If I were to purchase an iPad, I would go all out and purchase a 64GB wi-fi only model. I have an HTC Droid Eris with 3G data access in a lot more places than what at&t allows. I have seen iPhones switch from 3G to EDGE just by walking from one end of the hall to another, I don't need to pay $30 a month for spotty 3G coverage when I already have that with a really nice smartphone.
The 16GB iPad is a joke and 32GB isn't enough for me especially since I would use the iPad a portable app and video player. Then again, this all depends if I like my experience with the iPad down at the local Apple store. I won't buy this product blindly, I will need to see and use it in person before plopping down $700+ (I will buy the official Apple case along with it along with the VGA adapter).
As I have said in other posts I may not get the 1G version and wait for the next update unless of course I see the newspaper and magazine integration I want. I will get the largest capacity available at the time when I do bite the bullet because I do like to carry video on my road trips with out external drives.
I can't see my self using 3G since these data plans can be quite pricy here in Canada, especially if you go over your limit. On the other hand if I could get a pay-as-you-go plan buying time as I go I might be convinced to go with a 3G model. I won't hold breath for this though.
I don't think that the data plan has a limit. It is a flat $30 a month fee for all the data access that you want, it is also contract free so you don't have to be tied to a first generation iPad for 2 years. Then again, this is in the U.S. with at&t. I still don't know 100% if their data plans are unlimited or not. My contract with Alltel ended this past December and I gave every phone company a chance. It just didn't help that at&t wanted an arm and a leg for an iPhone along with a data, text message, and voice 2 year contract and that people with iPhones (and other at&t phones) here in the office will constantly go from 3G to EDGE. Driving on the highway will yield EDGE only results. I am not sure how it is in other locations and at&t may have "the best 3G experience" but I don't know how I can access that when their 3G coverage is spotty down here. That is also the main reason why I have not purchased a nook.
Now, had Apple gone with Verizon for 3G data access, I think I would have splurged for it. I can walk all over town and not lose my 3G connection. I can even go to small podunk towns and get 3G or drive across the state (on a major national highway) and still have 3G.
Either way, I don't think that there is a limit with at&t's data plan for the iPad. They might implement one in the future after realizing that 2-4GB iTunes Store movie downloads consume a lot of bandwidth. I didn't see any disclaimer when I was browsing their site and I was looking for an iPhone (or another smartphone).
I'm not sure how things will pan out here in Canada since the iPhone should be widely available on Bell's associated cell phone networks which would finally allow me to buy one. Presently Rogers only covers a small percentage of the province which would leave me with no service most of the time. SaskTel should have their network upgraded by summer and can't tell what their service plans will cost yet or if they will offer anything special. I would hope it will open upp some competition between the monopolies and the data prices will come down to earth.
Right now SaskTels unlimited wireless data plans are $75 a month, 3GB - $60, 1GB - $25 and 2MB will cost $15 with 3 cents a MB if you go over on one of the limited plans. Rogers has similar pricing but maxs out at a 5GB plan for $85 not offering an unlimited plan.
For the most part it looks pretty pricy here so I may not look at the 3G models. I would get online and forget I was on 3G and not on WiFi and bankrupt myself.
Yeah, things are a little different over here. at&t will be charging a flat $30 a month for the iPad. Not sure if there is a data cap but that would really hurt the 3G iPad models especially since people can download two movies and be over a 5GB limit.
Not to continue to hijack your topic but I found out that at&t will be offering a 250MB data plan for $15 and an unlimited data plan for $30 here in the U.S. The $30 plan is truly unlimited for now. We will see if at&t continues to hold that up after people keep downloading 2GB+ movies. It appears that the $15 a month plan is mainly for people who want to check their e-mail and download the occasional audiobook.
Regarding the capacity question, it really depends on what I end up using an iPad for.
In my mind, the biggest potential for the iPad is revolutionizing the way we consume print media, specifically newspapers and magazines. I would love to be able to download digital versions of magazines like Sports Illustrated, This Old House, etc. that include multimedia and interactivity.
I'd also love to load my entire photo collection on an iPad and have it available to show people.
If I were to buy one today, I'd probably go for the 64GB wi-fi only version, but I suspect I'll wait a year or so and get a much larger capacity second-generation version that could potentially hold all of my music and photos, plus a few movies.
The 3G version is intriguing, but I don't think I could justify the $130 premium for it, though I do like that you don't have to sign a contract.
We don't know the price here in the UK yet, but I doubt I'd be able to buy anything but the cheapest 16GB wifi (unless Apple really surprise us on the pricing). I have a 32GB iPod Touch for all my music so that won't need to trouble the iPad.
Space won't be a huge issue for me if the iPad can access files on a network. Is that possible? And 16GB should be enough to hold a movie or two, if the need arises, shouldn't it?
I think the 3G add-on would put it way out of my price range, so I suspect I'll get myself a MiFi in a couple of months so I can use the same data plan for my iPad, iPod Touch, netbook, and any other computer that needs it. A separate plan for every device makes no sense to me - particularly when it'll cost ~$130 just for one device to have it.
I'm looking at this as a sort of satellite device -- something to carry back and forth to school, mainly -- not as a primary entertainment or productivity device. The main uses I have in mind for it are web connectivity, e-mail, limited word-processing, quick "research" in the classroom, and linking to the local network at school. So I don't expect to need more than the entry-level 16GB.
Now if this device surprises me with its potential or usability or cool factor or whatever -- especially if the combination of an iPad and a keyboard dock turns out to be an excellent word-processing platform -- I might buy a souped-up model at the 2nd- or 3rd-generation stage, when there should be much more functionality for the money. Meanwhile I will have had the pleasure of playing with the brand-new device for a year or so for the reasonable price of $499.
This is pretty much how things worked out with the iPod, for me. I started small and cheap and then everything sort of exploded.