While the iPad is now available for pre-order over in the US, the date when you can do the same in the UK has not yet been announced. There are some questions to be answered: What will the UK pricing be, should you buy one and if yes, what model should you get?
Up until fairly recently, Apple were displaying the US prices on their UK site, with a note that international prices had not yet been announced. This, to me, seemed a strange move for Apple considering their UK prices have usually been substantially more than the (US price * exchange rate) + VAT. Perhaps for once they were going to actually do that, but since the initial announcement of the iPad sterling has slipped considerably against the dollar, which I think was what prompted the removal of the US pricing. They are, however, still trailing it as being available at a â€œunbelievable priceâ€. Unfortunately for those of us in the UK, this is more likely to be unbelievably high than unbelievably low.
These are the current US prices:
|Wi-fi + 3G||$629||$729||$829|
Current US prices in sterling at current exchange rate (Â£1=$1.517):
|Wi-fi + 3G||£415||£480||£546|
What I expect sterling prices to be for the iPad:
|Wi-fi + 3G||£499||£599||£699|
It is very much possible that they may be higher, they may be lower. I have no insider information, but on past evidence I would expect prices to be at least those I have listed. There is precedent for worse; Apple TV is available in the US at $229 (Â£151 at the above exchange rate) but its UK price is Â£223.
Anyway, regardless of that, which iPad should you buy? Letâ€™s start by thinking about which model to go for – Wi-fi or Wi-fi + 3G (which Iâ€™ll refer to just as the 3G model after this point to prevent confusion). I personally think it is unlikely that the iPadâ€™s main use is going to be going on the Internet while on the move, thatâ€™s what the iPhone is for. So you could make the case that you donâ€™t need to buy the 3G model. However, the 3G version also has GPS, which to me is justification to spend the extra money on that model. The 3G chippery itself is a mere bonus. The possible applications of GPS in location-aware apps is very exciting and I wouldnâ€™t want to be excluded from that. So get the 3G model.
Next question is how much storage should you go for? When buying a hard drive, my advice is usually to think about how much you need and double it. My 16Gb iPhone is full and only has one movie on it. The iPad is going to be a million times better for looking at photos and watching movies, which will require much more storage. Better to be able to take as much as possible with you rather than wishing youâ€™d put movie x on rather than the selection you brought with you. So Iâ€™d go for at least 32Gb, preferably 64Gb.
Does that mean if you canâ€™t afford the Â£699 top of the range 64Gb 3G model, you shouldnâ€™t get one? No, it doesnâ€™t. If you want one, get the one you can afford, but Iâ€™d go for the 16Gb 3G model before looking at the 32Gb Wi-fi model because it gives you more possibilities with itâ€™s GPS. You can always swap around your content if necessary, even if it is a bit of a faff. You canâ€™t swap the features around.
So, am I going to buy an iPad? No. Not yet anyway. At the moment the iPad doesnâ€™t offer me enough to justify getting a device between my iPhone and MacBook Pro. Itâ€™s close, though. I suspect the mark 2 iPad will have a forward facing camera, which will make it a great device for video conferencing and all the stuff the mark 1 can do. Roll on the 2011 model.