I had no intention of buying a new iPad when Apple announced it in October. Having been an owner of both the iPad 2 and the new iPad (3rd Gen), I had almost given up on the idea that tablets were for me. The iPad 3 was especially heavy and I could never get truly comfortable with its size. I had relegated my iPad over to my wife to use as her primary and only home computer and hadn’t really looked back. I was perfectly fine working from my 15” Retina MacBook Pro and iPhone 5s and was more set on purchasing an iPad Mini if I were be in the tablet market again. I was pretty confident that my Apple habit had been subdued for the rest of the year. However on launch day, I decided to tempt the devil and go check one out with no intention of purchasing but that didn’t last long. I bought it as soon as I laid my hands on it.
The iPad Air is everything a good tablet should be: powerful, thin, light and ergonomically designed to perfectly fit in your hand. The iPad Air checked all those boxes and more and I knew from the moment I held it, I wouldn’t be able to stop my self from buying it. Immediately upon picking it up you almost second guess that its a fully functioning machine as its light enough to feel like a plastic dummy unit. Yet at the same time, it felt remarkably well built, rigid and high quality. As Apple nerds, this is what we demand and also expect from Apple and with the Air, they delivered it on all angles. Waking the device your presented with the same beautiful hi res vibrant display we’ve come to know from the iPad 3 & 4, only this time around, it feels as if the pixels are closer to the screen. So its as if your touching the webpage or app, rather than a digitizer on top of it. In terms of design, Apple nailed it and I can’t really think of any complaints when it comes to industrial design. Its everything a tablet should be.
Hardware is only part of the story though. The iPad Air ships with Apple’s newly renovated iOS 7 and it performs admirably on the Air’s dual core A7 chip. I’ve yet to find a single place where iOS lags or hiccups on the Air, which is a breath of fresh Air (no pun intended) from my iPad 3 which never felt its speedy self when I installed iOS7. Its clear to me now that Apple has finally developed a CPU/GPU combo good enough to push all those pixels on the iPad’s 9.7” Retina display. iOS 7 is very animation heavy and the Air manages to push through them with relative ease. Overall, I couldn’t ask for a tablet with better performance and software stability.
Just like good hardware design is nothing without good Software and performance, good performance is nothing with out longevity. And the iPad Air is full of longevity. It literally just keeps going and going and going. I seriously don’t think I could exhaust its battery in one day if I tried. I’ve had the Air for 2 weeks to the day and I think I’ve had it on the charger 3 times, maybe 4 at most. Its ultra convenient to consume media on the iPad or play a game at night before bed and not consciously have to reach for the charger so you can use it again in the morning. Apple says you get around 10 hours of usage I’d venture to say its far longer in normal use. The iPad is a charge once a week kinda device and that itself is revolutionary.
The original iPad was a revolutionary device and since then Apple has been hitting the nail of continuous refinement and its reached near perfection. Apple took an unusual step back with the iPad 3 and 4 to really push screen technology but now, after some refinement has been able to make a considerable step forward without scarificing screen quality, portability or performance. This is the iPad to buy and it should be on everyones Christmas list.