New iPad

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Which iPad did I go with?

iPad Air 64gb T-Mobile, Silver/White

Each part of that product model was a decision, except for the Silver/White model, I’ve been going with the white model on all my iOS devices since they’ve been available.

This is mostly about how I use it. I’ve never found my regular sized iPad to be too large for my uses. That is usually on the couch or on my desk playing a video while I’m working on my iMac.

I have a Nexus 7 around the house, it is slightly smaller than the iPad Mini. I found it to be too small for what I want out of a tablet.

I can see why someone might want a Mini. It can much more easily fit in one hand, it’s lighter, and can be tossed in a bag more easily. It also has the same screen as the regular iPad, which must look really great.

When I got the iPad 1, I got the 32gb. I was always close to filing my 16gb iPhone whatever-version-i-had-at-the-time and I knew I’d want a few movies on the iPad. 32gb was just fine but recently as I’ve been buying movies on iTunes, the file sizes are in the 3-4gb range. Just a few were filling up the 32gb. Really, the question was if going 128gb was worth the extra $100. It actually probably would be worth it, $100 for another 64gb. However, when I realized that I only have 128gb in my MacBook Air and the price would be just below what I paid for the Air, it seemed like a bit much.

The argument against larger sizes that I’ve heard most is that everything is in the cloud. That’s true, but I tried that method a few weeks ago when traveling. When I went to load a movie from iCloud, the download time was about 10 hours, and it never survived for longer than 30 minutes, restarting each time. The cloud only works if you have a network that will let you grab a few gbs.

For the iPad 3, for some reason I decided to go with an AT&T version. It was the sort of thing that I’d rather have and not use than really wish I had later on. I never used it.

So obviously this time around I went with T-Mobile. Crazy, right? I was all set for the WiFi version and saving a few bucks. I have tethering on AT&T, so I’d just use that. Then T-Mobile offered 200mb free every month for life. I’m not sure how far 200mb will go on an iPad, I almost never go over 250mb on my phone. I’ll just use it occasionally, and for times that I know I’ll be on for a little while, I can turn tethering on for my phone.


  • I can see how T-Mobile’s network is around town and maybe switch next year when my contract is up and the next iPhone comes out.
  • If I start using it and want more data, instead of tethering, I can buy pre-paid passes from T-Mobile, or add it to my AT&T share for a month for $10. iPads are unlocked and there is only one model, so you can toss in whatever type of SIM you like.

There was all sorts of discussion Friday morning about T-Mobile charging $10/month for the free data. Their web site is pretty poor on the clarity front. It seems to be even worse for account management. Their account page has been telling me it is down since I set up my account on Friday.

I had no trouble setting up and getting my free data. The most difficult part was having to choose a password with a symbol.

A Weekend In
That’s how I decided, in my few days with the device, I’m a huge fan. If I really thought about it, my iPad 3 was surviving just fine. iOS 7 didn’t make it unusable and I don’t even know which features didn’t make it to the iPad 3, so they can’t be that important. Still, there are a few reasons I’m really happy I made the upgrade.

  • Size and weight. As soon as I took it out of the box, I compared it to the previous design to see the obvious inch or so reduction in width. As for the weight, it reminds me of when I pick up an iPhone 4/4S compared to my iPhone 5. The old iPhones feel like bricks. What did they shove in there? The 5 is so light. When comparing the two the only conclusion can be that half the space inside the 5 is just left open and that it’s only that size because anything smaller would disappear.
  • Speed. I said the iPad 3 was running iOS 7 fine, that just means it’s tolerably slow. The iPad Air flies. I don’t game harder than Angry Birds on the device, so the speed should be able to keep up until the next re-design that hides behind a golf pencil.
  • Lightning! The only reason I considered the iPad 4 for a minute was the Lightning cable. The switch from the 30-pin was a long time coming but it was a pain to have to have both types of cables after I got my iPhone 5.
  • Battery. I haven’t noticed this yet, but the last design took a long time to charge, this should be a much more tolerable recharge time.

Apple Store
I ordered online at 3am for in-store pickup. I went over during lunch and was about 5th in the pre-order line. There were 2 or 3 people in the didn’t pre-order line. There were plenty available for everyone, but I wasn’t taking any chances, especially since I wasn’t sure how many T-Mobile versions they’d be stocking. Once I was up, I was taken to the first table, gave my order number, waited a minute for someone to bring the iPad up, signed, and left. Super simple.

Biggest Problem
The biggest problem is that the size bezel is so small that my iPad stand is a little too large.
iPad Air StandThe stand I use is the Twelve South BookArc, which I have two of because I like it so much.

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