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Aussie iPad use in US and Canada - advice please?

Hi everyone. Last year I took my brand new iPad to Europe (mainly France) thinking I would buy a pre-paid micro sim and be set for the trip - big mistake! The iPad had only been released around 6 weeks before in France and the whole notion of an aussie buying a pre-paid sim was too hard until the last three days we were there!

Later in the year, I travelled to NZ , purchased a micro sim at the Vodafone store in the airport and was online in ten minutes - perfect!

So, this year will be flying into Boston and setting off straight away for road trip through Maine, the Maritime Provinces and ending up in Quebec City.
I have read many confusing reports on various forums so hope Fodorites can help...

It appears that AT&T have pre-paid sims but that a US credit card is required to activate?

Does anyone (especially an Aussie!) have recent experience?

I will NOT be travelling with a laptop or similar, will I need to sync with iTunes? I did in France (but they did it for me in the Apple store) but didn't have to in NZ.

Will the AT&T micro sim (if I get one working) carry me into Canada? If not does anyone know the score in Canada?

Lastly, apart from landing in Boston we will hopefully be spending most our time away from bigger centres so would like to sort it out fairly quickly and not have to be chasing Apple stores or similar - does anyone have experience of the MaxiRoam sim card idea and would this be easier all round?

Many thanks for any help!
(Also posting on US forum)

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