I knew I wanted to get a new iPad once it has TouchID.
TouchID was the reason why I bought the iPhone 5s and it’s the main reason why I bought the iPad Air 2. It’s that good.
While this was settled in my mind, there is another element that made the choice real easy. And it’s linked to us currently being in the process of changing banks.
Let’s not get into the details here why Citibank sucks. But while I did not have anything to complain about other than some stuff that for a European banking customer must sound like stories of a third world country, the issue was the way they’ve treated Lamia in the past few months. This has come to a point where it is simply unacceptable.
So it was them against her.
Which means it’s them against us!
So we’re both leaving and we are going to DBS, a local bank.
With this choice, I had to start cleaning up all the loose threads with Citibank and one of them were my Citidollars. Like virtually any bank in Singapore, Citibank has some rewards program with their credit cards. Every time you spend money with that card, you earn “Citidollars”. Frankly,I did not bother much about this because my understanding was that you had to go to the Citibank rewards website and order vouchers from shops which I mostly was not interested in. And the ones I might be interested in did not accept more than one voucher per purchase, which sounded like unnecessarily cumbersome. And not very helpful, either, because many of these shops sell things which are rather expensive, so a 50 Dollar voucher is nice but not that compelling (yeah, I know I am a spoiled asshole).
Anyway, so my Citidollars piled up for two years.
In fact, they piled up to a handsome amount.
Now, the other day my colleague Krishna told me that at select stores Citidollars can be redeemed directly at check-out without jumping through hoops with vouchers or limitations. And it turned out that most electronics shops are part of this group of stores.
This afternoon I met Lamia downtown for ice cream after her manicure / pedicure and passed by Epicentre, one of the big chains in Singapore selling Apple hardware (they actually do such a good job, that I am not sure Apple will ever bother launching an original Apple Store in Singapore). They belong to the group of stores accepting direct rebates through Citidollars. So I asked the girl at the checkout:
Leo: Hey, do you accept Citidollars?
Leo: Great, but can I redeem all the Citidollars I have or is there a limit?
Girl: Oh, it’s 50 Dollars per 15’000 Citidollars… how many do you have?
I told her.
Girl: Okay, 80’000 – so this is…
Leo: No, no.. 180‘000 or something like that.
Turns out I had 196’000 Citidollars, which means I qualified for 13 times 50 Dollar, equaling a 650 Dollar rebate!
I had considered to get a maxed out new iPad Air anyway, but now this felt like a no-brainer. The maxed out iPad with 128 GB of memory and cellular is normally 1148 SGD in Singapore (the same configuration is 809 Euro in Europe or ~1300 SGD, by the way). With the rebate I paid 498 SGD for this device. That’s kinda awesome.
My unboxing photos are clearly not as nice as others I have shared in the past, but the iPad Air 2 outer packaging is really not designed that well. It does not even state the “2” or that it has TouchID. I even get the business thinking behind that (though I do not agree with it). Naturally I suspiciously checked the model number which is printed on the box to make sure it’s okay before purchase.
But it was the right model, of course, and coming from my old iPad 3 to this little friend is quite the leap (not a leap as huge as when I replaced my original iPhone with the 4S, but yet quite amazing). The iPad Air 2 is so thin and light compared to the hulking iPad 3 that I actually have to re-learn how to hold it right.
I mean, look at this:
The iPad Air is narrower and so much thinner than the iPad 3 – that’s seriously a big change. From what I can tell so far, the new one performs of course as expected: fast, smooth, stunning TouchID responsiveness, better speakers (but a little tinny, if you ask me)… the only real complaint I have is that surprisingly sometimes specific animations in the UI are not really 60 fps. This means you can notice stutters, which should not happen with a top of the line device. I don’t think it’s a big deal, but still think this should not happen. I guess it’s a software issue. Hard to imagine that the new processing power has really trouble to render these animations smoothly. Well, I will see.
Anyway, also as expected this is a very satisfying user experience and the transition from one iPad to the other was nearly as smooth as simply picking up the new device and continue where you left off on the old one.