Traveling with the iPad
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 25 October 2013, 5:24 am
I've been traveling a lot recently, and usually take my iPad with me. That turned out rather well, in spite of excessive European data roaming charges of up to 0.45€ per megabyte (used to be up to 1€) making the use of the 3G module nearly impossible. But it turns out that it is a good idea to have that 3G module anyway, because it comes with a GPS receiver (as opposed to guessing your location by the IP addresses of WiFi hotspots).  So if you are in a big city, you can usually find an app with an offline map for it, and then your iPad becomes a perfect city map: It doesn't just show you the map of the city, but also where you are and even which direction you are looking.

There are stll a lot of places that don't have free WiFi. Fortunately many games on the iPad work without an internet connection. And many media apps, from the Kindle app to the BBC iPlayer let you download content in advance, so you can read/watch it at the airport even without WiFi. And the battery life of an iPad beats a typical laptop by a huge margin. Not to mention how much less weight you lug around if your iPad is your laptop, your books, your magazines, your city maps, and your tour guides all at once.

Now I have an iPad 3, and Apple just announced the 5th generation called iPad Air. So I'm wondering whether I should upgrade, seeing how much I use it. Faster processor, lighter tablet, same battery life, sounds good to me. The only thing that annoys me is that I like to have a lot of memory: Currently 64 GB, and I'd go for a 128 GB model if available for the iPad Air. But Apple gives you only 16 GB in the base model, and then demands a full $100 more for just 16 GB more. If you compare that to the price of a 16 GB USB stick, Apple is clearly ripping us off here. There is a good reason why Apple makes it deliberately complicated to any form of external memory on an iPad, and doesn't allow you to just connect some USB stick to your device. People had some success with the camera connection kit, but that is rather limited for extending your iPads memory, and basically only works for photos and videos in the right format with strict naming conventions.

On the plus side the European Commission is working to make data roaming charges go away. They'll be lowered to 20 cents per MB in Europe in July 2014, and the commission is twisting arms to make them disappear completely. Once you have decent 3G everywhere, you can use more cloud storage and less physical storage. The future is looking bright for mobile computing. No wonder sales of standard PCs are down so much.
Tobold's Blog



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