I’ve had one week with the iPad Air 2 at this point, and because I use my tablet day in and day out, I can say it definitely feels like an upgrade over last year’s Air.
I honestly never felt that the initial Air needed to get thinner, but the Air 2 does set a new standard. Going from one device to the other is noticeable, but not shockingly so. It’s just something you get used to gradually. Another takeaway for me is the balance. There’s a 7% difference in weight between the old iPad Air and the new model, but I think the internals were likely re-balanced as well. The Air 2 feels just a little more comfortable and balanced in hand. However, if you’re looking for the drastic difference you’d felt going from an iPad 2 to an iPad mini, then you’ll have to look elsewhere.
The mute/lock switch was a casualty to the thinner form factor, and I used that switch quite a lot on my iPad Air. However, I’ve found myself already used to the change by now. I’m used to using Control Center on my iPhone for locking the device orientation, and it has quickly become second nature to do it on the iPad Air 2.
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The Logitech Ultrathin series of keyboards has been around a while now, and they’re probably some of the most-used iPad keyboards. The appeal of the Ultrathin is fairly evident once you see one: the aluminum and plastic keyboard fits over the iPad Air, just like a Smart Cover. However, take it off, plant the iPad in the built-in rest, and you’ve suddenly got a fully functional typing station that’s stable enough to use on your lap, or at a proper desk. The 2014 Ultrathin redesign brought two new tricks to the table: a very clever foldaway iPad hinge, and a tilting iPad stand.
The new hinge was really the major reason that I approached Logitech for a review sample of this keyboard. I’d bought a few of the previous versions of the Ultrathin, but the cleanliness of this year’s iPad hinge really takes the cake. By default, the hinge will just fold flat and stay nearly invisible along the rear edge of the keyboard. In this form, the Ultrathin just looks like a Bluetooth keyboard with a built-in stand.
Once you’re ready to go, you’ll pick up the iPad, slide the left side of the tablet towards the rear of the keyboard, and the hinge will simply pop right out of the casing and latch onto the iPad. The only caveat is that you’ve got to be more precise with an Ultrathin than with a Smart Cover, and the magnets won’t necessarily auto-align perfectly with the iPad. In nine out of ten instances, this isn’t a problem, but every once in a while the iPad doesn’t align quite properly.
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It wasn’t that long ago that I was lamenting the absence of LINE Messenger on the iPad. It’s the one app that my family uses for group chatting, and it was one of the few things that tethered me to my iPhone at home or at coffee shops, when I would rather have just replied from the iPad.
However, unbeknownst to me, LINE for iPad was released almost a week ago. It’s not as full-fledged as the iPhone LINE app, but that’s really okay by me. That app has far too much going on inside of it anyway. I don’t need timelines or games or extra editing suites built into my messaging app. I just want to talk to my family and send stupid stickers (but not through the Facebook Messenger app, because my dad isn’t on Facebook at all).
LINE for iPad doesn’t do anything terribly original. It’s got an extra-wide sidebar that can look a little strange when you’ve only got one chat going (as I do), but that doesn’t matter much. I just turn the window to full-screen and revel in the glory of stickers and stupidity that is my family chat.
There is one other way in which LINE for iPad is optimized for the tablet, though: the option to have the Enter key become the “Send” button. This is a godsend if you use an external keyboard often, and it’s something I’m surprised that iMessage still has absolutely no option for.
But, in truth, the only thing I’m really trying to say is that my main complaint is gone. LINE is now truly cross-platform support as far as I’m concerned. It was out for the Mac, PC, iPhone, Android, and now, at long last, the iPad.
iPad Air 2 reviews (TechCrunch | The Verge) are just hitting the Internet now, but I got all the news I needed earlier at 9pm EST when John Gruber tweeted the information above. It’s now confirmed that the iPad Air 2 has 2GB of RAM, which is double what the iPad Air had. I’d seen the rumours abound before Gruber’s tweet, of course, but I wanted to share that info only after it was vetted by someone who’d really check their sources.
I’m excited to test my Air 2 later this week and see what kind of difference this extra memory makes. I’m really hoping the memory can help Safari out.
I’ve got a 64GB LTE iPad Air 2 on the way to me this Thursday or Friday, according to my Apple Order Status page. I still don’t know for sure if the iPad Air 2 will have 2GB of RAM, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and go through with the upgrade anyway. After re-reviewing all of the spec sheets and early look articles from people at Apple’s event, there are a couple of things I’m really curious about:
- Does the thinness really matter? I’m quite happy with the profile of the iPad Air as-is, but Apple has this strange obsession with making everything as thin as possible. I’d like to see if the 18% thinner body actually makes a difference for one-handed usage, as I doubt it will affect two-handed usage much. It’s also curious that this new Air 2 is about 7–8% lighter than the previous Air, but Apple didn’t feel like that was worth pointing out.
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