iPad Tips


Buying an iPad or iPad Mini

The iPad Mini is basically a smaller version of the iPad and it does just about everything the iPad does.  However the screen is smaller and iPad Mini doesn’t have the Retina Display of its big brother and doesn’t have the fast processor.  But admittedly it is cheaper and being smaller, can be easier to carry.
You need to ask yourself ‘Does size matter?’  I admit to a bias toward the iPad as I like the larger screen.

Given the above, the comments below refer equally to the iPad and the iPad Mini.

These are the models of the iPad available in Australia – all available in white and Black cases:

  • WiFi – 16GB
  • WiFi – 32GB
  • WiFi – 64GB
  • WiFi + 3G (with GPS )- 16GB
  • WiFi + 3G (with GPS )- 32GB
  • WiFi + 3G (with GPS )- 64GB
  • WiFi + 3G (with GPS )- 128GB (Latest iPad Only)

Many applications require GPS to work so you really should think seriously about only buying WiFi + 3G (with GPS ).  Even if you have no intention of ever using 3G you should buy WiFi + 3G just for the GPS.   It will be more expensive but it will be worth the extra cost.

The size of storage you buy (16, 32 or 64GB) will depend upon what you want to use the iPad for.  Chances are that you don’t really know because as you start using the iPad suddenly you find that it does all sorts of things that you want to use, that you didn’t know about before.  If you plan to use it for travelling ot storing lots of photos, DVDs and music you should purchase minimum 32GB and possibly 64GB.  In fact unless you only want it for a few specific small aplications then you should consider nothing less than 32GB.

As a guide

  • 1000 music tracks will use approximately 4.5GB
  • 1000 photos at 8Mg pixels will use approximately 3GB
  • 50 Apps will use approximately 4.5GB (obviously this is an average and will depend on which Apps you download)
  • 100 books will use about 250Mb (obviously depends on the books)
  • You will also need a 4 to 6 GB at least for misc storage eg notes, .pdf files, emails etc.

Don’t even consider WiFi only and purchase at least 32Gb – you will be so glad you did.


iPad uses when travelling

The iPad is a fantastic resource to take when you travel especially to other countries. 

Here is what I mainly use the iPad for when travelling:

  • Email*
  • Maps and knowing where I am (maps.me is a great app)
  • Travel guides
  • Currency conversion
  • Weather & tides*
  • Itinerary (.pdf)
  • Keeping a journal of the trip
  • Music
  • Watching DVDs
  • Checking & Back-up of camera photos
  • Reading Books
  • Accessing news from home*
  • Alarm Clock
  • Compass (remove from case)
  • Getting current location Altitude
  • Accessing my bank (and tracking Credit Card expenses)*
  • Paying bills on line – using screen snapshot for records*
  • Listening to the radio*
  • Tracking Airline Flight information*
  • Skype calls to family*
  • Taking some photos
  • Games – for the plane trip.
  • There are possibly more applications but I can’t think of them at the moment

* Requires internet access

Preparing an iPad for a trip

As I prepare for our upcoming trip, here are the steps I am taking, and suggest you consider, to prepare the iPad.

  • Take the micro SIM card out and leave it at home.  This will prevent any possibility of extraneous use and will prevent using up your broadband allocation.  Use WiFI while away, or buy a micro SIM card in the country where you are going.
  • Install a Currency Converter App.  I have found ‘XE CURRENCY’ excellent.  This enables you to easily convert amounts  so you know what you are spending.
  • Install any music you want to take with you.
  • Install any e-books you want to read while travelling.
  • Install a DVD app and download a collection of DVDs you can watch while travelling
  • Research any Apps that might be handy in the place you are going – eg Travel Information, Public Transport Details, What to see, where.  One App I have downloaded is ‘Triposo’ – a FREE app covering many countries and cities.  Make sure you download the various cities and Countries you require while connected to your Home Wi-Fi.
  • Save your itinerary as a .pdf and download it to the iPad.  ‘Goodreader’ is an excellent APP for reading .pdfs.
  • Work out BEFORE leaving home, how you are going to use email.  You will be able to receive emails in the iPad Mail via Wi-F.
    Sending emails will depend on the following:
    –  if overseas you will only be able to send emails from IPad Mail if you are using the outgoing mail server of a world wide email server eg: Yahoo, Gmail, hotmail etc.
    –  If within Australia the above will ensure your emails are sent.  If the ISP of the WiFi service you are using is the same as your ISP, then email messages should go.
    –  Alternative to the above is to use Web-Mail – i.e. connecting to your email server via Safari and not using iPad Mail. 
  • Prepare your Group Email list/s before leaving home.  If you are going to be sending from iPad Mail, then you will need an App that lets you set up groups.
  • Ask friends to avoid sending huge emails while you are away.  Wi-Fi in many places is very slow, and the last thing you want is to be waiting 40 minutes while a selection of ‘feel good’ photos download.
  • Download off-line maps of the countries and Cities you will be visiting. (Maps.me is excellent for travelling and does not require internet access if you have downloaded the maps before leaving)
  • Install the App – ‘Find my iPad’. and know how it works.
  • Purchase an Apple SD Photo Card reader and USB camera attachment for the Ipad….so you can download your photos as you travel.  This not only gives you a good idea how your photos are turning out, but it is a backup in case you lose your camera.
  • Take a powerboard (e.g. 4 outlet) with you and a Universal plug so you can connect the powerboard into the local supply and change your iPad, Camera batteries, run a jug etc – all at the same time.

IMPORTANT:  As you are using your iPad in public, others will see you and may try to relieve you of it – stay vigilant at ALL times