Add to that an impressively immersive web-browsing experience, excellent e-mail and calendar apps, and apps for playing music and looking at your photos, and it’s clear that the iPad is doing a lot of things right. (See get-gadget writer Steven Levy’s first look at the iPad for more on the iPad’s hardware and basic apps.)
The 3G iPad is really part of a brand-new gadget category: devices that can bring you any kind of content, anywhere, at any time. Are you a student searching for research papers? Bam! Download a PDF and read it while you’re eating at the cafeteria. PTA meeting putting you in a coma? Boom! Download an episode of Fringe. (Just don’t forget the earbuds.) Niche areas have even more potential. Doctors could look at up-to-the-second patient info, architects might see 3-D models in the field, and the military could potentially use it to help eliminate friendly fire.
Do you need the 3G version? If you’re a commuter or hope to use the iPad in a variety of locations, it’s definitely worth the extra $130. If you’re mostly going to be using it at home or at the office, get the Wi-Fi-only version. In either case, we recommend springing for the 32-GB version, as media-rich apps gobble up storage space quicker than you’d expect.
The hardware is on the right track. Now all we need is a mobile network that can really do this device justice.