Reviews of the new iPad Air are published today and the reception for Apple’s new lighter tablets had been overwhelmingly positive. Tauw.com gives a good roundup and is an example of many similar articles. There is no doubt that the Air is a big step forward, both in terms of portability and performance and I am sure it will be the trigger for a mass upgrade among existing iPad users. This is what they have been waiting for, a major upgrade.
Still in doubt is the choice between the Air and the new mini. We know that both are identical in performance and screen resolution but it has been difficult for reviewers to make up their minds on which is best for a particular purpose. The reduction in weight and size of larger tablet blurs the difference between the two models and it is easy to jump in either direction.
John Gruber of Daring Fireball has produced one of the best overviews, as usual, and I find myself on the same wavelength when it comes to assessing the relative merits of the two new devices. While I have more or less decided to stick with the iPad mini I really do want to hold and examine both models before spending my money.
Significantly, though, the choice of which tablet is a sideshow to the big play. Gruber compares the new Air with the traditional PC:
In short, for people upgrading from a 3 or 4 year-old laptop (let alone an even older one), the iPad Air is faster, straight up. Plus it has all the other advantages the iPad has always had: weight, simplicity, app selection, and most elusively, in Steve Jobs’s own words, magic.
For anyone who doesn’t truly take advantage of the capabilities in Mac OS X (or Windows) that aren’t available in iOS, the iPad Air is a superior portable computer to a laptop in nearly every way. Smaller, lighter, simpler, more fun. And now, with the iPad Air, in many cases it’s even a faster device.
We no longer have two categories to consider, PC or tablet. We have portable computers and the tablet is a true portable computer which is set to become the dominant player.