Ever since Apple's mid-October announcement, there have been two hot topics of discussion among those who watch Apple carefully: First, can the iPad replace your laptop? And second, can the iPad Air replace the iPad mini, or vice versa?
That first question is something we've been grappling with—particularly with regard to getting real work done—ever since the very first iPad arrived on the scene. Since day one, the iPad has been a fine Mac-replacement for many people; with every improvement to iPad hardware and software, more join that list. But the iPad still can't do everything a laptop can. For example, I still can't use the tablet to record and edit the multi-track podcast I produce every week—but I'm sure the day will come when I can. That debate will continue for some time, I'm sure.
The second topic, though, is of more immediate interest. On November 1, the iPad Air arrives; "later in November" the Retina version of the iPad mini will follow. The full-size iPad's main advantages over the iPad mini have been its Retina display and faster processor; the iPad mini's advantages were its small size and light weight. Now the iPad Air is substantially smaller and lighter, and the iPad mini is fast and has a Retina display. Stalemate!
Those are some of the issues I'll be thinking about when I pick up my iPad Air the day it's released and begin working on my Macworld review. I'm hoping to also file a few shorter dispatches as I use it, answering any questions readers have here in this article's comment thread or out on Twitter). But before I set out on that journey, I want to give a little background about how I've been using the iPad, before the advent of the Air and Retina mini.