I recently wrote about my hesitation as to whether I would buy an iPad Air or an iPad mini with retina display. Since I had gotten an iPad mini, I was convinced that the smaller form factor was the future of the iPad. Part of that reason was the weight; the previous full-sized iPad was much heavier than the iPad mini. Nevertheless, I longed for the retina display of my iPad 3.
I went to my local Apple dealer (Stormfront, York, an Apple premium reseller), and tried out the iPad Air. When I picked it up, I knew that I was going to switch back to a bigger screen. It’s heavier than the mini, but not enough to make a difference. (And that was comparing it to the current iPad mini; the iPad mini with retina display will be 23 g heavier.)
When I took it out of the box, it certainly felt heftier than my iPad mini, but not by that much that it will bother me (I hope). I’m currently restoring it from the latest backup of my iPad mini, and I’ll be able to have a better idea what it’s like in an hour or so.
This time, I bought a 32 GB model. I don’t put a lot of stuff on my iPad, but I’ve got a few apps that are 1 GB or more – such as this The Sonnets by William Shakespeare – and I would rather not have to delete and reload apps when I want to use them.
I also bought a smart cover. I had one with the original iPad, and found it quite ingenious. I never bought one for the iPad mini, because it didn’t need it; and I found a good pouch that was sufficient, and much cheaper. But I’m going to see if I can do some of my writing on the iPad Air, and the smart cover doubles as a stand, so it will be useful.
So if you’ve been hesitating, check out the iPad Air. You may find, as I did, that it’s not that much heavier than the iPad mini. If you want the bigger display, then it’s a good choice.
Update: Since I wrote this article, I’ve been setting up my iPad Air – I had some problems getting music to sync, but it’s sorted out now – and I’ve come to the following conclusion. Aside from the use of the iPad as a content creation device, which is not my use case, it seems to me that the full-sized iPad is a magazine and the iPad mini a book. You may disagree, but the size of the iPad Air, to me, makes reading magazines much easier. I can still read books comfortably – and surf the web, answer email, scan Twitter – but I find the iPad mini a bit small for non-responsive layout magazines, such as The New Yorker.