White, 64GB, Verizon LTE — that’s the iPad Air I picked up for myself on November 1st and I was expecting a lot from this device.
For me the iPad Air is replacing two iPads, not just one. Both my mini and my aging iPad 3 are going on in life as hand-me-downs, as the Air becomes my only iPad. Since getting the iPad Air I have spent an inordinate amount of time working from it — I haven’t used my Mac at home since I got it.
Typically that would have been purposeful, allowing me to boast about my rigorous testing here in this quasi-review I am writing. Typically you expect me to now say that I am posting/writing this from the Air, well, sorry I am writing this on my retina MacBook Pro because that’s just where I happen to be.
But once I get home for the day, for the weekend, once I am home in general — I just can’t see a need for any other device than the iPad Air. Which just so happens to be a huge benefit. No, not because of battery life, space, weight, or any of the other bullshit that is all to easy to sling around about a new device.
It’s a huge benefit to me personally because, with our family growing, and my wife’s business growing, we need to rearrange our house a bit. Currently my wife and I share an office space in what would normally be a formal living room — but I enclosed it into a lovely, if large, shared office. Now with kiddo number two on the way, we need the guest room as another kids room — but we still need a guest room. So my portion of the shared office is now becoming that guest room.
It will mark the first time since high school that I don’t have a dedicated home office with a large desk and a comfy chair. I’ll be taking up residence in the kitchen, at a small built-in desk someone thought was clever to build in there (not me). Truthfully though, I don’t plan on using my laptop at home for much. It will do its nightly backups, and serve as a photo editor for RAW images (I don’t think the iPad can import those… yet). Other than that, if the past few days are any indication, there isn’t much other need for a laptop at home for me.
The iPad mini always felt to cramped, and yes, non-retina was a bummer — but the biggest issue was size. It was fantastic to hold, and carry, but to use for stuff it just was OK. I actually think my iPhone did/does a better job at many tasks like writing.1
The iPad 3 I had was slow, but more than that it was just heavy. I loved the size of the display, but the weight would kill you. I didn’t want to carry it around the house at all because it just felt too heavy — too ridiculous — to be lugging around.
All of that has been solved with the Air. Yeah, sure it is fast. Yes it is new and shiny.
But more than all of that, the thinning of the bezel makes the screen pop more — makes it feel larger — and the thinning of the device (both weight and size) makes this iPad feel like a wonder to hold. It’s something that you still can’t believe works, and works well at that.
For the first time since I got the original iPad I am presented with a device that I actively want to use for things — not just a device that I have if I need it. It reminds me of 2007 and 2010 all over again. It’s more than just a new and shiny toy, it’s about a device that works so perfectly well that you cannot help but find uses for it — all for the very sake of wanting to use it more.
When you have something that is just a true joy to use — in every respect — you ended up contriving more and more situations for you to use that thing. That’s the iPad Air in a nutshell.
Just ask Patrick Rhone. ↩