My mobile device of the year – The iPad mini gets my vote for mobile device of the year due to what it can do, the battery, price and portability. The original iPads are still good for what they do, however the portability of the mini and it’s ability to do everything a normal sized ipad can do, makes it a hands down winner in my opinion.
A note about stock – Before you read any of the below and get excited please note there is very limited stock and Apple currently have a 2 week wait (as of 17-Dec-2012). You can get some through perhaps Myer, JB Hi-Fi etc but, like all salespeople on commission, they will likely try to up-sell you to a more expensive model, so be pushy and know what you want before you go there.
Ok, let’s get down to it, a few decisions to make:
Q1. There’s 2 lines for the iPad mini – Wifi or Wifi+Cellular – which one?
A1. Unless you need to use the mini everywhere with the internet a lot, then buy the wi-fi model. If you need to use the internet a little with the ipad when out and about, then simply share the internet from your Smartphone for the period where you need to use it when away from your home/work wifi and when done turn off the sharing. This means the only $$ you need to spend is when you initially purchase the iPad mini.
A2. If you are in the other camp and expect to use it a lot and like the instant access to the internet, then get the Wifi+Cellular model. This will cost about $140 more than the equivalent Wifi only model of iPad mini. On top of that you need to purchase a SIM card (usually $2) and data plan from Telstra/Voda/Optus @ about $29 per month for 4GB or $19 for 2GB on Voda (1GB fr $25, 4GB for $35/m on Telstra). Be very wary that ipads get used more than smartphones for downloading youtube/movies so will use a lot more data. If you get the cheaper plan it might cost a lot more if you are not careful. An alternative is a prepaid data card with a 365 day expiry and 12GB data allowance, that way there no risk of overrun and you can use as much as you want plus have visibility of usage each month. You can also do your homework and check what pay-by-the-month offers are there from the Telco providers for device+SIM+monthly data allowance. Remember to compare total spend over a typical 24 month plan.
Voda info on data plans – http://www.vodafone.com.au/
Note – no matter what you buy make sure you set up your mini to connect to your Wifi at home (and work if they can provide it to you). This dramatically saves on use of your 3G data if you purchase a Wifi+Cellular model of iPad. (p.s. if your work needs some help working out how to manage the use of personal mobile devices at work, I happen to know a great mobility consultancy who is more than happy to assist….:-)
Q2. What size do I buy – 16/32/64 ?
A. This depends on budget and how you intend to use the iPad. In terms of capacity a 16GB will hold about 8-10 feature length movies (if that’s all you have on the device), but don’t forget you will likely have a lot of music on it as well, meaning about 5-6 movies is more likely. I tend to buy the 32GB model as I have a reasonable amount of apps, movies, music and photos stored on it, but if you expect to have a couple of movies, 8-10 music albums and a 100 or so photos then the 16GB will likely be more than sufficient.
Q3. Can I get it cheaper from any special store?
A. No. Apple set the prices everywhere. You might get a free screen protector, or an el’ cheapo case thrown in via a reseller, but that’s about it. I personally buy from Apple so I get 100% no issues should there ever be a fault (and I have had a few, Apple products are not perfect as they would like you to believe).
Q4. Do I buy Applecare?
A. This is a tricky one and a matter of budget. Batteries in particular might start to degrade after the 12 month warranty that comes with the device, and the applecare warranty extension would cover you. Personally, I haven’t bough Applecare on my phones or tablets as I turn them over well within 12 months, but DEFINITELY do it on my iMac desktop and all laptops I buy as repairs are very costly. Applecare costs $99 and covers the ipad, batteries and included accessories.
Q5. Anything else I need to/should buy?
A. Don’t forget to get a case. The Apple Smartcover is $45, however I prefer to go 3rd party as the iPad mini smart cover doesn’t (yet) protect the back cover which is prone to scratches. Earphones are not included so you will also have to buy some earphones (in-ear) or headphones (over-ear) if you don’t have some already.
Q6. Ok I bought it, what next?
Read my post on iPad/iPhone restrictions – here.
That’s about it. Again, a great all-round and portable device.