Why I Bought an iPad Air

The last iPad I bought, I returned to the store literally within three hours. It was Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) first-generation iPad Mini. Though it might have made a great entry product for consumers new to tablets or new to iOS, it lacked some major features that I have found to be absolutely crucial to a good tablet experience. Now I've bought an iPad again -- and this one I won't be taking back.

Apple's new iPad Air and iPad Mini. Source: Apple.

What the first iPad Mini lacked, the iPad Air solved
Apple's iPad Mini had bittersweet implications for Apple loyalists. Though its light and thin form-factor was an excellent representation of what customers have came to know and love in Apple's iOS devices, there were two crucial missing features that made the iPad Mini a poor solution for Apple's early adopters. One, it was missing Apple's gorgeous Retina display. Two, the processor was too dang slow.

It was these two missing features that convinced me to return the iPad Mini for a refund. After getting used to the Retina displays in Apple's iPhones and faster processors in Apple's iPhone 5, the iPad Mini just didn't cut it. It was too bad, because I really enjoyed the thinner and lighter form-factor.

Fortunately, Apple solved these issues in October when Apple announced its new iPad line-up. While Apple addressed both the lacking display and the slower processor with its new iPad Mini with a Retina display, the iPad Air also became a sensible alternative for consumers looking for a lighter and smaller tablet. The iPad Air took on the iPad Mini's form-factor, becoming 20% thinner, 28% lighter, and adopting 43% narrower right and left bezels. In total, Apple shaved 24% of its volume when compared with its bulkier fourth-generation predecessor. With such a dramatically different form-factor, the iPad Air now feels very similar to the iPad Mini. For instance, even though Apple was able to maintain the 9.7-inch display, the display plus the edges measures about an inch shorter from left to right.

Data seems to confirm that the iPad Air appeals to relatively more Apple loyalists than the iPad Mini did. 2012 data from PiperJaffray analyst Gene Munster implied that 58% of launch-day purchasers of the iPad Mini in the U.S. were made by customers who already owned an iPad. Comparatively, a survey this weekend by PiperJaffray's Gene Munster suggested 75% of U.S. iPad Air launch day purchases were made by customers who already owned an iPad.

Two solid options
The iPad Air's sleek form-factor combined with its blazing fast A7 processor more than solved the issues I had with the iPad Mini. So far, I'm more than happy with my purchase. As someone who enjoys reading books, newspapers, and magazines on his tablet, the iPad Air's lighter and smaller form-factor combined with its Retina display has made that easier than ever. I might finally be able to kiss the nostalgic feeling of a physical book goodbye.

Author's new iPad Air.

Interestingly, however, Apple's iPad Mini has solved both of these issues as well – and to the same extent. The iPad Mini also boasts the new A7 processor and Apple's Retina display. Available later this month, the iPad Mini may serve as a tempting alternative to the iPad Air while still getting all the speed and pixels as its larger counterpart.

If my experience so far with the iPad Mini is any indication of what other consumers might think of the tablet, Apple's new iPad line-up definitely ups the ante in the tablet market. As Apple's second-largest business segment by revenue, such a major upgrade to Apple's iPad business could help Apple get its bottom line back into growth.

Got iPad?
Apple's newest iPad Mini with Retina display might be hard to come by this quarter, given all the reports of supply constraints. Well, we're going to be sure to get a few -- and give them away! That's right: For the first time ever, The Motley Fool is hosting a contest where you can win a free iPad Mini with Retina display. All you have to do is tell us why you love The Motley Fool by clicking here! We'll pick the three most Foolish submissions to receive a free iPad Mini with Retina display.

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Read/Post Comments (35) | Recommend This Article (56)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2013, at 7:10 PM, normgarry wrote:

    Doesn't make any sense. If you need an iPad that badly, buy a Mini with LTE.

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2013, at 8:58 PM, rcmotohead wrote:

    The title is "Why I bought an ipad air". Well the reason the author bought an ipad air is because he works for the Motely Fool where everything is apple and anti-Microsoft. THAT is why he bought an ipad air.

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2013, at 9:09 PM, GabrielleGar123 wrote:

    My old Gateway 486dx was faster than my ipad mini. It takes me up to 12 hours to download videos to my iPad. Crazy slow. If the "air" is faster, I may sell my mini and upgrade, but it would have to be fast, not faster given how slow it is currently.

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2013, at 9:24 PM, geokatilus wrote:

    Why the hell am i seeing these terrible articles on Yahoo? Wow you are in bed with Apple and want to talk slanderously about Microsoft? Good job you bought an Ipad and have terrible opinions, want a cookie?

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2013, at 10:04 PM, never2dull4u wrote:

    I had bought the original iPad on the very first day. I used it for about 30 days and returned it back. I took a 10% hit on the restocking fees. Reason why I returned it was that the iPad was way too heavy to hold. My wrist was soar after 25 minutes holding it in bed.

    Rather than getting an iPad Air, I'm getting the iPad Mini with Retina display.

    BTW, I after I had returned the original iPad back to Apple store, I couldn't resist the bargain of Samsung Tab at Costco. Boy, was that a BIG mistake. That thing was JUNK!

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2013, at 10:08 PM, prodigy191145 wrote:

    If tablets suppose to replace the laptop in most sense, then the most important part of a tablet is being able to carry your files, documents, music and media. I think its retarded to always have to sync your music. With the android platform I can drag and drop any files to my tablets storage. Another thing iPad does not have is expandable memory. If I ever destroyed my tablet, at least I have a choice to backup my system and files to an external memory card. If your not technologically savvy then this is the platform for your. Google/Android is paving the way for the future...not Apple.

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2013, at 10:20 PM, sa1212 wrote:

    iPad 2 that we have is so great that I have hard time upgrading. I know that iPad Air is very likely the best thing and I would fall in love with it, but iPad 2 is already very pleasant.

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2013, at 10:36 PM, CrazyDocAl wrote:

    Apple needs to get with the times and add a micro SD port. I understand Apple's need to be all controlling but some things are industry standards. That alone is keeping from buying an iPad. I want to be able to load everything I want to read at home or on my work laptop and not have to count on finding a wifi or burn data on my phone.

  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2013, at 11:12 PM, PJ wrote:

    I bought the ipad air. I'm with the author....niiiiiice.

    It's very fast (faster than my 5s and my Macbook Pro). Yes, admittedly, I've slowly converted to Apple (and it was a slow process), but you really can't beat their products.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 3:02 AM, tech4all wrote:

    Nexus 10 is double the storage for $100 less. Apple knows their loyal customers will buy their products that are not worth the asking price. Much better options available.

    Then there's the mini. It was behind the competition since it debuted. It's nearly identical in specs to the Nexus 7 2 yet it cost $170 more. Retina display? Yea the Nexus 7 had that last year. The iPad is behind the times.

    Yea it has 64 bit. That's fine and dandy but it doesn't mean nothing until apps are written in 64 bit.

    The iPad and mini are simply over priced toys that plenty of people because of the brand. That's what sells it. Bottom line.

    More apps you say? Well PCs have more apps for them, yet people still buy Macs because all the apps they need are available for the Macs. Same applies to Android. Besides, app quantity isn't really an argument now as both stores are pretty similar.

    Buy what you will. I'll choose what gets me more for my money.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 3:21 AM, jorgetoro wrote:

    I dont think this is honest article. Maybe its intention is to sell the product.

    I have 6 Ipads in my household, two ipad Mini and four Ipad with retina display. Everyone in my house (with no exception) prefers the ipad Mini to the ipad 2. No one in my household has noticed a slower processor or the difference in the retina display. Be honest and don´t publish any BS. It hurts your reputation.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 7:02 AM, Mreiher wrote:

    Saw the iPad Air this weekend and like others have said... all you have to do is touch it and you're hooked... this is one time, thinner and lighter really pays off. Apple is positioned well for the Christmas season... The iPad Air seems to be a hit and the new Mini is bound to surpass it in demand.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 11:29 AM, golfjam wrote:

    I've bought a Ipad 4 instead, didn't need to have the latest. I've an Ipad 2 when it came out, Nexus 7 and Acer A210 before. The only reason I switched back to Apple is because of its tablet apps. They're so much better on ios and noticeable faster. I've got a lot of magazine subscriptions and they work flawlessly on my Ipad but it sucked on Android. Pages loaded slow, videos took forever to watch. And yes, I've rooted all my Android devices and it works fine for a couple of months until I had to erase everything and start from scratch again. Don't get me wrong, I've been a Android fan since they releases G1, been upgrading since version 1.4 but ios ecosystem is much better for tablets.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 1:00 PM, coachb3 wrote:

    I also bought the new iPad Air - and for the most part, I'm pretty satisfied - but there are some issues. When you try to select a photo to become your wallpaper or lock screen, it doesn't scale.

    The photos look fine in their respective folders, but once you select one for wall paper, it quadruples in size and says "move and resize". You can move it - right to left but you can't resize it.

    It gets better - if you go to apple.com/support and plug in the serial number of an iPad Air, it says "the online site isn't updated to deal with Air related issues yet.

    So a trip to the Apple Community Forums site got a response saying "that issue is known to Apple".

    Huh??? So basically, I just wanted to move up from my 1st gen iPad (which had no problem with selecting wallpaper and lock screen). Now I've got this new, slick, faster, sexier device - and I can't get any help from Apple on how to address something as simple as selecting a wallpaper.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 1:03 PM, Snoopy2012 wrote:

    All fandroids and M$hits fan boys...if you like your toy, go and buy it. No one is stopping you. This article is about iPad...If you don't like apple and ipad, fine...you don't need to buy it. Just stay away.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 1:06 PM, Snoopy2012 wrote:

    I have bought an iPad 2 and never able to use it...because my two year old took it and all the time watching all the rhymes and playing alphabetical games and puzzles...

    Now I am thinking to get an iPad Air for myself.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 5:43 PM, JoeLemon wrote:

    If most apple fans agree that they like the ipad more then the mini, then why are they saying the poor sales for the air is people waiting for the new mini?

    I went to the apple store to look at the air. The weight different between my 3 and the new air is barely noticeable. It isn't even a full pound lighter.

    If you don't have an ipad then it is worth it. If you do then nothing to see here.

    How is this faster then the 5s when they have the same CPU in it? And if your mac pro is slower then it has to be 10 years old at least.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 6:03 PM, patty2 wrote:

    I still have an original iPad. When I think about the cost per year of keeping something that is almost as good, I can't see any reason to upgrade. And yes, I have a retina display on my MacBook Pro, but I can't see that it makes a huge difference.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 6:13 PM, webguy76 wrote:

    "Apple guy" just makes me laugh

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 6:27 PM, webguy76 wrote:

    And I love the Fool editing out certain comments. They just erased my last comment which was not even derogatory but was too anti-Apple so they deleted it. How nice

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 6:53 PM, Travelintime wrote:

    Wow, some of these guys sure have an anti-Apple thing going on. Really..... Let's be objective, which many are, but forget the other stuff.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 7:13 PM, secretgreg wrote:

    Ok, Will someone please fire this guy just for the simple reason that the title of this story has not meaning to this article. It's all one sided and I would like to think my money is being spent for good decision making. Not an opinion of one.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 7:16 PM, cmalek wrote:

    @Travelintime:

    So I guess if one is not totally in love with Fruitco, one is not objective? Hmmmm. Very interesting.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 8:40 PM, awallejr wrote:

    Hey I finally upgraded and bought the iphone 5C and the ipad air. My old phone was an Iphone3. Now I understand why Apple wants to keep the Iphone more as a phone than making it a mini tablet. I love the ipad air.

    As a holder of 50 shares of AAPL I am annoyed with them. There is no excuse for many of the stores not to have the products. A lost sale is a lost sale. You can never get it back by definition. Only reason why I took the 5c 32G at an AT&T store is because none of the Apple stores had any at all.

    Also, be careful with AT&T. They seem to be pulling a fast one with their plans. I was in a hurry and wasn't paying attention but will go back and have it corrected. They rushed me into doing a $27 a month plan for 20 months but can do a trade up within a year. However they charged me full price on the phone instead of the subsidized price. I was wondering why they did it as a 20 month plan instead of a 24 month one.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 8:57 PM, dwilh51183 wrote:

    I GOT THE NEW IPAD AIR AFTER COMPARING MODELS FROM COMPETITORS AND AAPL WON THE CONTEST HANDS DOWN. EASE OF USE, QUALITY EVERYTHING INSIDE, ALL THE SCHOOLS USE THEM AND APPS ARE AMAZING. SPEED IS LIGHTNING FAST AND PICTURE QUALITY IS LIKE BEING THERE IN PERSON…HIGH DEF. THIS IS SOMETHING YOU WILL HAVE FOR YEARS AND THE KIDS LOVE IT, SO MIGHT AS WELL SPEND A LITTLE MORE MONEY BECAUSE AAPL PRODUCTS DO NOT BREAK DOWN OR GET VIRUSES. A GREAT PRODUCT BY AAPL

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 10:26 PM, leokh wrote:

    Anyone have tried the new Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 version?

    How is it compared with ipad Air?

    I am thinking of ditching my ipad 2 and going forward with Android.

    I have already given up on my iphone 4S, 1.5 years ago (which is a long time considered in today's technology world), and never regretted and looked back ever since.

    iphone and ios is a good product but too limited and inflexible to do what I want and need to do.

    In fact its hardware designed and built is much better than any android phone even till today.

    BUT I gave it up because of its lack of functionality in many areas, poor battery life (cannot swap batteries), too small screen, poor sharing and putting stuff in it capability (everything has to be done via iTunes).

    In order to satisfy my needs, I had to jailbreak my iphone which resulted in unstable system, I have to restore and jailbreak 6 times because of installing and uninstalling some cydia apps and it caused the system to become a "white apple" and hanged there.

    This was a nightmare for me and I decided to ditch it and moved to Android even though the phone built wasn't good and the UI wasn't that nice compared to ios 6 or below (not ios 7 it sucks)

    But there are many positives which made me moved to Android and really happy that I did.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2013, at 11:01 PM, leradron wrote:

    The difference between apple and android products is that with apple you know it's good without trying it but with android you have to try it first then realize it's better. Now this is an investment website so that is a positive comment for apple.

  • Report this Comment On November 05, 2013, at 12:24 PM, zip98053 wrote:

    The Fools reviews have no credibility. It is ALWAYS Apple = Good, Microsoft = Bad and, since that is never the case in real life, after a while, the Fool just looks foolish.

  • Report this Comment On November 05, 2013, at 1:36 PM, TheRealRacc wrote:

    We still haven't disabled comments on AAPL posts?

  • Report this Comment On November 05, 2013, at 1:36 PM, TheRealRacc wrote:

    Leokh, Android blows iOS out of the water. The only people who support Apple are the people who can't admit they overpaid for an inferior product. All others, buy Android. (And hopefully MSFT in the near future.)

  • Report this Comment On November 05, 2013, at 10:37 PM, awallejr wrote:

    <The Fools reviews have no credibility. It is ALWAYS Apple = Good, Microsoft = Bad and, since that is never the case in real life, after a while, the Fool just looks foolish.>

    I am no tool of the Fool, ask Alex (TMF Adelph), but I am telling you I love the Apple products. They are just easier to use. I went to THREE Apple stores and NONE even had the 5s or 5c. They just sell that fast.

  • Report this Comment On November 08, 2013, at 8:52 AM, MBELL wrote:

    AAARRRGG. "Form-factor" should be stricken from the language. It was used 6 times in the first 6 paragraphs.

  • Report this Comment On November 08, 2013, at 9:21 PM, Epitimather wrote:

    After having read all comments and having no idea, neither of iPad nor of Android and having no experience with use of tablets, I got the impression - but I am not making a theory of it - that whether such a device works properly depends from the charakter of the person using it. So I suspect that there is the Apple type, the Android type etc. - Maybe an astrologer could explain?

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 10:15 AM, MajorPatton wrote:

    All I own now is Apple products. I mean everyone in my own family and throughout our extended family… EVERYONE. I won't go back to cr_p. Sharpness of the screen and super-fast speed. Everything else sucks in comparison! If you want to buy that cr_p from overseas, go for it. Apple is the absolute best. I've tried "other than Apple for years," so I know. If you actually used Apple (like the 27" MAC Daddy I'm on right now) you would never use another computer (upright). Same with my 5S that I just bought and traded in my Samsung cr_P. My battery is now on the 5th day. I got 2 hours on my Samsung; when new, it lasted 6 hours. The 5S is super-fast!

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2013, at 11:18 AM, riwaterman wrote:

    If you are looking for tablet tech reviews, google/bing tablet reviews. Don't expect to find the details on an financial website however, the writer is got it right, the iPad Air is awesome and tech reviews will also tell you that. Light and fast with long battery life. Don't pick one up you won't let go.

    seriously check the tech reviews and you will see the iPad Air will be the tech product of the year. Nothing can complete with it.

    BTW, the NEW iPad Mini has the same spects as the iPad Air (although I am uncertain about the graphics chip). So if you want something smaller that has 30% more display real estate that Android 7-inch models the iPad Mini is for you

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