I don't mind the size of an 8" iPad seeing as how my laptop will no more than 15" and my cellphone is 4". The iPad for me is simply down to that it will be mainly for entertainment and school. So for school I need to be able to take notes, browse the internet and wirelessly print from the device. I don't know if there is a app for that in the W8 Store (Someone can correct me if wrong.). Entertainment wise, I use YouTube alot, visit alot of tech sites and on spare time play games. From my understanding games have been slow to come in on W8 and google's anti-Windows campaign is hampering alot of things, mainly due that I still use some of their services. I'm glad that there is a SKYDRIVE app as that will be mostly needed hopefully Office for Ipad comes soon. The USB support debate is a good one however I don't plan on carrying a mouse around and I don't use USB drives but it would hamper me in getting things off due to everything being done through ITunes instead of connecting and opening through File Explorer like WP8.
Sorry for the long Wall of Text.
Just to sort of nitpit at your bullet points in there:
1.) Take Notes - OneNote, Word... Powerpoint has the notes section to type on slides professors give out if you need that.
2.) Browser the internet - IE10 both desktop and modern UI versions. Supports flash (ipad does not).
3.) Wirelessly print - This is easy. have anything open that is printable (webpage, word doc, etc), select devices and the wireless printer. then click number of copies, etc etc. and hit print.. This feature is not available for a lot of printers on the ipad unless they support apple's proprietary printing protocols. My surface found my HP wireless printer the day I turned the thing on without me doing anything Where the ipad did not.
4.) Youtube... there is no official youtube app but there is the website.. and 3rd party youtube apps.
5.) tech sites - well this goes back to browse the internet.. there is a browser and you can pin your favorite sites to your start menu.. or get one of the many feed reading apps on the windows store.
6.) Games - games are slow to the platform? I guess.. I mean it did just come out in the sense that games can take awhile to develop, especially if you are a small company or single developer doing it on the side. However there still are a ton of games out that I think are amazing. Depends on what you're looking for. Plus many games have Xbox integration for achievements if you're into that stuff.. What games are you looking for? We have everything from angry birds, cut the rope, and wheres the water.. to MS specifics like jetpack joyride (one of my favorite and most addicting games ever!) to radiant defense (I love a good tower defense and this one is awesome!)
I don't believe the windows 8 app store (since RT and x86 windows 8 share the same windows store and things you buy in one you don't have to buy again for the other). is available to view online like the WP8 app store is but I may be mistaken so correct me if im wrong.
Chances are if you buy an ipad, you will be going out to the stores. Stop by a best buy or staples or some other store that will have desktop (or the surface) model available and connected to the network. You can take a look in the store and see what they have available and what apps they are "missing" if there are any you really like for iOS or Android that you really want on a win8 device.
just saw you reply after I wrote mine.. so to answer this question:
What's the deal with the battery life on the Surface?
simply put: amazing.. it's rated at 10 hours.. and I use mine daily.. granted I work 8 hours a day and sleep 8 hours a day.. and I don't use it the other 8 hours straight... but i'd say I use it a good 6-7 hours over 2ish days before I need to charge it.. it lasts a very long time.. check the surface RT forum on this site and you'll see everyone talking about how amazing the battery life is.