Wondering if you should buy a 3G or WiFi only iPad?

When it comes to the ipad, I am often asked whether the buyer should go for the WiFi only model or if they should consider the 3G model.

I’ve owned an iPad for several months now and use it a lot….a heck of a lot. In fact I find that 90% of what I used to do on my trusty old netbook is now carried out on the iPad. I blog from it, manage my inboxes, Twitter and other social networks on it, I research, browse and communicate from it. Most of what I do online I do on the iPad. It is that good.

I own a WiFi only model. For the most part that has been fine. I don’t travel a lot and when I do it’s typically a planned event and (where possible) I choose locations with plentiful WiFi access either on site or nearby (I need my digital fix).

So, would I recommend saving those extra pounds or dollars and sticking with the WiFi only model? No, I wouldn’t. My advice is always thus….. if you can afford the 3G model, buy the 3G model.

We are increasingly reliant on a data connection to manage our busy lives. It is fast becoming a second oxygen supply. With the 3G model you have a data connection available for a much larger percentage of time.

I thought I managed well with just a WiFi only iPad. However, as I have just upgraded the iPhone from my trusty old 3GS, I now have the ability to tether the iPad to the new iPhone. The result is obvious…. I am now using the iPad much more than I ever did before (and having to manage my data allowance very carefully).

If you are in the market for an iPad and wondering if you should stump up the extra cash and get a 3G version my advice is do it.

Of course…. it may be worth waiting a couple of months (if rumours are true…. they almost certainly are). iPad 3 is on the way and promises to be awesome.

I am @icraigt on Twitter.


Blogsy…. testing

I’ve just downloaded Blogsy after watching a couple of the tutorial videos. It seems like a great way to connect your various media streams to your blogs, making photo and image selection (and video) very easy when drafting a blog post. The drag and drop (from your Picasa, Flickr, YouTube accounts) feature works very well indeed. The image below was dragged from my Picasa albums in just a couple of tap

The interface seems fairly straightforward and the app runs very well on my (old!) iPad 1. I was concerned that performance might be lacking on the old iPad but it runs very well indeed.

Anyway, just an initial post to try it out. I shall post more thoughts on it later, when I’ve had chance to use it more.
So far, so good!

I am @iCraigt on Twitter.

Getting to grips with iCloud

So, you’ve updated to iOS 5.0. Congratulations. It’s Apple’s finest mobile OS to date, introducing many new features, tweaks and improvements (especially for those with the brand spanking new iPhone 4S).

Hopefully, if upgrading an existing iPhone from the previous iOS 4.3.5, the process was fairly painless. As an early adopter I couldn’t wait until the day after release and joined the, probably, millions of others who bombarded the Apple servers in order to among the first to get their hands on the latest OS. With so many clambering to update it was inevitable that things didn’t go too smoothly, with many failed attemps, geek strops, error codes and an eventual very late night.

Anyway, we have iOS 5.0 and it’s excellent. There are a reported 200+ new features in the new OS, some small, others not so. The notification centre and customisable notification styles are a very welcome addition, as is tabbed browsing on the iPad, iMessage, Twitter integration and, of course, iCloud.

iCloud seamlessly synchronises your apps, photos, calendars, contacts, notes, documents, reminders, email and bookmarks. Apple very generously give you 5GB of storage for your backups. If that doesn’t sound like enough don’t worry, purchased music, apps and books, as well as your photo stream, don’t count towards your free storage and Apple store your backups and data in a way that is very efficient. It’s likely that 5GB will last most of us for some time. Upgrades to the free 5GB are available at very reasonable yearly rates, should you need more.

Setting up iCloud is very straightforward. Follow the short guide below or simply take a look at the Apple site for details on how to get started.

Setting up iCloud

First of all, and rather obviously, make sure your devices have iOS 5.0 installed.

Launch Settings and scroll down to iCloud. If you didn’t enable iCloud when you first installed iOS 5.0 then you will be prompted to do so. Sign in with your Apple ID (I recommend using the same Apple ID for iCloud that you use for purchases) and follow the instructions.

Once enabled, when you enter the iCloud settings screen you will be able to choose which services you want to sync.

All of the services you switched to “On” in the iCloud settings screen now sync seamlessly between your Apple devices (obviously you will need to go through the above process to enable iCloud on your other devices).

To enable backup to iCloud, tap on Storage and Backup and turn on iCloud backup.

Automatic Downloads

To enable automatic downloading of your music, apps and books, select Settings from the home screen and then Store.

What’s next?

That’s it. Once you’ve set up on each of your devices you’ll find that your apps, music and books are synchronised across your devices, your documents will be available on each device and any photos you take will appear in your photo stream, again across all of your Apple devices.

You will also find that, when connecting to iTunes, the process is much quicker as (if you’ve opted to backup to iCloud) iTunes no longer needs to run a backup as well as a sync.  An additional benefit of iOS 5.0 and iTunes 10.5 is that you can now continue to use your device during sync.  Previously, when syncing, you had to wait for iTunes to finish before you could use your device.

Access to your data, away from your iOS device

You can access your calendar, mail and contacts via iCloud.com as well as iWork documents.  Your photo stream can be managed via PC or MAC client (PC control panel available here) as can your contacts and calendars (requires Outlook 2007 or later and is restricted to Windows Vista and Windows 7…. us XP users are out of luck).

Enjoy iCloud, it really does make a big difference to ownership of Apple iOS devices.

I am @iCraigt on Twitter and you can find me on Google+ here.