Apple's Schiller senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing speaks about the new iPad during an Apple event in San Francisco
Apple's Schiller senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing speaks about the new iPad during an Apple event in San Francisco Reuters

With the new iPad hitting stores on March 16, tech geeks are sure to be rushing in their pre-orders. Referred to as the post PC device, the upcoming gadget packs full HD quality into a portable 9.7-inch screen.

But before you rush out to the nearest Apple store or Best Buy, it is important to consider which iPad to purchase. The gadget comes in three different models, 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB, in either Wi-Fi or 3G. This is the third generation tablet that has not seen an upgrade in flash memory space since the original was released.

For Wi-Fi only, the 16 GB model will be on sale for $499, the 32 GB will cost $599, and the 64 GB is priced at $699.

First, a key thing to note is that each model refers to the amount of storage the device can handle. The processor is the same for all three versions, meaning that the device's speed and ability to load apps will not differ between models. The iPad variations refer to how much flash memory your iPad contains, which determines how much content you are able to store on it.

For most users, the 64 GB is overkill. Let me rephrase that--I can't think of any reason one would need to purchase an iPad with that much memory. I understand that the rise of iPads and other tablets is part of the shift to the post PC era, but we're not completely there yet.

An iPad still functions as an entertainment-based device and not a primary means of storing information. And without a USB port or an SD card slot, users may have a hard time transferring information. The iCloud would function as the primary method of sharing files, and even that hasn't been widely-received enough to depend on.

And in terms of leisurely media consumption, the highest-priced iPad is still extraneous in its memory. Photos and books don't take up a whole lot of space, and music playlists can by synced and interchanged. The media presence that eats up the most space would be full-length movies, and even those don't amount to more than 1 GB of space.

For the most casual user, the 16 GB is the ideal route. Since we are entering an era of tablet prominence, some users are still questioning whether or not a tablet (especially the iPad, the gold standard of the genre) is worth the investment. And what better time to try it out then with the release of the most-up-to-date model?

Even the model with the smallest amount of storage allows you to pack more than enough apps into your system. There are also ways to maximize space-for example, instead of overloading your iPhoto library, you can download the Flickr app to store and share photos. The same goes for music, with apps such as Spotify allowing you to stream music on the go instead of packing out your iTunes library.

The 32 GB device is a happy medium between just enough and too much when it comes to storage. It allows you to store more than the minimum, a step above the average user. If you know you have an extensive music or movie library and you don't want the burden of constantly re-syncing content, this may be the perfect choice.

But of course, the most important factor that goes into deciding which iPad to purchase is your specific lifestyle. For those movie buffs or heavy travelers, a 32 GB iPad may be perfect. But for those who enjoy reading before bed or casually swiping through their Facebook and Twitter feeds while watching television, the 16 GB may be suitable.

The latest model, fit with high definition graphics and brand new iOS 5.1 operating system, is sure to please tablet fans and those new to the mobile environment.