Which mobile networks will be able to support the iPad?
Although the 3G-enabled iPad will ship unlocked – meaning it won’t be tied to one particular network – the device uses a GSM chip that supports 850, 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz GSM/EDGE, and 850, 1900, and 2100 MHz UMTS/HSDPA. Bottom line: the iPad might not work with your preferred mobile network.
Beyond that limitation, the 3G-enabled iPad requires a micro SIM card for mobile-network access. Orange and O2 are reported to have placed bulk orders for micro SIM cards. Because of its reliance on a micro SIM, consumers won’t be able to shop around for a cheap deal, they will be limited to deals offered by micro SIM contract operators.
With its 9.7in screen and 13.4mm width the WiFi-only iPad weighs in at only 0.68kg.
Will everything be available in the UK at the same time as the US?
Steve Jobs said that the WiFi models will be available worldwide in 60 days, but that details for international 3G users won’t come until June. At least Apple has established relationships with the network providers in the UK already, so hopefully the delay won’t be too long.
In addition, Apple’s iPad website states that the iBooks app and store will be available only in the US. We assume that the iBookstore will follow the path of the iTunes Store, which debuted in the US before rolling out to other countries.
What if I don’t want to use the on-screen keyboard to type in long emails?
One of the accessories Apple showed off was the iPad Keyboard Dock, which includes a full-size keyboard – similar to Apple’s current aluminium keyboard, but with a few iPad-specific keys – that you can use for input. In fact, when using the external keyboard, the iPad’s onscreen keyboard disappears, letting your document fill the entire screen.
The iPad also supports Bluetooth keyboards, so you can type without having to physically connect the iPad to a keyboard – though you might want to prop the tablet up somehow so you can actually see what you’re typing.
Does the iPad have a built-in GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver?
The 3G version does; the WiFi version does not. As far as we can tell, the 3G-capable iPad uses the same Assisted GPS technology used in the iPhone 3G and 3GS. (Despite how it sounds, Assisted GPS is not a lesser form of GPS. ‘Assisted’ means the device can use other cues – such as the location of nearby mobile phone towers or WiFi networks – to speed up the initial GPS fix compared to using the GPS circuitry alone.)
How hot will it get?
We won’t have a good answer to that until the iPad actually ships, unfortunately. During the hands-on time following Apple’s press event, reporters didn’t have an opportunity to sit with the iPad in their laps as Steve Jobs did during much of his iPad demo, so we have no indication of how well the device disperses heat. We imagine it will be more like an iPhone, which gets warmer mainly when it’s put to heavy use, than a MacBook or MacBook Pro, which can feel quite toasty the longer you work.
Is there any way to get files off the device?
We don’t yet have all the details about how the iPad will differ from the iPhone in this respect. There is a file-sharing feature built into the iPad and used by Apple’s iWork apps; this suggests that the iPad will offer a space where apps can write data and that Macs or PCs will be able to mount and access like a shared folder. We’re not sure if this sharing will happen over WiFi, when connected to a computer via USB, or both.
Will it stream video and audio podcasts from the iTunes store?
Since the iPhone already does this, we assume the iPad will do it too.
Will I be able to print from the iPad?
Believe it or not, there are some iPhone apps out there right now that will let you print, so it’s not unreasonable to think that someone will come up with an app that lets you print any document the iPad knows how to read. And given that Apple is touting iWork for iPad, it’s possible that the iPad itself may include some sort of printing service, although we don’t know of any such feature right now.
Will I be able to buy magazines through iBooks and the iBookstore?
It appears that iBooks – that’s the free ebook reader app previewed by Apple – and the iBookstore are exactly what they say: a system for users to purchase and read books. Not magazines, not newspapers, just books. The only signs of books or magazines during Apple’s demonstration of the iPad were in the Safari browser and in the New York Times presentation of its own custom-built app.
As far as we can tell, what this means is that book publishers will be able to supply ePub-formatted books for sale in Apple’s iBookstore, but that magazine and newspaper publishers will need to find their own way onto the device, either by building their own apps or by contracting with an app developer or service to publish their content via a third-party app.