The iPad uses Flash memory for storage, and one of the hardest decisions to make when deciding on an iPad model is how much storage to get with your new iPad. It's tempting to go with the 32 GB or 64 GB model. After all, the iPad's memory isn't expandable, so the last thing you want to have happen is to run out of it. But while it is tempting to go for a higher memory model, many of us would be quite happy with the 16 GB iPad.
What to think about when deciding on an iPad model
There are three main questions you will want to ask yourself when picking out an iPad model: How much of my music do I want to put on the iPad? How many photos do I want on it? Movies?
Surprisingly, the number of apps you want to install on the iPad may be the least of your worries. While applications may take up the majority of the space on your desktop or laptop, most iPad apps are relatively small in comparison. However, there are some apps, games in particular, that can take up a good chunk of space. Casual games like Angry Birds are usually very small, but games like Infinity Blade can take up to 500 MB or more.
The average song takes about 4 MB of space, the average photo around 500k of space and the average movie around 1.5 GB of space. This means a 16 GB iPad could hold 10 feature-length movies, 4,000 songs or up to 32,000 photographs. You could also store over 700 copies of Angry Birds on it, but only around 30 copies of Infinity Blade.
Don't forget about home sharing
Luckily, we don't need to load up our entire movie or music collection to enjoy it on our iPad. By using the home sharing feature on iTunes, we can stream our music and movies from our desktop or laptop to our iPad. The only requirements are that they both sign into the same home network and they both sign into the same iTunes account.
And since music and movies take up the bulk of space used by an iPad, this means the 16 GB model will be perfect for most people. Bear in mind that you will only be able to enjoy your entire collection at home, and if there are some rooms in your house that don't get a good Wi-Fi connection, you may not even have free reign there.
You can always load a subset of your music and movies onto the iPad for when you are out of the house. iTunes makes it easy to load a single playlist, and if you are going out of town, you can easily load a few movies onto the device.
You can also get more elbow room on the iPad by signing up with a cloud storage solution such as Dropbox. This allows you to store some of your documents in the cloud, freeing up some storage space on your iPad. How to setup Dropbox on your iPad.
But if you do have a rather large collection of music and digital movies, the 32 GB or even the 64 GB model may be more your speed, especially if you plan on consuming that media away from the house. And if you plan on using the iPad to play a lot of games, especially the high end games, you might want to skip the 16 GB version and go for the 32 GB version, though you can always opt for backing them up to iTunes and removing them once you are done playing.
I'm still unsure which model to purchase
Most people will be fine with the 16 GB model, especially those not into gaming who don't plan to load a lot of movies onto the iPad. But if you are unsure, the 32 GB iPad is a great balance between storage space and elbow room. This model will allow you to load your music onto it and still have space for heavy duty applications.