The reason 16GB should be enough for most users isn’t due to iCloud, it’s because the iPad still falls short of replacing the PC. There’s no need to store all of your data on the iPad, because as good as it is, it can’t replace a PC for many users.
But it can replace a PC for a lot of users. Further, it can be the first PC for a lot of users. With its default suite of apps, the iPad handles what a typical user expects to do with a new PC quite well. Why people can’t see this, or are in denial about it, is beyond me.
Further, iCloud makes it unnecessary to locally store music, TV shows and movies, so storage space is less of an issue. In fact, consumption data works great in the cloud, since it only needs to occupy space while being consumed, and then is easily deleted.
I have a 32GB iPad. Now that I don’t store my iTunes media on it (relying on the cloud instead) I could easily fit my entire iPhoto library. Add the new iPhoto app—or any of a the other excellent image editors—and it could reside there permanently. How big does this guy think the average users’ documents library is anyway?
There’s iMovie for movie editing, and if more power is needed there’s Avid Studio. Tons of word processing and business apps, outlining and GTD apps, financial apps, networking tools, drawing, remote access and the list goes on and on.
And before you claim these aren’t “heavy duty” apps, let’s set aside any such definition and agree that we’re talking a matter of degree. For example, few argued a netbook wasn’t a PC, but what Adobe tools would you want to run on one? For the iPad there’s an entire suite of Adobe touch apps that run nicely. Netbooks and cheap laptops never had it so good.
I believe a person’s PC is pretty much defined by the apps they utilize beyond the ones that come on it. Two years after the iPad’s debut it’s in that same position. A 16GB WiFI iPad with standard apps is as much “PC” as many people need. A “power user” gets more storage, possibly adds cellular and the Camera Connection Kit, and goes beyond the default apps to add software such as Writing Kit, GarageBand, iWork, Dropbox, Photogene, iThoughtsHD, etc. to meet their personal needs and interests.
Just like a PC.