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TIMO ZIMMERMANN

balancing software engineering & infosec

iPad Air 2020

posted on Jan. 29, 2021, 10:03 p.m. in apple, hardware, review

Some weeks ago I decided to give up on using the iPad for anything but media consumption. I really like the idea of a thin client-like device that serves all my needs on the go, is light, has all day battery and does well on the security front. Sadly Apple made it pretty clear - repeatedly - that the iPad will not be this device. By breaking scrolling in code-server due to a webkit bug - soon to be fixed - most of my workflow was left dysfunctional.

So the plan was pretty simple - trade the iPad Pro 12.9" for a M1 MacBook Air and another iPad. My dad is super happy with the 12.9", he mostly works on emails, documents and other office tasks, he considers it the perfect device for this. So I guess as long as you are not a developer, you might still be able to enjoy the iPad lifestyle.

I went with the iPad Air. It is not the best iPad out there, it is not the worst. The price is really close to the iPad Pro 11", especially when you want more storage, yet it clearly lacks some of the "Pro" features. The pen still works nicely, but I only use it for a few documents I have to sign or occasionally creating a small drawing to illustrate something in architecture documents.

I read a lot about the 60Hz display - honestly it does not bother me at all while reading. And as this is most of what I do on the iPad, lucky me I guess.

I got the 256GB version as I usually carry lots of documents and media around with me and would easily max out the 64GB one. Even the 128GB of the base iPad Pro are not enough, so the price difference to the iPad Pro 256GB is still significant enough to be an argument to go with the Air.

I miss FaceID a bit. It is very convenient, but TouchID is doing a great job too. Pick up the divce, rest your finger on the button and you are logged in. It actually reacts way faster than I remember from the iPhone 7.

The Pro will be a nicer if you do a lot of work on the device or spend a significant portion of your day using it. In my opinion the regular iPad only makes sense if you are looking for the absolute cheapest one you can get. Still, there is nothing fancy about the iPad Air. It lacks some features the Pro got, but is close enough in design, pen and keyboard support while being cheaper, so that I would consider it the iPad most people should actually get: It does everything well enough.