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I waited, expectantly, for the release date of the iPad in Canada. When it became available for pre-order, I did not succumb. On the day of its release, I laughed at the lineup photos. As much as I felt compelled, as a technology lifer, to purchase an iPad for myself, I refused to make any commitment to it.

At 10:20am, I decided to walk over and see the madness. As timing would have it, there was only one person in the queue, being asked which one he was looking for. It felt like Steve Jobs had set me up. I took the bait and walked up to the staff members who were asking the new visitor questions.

“Which iPad are you looking for? The only one we are sold out of is the 16GB 3G model.”

That was the one I wanted. Seeing the disappointment in my eyes, the staffer followed it quickly with, “the 32GB is only $100 more and you’ll have much more storage!”

This was immediately followed by a handoff to an older (than me) gentleman in the blue shirt, ready to lead me through the sales process.

In that usual way that I confuse and confound retail salespeople, I asked for a clarification: “Does the 3G model have a proper GPS and the Wi-Fi not, as I have read online and is alluded to on the Apple website?”

The poor sales guy looked at me like I had spoken to him another language. “We haven’t been briefed on any of the details of these, ahead of the launch,” he replied.

“Okay, is there someone here who is able to answer this question? I need to know in order to make my decision on which one to buy.”

He grabbed a much younger staff member, who, when I repeated the question, staunchly claimed that both devices use only the identical “assisted GPS” and neither of them have satellite GPS capabilities.

From what I had read, his statement was false. I attempted to dig further, but he was adamant. I thanked him and turned back to my sales representative.

“Can I exchange it if I want a different one?”

“You have fourteen days.”

That made the decision for me. Instead of bucking up $779 CDN for a 32GB 3G, I chose the $549 CDN 16GB Wi-Fi model. I thought about how the lack of camera meant that it would probably not be long before iPad 2.0 came out, so this is more of an introduction.

After an excruciating long wait, while attempting to pay with a debit card in a lineup of one (a guy talking on the phone to his bank about his card being declined), I walked purposefully back to the office and opened up the package.

Fast Forward to Monday – After One Weekend.

In three days, I easily conclude that the iPad is indeed the game changer that I suspected. Using the iPhone OS as a full fledged computing platform works beautifully. The touch screen is divine. In fact, you will be blown away at how much faster you can do things without constantly moving a mouse pointer around.

The web browsing is fast and slick.

I found one app that I am compelled to say is essential. Air Video allows you to play movies from your media server (OSX or Windows) directly to the iPad, with an excellent interface and live conversion of videos with incompatible codecs. How smart is that? It was only $4.99, too. How simple is that?

What surprised me the most about my experience was that I asked myself the question, “does my Macbook Air have any future now?”

Now, hurry up with the new iPhone please, I am sick of my broken mute switch!