Australians love our technology, so when there’s a hot new product out across the pond, then we’re pretty eager to find ways to get it here ASAP. Lets say you find a way, you have your iPad here in Australia now, this post is dedicated to the things you need to know about owning an iPad in Australia before the official release in late May.
US iTunes account
Applications for the iPad can be bought outside the US via iTunes on your computer, then synced to your iPad. The information below relates to using the App Store on the iPad itself – Thanks to Daniel in the comments.
If you have an Australian iTunes account (most will), then you can forget about using it with your iPad. Until the iPad officially launches here and Apple flicks the big international switch, then it won’t let you use your Aus account to download apps, music etc.
To get an iTunes account, you’ll find many articles online about signing up for a new iTunes account, selecting a the US for the country and selecting None for the payment method. Forget it, Apple closed this loop hole a long time ago. The way to do it now is to get hold of a US iTunes Gift card, you can get a friend to grab a couple if they’re coming back from the states (maybe with your iPad), or eBay has plenty you can buy. Probably best to stick with a small amount of US$15 or US$30 in case the code didn’t work, your not out of pocket much.
Once you have card, more importantly the number off the back, you can sign up for a US iTunes account right from the App Store on the iPad. Once your account is setup, you can start buying apps, music, etc as normal.
If you need more credit, simply buy another gift card. Your unlikely to have a US credit card, if you do, then this would work as well.
Whilst there aren’t many, it’s important to know there are some apps that won’t let you view their content outside the US. This is done by checking your location via an IP lookup. One example of this is the ABC app that lets you place the latest TV episodes, similar to the content you’ll find on Hulu (if your in the US).
Apps not localised
Anyone with an iPhone knows there’s a lot of Australian developers working hard to deliver relevant, localised information to apps on our phones. The same can’t be said about the iPad App Store. Right now the apps are VERY US centric, meaning that any news etc is likely to be based internationally and not Australian.
If you want any accessories for your iPad, like the case, camera connection kit, iPad dock etc, then your going to need to get these from the US. Apple obviously won’t ship them internationally, so if you haven’t already, get your accessories when you buy you iPad. Some accessories are still unavailable even in US, so you’ll have to ask a US-based friend for a favour and send it over.
The other option is to simply wait till the accessories and iPad are launched here. Personally I bought the Apple iPad case when I got my iPad, but decided to wait on the camera accessory.
If your on the fence about getting an iPad and price is the critical point in your decision, there’s no real information to base your decision on. There has been no Australian pricing announced by Apple for either the Wi-Fi or 3G models, which means US to Australian price estimates are essentially useless.
The entry level device, 16GB Wi-Fi model sells for US$499, but they don’t include sales tax in the price. When you get to the register your essentially paying $550 for the iPad. Including the iPad case, I left the store around US$600 poorer.
As for the Wi-Fi + 3G models here in Australia, there has been strong interest from multiple carriers, eager to offer the iPad with a 3G plan. Again no pricing information is currently available, but we can be sure the pricing won’t match the aggressive as the AT&T plan in the US – Unlimited data for US$29.99 per month.
Keep in mind these things will change over time, especially once the iPad is officially released here. In the mean time, enjoy browsing the web, downloading plenty of games and other non-location specific applications for the month you have before the rest of Australia gets the device.
Pre-orders in Australia begin May 10, 2010, with the device shipping late May.
More info @ Apple