Back in London, my first mission this morning was to visit the Apple Store at White City and fondle the new iPad Air. I’ve been ambivalent since the launch, reluctant to increase size over the iPad mini I have been using for the past year, but impressed by all the positive comments about the Air. The mini has been my favourite iPad based on size and weight and I am worried that going back to a larger format would be a mistake.
Despite this, I was pleasantly surprised by the reduced size and lower weight of the iPad Air. I was concerned that it might not fit in my small Billingham Hadley Pro camera bag. But it does. Simply as a device to hold and work with I rate the Air much higher than the earlier, bulkier incarnations of the magic tablet.
I really couldn’t decide whether or not to wait for the mini (remoured to be arriving on November 21) or take the instant gratification of buying an Air. I chose the latter and I came away with a 64GB cellular Air in black, plus a black Smart Case and a brown casease for my year-old mini. I reason that I have fourteen days to get familiar with the new kid before I need finally make up my mind.
The new leather cases are very attractive and practical and do not add a great deal to the bulk of either Air or mini. They are a big improvement over the previous poorly designed case for the larger iPad and, in my opinion, are preferable to the magnetic Smart Cover which leaves the back of the tablet naked. I will report on the Smart Case when I have tried the two versions, mini and Air, over the next few days.
Apple’s decision to stagger the launch of the two models has played into our hands here. I can now make a direct comparison between the two models. On the face of things it makes sense to retain the larger iPad Air and also to keep last-year’s mini as backup and for days when I want to travel really light. On the other hand, do I gain much from the larger screen? More thoughts on this when I have finished the iCloud restore and have the new tablet up and running.