Sharp End: 3 rebrand, iPad review


3 network rebrand

3, or should I now say Three, is re-branding its network to try and overcome the “stigma” associated with the network historically. This “refresh” coincides with a new range of consumer tariffs being launched that replaces all previous tariff offerings. The new tariffs focus on 24-month terms.

All tariffs now include free internet use which is the core differentiator the network is aiming to put across with the rebranding exercise.
There are four new “Internet Talker” tariffs and four new “Internet Texter” tariffs.

No prizes for guessing the main difference between the two. Internet Texter tariffs all come with unlimited internet, unlimited text and either 100, 300, 500 or 900 cross-network minutes for £15, £20, £25 or £35 per month respectively.

The Internet Talker tariffs include unlimited internet with identical numbers of cross-network minutes and texts for either £12, £15, £20 and £30 per month for 100 minutes and texts, 300 minutes and texts, 500 minutes and texts or 900 minutes and texts respectively.

Three has also updated its SIM-only tariff to include 300 cross-network minutes, unlimited internet and unlimited texts for £15 per month.
All new tariffs also include Windows Mobile Live, Skype, on-network minutes and voicemail free of charge.

At the time of writing, I still had not received commission details for these new tariffs (ridiculous isn’t it?) so can’t say how they stack up compared with other networks’, but the tariffs themselves do look to be very good value for money for the customer.

I still believe the network has an awful lot of work to do to start overcoming the self-confessed “stigma” that is associated with it. Poor call quality and poor customer service complaints are still very much a daily occurrence with me and many other dealers I communicate with.

Apple iPad review

After writing about the Apple iPad a few weeks back I was today fortunate enough to use one for a little while as one of my customers bought one back from the US and asked me to go and set it all up for him.

I agreed immediately and went over to see the customer. My customer had bought the 3G and Wi-Fi version so he has a little bit of work to do before we can get the 3G side of things working as Apple in its infinite wisdom decided to change the format of SIM card needed for the iPad and introduced a new ‘Mini SIM’ format.

As the iPad has not officially been made available in the UK yet the customer either has to wait for mini SIMs to be launched when the iPad eventually launches over here, or he has to be brave and cut down a regular SIM card to fit the mini SIM format, not something I was prepared to do for the customer.

My first impression when I got the iPad out of the box was that it was much heavier than I had thought it would be. I was using this device for approximately 40 minutes and this was the only slightly negative thought that I had about the device.

In all other aspects the device exceeded my expectations. The design, the speed and most of all its ease of use is mind-blowing.

I defy anyone to pick up an iPad and struggle to figure out how to use it. It really is simple.

Apple has nailed the usability. Again. This fact is borne out by reports that the iPad is used by little old ladies of over 90 years old right down to three and four your olds using it without any problem at all.

When the iPad is finally launched in the UK, it will sell loads if the stores selling it can get it into people’s hands. Once people use it for a bit they will be sold. With a reported battery life in excess of 10 hours (which, again is borne out by other users), I can see the iPad being sold into businesses also to gradually replace netbooks and laptops.

Some of you may be thinking I’m mad with that statement – that business users will take the iPad on board – but all a user needs is a VPN client on the iPad (for which there are several already) and the user will have access to everything they normally have on their desktop or server.

I only hope that once launched in the UK that one of our distributors manages to get a supply deal with Apple that will enable dealers to retail the device and make a few quid at least.

An iPhone hacker called @Comex has now released a small software solution for jail breaking all iPads, iPhone 3Gs and iPhone 3G Ss, including all firmware versions.

The solution is a simple download and allows a one-button jail break. This solution does not network-unlock the devices, just jail breaks them to allow root access and the ability to download non-official applications.