Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Not too surprisingly, I bought an iPad. If I recall correctly, the Australian online Apple Store started taking pre-orders on Monday 10 May 2010. I don't know what time on that day orders opened, but I was online at 9.00am, and ordered the 64G version with WiFi + 3G. It was all very smooth. Ordering online has become by far my preferred purchase method for Apple products. The delivery date was listed as 28 May (the first day of retail sales in Australia) from the moment the pre-order was lodged, and this never changed. (There was rumour of TNT Express possibly pushing out deliveries to the following week, but as far as I know this amounted to nothing.) I tracked my order with Delivery Status Touch. My iPad was delivered early on 28 May, as advertised. People queued outside Adelaide's poor excuse for an Apple Store, Next Byte, who apparently had no stock. Outstanding, Next Byte.

I forgot to uncheck music syncing for the first sync, and consequently iTunes started transferring more than 30G of music over USB, so I used the opportunity to head out in search of a pre-paid SIM card. Figuring I may as well stick with the devil I know, I headed to a Telstra Shop. (And, to be fair, their prices are, while perhaps not reasonable, about a tenth of what they ream iPhone users for. A tenth. I momentarily thought about the feasibility of tethering my phone to my iPad...) Naturally, the first store I went to had no stock. That's right: a retail store of Australia's largest carrier had no stock of micro-SIM cards on the iPad's retail launch day. Outstanding, Telstra. Apparently they were expecting some later in the day, but I was on a mission. The next store had some.

Setting up the 3G connection was reasonably painless. I made a redundant phone call to the service number, as it turned out the card had been activated in the store. And then that was it. 3G was on. Data usage has been slim. Telstra throws on 3G for the price of the card for the first month. That is, until June 30, at least, the card itself costs $A 30, for which you get 1G included, and they throw in a "bonus" 2G for the first month. I have in not restricted my data usage in any way: I've downloaded apps, streamed video and audio, browsed the web, read email, you name it, non-stop over 3G all month. With a few days to go until the end of the month, I'm heading up to 250M of usage. I guess I'm just not trying very hard.

Every hyperbole written about the device itself is true. The hardware is beautiful. The screen is large, clear and bright. It's really not "just a larger iPhone"—apps designed specifically for the iPad are an order of magnitude better than anything on the iPhone. I went a little crazy in the first few days, buying a load of apps just to have something to do. Current essentials include Reeder (if you read RSS feeds on the iPad and you're not using Reeder, you're doing it wrong), and Instapaper. I'm using Twittelator, which is serviceable, but frankly I hope there's a version of Twitter's app (or, the app previously known as Tweetie) in the pipeline. Every other Twitter app I've tested has sucked. I bought Apple's Pages just to try it out. It's nice, but I haven't used it extensively.

iPads are not cheap, and maybe there's not a use case for everyone just yet. But if you have an iPhone and you like it, get one. If you even think you might like an iPad, chances are you will. Get one.