Pseudo-Review – iPad Air 5, One Week Later

MacBook (clamshell) left, RPi4 (under table) right. New iPad Air 5 center.

Previous pseudo-review is here.

So. First. For some worst-context, here‘s a rundown of worst-writer‘s tech.

  • MacBook 12“ (2017), i5/8gb/500gb
  • iPhone 11
  • iPad Air 5 (2022), M1/64gb
  • Raspberry Pi 4, 4gb

For the past year or so I‘ve been using my better-half‘s hand-me-down iPad. She has since moved on to an iPad Pro. Although her old iPad sat around unused for a while, it eventually became my go-to device for e-book reading, newz reading/scanning, YouTube and VLC for viewing movies and TV from my home media server. In short, I worst-guess, the iPad has become my main gadget for media consumption. Also. When we‘re traveling in our wunder-van (see pic above), that old iPad quickly replaced me having to take my MacBook which has also lead to me reconsidering my daily-driver computing needs. Of course. The iPad Pro I inherited is over five years old. But that’s not the problem. In fact, it works fine, updates n‘all. No. The big problem is it can‘t go more than an hour without hanging on a charging cable. What good is an iPad if it always has to be plugged in? And so. My better-half surprised me last week with the new M1 iPad Air.

As noted in my previous post, I‘m not a fan of touch screen computing. When others thought that Apple should make MacOS a touchscreen operating system, as was done with Windows, I was in the wings preying it would never happen. With that in worst-mind, once I hooked up a keyboard and sometimes a mouse to the old iPad, I quickly realized that working (worst-writing) on a tablet might not be a bad idear–touchscreen n‘all. And even though my MacBook has the smallest footprint since the MacBook Air 11“, as far as mobility goes, the MacBook can’t compete with the iPad.

Having fiddled and giggled with my new iPad for over a week now… Boy oh boy am I sold on this slate of wunder-glass. In fact, other than it not having a terminal app, or at least one that I‘ve figured out how to get working like the MacOS terminal app, there‘s nothing on this iPad Air that makes me miss my MacBook. Plus. Oh. In case you‘re not in the know. The speed of the M1 CPU in this iPad is amazing. Surprise. Surprise.

As far as my work flow goes, I‘m obviously not a power user. I don‘t do any video work and the photo work I do is minimal, including nothing more than cropping and resizing pictures I take with my iPhone. Other than scanning a document every once-a-once, I don‘t see a need for a camera on an iPad. But I guess it is nice to have just in case. As far as the iOS learning curve is concerned, compared to MacOS, iOS very different indeed. What I thought was cumbersome at first, like various settings or the entirety of a touch screen, I‘m sure I‘ll eventually adjust. Of course, there is the issue of storage since I only have 64gb. I haven‘t yet downloaded anything but I‘m considering trying out Apple Arcade–once I figure out, as a non-gamer, what games I might want to try. I use my iPhone 11 for audio podcasting so I don‘t have to worry about downloaded files cluttering up my iPad. With all that in worst-mind, I don‘t see having the minimum spec as an issue. We‘ll see how that goes.

To protect it I‘m using the ESR magnetic case but am considering getting a keyboard case. The Apple keyboard case is waaaaay to expensive so I’ll probably get one from Logitech. As far as the Apple pen goes, I’ve fiddled with the first gen Apple pen and although I find the pen a better input method than fingers on glass, I don‘t know what else to use it for. I don’t draw and would rather type than transcribe handwriting. My Keychron keyboard works great on it, which means I‘ve finally got three separate bluetooth connections for typing: 1 MacBook (clamshell), 2 iPad, 3 RPi4.

All in all, I‘m impressed with the new iPad Air. Not only does it cost significantly less than a new MacBook, it blows my 2017 MacBook out of the water when it comes to opening webpages or apps. That it could possibly be the device that replaces a Mac in my life is a bit of a surprise but so far not a disappointing surprise. This may mean that I can finally start considering a laptop solely for my Linux needs. Indeed. I‘m seriously considering buying a Framework laptop and going full Linux. Again. We‘ll see.

Rant on.