The iPad is a super-thin, highly portable touch-screen computer offered by Apple. There are models with different amounts of storage, including 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB. When deciding how much storage you need, it is useful to get an idea of what 16 GB really means.
What is a GB?
Technically speaking, the 16 GB iPad holds 16 GB. GB is the abbreviation for GigaBytes, a measure of memory capacity. A gigabyte is a thousand megabytes (MB), a megabyte is a thousand kilobytes (KB), and a kilobyte is a thousand bytes. A byte is the basic unit of computer memory, comprising eight zeros or ones strung together. All music, videos, applications and other files take up bytes of memory in varying amounts.
That's all well and good, but you may be wondering what 16 GB translates into in terms of files that you use. According to the Apple store website, a gigabyte can hold about 250 songs. The actual number will vary according to how long the songs are and how they are compressed, but let's take that figure as a good average. This means that if you used all 16 GB of the iPad's memory to hold songs, you could hold about 4,000 songs.
How about if you use all your memory to store your favorite TV and movies? The apple store website estimates that a gigabyte can hold approximately one and quarter hours of video. Again, it depends largely on the quality of the video compression. Higher quality video, such as HD video, would use up a much larger amount of memory per minute than low-quality, highly compressed video. Using that figure, 16 GB would translate into 20 hours of video playback.
It is important to note that you could not hold 4,000 songs or 20 hours of video on your iPad all at once. 16 GB is the total amount of memory for everything. That includes any programs and applications you have, as well as the operating system itself. There are a thousand and one little programs stored in the memory that keep everything working. When you download new apps, that eats away at the memory as well.