AMITIAE - Friday 27 April 2012

Latest iPad: Bangkok Arrival, Unboxing and Setup

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


There was a slight misunderstanding earlier today when a colleague who was picking up my new iPad let me know he was not coming to the office. As I am off work for the next two weeks (and always want my new toys in my hands as soon as possible), we arranged to meet in a hi-so mall on the western edges of Bangkok.

As he drove in, I dashed out of Starbucks, took the box and handed over the cash. It must have all looked somewhat suspicious. Before he drove away, I made him open a rear window and snapped the rest of the boxes he had with him. Back in Starbucks, I swallowed the rest of my cold chocolate, grabbed my bag and walked to the road. I picked up a taxi immediately and headed home.

iPad iPad


This has been done so many times before -- I have done this so many times before -- but Apple packaging is part of the experience. I used to have a colleague who used my old Apple boxes for a course in Industrial Engineering as they are an object lesson in how to do the job right.

iPad iPad

Although I had left the colour choice open, I was a little surprised when I saw the image on the iPad box was of a white one. Inside, the iPad was black. I removed the protective covers and started work. Although the colour was not important, the space was and I had ordered the 64GB iPad this time, mainly because I want to use it for photography with my Nikon D7000. When I have tried this in the past, I had always been short of space and I made the decision to go for the larger iPad a few months ago. Some will begin to find the 64GB cramping and I would not be surprised to see an iPad of 128GB (or more) in the next year or so.

iPad iPad

Setup 1

I pressed the button at the top and the shiny Apple appeared. After the initial welcome screen I was walked through the initial setup process. The language was already English, but the Country or Region was shown as Namibia (Africa). I selected Thailand in the full list, then agreed to enable location services. I had to wait a while for a wi-fi link. I was so keen to start on the new iPad that I had forgotten to plug in the router when I had come home. I also needed to find the password (all locked away safely).

I decided to set it up as a new iPad, which included entering the Apple ID (or registering if there isn't one). For some reason I have two, so hope I used the right one. I elected to use iCloud, but selected the option to back up to the computer (not to iCloud). I also turned on Find my iPad. This has proved so useful with the iPhone and the other iPads, even without them being stolen (try forgetting the iPhone in shorts that are put in a laundry basket). During the set up, I also elected to send diagnosis data: some one has to help Apple.

The final task in this initial setting up was to register the device automatically. ON/Off were the options, with the default at ON. I was then ready to use the device. There were 20 apps already installed with iOS, but I was soon going to change that.

Before the first connection with the computer, I ran through the settings on the iPad, adding the Emoji keyboard to the default English and Thai ones already set up and turning on PhotoStream (in iCloud). I left Mail off. I have never used this on either of the two iPads I have had before and prefer to check mail on the iPhone or the computer. I also added Automatic Downloads. Then it was time to connect the iPad to the Mac.

Setup 2

I reached for the cable for the first connection. I will use wifi sync for all future synchronisation (except when iOS is updated). The device was recognised as a new iPad in iTunes and I had the option of setting it up as a new device or restoring from the backup of my iPad 2. This had been done in the morning, so was up to date and would have the advantage (if it all worked OK) of giving me an installation that had all the apps placed in a familiar array. Isn't this how it is all supposed to work anyway, rather than going through all that tedious process of starting anew?

However, as I now had two iPads with the same name (iTunes knows the difference) a name change was in order. That had to wait until the transfer of apps and other data was complete. The final step here was installing the photos.


It is perhaps ironic that this latest iPad arrived in Bangkok the week the authorities decided to cancel -- or at least delay (again) -- the drawn out tablet project for schools in Thailand. Even more ironic is that the politicians cited the risks of pornography as one delaying factor on the way, while this week one MP was forced to apologise not for having a naughty image of a young lady on his smartphone, but for being caught.

I took some pictures with the iPhone as I unboxed the device and also a screen shot of the first screen. As I had turned on PhotoStream, the screen shot and the iPhone pics should have been available for me in Aperture on the Mac, but Aperture has an annoying habit of sometimes not playing ball. While the images were on all the iOS devices, they did not appear in Aperture. PhotoStream in Aperture needs a "force sync" feature. I imported the images using a cable connection. The screen shot was not on the iPad at all. A test shot I tried later was fine and synced via PhotoStream with no problem.

I had a quick look at the new iPad. It does feel slightly thicker and a little heavier, but this is not significant. Actions when using the device are quicker as they should be with the faster A5 processor and its increased memory. Retina display? Better of course. I tried with a number of screen displays and photographs. As the image is enlarged, so the difference is more pronounced.

All installations appear to be correct and the data with them is OK as well. I was especially pleased to find that a Keynote presentation I had added earlier in the week had also been synchronised. A couple of apps, like iStat, needed passwords or passkey numbers entered as the device is recognised as new.

After changing some of the settings, importing more books and photographs, I was left with 37.4GB of space which will do fine for what I want. At least for the time being.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



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