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Operating Systems

How I almost bought an iPad

A trip to an Apple Store in New York City very nearly leads Mr. Fully Equipped to buy an iPad--against all better judgment.

Automated response with a seductive flare: "We'll be in touch soon about the iPad you requested." Apple

Recently, I was in an Apple store in New York looking for the new, updated MacBook Pro units and toying with the idea of buying an iPad, when I was approached by one of Apple's friendly and knowledgeable sales people. She asked me whether I needed any help finding what I was looking for.

I really didn't--or at least I didn't think I did--but we started chatting anyway. I told her I'd heard the iPad could overheat in the sun and shut down. To my surprise, she responded that yes, it could, especially if you had it lying flat on your lap. But, she explained, it wasn't that big a deal, because it would just take a few minutes to cool down and then start up again.

The way she said it made it seem like it was an integrated feature to protect the device--not a downside. She talked about how the iPad didn't have a fan inside to cool it down like a laptop, which was why it shut down if it got too hot.

"Where'd you hear about it?" she asked.

"I read this article on the Internet," I said, then quickly changed the subject, afraid she might have actually read the article and somehow associated it with me. "Has anybody returned an iPad because it was overheating?"

"No, I haven't had to process a return for that."

"What about a cracked screen?"

Nope. No one she'd seen had come in yet with a cracked screen. She thought that was because people were treating them like laptops, rather than phones. They were more careful with them.

"So, why do people return them?" I asked. "You have 15 days to return it, right?"

"Well, people really only seem to be returning them because they decide they want the 3G version, which comes out at the end of this month. We get some of those."

Depending on who you talked to, she added, you might be able to return it after 15 days if you were exchanging it for a 3G model. The store was more open to returns if you were upgrading.

And the iPhone OS 4, it would be available for the iPad in the fall, right? I could multitask then, run multiple apps at once?

I sure could.

"And how might that impact the heat situation?" I asked. "Wouldn't it tax the processor more to run multiple apps at once?"

She gave a wry little smile. "You'd think it would, wouldn't you?"

God, I loved her. Honest, smart, a good sense of humor. Why should I care that the iPad was a first-generation device? I wanted one. I had to have one. She'd sold me with her zen-like anti-sell and I realized that a thousand iPad ads seared into my retinas had taken their toll and worn me down. I was a beaten man, ready to submit.

"We don't have any," she said.

I blinked.


"Well, we have a couple of 64GB models, but no 16GB or 32GB units."

She'd already pegged me as a 16GB or 32GB guy. She knew there was no way in hell I was shelling out $700 for a 64GB iPad, especially when the cost of the case and tax would bring it up closer to $800.

"But we can sign you up to reserve one."

"Am I locked in to buy once I sign up?"

"Nope. We just tell you when it's here and you have a day to pick it up."

Damn, these people were good. I could have bought an iPad online and had it shipped home, but signing up to reserve one seemed like the best way to put off buying one. As we made our way over to the MacBook section to enter my Apple account info, I felt relieved yet disappointed at the same time.

For the moment, I'd had a reprieve.

Part two: "Will the iPad replace the Air?"