Many Apple aficionados tend to avoid buying AppleCare for robust devices like the Mac mini series. Those units tend either to die right away or last forever. They are highly self-serviceable for anyone who has a reasonable degree of comfort with a screwdriver.
The iPad and the iPhone, on the other hand, can feel like accidents waiting to happen. Without a simple avenue for owner-repair, they are more of a black box purchase. And their components can and do die much more unexpectedly. In my history of purchasing iPhones and iPod touches, I have personally encountered video driver death and massive touchscreen failure.
To be fair, both of these incidents happened within a month or so of purchase, so keep that in mind as well. For many devices, component failures tend to show themselves fairly soon. With a standard iPad purchase, you are covered for 90 days of phone support and a 1 year hardware warranty without any need for a further AppleCare payment, according to the Apple representative I talked to this morning.
What's more, if you want to wait, you can. Purchasing AppleCare extends standard iPad coverage to 2 years each of phone support and hardware warranty. You can buy AppleCare up until the last day of your 1 year complimentary coverage, so there's not really a rush unless you need phone support during that time.