Posts tagged iPad


Review – Logitech iPad keyboard (PS: It rocks!)


Let’s cut to the chase here: The new Logitech ultrathin keyboard for the iPad (2 or new) rocks.  It ticks all my boxes (and I use my iPad HEAPS when travelling): It’s totally ‘Apple-esque’ (aka it’s sexy and slim and even shiny in the right places), it took me 15 seconds to set up without a manual, and it adds a bunch of functionality to my iPad while also being a protective cover. It even fixes the big gripe many people have with iPad keyboards (read below for more on that).  

The acid test: I now have it on my iPad permanently, need I say more?


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iChic 3

iChic iPad Cover Review


As many of you will know, I like my tech.  I particularly like Apple’s stuff.

I have, amongst other things, an iPad 2, which I think rocks (my iPad 2 pre-review of this is found here).

Anyway, one of the best things about the iPad 2 is the Apple Smart cover. I actually purchased the smart cover several days b4 I ordered my iPad online (yeah that’s commitment eh?).  The magnetic on/off just rocks (I don’t think I have used the power button on it more than a few times).

So when I was asked to review the new iChic cover I thought: Sure (but knew deep down it couldn’t be as good as the smart cover).  Well I was wrong!

Let me explain.

I have been using the smart cover from Apple for several months now.  And I love it.  The magnetic on/off together with it’s light weight just works for me.  BUT, the one time I wouldn’t mind a more substantial cover is when I travel (which I do a fair bit).  In fact I use the iPad more when I travel that I do at home (since when I travel it’s my mobile computer, and when I am at home, its just a cool device to play with most of the time).

So yeah, the Apple Smart Cover is awesome, but a bit light weight.  There is no back on the Smart Cover, and the front is just held on by a magnet at the side.   But all the covers I have seen are too heavy, or the wrong type (i.e. slide in), so I stuck with it.   Oh, and the smart cover also it only really holds up the iPad in landscape mode, and wouldn’t hold up the iPad handsfree (well) in portrait layout.  But that is less of an issue for me.

So back to the iChic cover – I did have to wonder about the wee bit on the back (a leather tab).  I mean .. it wasn’t a closure, so what was it?  Anyway, I snapped the iPad into the hard back plastic back, and then started playing.  I soon whet DUH when I figured out what that tab was!  It meant that I could now use the iPad in portrait without holding it!  It was a catch to hold the back in place (see image below to the right).  Not only will it allow to hold itself up in portrait mode, but also allows a higher standing up in landscape mode (as shown in the pic below).

And yes, it’s a magnetic lock – so still means I don’t need to turn it on (or off) again.  And the inside front cover is silk – so MUCH nicer on the glass.

So from a starting point where I thought nothing will beat the smart cover I now have to say I have demoted that cover to my back up around the home cover, and will use the iChic whenever I travel (which as already said is heaps).  So if you are after a lightish cover offering a mix of protection (a hard back) and magnetic lock (how could you not?) plus multiple display modes, look now further.  $49 US from the iChic web site (plus $15 shipping to NZ).    It comes in a range of colours (or colors for my north American readers).

Black and White Version: The new iChic slim shell folio cover is now my first choice cover – high praise from me!

Disclosure: No I wasn’t paid to say this.  My going rate to say nice things about stuff I don’t like is FAR more than any company would pay :-)

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ipad 2

iPad 2 Pre-Review


Here it is: my black and white, cut to the chase pre-review of the iPad 2.

I call it a pre-review since I have played with one several times (various Apple stores), I don’t own one yet.

I will give a full review when I do.

In the meantime, here’s the B&W pre-review:

Whats good about it The same stuff as made the first gen IPad great – user interface, battery life, etc.  (Read this line again, it’s important).
What’s improved Speed, low res camera x 2.  Oh, and it’s thinner.
What’s missing Everything that’s missing from the first gen iPad (assuming you thought it was missing in the first place that is), except for a camera
Should I upgrade from the 1st gen iPad? Probably not.  But then again you probably shouldn’t do lots of things.
Is it better than the 1st gen iPad Yes.  For sure
Is it the best tablet on the market Yep (in my opinion).
How does it FEEL? VERY fast, and light (I know it’s not much lighter, but thin makes if feel light).
What else? The iPad smart cover is SOOOO cool.   And no, it doesn’t work with the 1st gen iPad.
Tell me more Ummm, no.  This is the black and white version.  Read some online iPad 2 review, like this one

Btw, I ordered one.  Did it online, coz while the queues in San Fran were down to 4 hours (ie get up at 5am, and get one at 9am) by the time I left there a few weeks ago, it was still easier for me to click some buttons and then have a full warranty in my home country.  I’ll sell my iPad 1 for maybe half what I paid for the iPad 2, so all in all costs me $600 to upgrade.

Black and White Version: iPad 2 is faster, and thinner, and sexier.  A step up, but an evolution, not a revolution.

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Telecom to release an iPad killer – yeah right!


A source inside Telecom has told me that they is about to release their own tablet to compete with the iPad.

Here’s my take on this: DUMB!

WHY WHY WHY?  This is almost as bad (although not as big) as their decision to ignore GSM for so long and stick with their old CDMA network.

Why go against the grain?  Why invest resources (time and money) to advertise a product that 1% of the population will want (or use).  Even if you sell it to corporates due to a low price point, users of it will hate it coz it’s not an iPad (and hate both Telecom and their employer in the process).  OK, maybe I am overstating that, but it’s just a STUPID call IMHO.   How many times can I say DUMB?

But for anyone interested (not that it matters) here are the specs:

  • RRP: $399.00
  • OS: Andriod 2.1
  • 7″ resistive touch screen
  • 3mp back facing camera

Sure the price is nice, and the camera is better than the iPad, but if one thing Apple has taught us is that people will pay for things they WANT, regardless of specs.

That’s all I have for you now, but it’s enuf to say EPIC FAIL in my view.

Update 30/3/11: Rumor is its this model: TheZTE V9.  Full details of Telecoms new tablet here.  (note this is still all rumours)


Black and White Version: Telecom are retuning to their past and making strategic blunders.  Here’s a tip for you Telecom: Bite the bullet and buy some iPhones guys!

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More cool stuff, and oh, I am back!


I have just got back from a 2 week trip to the US, so I have plenty to blog about in the next week or so, including:

  • A hands on pre-review of the iPad 2 (the cut to the chase black and white version)
  • What’s good (and bad) about the US of A (including tipping!)
  • AirNZ economy service on the new 777-300, and why I think they have missed an opportunity
  • Boeing factory tour in Seattle
  • Why I love San Fran (the black and white)

But before I do that, here are two cool videos that are either going, or are already, viral:

1) Firstly, AirNZ.  They are making up for the (removal of) the gay kiss that wasn’t I think!


2) Here’s an awesome video that will bring a tear to your eye.

Black and White Version: There is some very cool stuff out there on the interweb.

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(Random) stuff I like


Here’s a wee list of stuff I like, in no particular order:

That is all.

Black and White Version: I like stuff, I just listed some of it.

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iPad four months in (a review)


I have now been using an iPad for over four months now.  My initial iPad review can be found here, but here’s a summary of my thoughts four months on (the back and white, cut to the chase, version)

This post if a follow on from my Black and White take on iPhone 4 and iPad in NZ.

So anyway .. on to the post: (more…)

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Now that’s how you do an iPad app for a newspaper NZ Herald (and how not to do it AirNZ!)


The NZ Herald released its iPad app a few weeks back.  And I have to say, it rocks.

They got so much right, where others screw up, such as:

  • Easy to use interface.  It fully uses the iPad and its screen.
  • Formatting is consistent – all articles are in a small box, with categories at the top.  When you click on the story it opens up a window, which starts with a pic then scrolls through page(s) of the text.
  • No premium/free distinction – it’s all just there
  • It’s all FREE (so many get this wrong – I will no longer pay for simple access to info that others provide for free)
  • Even the ads are cool – check out the Merc at at the start – it makes you WANT to watch it

The even get this bit right, and have a YouTube version of their add so people like me can post it:

Another good News iPad app is the USA today App (I think you need a US based iTunes account to install it).  Not QUITE as good as the NZ Herald one – but still free, and easy to navigate.

Where newspapers go wrong

Where MOST newspapers go wrong is they try to bring their old business model online. Their model USED to be write stuff people want to read, mix in some ads and then sell the product to the readers. The online mindset says I want the stuff for free, and if you won’t give it to me I will get it somewhere else, or just download it for free anyway. Their old model had high set up cost (the article writing and production) PLUS a variable cost of production (printing, postage etc).  Their new model has a high(ish) fixed cost (although a lot of it is setting up the template/look) and then an almost zero variable cost (the cost of 10,000 people reading an online version is almost the same as 10 people).  But newspapers keep trying to change for content, where the rationale for doing so (the variable cost of each reader) is no longer there.  They can get HEAPS of readers by getting REAL good content, and as a result of more readers, charge even more for advertising, all while having no extra costs each time someone reads/downloads it.  Simple really, so why do so many Newspapers get this so wrong?  No idea really, I think they are just a dead technology waiting to die, and just don’t get the opportunity that’s there.  I actually think their window is closing here.  Right now they still have lots of customers, they can leavergae off this by marketing their online offering (the free one – like NZ Herald) and build a new business online.   However, as time goes on they will have less and less readers, and their will be more (competitors) alternatives online.  In time the window off opportunity will have closed, and they wont have any leaverage to use.

Another ‘how not to do it’ story

While on the subject of how to do it (or in this case NOT) – I see AIrNZ made their Kiaora Magazine (the one you get on the plane) as an iPhone/iPad app.  Cool I think, novel even.  But where they screwed up is they went and charged for it.  The App is free, but each issue need to be paid for ($NZ 5.29 I think).  What were they thinking? Here’s my thoughts on this:

  • The mag is free when you fly (they say Take me, I am free)
  • The cost of putting it online in any form has a (moderately high) fixed cost only (no variable cost for each copy, unlike printed copies)
  • The mag is full of advertising
  • I think few people will pay for the app
  • They COULD have had a premium for advertising coz of increased readers, but instead will unlikely even get back their fixed cost investment
  • They could have even had online only adds, targeting say technology or higher end travel (these people have more disposable money)
  • Such a lost opportunity for AirNZ
  • They will probably pull the plug in a year or less saying “not enough readers”

Looks like I am not alone here, most people think the fee from AIrNZ is a joke.

Black and White Version: Some people get how to use new technology, some don’t.  Well done NZ Herald, silly billy AirNZ.

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apple logo

iPhone 4 and iPad in NZ – the black and white version


I recently made a post about my take on the world in a black and white, cut to the chase, way.

Over the next few days I had a few friends ask me about the iPhone with questions like will they fix the antennae issue?, and should I buy one now or wait?

So here is my black and white answers.  Where possible, I try to answer in one (or a few) word(s).  The idea is to keep this straight to the point.  So here is my take on the iPhone 4, and the iPad in New Zealand

iPhone 4 in New Zealand

Where can I buy one?
Is there an antennae issue? Yep
Is the antennae issue a major one? No
Will they fix the antennae issue with a new model soon? Nup.
Will the next model fix it? They will change it, but it won’t “fix” it.  All phones suffer from it to some degree
When will the iPhone 5 come out? No one knows, but it appears to be about a new iPhone every 12-18 months.
Should I buy one? That’s up to you.  Do you want one?
Should I buy one now or wait for the next model? If you want to buy one, get one now.
How much do they cost? 16GB: $1099, 32GB: $1299
Should I buy one in NZ or overseas? New Zealand.  Coz the warranty is only in the country you buy it in, plus NZ and Australia are one of the few countries that have unlocked iPhones.  Do NOT buy one from the US.
Are we getting ripped off in NZ with the price? No, prices are about the same as OZ for an unlocked phone.  The reason US has such cheap phones is that you are locked into a 2 year plan with AT&T.
What provider should I use? XT
Do you get paid by Apple or anyone else to say stuff? No.
Who’s fault was the launch fail in New Zealand? Vodafone

iPad in New Zealand

Where an I buy one? or lots of retailers like JBHiFi
Should I buy one? Up to you.
Will overseas iPad works in NZ Yep, right out of the box.  ALL iPads are ‘unlocked’
Buy in NZ or overseas? Up to you.  Probably NZ.  NZ price is about the same (or cheaper than) most countries.   Can be a tad cheaper in the US.  Remember warranty is country specific for iPad (so if you buy it in the US you have to take it back there for warranty claims).  Also anything over $700 attracts GST when you bring it in.
3G of WiFi model? Does depend, but for 95%+ of people, I recon 3G model (it has WiFi too remember)
How much does it cost? From $799 – an iPad Price list in New Zealand is here
What mobile provider shoudl I use for data? XT for 90% of people.  2 Degrees for the other 10%.  A comparison can be found here
But really why would I buy one? If you are asking this, then don’t buy one.  There are lots of reasons you might want (or even need?) one.  It’s up to you, they are cool, the work well, but all depends on what you might us it for.
OK, is it cool, like really? Yep.  It rocks!  A useful work tool too.

Black and White Version: Prices in NZ are fair for iPhone 4 and iPad.  Both are great devices, but only buy one if you want to.  Buy them in NZ, and use them on XT.

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iPad dataplans in NZ (updated for 2Degrees)


A week or so ago I did a post about iPad data plans in NZ, and included some nifty wee graph of the various plans etc.

Well 2Degrees have gone and made that post redundant with their new plans, so here is is again, UPDATED.

There are some (new) assumptions that need to be made here which are all noted, and the whole 60/90 day expiry with 2Degrees makes it less easy to compare across providers, so I have done the basic use it all in month one option, along with a more sophisticated graph.

UPDATE 4th Aug 2010: I have fixed 2 errors already.  Voda was recorded as 500MB (should be 250MB) for $20, and, and 2Degrees was 15GB (should be 10GB).  All fixed now.  Thanks Reece and Brett for spotting these!

My assumptions (important, so please read):

  • 1GB = 1000MB (not sure if this is how telcos in NZ charge or not to be honest, but I have been consistent with this, so it will make very little difference).
  • All rounded to the nearest dollar.     X axis is always in MB.     Y axis  is in $.
  • XT plans are the Pre-pay versions (so you get the 10c/MB till you hit the cap)
  • I have just put in the pre-pay plans, as that way it’s consistent and fair (and less lines!).
  • I am assuming Vodaphone do allow 10c/MB for over rates (their web site doesn’t say, not that I can find!)
  • No allowance is made for any difference in part charges or min charges per connection (no idea if this makes a lot of difference or not!)
  • The graph shows a straight line line between each data point, which is right EXCEPT all 2Degrees plans, where it SHOULD jump up $6 every 50MB or $20 every 500 MB etc, and not a gradual progression as the graph shows.
  • It assumes you keep buying packs on 2Degrees when you run out.  In reality you get to use any unused data from that the next month, so the first two graphs are slightly unfair to 2Degrees just after each re-buy point (but the later ones try to compensate for that by spreading the data over 60 or 90 days.
  • No specials are allowed for – this is the ongoing rates the telcos charge (so the 2 Degrees paid for 2GB get 3GB is just shown as 2GB here, nor is the $10 discount for XT on contract shown)
  • It assumes you are in an area of 2Degrees Coverage (or else you need to ignore every 2Degrees col except the $6 one!).

Note: Click on any image for a larger view.

All plans – based on 30 day use it or lose it, up to 10GB

All plans – based on 30 days use it or lose it up to 1GB

All plans – based on average cost per month, factoring in expiry, up to 1GB

Plans 2GB or more – based on average cost per month, factoring in expiry, up to 5GB

Commentary (updated 4 Aug)

Any winner less clear cut now with 2Degrees in on things.  A reminder of course 2Degrees is only really an option for any moderate use if on the 500MB/2GB/15GB plans, and these are only available in ChCh/Welly/Akl and Queenstown. The 60 and 90 day expiry on the data on 2Degrees also is a MAJOR bonus, esp when you are a heavy user (2-3GB+ per month).  IN case you missed it, 2Degrres has a 60 day expiry on the 2GB packs, and 90 days on the 10GB.  2Degrees packs and expires explained here. All others are 30 days.  2Degrees is also the only carrier to allow you to just keep buying more of the same pack in a month (I checked this by calling them – yep you can buy a 2GB pack each week if you want – something you CANT do on XT or Vodafone).

I would say when you are on the right plan (for your chosen telco) the price diff isn’t MASSIVE. So for a few hundred MB it’s $20 or $30 (I know that’s 50%, but its only $10!), or its around $50-$60 for a couple of GB on all three. When it changes is when you go over that, or change your usage, and it can sting (for going over OR under).  XT is far better when you DON’T use it much for a month (the 10c/MB to start with, esp if you normally use a GB or two), and 2Degrees 60/90 day expiry is very handy if you top up mid month (the only one that allows multiple top ups through the month).  And remember to factor in coverage, and speed (XT wins hands down there).

If you go a LITTLE over a cap (eg use 501MB and on a 500MB plan on XT) the 10c/MB until it hits the next double up cap level (ie you get a further 500MB for $29.95, but once only) is both fair, and good value.    If you go A LOT over your cap 2Degrees is great value since you can just keep re-buying multiple top ups (the only telco in NZ to allow this – the other penalise massive over usage in a month, 2Degrees just says: Sure use some more at the same rate – much fairer!)  Also one should not underestimate the advantage of the 60 or 90 day expiry on 2Degrees.  If you are moderate use (say 750MB – 1GB a month) you can now buy a 2GB plan and use the data over 2 months (in effect $25 per month for 1GB/mth)  Fare cheaper than anything else available.

Personally, on balance, XT is still my pick (for my situation).  The $29.95 for 500MB or $59.95 for 2GB, combined with the 10c/MB until you hit the cap, and the 10c/MB if you go over it, and the $29.95 double up are all NICE things about the plan, but for me the clincher is the superior coverage and speed.  I would say for those living in a metro area (ChCh/Welly/Akl or Queenstown) who don’t move around a lot for work, 2Degree could well be the best option – but you just have to know the kinda data usage you will use in a month before hand (ie do you buy the $6 packs of the $20 ones type thing).   I have to say Vodafone is a poor 3rd (for me), for lots of reasons, but the main one is I just don’t like them any more and their customer service sucks, and their plans have no advantages over the others (at least XT and 2Degrees each has advantages and wee extras).

Raw Data

Raw Data – all plans, assuming 30 day use it or lose it (not a correct assumption for 2Degrees)

XT 500MB XT 2GB XT 4GB Voda 250MB Voda 3GB 2Deg 50MB 2Deg 500MB 2Deg 2GB 2Deg 10GB
1 MB $0 $0 $0 $20 $50 $6 $20 $50 $150
10 $1 $1 $1 $20 $50 $6 $20 $50 $150
50 $5 $5 $5 $20 $50 $6 $20 $50 $150
100 $10 $10 $10 $20 $50 $12 $20 $50 $150
500 $30 $50 $50 $45 $50 $60 $20 $50 $150
750 $55 $60 $80 $70 $50 $90 $40 $50 $150
1000 MB $60 $60 $80 $95 $50 $120 $40 $50 $150
2000 $160 $60 $80 $195 $50 $240 $80 $50 $150
3000 $260 $70 $80 $295 $50 $360 $160 $100 $150
4000 $360 $90 $80 $395 $150 $480 $280 $100 $150
5000 $460 $190 $110 $495 $250 $600 $440 $150 $150
6000 $560 $290 $110 $595 $350 $720 $640 $150 $150
7000 $660 $390 $110 $695 $450 $840 $880 $200 $150
8000 $760 $490 $110 $795 $550 $960 $1,160 $200 $150
9000 $860 $590 $210 $895 $650 $1,080 $1,480 $250 $150
10000MB $960 $690 $310 $995 $750 $1,200 $1,440 $250 $150

RAW DATA – With Expiry Dates.  Assumes even use each month

MB XT 500MB PP XT 2GB PP Voda 250MB Voda 3GB 2D 500MB 2Deg 2GB 2Deg 10GB
100 $10 $10 $20 $50 $20 $50 $50
500 $30 $50 $70 $50 $20 $50 $50
1000 $60 $60 $95 $50 $40 $50 $50
2000 $160 $60 $195 $50 $80 $50 $50
3000 $260 $70 $295 $50 $160 $75 $50
5000 $460 $190 $495 $250 $600 $125 $75

Other useful related links

Black and White Version: Even more choice – it’s good!

PS: Let me know if I missed anything or messed up any of the graphs!  I will fix it :-)

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