Apple has released the iPad Air 2 and it’s exactly what I’ve been waiting for. It’s thin, it’s light, and it’s fast. It’s been a long time since I purchased a tablet (the original iPad to be exact), but it’s finally time to upgrade.
One of the key reasons I wanted an iPad when it was first released in 2010 was to use it as a writing machine. But, one of the key areas of my writing workflow wasn’t realistically possible on the original iPad. I make heavy use of WordPress’s “Press This” bookmarklet and typically write the entirety of a Linked List post (and sometimes even feature articles) in the Press This compose window. This is a breeze on my MacBook Air — I find something I want to write about or link to, click the bookmarklet, write what I want to, and click publish. But, the original iPad didn’t have enough RAM to keep both the page I was linking to and the compose page in memory at the same time. As soon as I needed to look at the web page I’m referencing the compose page would be cleared from memory and everything I had written would be lost. It only took a few times before I completely gave up on writing this way on my iPad.
I tried a few other workflows, like composing my links and articles in the Notes app which would save my work if I ever had to go back and reference the web page, but it never stuck. Having to copy and paste everything I had written in Notes into the WordPress compose page in order to publish was enough of a barrier to entry that I dreaded ever even trying to write anything on my iPad. It wasn’t a great situation and left me where I am now — only writing on my MacBook Air and using my iPad a lot less often than I’d like.
And, then Apple announced the iPad Air 2. I’m sure last year’s iPad Air or even an iPad released earlier than that would have worked in my writing workflow, but the specs never jumped out at me the way the iPad Air 2’s did. The iPad Air 2 is the first Apple tablet to feature 2GB of RAM. That’s huge. I never owned a computer with more than 2GB of RAM until 2008 when I bought my first iMac. And, 2GB of RAM gives me confidence that Safari won’t be clearing my WordPress compose pages from memory in the middle of writing.
Aside from the amount of RAM, the new iPad Air 2 also has an incredibly fast CPU. According to the benchmarks John Gruber has published, the iPad Air 2’s processor is nearly as fast at single-core processes and actually faster at multi-core processes than my MacBook Air (which scored 2294 for single-core and 4242 for multi-core processing). And, my MacBook Air certainly never feels slow.
Another big deal for me was the iPad Air 2’s new storage options. When I purchased the original iPad four-and-a-half years ago I bought the top of the line model — 64GB of storage with AT&T 3G. I could stand to live without cellular data — I have only purchased about 3-4 months worth of it during the time I’ve owned it — but I couldn’t see myself purchasing a 32GB model and I really didn’t want to spend $699 to get 64GB. Now I don’t have to compromise on storage. I can get the 64GB of storage that I’d prefer without having to break the bank in order to do it.
I’ll finally be able to use iOS 8 on an iPad and use all those apps that have passed me by because they lacked support for iOS 6. Now, I won’t be making the purchase until sometime next month. I plan on waiting until I can pay cash for it rather than buying it earlier on credit. But, I’m excited to be joining all the cool kids with their Retina displays and spending some time catching up on all the apps I’ve missed out on.
And if anyone’s interested, I’m getting a Space Gray, 64GB, Wi-Fi only model.