Friday, April 30, 2010

Living with a US iPad in New Zealand

So yes I have an iPad, I had to make a business trip to the USA. So I phoned before I left to check to see if any of the Apple stores in Denver would have stock the week I was over there. They said maybe, but more like no. So I ordered online to get one delivered to my work place while over there.

It wasn't easy to do since I was based out of the US it would not accept my credit card without a valid US postal code and address that matched the credit card. So I rang the store help line and got great customer service and was able to get one ordered. It was to be delivered 7-10 working days after purchase. I got the cheapest 16gb wifi model.

So while in the US I watched Fedex track and trace info waiting for it to be shipped. Finally it was, I followed it all the way from China to my hot little hand in Denver.

I had meetings all day that it was delivered so couldn't play with until later in the day. First hurdle, I needed iTunes to activate it. Since my iTunes is all set up on my home computer ... sitting in NZ I had to install iTunes on the work laptop to activate it. Not a biggy (Removed after activation), but I was concerned about what would happen when I did get home and connect it to my "real" iTunes library. (I connected it and it transferred my purchases and then reset the iPad to be connected to my iTunes library, very relieved)

UPDATE : The iPad APP store is now open in New Zealand and you can use your normal iTune account.

The next hurdle was to access the App store on the iPad, I used my NZ store login and the app store refused to open, The iPad app store was only active if you have a US based account. (You can use the app store in iTunes)So I had to setup a US based iTunes account.
Follow these instructions to get a free US iTunes account

After adding those newly created login details in the setting on the iPad I could then access the App store on the iPad. (Works back in NZ to) Next step was to download free apps. But soon I wanted to purchase apps that cost $$. Once again it wasn't a simple credit card transaction. As before since my card was non US based I couldnt add it to the store or just buy itunes gift cards.

After some searching and reading reviews this is the site I chose to purchase iTunes gift cards from.
They do add a small surcharge, after confirmation that I was who I said I was, I was emailed the code to enter into the apps store to redeem the gift card.

I was now rocking and rolling with a fully functional iPad.

When I got back to NZ I tentatively hooked it up to my mac and launched  iTunes, fearing the worse, that I would lose all my US based purchases. It said it was connected to a different library and did I wish to reset it. Sure I said, it then asked to transfer the purchases before it did that.... phew.

Once connected I could use iTunes to search and purchase iPad applications like I normally would for the iPhone.

So what do I think of it. I LOVE IT.

I'm sure you would have read all the press about it, its great and it doses everything I though it would and more. I wont go into a full review as there are thousands out there already if you want to read them.

For me it was always going to be about consuming media, while on the couch and not at a desk, and I hate netbooks or using laptops while on the couch. So a tablet was always going to be the device of choice.

The iPad is awesome at consuming media, the browser is fast, yes Sir Jobso was right browsing is fun again, Kids interactive books and games are taken to a whole new level. and the HD games are great.

Personal favorite app is Air Video, this allows me to stream all my 1.5TB of media to the iPad, it trans-codes on the fly so no matter the codec I can watch it on the iPad (Wifi require)

There are a few cons, the finger marks over the glossy screen bugs me (OCD),  the super glossy screen is hard to see in some light conditions. That's about it, oh and trying to actually use it with a wife and 4yr always wanting to use it.