Walk into an Apple Store and have them demonstrate the iPad and answer your questions.
You cannot run desktop applications on an iPad.
You will find technical specifications at support.apple.com/specs/.
You can also get the iPad iOS 4 user guide.
Books come from Apple, amazon, barnes & nobles-there are apps for each store.
Learning curve-you know how to poke stuff with a finger? You're good to go.
Yes, you can plug in headphones and listen to video, music, audiobooks, radio(through apps), podcasts, etc.
3G is the cell network, no contract for iPad. If. You buy a 3G iPad, it is month to month. If you don't want it, don't pay for it.
I did not know they did away with personal shopping. I tried to sign up for that but they do not have that anymore and keeping an employee there to answer some questions I guess I need to be a different sex because this guy was not very eager to help me. I have read the manual, this is why I came on her and thought I would be able to get some of the more basic questions answered. Like are there 2 types of iPads? Not really types but is there an iPad 1 and an ipad 2? Anybody care to explain to me if you get an iPad with the WiFi and the 3G do you need to get a data package through one of the carriers? With the WiFi is that just like using a hotspot and the 3G is what you need the data package for?
I would like to be able to download stuff, check for updates, use iTunes, all the stuff that I would think would come on an iPad and would require some toe of connection.
The iPad has been replaced by the iPad 2. You can buy the first generation iPad as a refurbished unit from Apple's Online Store.
If you want broadband service then you have to get a 3G model and purchase a service plan from AT&T. You can purchase an iPad from Verizon which supports their CDMA service. WiFi is WiFi and works wherever there is WiFi service available. You do not need 3G to download via WiFi.
A Mac is required in order to sync and backup an iPad as well as connect with iTunes.
The iPad 2 is lighter, thinner and a lot more responsive thanks to the dual core processor. If your looking to use it as an ebook reader, get the iPad 2. The weight of the 1 will make it a little less desirable. Yes, it does book and the reason you would want an ebook reader is because they generally can be read in direct sunlight and have a battery which will last for a full month or so. My wife has an iPad 1 and a kindle.
You cannot run office 2011 on your iPad. That software is designed for Mac OSx, the ipad runs iOS. Its like PC and Mac. You can however buy iWork for the iPad or a range of other office replacement apps like Docs 2 Go.
The iPad comes in Wifi only or wifi + 3G. We have only wifi ipads because wifi is available in quite a few places and the places its not we just enable tethering on our iphone and that gives it the same 3G, browse anywhere capability. Its £100 cheaper for the ipad plus you dont need a full data plan, just add the tethering bundle to your phone plan.
3G is a cellular network, it covers most of the country but requires a data subscription. Wifi means you need a wireless network in your house, the range of which is normally 20 meters or so. Not much. 4G is a newer, faster cellular network but the ipad does not support this. Only a few devices do and at present the battery drain it places on those devices is quite high. ITs a new technology, still maturing but im sure it wont be long.
The iPad has no learning curve, you touch what you want to do, use, run, link etc. Thats it.
The iPad is NOT a Notebook replacement. It does a lot of the stuff and for many its enough but it cannot do everything a Macbook does.