Well, that was a fairly lengthy wait. After initially penning my thoughts on the iPad and my own personal purchasing dilemma back in March, the iPad has finally been made available for pre-order beyond the state lines and borders of the good old Yoo Ess. It’s been a long old wait, one not helped by an almost constant desire to import, but one I’m hoping will prove to be worth it in the long run.
So, let’s get straight down to it. Did the devilish Steve Jobs sat on my left shoulder win me over, or did the angelic bank manager (scoff) sat on my right prevail?
As I’m sure you can already guess, the short answer is that yes, I did once again submit myself to the willing of Mr. Jobs. Now that the deed has been done, my order placed and permission granted from the wife, I suddenly feel much more clear minded about the whole experience.
Much like the decision of whether to even purchase an iPad or not, the issue of which model to go for was another that has had me leaning from one post to another since January. Having toyed with just about all 6 of the launch 3G, WiFi and size combinations, the decision became crystal clear once it came to actually placing my order. Almost without hesitation or a second glance, I gladly clicked the pre-order button hovering below the base 16GB WiFi model. To my surprise, this was actually a conscious and previously thought out decision based as much around functionality and practicality as it was cost.
First of all, I’ll explain my decision regarding the capacity. For what the iPad is, many may see 16GB as being almost redundant. For anyone with intentions of stocking their iPad with their music libraries and movies, it might very well be. In my own opinion however, the size of ones iPad very much falls on their own personal usage. For my intended plans, 32GB may be too much space to justify the extra cost. 64GB would be overkill of the highest order. Although some will say “nobody ever complained of having too much space” – as valid a point as it is – I don’t have the disposable income to spend on dead space if I have no intentions of filling it. Storage and usage vs cost is a very real part of the purchasing equation and on a personal level at least, 16GB quite comfortably represents the proverbial sweet spot.
So what will I be storing on my new iPad? For the most part, apps, ebooks, photos and any work-in-progress documents for quick editing. Perhaps maybe a small selection of podcasts and playlists, loaded onto the iPad depending on my mood or for some background audio whilst reading or generally lounging around with the device. At the absolute most, perhaps a couple of movies if I ever find myself more than a week or two away from an opportunity to sync, but these occurrences will be few and far between. For those purposes, 16GB could very well be more than sufficient. Taking the music away from my 16GB iPhone, something which I recently did to give my library a much needed freshen up, such tasks barely make a dint into my iPhone’s storage capacity.
It might also be worth noting at this point that in terms of an all-in-one mobile computing and storage solution, 64GB is no more or less convenient for me than 16GB is. 64GB would accommodate neither my full music library nor my full stock of movies and TV shows, and therefore a degree of selective syncing is required regardless. Thankfully, I also have absolutely no desire to carry around a 1.5lb, 9.7 inch sized iPod in my clown pockets.
So what of 3G? Well, again, this was an easier decision to make upon pre-ordering than I anticipated. Having again weighed up the cost vs practicality argument, I figured that 3G was an expense beyond what I was prepared to pay for my own requirements. Other than sat at my desk at work, everywhere else I typically frequent on a day to day basis has WiFi support. I also won’t just be wandering down the street checking up on the news or what have you like I do with my phone, either, so I’d argue the need for constant connectivity is actually less here than it is with the iPhone.
Again, personally speaking, it’s a relatively simple conclusion to come to. The £100 ($149) premium on the device itself, along with the need for a second data plan (which are largely unspectacular in the UK) doesn’t really justify itself for the hour or so a day I’ll use my iPad at work. The money saved there has already gone towards the cost of a dock and will soon be put towards a case and some apps, which I believe is a fair trade off.
Oh, and for the occasions where I don’t have a WiFi connection? Well, there are ways around that, but we’ll keep those hush hush! Naughty naughty!
Of course, there’s no reason why anybody should care about any of this. If anything, this is merely a personal closure on my previous article, which I ended by stating my intentions to explain why I ordered the model I did should I eventually cave in. Everybody will have an opinion on issues such as space, connectivity and cost. Many existing iPad owners may read this post and disagree with every last word, whereas as others may agree with some of the thinking here. Having followed the iPad community on forums and blogs for the past several months, particularly in the wake of the US launch, I know there is a vast difference of opinion from all kinds of iPad owners. I know there are many who bought the base units with the exact same requirements as me, which was certainly a help when it came to keying in my own card details and parting with my own hard earned.
What pleases me is that amongst all those opinions, there is one very consistent trend. Many of those that purchased an iPad in the US are, by and large, over the moon with their decision. I read reports on a daily basis of how people are being surprised day in day out by what they can achieve with the device and what it does for them. These are reports that seem to transcend the difference’s between capacity and connectivity and should come as great news to anyone even considering purchasing an iPad in the near future. With much of the early feedback pointing to the iPad’s positives as a device, regardless of model size or type, users should feel pleased with their decision whether spending £429 or £699.
Having finally placed my order, I simply can’t wait to get my hands on the iPad.
Also, my WiFi model won’t have that fugly black bar across the back of the unit. Take that, 3G’ers!
The third and final part of this piece will come around the first week of June, once I’ve given the iPad enough hands on time to form a fair review.
Email the author of this post at firstname.lastname@example.org
How funny, Mat, as just today I held in my paws an iPad for the first time. I liked the classy slipcover, the size and shape… I almost pictured myself ditching the heaps of legal pads all around my office (I grab one at random whenever there’s a meeting so I can never find my notes) and going with something like that.
Then I was overcome by a sense that I was gonna break the thing. Not that it felt cheap or anything, I was just, like… “I have to set this down before I break it.” I hadn’t even turned it on.
Haha, It could be some time before I overcome that myself, in all fairness. To be fair though I did have that with my iPhone aswell at first, although after 2 years the poor bugger is starting to show the strains of day to day use without a cover! A case of some sort is an absolute must for the iPad though, I feel.
Oh, and you made the comment about holding one in your hands just to spite me, didn’t you.. 🙁
Well, this fellow at work had bought it for his wife. I didn’t scrutinize the entire unboxing, so I’m not sure if this came in the package, but he popped it into this stylish black binder-looking slipcover. It added essentially zero to the device’s weight or size but did offer some modicum of protection. Once I saw it cloaked like that I thought, “I could totally take this to a meeting.”
Good call on your reasons for 16GB/WiFi, too. You’re realistic in how you’re going to use it, and that should save you some money. Why pay for features that you don’t need? An iPad isn’t a notebook or a computer replacement. Or a phone replacement. I’m interested to see where tablets go and how you like yours.
I don’t believe the boxed iPad comes with a case, but Apple do sell a black one. It looks OK, and has practical purpose as it folds to prop the iPad up in a couple of key positions, but I’ve heard mixed reports about the build quality (which is quite un-Apple, in all fairness).
I think the important thing about the iPad, which I touched on a little above, is that people seem to be enjoying using it regardless of their model. It’s not like buying say, a games console where you buy a cheaper model but have to compensate for missing features in bits. I’ve actually come across a surprising number of people who bought the 16GB/WiFi to use exactly how I intend on doing and who seem to love it. Particularly not having to pay for a second data plan ontop of their existing mobile phone package.
At the end of the day, it’s all about personal usage, which is why Apple made them in 6 different flavours.
I just wish they were a little cheaper. I might well take the plunge if that 16GB model were $100 less. But I do think you get what you pay for, if its quality is anything like my iPhone.
I keep forgetting about these shiny slabs of alleged wonderment. I’ve got to say I’m really not much of a gadget person and I think that’s primarily down to my gun totting bank manger sat on both shoulders. He is one tough hombre.