iPad iPad iPad, Oi Oi Oi?

So, as you may have noticed, a couple of weeks back the WiFi only version of the iPad launched in the United States. Actually, if you were even remotely interested, it was rather hard to ignore, with what can't really be covered by the simple term "blanket coverage". Perhaps "Doona on a king-sized bed" coverage would fit better, but then that doesn't slot neatly into a newspaper or web site headline.

Now that the iPad is in the hands of consumers and reviewers, we know all sorts of interesting things about it, including some tips and tweaks. There's the suggestion (for those who must) that jailbreaking will be possible. There's demonstrations of how well the pixel doubling efforts of specific iPhone apps work on the iPad. There's methods for getting multiple calendars to work on the iPad. If you're into full-frontal nudity, there are dedicated, chip-by-chip teardowns of the iPad available. And yes, because we all really had to know, after some light modifications, it will indeed blend.

Actually, comedy aside, the really remarkable thing about the blending video is that if you watch it as the screen breaks, the keyboard is still visible. Ergo, that's one tough tablet.

So we know everything about the iPad, right ?

Nope. While I know several people who made trips to the US personally, returning with shiny new WiFi iPads firmly grasped, and a few who have paid large sums of money for express shipping of an iPad, there's still no sign of pricing information for actual Australian iPads.

All we do know is not much of everything.

That's because Apple's statement on local iPad availability doesn't say a whole lot of anything. Here's the original release in its entirety:

"iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available in Australia in late April. Pricing will be announced at the time of availability."

And after last night's revelation that Apple sold more than a few iPads in the US — such a shock — and it would be delaying the release until "late May" things didn't get any better, even if we can pre-order on May 10th. In one of life's little ironies, when I initially penned this column, I included the following rather prophetic statement:

"Hopefully it's not using ‘late’ in the sense of ‘dead’, and there's an announcement in the wings heralding its late October release date due to ‘unprecedented overseas demand’. I'd better stop writing that press release for Apple right now, before I give them any other ideas."

Just in case I do have wonderful prophetic powers to change Apple's business strategy, I'm going to come out and say it right now: Free iPads for all Australians.

Hey, it can't hurt to try, right?

Still, we don't know much. Will May 10 be when we can pre-order WiFi units? 3G units? Will the telcos having pricing in place by then? It's certainly possible to extrapolate out from the $US499 (16GB) $US599 (32GB) and $US699 (64GB) prices to rough Australian pricing for the WiFi-only models that are already on sale, but for the more interesting 3G models, it's much less clear. Carriers I've spoken to won't say much more on the record other than that they're "discussing the iPad with Apple vigorously", or words pretty much to that effect. The use of Micro-SIM cards means that the iPad represents an entirely new revenue stream for the carriers. Call me cynical, but I don't know that we'll see any kind of "all you can eat" pricing á la what AT&T's going to offer in the States.

There are ways to bypass the whole issue of 3G access with a portable WiFi router such as those offered by Internode, Virgin Mobile, Edimax or Netcomm, although you'll still be paying 3G data rates. Again, I'm speculating, but I suspect that we won't see any brave and bold new iPad-only data pricing at all, but just "more of the same" kind of pricing. To make matters worse, my inbuilt scepticism suggests that the pricing we'll see (irrespective of the buy or contract price of an iPad) will mirror the data costs of a mobile phone rather than a mobile modem, even though the iPad's much more of a data device than the iPhone.

What do you think? Are you panting expectantly to get your hands on an iPad, and is price irrelevant?

Discuss it with me at MacTheForum!

Bookmark and Share