Apple iPad in New Zealand

Update: Apple have officially announced that the iPad will be on sale from 23rd July. Prices start from $799.
Update 2: I bought one. Took a bit of shipping and Customs charged me GST, but it works great. My review is here.

The Apple iPad has burst through the cloud of rumour and speculation. A crepuscular ray in the shape of a giant iPhone with a 9.7″ IPS screen, custom 1GHz Apple A4 processor, 16-64GB of memory, 3G and WiFi, and 10 hours of battery life. And there, bathing in the pools of light are the old-media stalwarts: NYT, Penguin, and others; ready to illuminate their texts. Steve Jobs is their modern-day Gutenberg, iTunes his press, and the iBooks application his moveable type: together distributing printed works cheaper and faster than any paper press could ever do.

As with the iPod, this means neither the demise of old distribution, nor the rise of new. It does, however, provide another compelling platform for consumers to spend freely on more content. Like the App Store before it, Apple’s new distribution platform creates a near-frictionless method to part consumers with their money in return for content. Over the past couple of years, I’ve spent more on music and applications using my iPhone than any physical products. Similarly, I can see myself buying more subscriptions, applications, and premium content than ever before.

But wait, there’s more (and more of the same)

Apple knows when it is on to a good thing. The iPad enlarges the familiar iPhone interface, and also builds on their massively successful iTunes music and application stores. You can use all the same applications, music, and podcasts that have been available for the iPod and iPhone. But of course the increased size and resolution of the iPad will lend itself to larger-format applications – some of which Apple demonstrated during their announcement.

Apple has also finally leveraged their purchase of PA Semi, producing the “A4” chip: a custom 1GHz processor with combined graphics processing. We can assume from this that the iPad will have 3D gaming graphics far in excess of the iPhone and iPod. Electronic Arts leveraged this, and demonstrated some rather stunning 3D games.

Then there’s iWork. Apple’s existing suite of Office applications have been tweaked to run on the iPad. Apple has deeply integrated multi-touch, creating an almost Minority Report interface for the various applications. iWork on iPad is not an addendum to your desktop or notebook PC – each US$9.99 application is a complete standalone product. If you’re a hard-core road warrior, you might want to grab the matching keyboard dock.

Shine a light on us

And what of New Zealand? Are we left out in the Kindle-like cold? Not entirely. The iPad is available to buy worldwide in 60 days time (3G models will follow 30 days after that). However, the pre-pay data plans (US$14.99 for 250MB and US$29.99 for unlimited) are only available in the USA. But there should be nothing stopping you putting a Vodafone or XT sim card in the iPad, because they are carrier unlocked by default. Word of warning: like the iPhone, the iPad’s 3G will work ok on Vodafone in cities, and great on XT everywhere (when XT isn’t offline of course).

Here’s how much you’re going to pay for an iPad in US$:

And you know you’re going to. Like many Apple products, the features matter less than the fashion. When you see these devices in cafes and buses, you’ll want one. What are you waiting for? You don’t want to be left alone in the dark now do you?

[Image credits: GDGT]

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46 Comments

  1. That’s a great summary Ben, impressive considering the keynote wasn’t even finished when you posted this!

    Overall I feel underwhelmed about the iPad (stupid name), but I also think it has potential. Much like the iPhone I think its strength will come from the Apps that Developers produce, and unfortunately that means we don’t get to see the full potential at launch. Hopefully in the long run though it matures into an excellent device, just as the iPhone did.

  2. The iPad is actually the first Apple product I actually want to own. $500usd equates to about $700nzd at the moment, so I'm hoping the iPad will retail in NZD for at least under $1k…

    Now I just gotta find $1k…

  3. Oh no wait, scratch that. Expensive memory? No external storage options? Not even a goddamn micro-SD slot?

    Lame.

  4. Althoguh not revolutionary, its a serious upgrade to the market between phone and notebook! I have an ipod touch, but want something better for out and about to read on etc…

    A great summary, covers most things i want to know, only bit it doesn’t is availability dates and costs (which no one knows). Thanks for the info.

  5. Yeah it’s an interesting device, one I could see fitting in our house. We have 1 iMac at home, that’s it. It’s also our TV, so is frequently in use by someone watching something or recording something. OR someone is emailing meaning no TV

    So the iPad could sit nicely in the family. Use it for casual email, reading books, surfing web – while imac is in use. find a recipe & take it to the kitchen, grab a book and curl up in bed … show photos of the 2 year old quickly and easily with friends/family without firing up the big computer

    Yeah I could see this working .. for $700(ish) down here. I mean we were considering Nook .. this is that and more

    Sure there is no camera (but I have a Sony point & shoot & iPhone for those things), there is all and more that we need .. so yeah, there is a market. I don’t need expandible memory – it’s on wifi so I can I get what I need from the network when I need it. It’s too big to lug around to cafe’s – that’s why I use my iPhone … I can save media to my computer, sync photos etc … there really is no need for external storage etc

    I don’t need the 3G model, so .. yeah I think at around $700 .. it could be worth it (maybe – I’m waiting to see and touch one)

  6. The best thing about this is truly the price. I was skeptical right up until that point of the presentation, after which buying one seems inevitable.

  7. If you scroll to the bottom of the technical page there is a “camera connection kit”, in the form of a USB connector and SD card reader. It talks only of “importing photos”, which is a bit sad. I’d hope you could use it as external storage.

    Also of note: Bluetooth 2.1 with support for external keyboards, so you could get a cheap BT keyboard if the dock is too expensive.

  8. i’ll be buying one! I am seriously impressed with the price, when you compare it to the iphone.It is faster, and the battery life of 10 hours is very inviting (even while watching films Steve said!)…thats 1 month on standby,unreal , makes it far more attractive for the airport stopovers.I never watch a film on my iphone 3gs as the battery would be gone before i reached the destination! I will also not be bothering with 3g, i have an airport express I can plug in for the wireless, plus it has bluetooth, so can connect with the laptop or the imac! I love the idea of watching films and playing games on this baby! I like the size, as it can slip into my laptop bag no problem! My only regret…it is not a pen device, which I had crossed fingers fore…but that is not all in vain, have you guys seen the actual apple slate? go to axitron.com and look at the modbook! UNBELIEVABLY …GOTTA HAVE IT MATERIAL!

  9. Thinking of what I do with my various devices (phone, laptop, desktop pc, TV) I can’t really see where this fits in to my life. Maybe as a tricked out ebook reader, but I don’t think it’s flexible enough to do all that much.

    Plus the stuff I’m reading still suggests no multitasking, no Flash player. No inbuilt expandible storage.

    Personally, I’d rather have a Windows, Linux or even OS X based tablet of a similar size, with touch screen but also some form of physical keyboard – I don’t love ‘typing’ on screen.

  10. I have to agree re the comment about lack of a precision interface like a Wacom stylus.

    On a screen this big I would want Wacom-quality accuracy for minute adjustment of objects, photo retouching , technical sketching etc.

    Capactive screen finger prodding alone just doesn't have the precision. Good enough for a phone sized object, but mot really for a MID.

    I borrowed an old HP Tc400 tablet for a while, and while it was a biggish clunky box, I loved scibbling and annotating with the stylus in tablet mode. (Guess it harks back to my Palm Pilot days).

    I have seen discussion somewhere on the possibilty of combining both capacitive and resistive technologies in the same screen, resistive wacom style under the lcd and capacitive interface on top.

    Also echo the criticism re lack of expandability and disappointed that it is single-tasking iPhone OS rather than an embedded OSX.

  11. The really revolutionary thing about the iPad is something nobody’s noticed – cheap multitouch on a 10″ device. Up until now the idea of a Pro-Cap touchscreen (the system that iPhone uses) that big for a reasonable price was impossible. Apple have either done some serious production improvements to minimise the noise problems and get the price down for Pro-Cap, or come up with a new solution (see patent below). In the long term that may have a much bigger impact than the iPad itself.

    iPhone touchscreen explained:
    http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/iphone1.htm

    New Apple touchscreeen patent:
    http://venturebeat.com/2010/01/07/apple-touchscreen-patent/

  12. Apple got it wrong here.

    This isn’t what I expected from them at all. It looks like an over grown iPod Touch! and the screen isn’t full width??! there’s so much wasted screen area around the edges on this thing!

    * NO MULTI-TASKING
    ————————————–
    * Why do we need a silly keyboard dock?
    ————————————–
    * No camera
    ————————————–
    * Doesnt run Adobe flash
    ————————————–
    * A pitiful 1Ghz CPU
    ————————————–
    * Aspect ration no good for wide-screen movies
    ————————————–
    * No USB
    ————————————–
    * No phone feature (would’ve been great for conference calls)
    ————————————–
    * No radio feature
    ————————————–
    * Interface is just the iPhone OS
    ————————————–
    * No Firewire
    ————————————–
    * Doesn’t convert news content into e-paper display format
    ————————————–

    There are some good points however like being able to run the same apps from iTunes Store. It is much faster than the iphone but the 1Ghz CPU is just so they can say it lasts for 10 hours. I really expected much more from Apple and they are leaders in this field so its a huge disappointment to see such a bad device.

  13. This is as uncool as a bluetooth headset for phones. Its not the sort of thing you’ll take on the bus, or will whip out in a cafe to admiring glances and gasps. It’s not the sort of thing you can carry around with you without having to get a man-bag or an over-sized hand-bag.

    bit of a miss.

  14. Just to clarify something regarding the lack of multi-tasking. That’s not a limitation on iPhone OS itself, in fact a lot of Apple’s own apps ‘multi-task’ by default.

    What I expect to happen is the new version of the iPhone and iPhone OS 4.0 will open up multi tasking to 3rd party apps and from there it will trickle down to the iPad via a software update. That’s my theory anyway.

  15. @Ben
    Depends. If it’s a production improvement for pro-cap then you may see it turn up in other products as it ‘leaks’ from the Chinese factory. I’m not sure if Apple have their own factories, but what normally happens is a factory makes similar products for multiple companies. An improvement for one company is difficult to keep exclusive.

    This is the really powerful (and unnoticed) affect Apple’s products have had – iPod lowered the price of flash worldwide, iPhone did the same for Pro-Cap touchscreens, iPad will probably do the same for 10″ multitouch.

  16. @Marcel T – I would’ve thought they’d develop some new sensing technology so it intuitively distinguishes between finger pressure so it knows when you are holding and when you are interacting with it. Its still early though and we wait until the dust has settled.

  17. Very cool if you want a bigger iPod Touch.

    But I’ve been waiting and waiting for someone to do a true A4-sized multi-task platform that I can throw in my bag and use as a netbook/laptop, movie-viewer, audio-player, portable drive, ebook reader, pdf-reader, etc etc.

    For a while everyone was talking about convergence, and it seemed like we’d soon have a slim little device that would do everything, and was able to adapt to new software, new uses, etc. Instead we just get new toys designed to force us into their maker’s vertically-integrated content-selling business model (Kindle, iPhone, and now this).

    I’ll wait till someone else releases something more flexible, thanks.

  18. @Parsley

    Nope, Apple use Foxconn for ipod/phone manufacture at Shenzen in China.

    Components come from all over the place in Asia, although I think the capacitive screen and the broadcom cellular radio bits are sourced from U.S.

  19. The more I think about it, the more it comes back to brand exposure and fashion. To Steve Jobs, it's not about filling in a gap in devices or creating a new segment, it's about filling in a gap in the brand coverage.

    He has the office space covered (glowing Apple logos), and the personal space (iPhones). The iPad is all about putting Apple logos and visible devices in the public space. It's about brand advertising.

    The iPhone is Steve's crowning achievement, and it must pain him to see how iPhones could be mistaken for other devices (cough Android) when in use. But the iPad … these things are going to stand out like, well, crepuscular rays when you see them at bus stops, in cafes, in the park, and in the crowd.

    The Apple brand just got another shot in the arm.

  20. Talking about filling gaps, it's interesting that the iPad isn't (currently) sitting within either the Mac or iPod sections of the website.

    I wonder if it will get it's own spot like iPhone does.

  21. Thinking on it a little more – I’m not sure I like the size either. That’s just a bit to big for my liking – I’d like something that sort of splits the difference. I think something I can hold in one hand, could easily put in the pocket of a normal bag.

    Basically A5-sized would be just about ideal for my tastes. I guess one of the Archos tablets might be around that size?

  22. Another over-priced Apple gaget that delivers more fashion cachet than real geek or power-user functionality and interoperability.

    Price for the top model for us lucky Antipodeans?

    NZD $1176.00 plus whatever markup Apple NZ decide + GST!!!

    Might as well just buy a new Slimline Laptop.

    Thank goodness for Google Android (slow as it’s market penetration is).

  23. It does look nice. Be interesting to see how that hydrid e-ink/lcd screen works out.

    The MSI looks interesting as well

  24. Hoping on reading ebooks on it? While u can’t. EBooks aren’t available outside the usa.

  25. Without having seen the iPad I’m in no position to judge whether I would want one or whether it would fit in with my computing needs. I use a 1.8 G5 Mac tower. Sure, it’s old (nearly 6 years) and it’s slow compared to what’s on the market today, but it keeps on working, which is what matters to me. I have it switched on every day of the year from 5.30 am often until bed time. It can’t take the latest version of Photoshop, but so what? That’s way too expensive anyway. So I use a second-hand older version.

  26. According to that price list, the most expensive IPAD should be 829USD or approximately $1185 NZD.

    Cheaper than my iphone, without iphone plans.

  27. Ben,
    Honestly I haven’t read all the comments so this may have been said, you mentioned you could use Vodafone or XT sims … You will need a scalpel and steady hand, because the iPad uses microSIMs which are cutdown versions (physically) of the ones we currently use in NZ.

    1. I believe Vodafone said “we will have micro sims” shortly after the iPad was announced. But then again, that is marketing/PR speaking 🙂

  28. Hi, I just got an iPad but the app store does not work in New Zealand, anyone able to suggest a work around for downloading iPad apps? Cheers.

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