The Guide to iPad Buyer’s Guides

Steve Jobs holding Apple's new iPad. Pre-orders started today.

Steve Jobs knows which iPad is right for you, but he's not telling, so you'll have to consult our guide to the guides.

In case you haven’t heard, Apple‘s iPad is now available for pre-order. Since there six possible configurations with prices ranging from $499 to $829, quite a few guides have sprung up to help you decide which iPad is right for you. We won’t join the chorus of iPad guides (though we do offer quite a few buying guides ourselves). Instead, here’s our guide to the iPad guides:

The New York Times

Presented in an engaging question and answer format, the iPad guide from the New York Times very logically frames the quandary of which iPad model to purchase based on common questionss like “I’m primarily going to use my iPad at home. Wi-Fi should be enough, right?” While the hardcore tech crowd might scoff at such questions, they’re perfect for the NYT’s general audience, even if the guide looses a bit of credibility for answering a question about the FCC‘s “free ubiquitous Wi-Fi” proposal. (It’ll be perfect for surfing the web from your flying car!)

Best for: Folks who know they want an iPad but might not be the most-tech savvy. Anyone looking to be the coolest mom/dad on the block come April 3rd.

The Apple Blog

Although it’s another guide written for general audiences, The Apple Blog helpfully includes a pricing grid and a more elaborate explanation of the capacity differences between models and their pricing ramifications. This guide is also unafraid to take a stand and give advice, opining that you should “Buy the biggest model you can afford.” The guide also takes into consideration whether or not you’re a current iPhone owner when making 3G recommendations, as well as the inevitable arrival of a much cooler version at some point in the future. Readers should note that the the guide’s author admits he’s getting the fully loaded $829 version for himself.

Best for: Anyone who knows better than to get gadget recommendations from the New York Times. Folks who are leaning towards going the Fully Monty and getting the 64GB model with 3G, and are looking to justifying such a purchase.

The Next Web

Although we hadn’t heard of this site, they offer an excellent iPad guide, which is framed around use cases. For example, there are specific considerations and reccomendations for scenarios like “I Am Buying It To Browse The Internet,” “I Love Music,” “I Am Going To Hack This Thing” and “I Just Want One – No Idea What I Will Use It For.” These cases cover a wide gamut of users and interests and for the most part don’t needlessly push upgrades. This guide also gets points for its consideration of resale value down the road.

Best for: People who know what they want from an iPad and are looking to weigh the pros and cons of 3G and storage capacity within that context.


The Giz gets points for simplicity and humor, as theirs is by far the shortest guide and the only one we’ve found in haiku format. Credit is also granted for their reasonable recommendations (reading between the lines) of the $499 model and the $729 model with 32GB and 3G. We also enjoy the lines “Sorry, Jobs, no dice.” and “Save your cash for booze.” We also appreciated the link to the New York Times guide for folks who wanted more information.

Best for: Gadget nerds, hipsters, gadget nerd hipsters. Also, fans of poetry.

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