTE iPad is a waste of money.

    • therealjjohnson

      Why drain your phone and your iPad at the same time? I have strongly considered getting rid of my smart phone and just using a iPad mini connected to the internet.

      • George

        I just see no use for tablets anymore, especially an oversized iPhone called an iPad.

      • therealjjohnson

        Well at work I’m connected to my iPad all day. Email and the office suite along with IM and iMessage I can’t go without. There is a need for a tablet. It’s either that or lug a laptop around all day.

      • George

        Apple needs to make a surfuce like thing with the iPad and make it more powerful. These restrictions make it just an oversized iPod touch. Combining osx with iOS would be amazing.

      • It won’t. Have tried VNC to a Mac? The experience is awful.
        Why do Apple want to copy Win8? It’s not like Win8 is a bit hit.

      • VNC to a Mac isn’t the same as having an optimized OS right there on the computer’s local storage, like the case of the Surface Pro. One goes over a fluctuating wi-fi connection and relies on a separate device (the VNC), the other goes steadily through an MSata SSD connection and is accomplished on a single device (the OS on the local storage).

        Windows 8 wasn’t a big hit like Windows 7, but the Surface Pro is slowly taking away Apple’s customers (bit ly/1tVwdIy), just like Apple’s iPhone was slowly taking away Nokia’s and BlackBerry’s customers back in 2007. If Apple repeats what Nokia and BlackBerry did (play too big to give a sh*t), they’ll eventually end up just like those two are today. No company is too big to fall.

      • I wasn’t complaining about the speed, rather the usability of the UI. For example, magnification of Dock is completely ridiculous on touch screens. OS X makes extensive use of shortcut keys, for example command+drag, it simply won’t work on iPad.

        If OS X were to work on touch screen, the UI would be completely made over. But how would the outcome be any different to iOS? iOS and OS X only differs in UI. They share the exact same kernel and lower level API from the start.

        Even if by some stat that surface is eating MacBook, I am not one among them who converted.

      • Regarding the usability of UI, that’s why I stated “optimized OS”. They wouldn’t just throw in OS X’s UI as the only UI, instead, they could follow Windows 10’s continuum approach (http://bit ly/1BxM4Av). Using a UI like the current OS X for when the device is in Laptop/Desktop form-factor, and transitioning to a UI like the current iOS for when the device is in Tablet form-factor.

        However, in both UIs, the device would still be able to perform big tasks like you normally would put your iPad aside and grab your MacBook for. Or in other words, just the UI becomes pen/touch friendly in Tablet form, and mouse/keyboard friendly in Laptop/Desktop form, no baby-sitter limitations like the current iOS.

      • I hate the two interfaces switching idea. Win10 did improve upon Win8, yet it is still against simplicity and consistency. It’s like Java’s idea, to run everywhere, but all it does is breaking everything and looking out of place. It’s much simpler to develop and optimize for one single target.

        iOS does have some limitations, but with each iteration, it is becoming better. Also that’s why we have jailbreak for. Currently, I can achieve everything on iOS except programming. (Toolchains are available in Cydia, but no IDE available)

      • To each their own. I discussed this multiple devices problem before, here’s a copy-paste (you really should have you MacBook do the reading for you, there’s TextAloud for Windows):

        Dude, using separate devices is a PITA and very inconvenient IMO. I would still be using just my 2008 13″ HP Pavilion dv3510nr Laptop (without ANY bastardized ARM tablet) if it weren’t for the Surface Pro 2, which replaced it and enhanced my work flow in many ways.

        The idea of multiple devices doesn’t work for me and many others ’cause:
        – I don’t want to worry about compatibility problems where certain file types won’t open on one device or the other, or certain web content won’t display on one device or the other, or I lose formatting when transferring certain content from one device to the other.

        – I don’t want to waste time putting one device aside and grabbing another when I want to get real work done.

        – I don’t want to waste time keeping different systems in sync, presuming the content I want to sync is even compatible on both devices.

        – I don’t want to be in that situation of “oh I forgot my laptop/tablet, damn it, all my work/entertainment stuff is on that device”.

        – I don’t want to have to use some third-party’s HDD (i.e. Cloud storage) just to enjoy media from my 1.5TB Portable HDD in a slightly enhanced way (i.e. on the Tablet PC).

        – Worrying about 2 delicate devices, where one (the bastardized ARM Tablet PC) is mostly a sub-part of the other (the Laptop PC), isn’t worth the effort nor time. My Laptop PC works fine for consumption tasks (even better in certain consumption tasks, like web browsing), a bastardized Tablet PC (like the iPad) just enhances that and most are rip-offs with Intel Atom Tablets (like the Lenovo Miix 2 10) selling at the same price on the market.

        The Surface Pro removes all those burdens AND it adds the following enhancements, which is rare amongst them bastardized ARM Tablet PCs (presuming such even exists with them):
        – It significantly cuts down on the total package I carry in my back-pack. With a bastardized tablet (take the iPad Air for example, 1.0lb), I’d still be carrying 4 or more 200/250 sheet Letter-sized 5-star notebooks to University (2lb each, so, 8lb total) and my Laptop (let’s go with the light 2.38lb 11″ MacBook Air), totalling 11.38lb or more. With the Surface Pro 2 and it’s Type Cover, I carry less than 3lb of stuff.

        – As a Laptop (with the Type Cover), it sits perfectly fine on my 5″ lap, and even though I have big hands and I came from a 13″ Laptop, I’m still able to accurately type at a rate of 50wpm on the Type Cover 2 due to it’s full-sized keys. The bonus is, with the kickstand design, I can be doing intense processing stuff and I’ll never feel any heat, from processor and graphics components, hurting my lap.

        – It replaces ALL my personal needs of paper and 5-star notebooks with it’s digitizer pen, and the advanced features of OneNote 2013 enhances the digital note-taking experience in dozens of ways. Watch this full-blown demo (bit ly/1xNpW0I) if you’re interested in knowing why nothing else comes close. No more need to print PDFs or word/power point/excel documents to physical paper just to annotate on them, no more printing of forms in order to fill and sign them, etc. To gain the advantages of this aspect would cost you an additional digitizer drawing board, like the Wacom Intuos 4 ($350, 2.2lb), if you go for the separate devices approach AND you’ll be carrying even more weight, yet you’ll still have to deal with that unwanted discontinuity of writing somewhere (on the Wacom tablet) and keeping track somewhere else (on your Laptop’s screen).

        – I gain added dimensions of usage in creative legacy desktop applications, like the entire Adobe CC Suit. Check out how Pen/Touch and Mouse/Keyboard work seamlessly together to enhance user interaction on the Surface Pro 3 (bit ly/1pgy6jn), they don’t diminish one another like you seem to think.

        – It’s major savings for both the short-run and the long-run. In the short-run, I paid $1470 for the i5 256GB SSD 8GB RAM Surface Pro 2 + the Type Cover 2 + 64GB MicroSD, which IMO, is worth an 11″ 256GB SSD 8GB RAM MacBook Air ($1200), a 64GB iPad Air ($600), and a Wacom Digitizer Drawing Board ($350), totaling $2150 worth. In the long run:
        * I never again have to buy another 5 star notebook (or a Diary/Logbook)
        * I can store and carry ALL my 20+ lecture notebooks with me without hurting my shoulders
        * I can instantly refer to years ago notes and share them without taking the time to dig through pieces of paper (hoping I haven’t dumped them) or worrying about a friend misplacing them and having to redo the entire note by hand
        * I can easily append missed lecture/meeting notes to my notebook by taking a picture of them (from a friend) and importing to OneNote, saving a lot of time from not having to copy the entire notes by hand.
        * I don’t need to waste ink printing documents when I just want to write on them.

        So, TLDR, the Surface Pro 2 has been a dream-come-through machine for me and a MacBook + iPad will still be lacking in functionality despite being a heavier and more costly package.

      • It’s a good advertisement for surface, and I can certainly see the attraction of having touch screen on your laptop. But not in the way Microsoft implements.

        If and only if they can figure out a single interface that simplifies the experience, they won’t be making refrigerator and microwave in the same package like Tim Cook said. Come to think of it, combining refrigerator and microwave has the same merits as you said: it’s lighter, takes less space, and likely cheaper than separated; you don’t have to worry about the different voltage they might accept.

        I’m typing this on my iPhone, and though I don’t currently have an iPad, I’m perfectly happy with my experience with my MacBook. I would be furious if Apple copies Microsoft and put an iPad in my Mac and complicate my workflow. I don’t intent to use desktop version of Adobe Photoshop on my iPhone (with stylus and microscope), either.

      • I think you mean bastardized Tablets, not Tablets as a whole. Tablets are just another form-factor of a PC (current form-factors are Desktop, Laptop, Tablet AND SmartPhone, the Surface Pro transforms between the first 3 with it’s accessories), and they have productive uses that you could only dream of accomplishing on a Laptop/Desktop PCs.

        Here (http://bit ly/1pgy6jn) and here (http://bit ly/1yPo9cL) are two main examples of their productive uses.

      • That’s soemthing you could have avoided if the iPad had a USB port. I avoid that by plugging my phone into my Surface Pro and tethering via USB, that way, only my Surface Pro is draining.

  • A’s Network

    I wish there would be a SIM card slot so we could use a prepaid carrier if we so chose to