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Buy an iPad 2: How Much Memory Is Enough?

Want to buy an iPad 2? One of the most important decisions you'll need to make is how much memory your new iPad 2 should have.

Memory is a measure of how much information — for example, movies, photos, and software applications, or apps — you can store on a computing device. Memory can also affect your iPad’s performance when handling tasks such as streaming favorite TV shows from the web or downloading music.

Streaming refers to watching video content from the web or other devices rather than playing a file located on a computing device. You can enjoy a lot of material online without ever downloading its full content to your hard drive, and given that every iPad model has a relatively small amount of memory, that’s not a bad idea.

Your memory options with an iPad are 16, 32, or 64 gigabytes (GB). You must choose the right amount of memory because you can’t later open the unit and add memory, as you can with a desktop computer.

Also, there is also no way to insert a flash drive (also known as a USB stick) to add backup capacity, because iPad 2 has no USB port — or CD/DVD drive, for that matter.

With an Apple Digital AV Adapter accessory, you can plug into the Dock connector slot to attach an HDMI–enabled device such as an external hard drive for additional storage capacity.

So how much memory is enough for your iPad? Here’s a rule of thumb: If you like lots of media, such as movies, photos and e-books, and you want to store them on your iPad (rather than experiencing or accessing this content online on sites such as Hulu or Netflix), you might need 64GB.

For most people who manage a reasonable number of photos, download some music, and watch heavy-duty media such as movies online, 32GB is probably sufficient. If you simply want to check e-mail, browse the web, and write short notes to yourself, 16GB might be enough.

Do you have a clue how big a gigabyte (GB) is? Consider this: Just about any computer you buy today comes with a minimum of 250GB of memory. Computers have to tackle larger tasks than iPads do, so that number makes sense.

The iPad, which uses a technology called flash for memory storage, is, to a great extent, meant to help you experience online media and e-mail. Still, in the world of memory, 16GB of any kind of storage is puny.

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