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The iPad Air is about the experience, not the numbers

David Price | Nov. 13, 2013
Apple may never recreate the magic of the first iPhone launch, but its new iPad Air is pretty wonderful

But the weight - that's something more than a numerical upgrade, because (and apologies here for another slice of corporate new-ageism) it changes your relationship with the product. It puts the iPad Air into parts of your life that earlier iPads couldn't reach.

Managing expectations
Then again, there's a broader point to be made here about expectations. It's a nice problem to have, admittedly, but the success of previous events means that every Apple launch is expected to blow the roof off, and anything less inevitably triggers a raft of doom-mongering opinion pieces. (Conversely, when a rival firm comes out with something that presents even a semi-coherent challenge, it's greeted like the second coming of Jesus Christ himself. We call this 'Samsung syndrome'.)

One part of this, of course, is the human hobby of knocking idols off pedestals. But another is the simple fact that any new product has to compete with its own ancestors as much as its present-day rivals. It's not enough for the iPad Air to beat the Nexus 10; it also has to make you hate your old iPad.

Will you hate your iPad 4 as soon as you pick up an Air? I doubt it. It'll make it seem heavier, that's for sure; I suppose in that sense it's a little like the Retina screen, which made the (perfectly decent) display on the iPad 2 look fuzzy in retrospect. But I'm not certain I'd recommend that iPad 4 owners upgrade just yet, unless they've got unusually tired arms - perhaps as a result of carrying around an overfilled wallet.

Still, the new tablet, as we explain in our iPad Air review, is a pretty wonderful product, and undoubtedly the best tablet out there. It just hasn't changed the world overnight. And that, when discussing Apple at least, seems to have become the definition of success.

 

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