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Thread: I need advice from all you ipad users, should I buy one in US even though i can't get an unlocked one?

  1. #1
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    Post I need advice from all you ipad users, should I buy one in US even though i can't get an unlocked one?

    Hi all you techies, I'm hoping you can help me with a computer question. So here's the deal- I need a new computer and am thinking of buying an ipad 32 gig with an AT&T service contract. The sales person told me that ipads sold in the US can not be unlocked (Don't get me started about lobbyists controlling the US economy!!) so you must choose a service provider when you purchase your ipad and stay with that provider FOREVER! Seems very unreasonable that I am paying $729.00 for the device and yet I don't have the freedom to change service providers if I wish So heres my question, what service providers are the best in NZ? I'd hate to buy Verizon compatible ipad and not be able to use it in NZ.
    Thanks, Mara

  2. #2
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    I'm on my 4th iPad (OK 5th: I have a mini as well!) and have used them all over the world. Generally iPads are not network locked: you can put a local data SIM card in them as you travel. I've done so in Canada, the US, NZ, Australia, Croatia, and Ireland. iPad can't receive telephone calls, even with a data SIM card--so they're not covered by the same restrictions as a phone like an iPhone.

    iPad prices globally only vary in two ways: currency/exchange rates and taxes. If you buy an iPad with lower tax than you would pay in the US you might save a bit of money--but US sales taxes are lower than NZ. Bear in mind that outside of the US and Canada, prices for ipads are almost always quoted with taxes INCLUDED. If you're travelling through a no sales tax régime like Hong Kong, you would save your local sales tax--though the exchange rate might mean your actual savings are only a few percentage points.

    Check here for the prices directly from Apple. I've found AT&T staff don't understand their own products and services. Unless they're offering a major discount on the device, there's no point buying with a contract for data.

  3. #3
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    My wife got her iPad in the US. The only niggle is that it came with a US plug (of course) rather than an NZ plug. It was considerably less expensive than here - even with the sales tax factored in. And, by the way, there are at least five US states that don't have sales tax.

  4. #4
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    Hi Jawnbc and Bozeman,
    Thanks so much for responding to my request for help. I just got off the phone with the apple store and was told "ipads are all sold locked, iphones are now available unlocked. If you buy an AT&T model, it is the most versitile and will work with in NZ with the installation of a new sims card." (as you said Jawnbc). The salesman also suggested I could save myself some money, and hassle about which cellular model to buy, by just getting the the base wi-fi ready model and using the free, widely available hot spots all over the city. Sounds great, but as I understand it, NZ is not exactly brimming over with free wi-fi hot spots. Do you use a service provider in NZ for your ipad? Or have you found the free hot spots sufficient? I just need to occasionally check e-mails so very low usage. How much do the plans run over there? What about purchasing a home data plan and adding a my-fi type system to enable the ipad? Would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks, Mara

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    An I-pad purchased from a network supplier will tend to be locked to that network (for sim purposes). Usually the network will charge a fee to unlock (in UK, that's the rule anyway, unsure on USA).

    It's a no brainer, having worked for a phone company. If someone buys it on a plan, then it makes business sense to network lock as you then get the revenue from other users on the device.

    I remember the idiots in my previous company who bought Iphone 4s in a deal offered, and then complained they were locked to the network of the company we worked for! As if the company would have provided preferential devices for use on a competititors network!

    Would imagine if you buy sim free, you'll have no problem. Although it may well be that Apple have an exclusive deal with At&T in their stores, unsure. Would think that's unlikely though, as why would they lock their revenue down, and being blunt, apple don't need network providers - it's the other way around.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mara View Post
    The salesman also suggested I could save myself some money, and hassle about which cellular model to buy, by just getting the the base wi-fi ready model and using the free, widely available hot spots all over the city. Sounds great, but as I understand it, NZ is not exactly brimming over with free wi-fi hot spots. Do you use a service provider in NZ for your ipad? Or have you found the free hot spots sufficient? I just need to occasionally check e-mails so very low usage. How much do the plans run over there? What about purchasing a home data plan and adding a my-fi type system to enable the ipad? Would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks, Mara
    Note: I have an android phone and an android tablet, but my setup should still work for you.

    Wifi is great in some areas (Napier, for instance gives everybody 60 minutes free per day in town, and many cafes have their own), and terrible in others. There are also paid/subscription wifi spots all over the country (Now, zenbu, cafenet are a few companies I can think of.) For the places I can't get wifi, I set up my phone as a hotspot tether. (I believe iTether works on the iPhone.) I have a rather limited $19 phone plan from telecom: 60 minutes talking, unlimited text, 500 mb data. I don't use the data excessively; I do not go over the 500 mb even with the hotspot tether.

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    Follow up: 4G is in its infancy, and only available in Auckland at the moment.

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    iPads are not carrier locked.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mara View Post
    The salesman also suggested I could save myself some money, and hassle about which cellular model to buy, by just getting the the base wi-fi ready model and using the free, widely available hot spots all over the city. Sounds great, but as I understand it, NZ is not exactly brimming over with free wi-fi hot spots. Do you use a service provider in NZ for your ipad? Or have you found the free hot spots sufficient?
    We're just back from a holiday in NZ with our French bought ipad, we only used wi-fi while there.
    Some places were great - Wellington CBD free time unlimited (though you have to reconnect after 30 mins), Auckland good, but limited, it's 30 minutes per day if I remember correctly. We quickly got into the coffe shop habit and often used the "free" wi-fi in Esquires and others.
    We were travelling round in a camping car and occasionnally stopped at sites with wi-fi, 24h for 5$

    For a short period, this accces suited us fine for checking emails, our favourite sites and a few skype calls.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mara View Post
    Hi Jawnbc and Bozeman,
    I just got off the phone with the apple store and was told "ipads are all sold locked, iphones are now available unlocked.
    Wow. That's just wrong. iPads have never been locked. Suggest you find a different Apple contact. A few minutes spent with Google would also work.
    It would be difficult to rely on Wifi here in Christchurch. 2 degrees offers what are perhaps the least expensive data plans for 3G.

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