Observations after upgrading from iPad 2 to iPad Air 2

Observations after upgrading from iPad 2 to iPad Air 2
I had to smile at my wife’s first reaction when I handed her my new iPad Air 2 to check out straight from the box. “It’s awfully heavy,” quoth the resolutely non-tech-oriented love of my life.

Say what??!

Translated, what she meant, I think, was that for a device with such a razor-thin form factor, it still has reassuring heft, a point on which I concur. I have never considered my iPad 2 to be particularly porky, but the Air 2 (hopefully the number 2 will prove as auspicious with this machine as it has with the older unit) is definitely more vestigial, and appeals to my taste for miniaturization without loss of function.

I’m pleased with the gold color. I like both the traditional White/Silver and Black/Space Gray themes, but they have been getting a bit “been there; done that” and the gold is a refreshing change. I particularly like the look of the gold around the periphery of the display bezel in top/edge viewing aspects.

Observations after upgrading from iPad 2 to iPad Air 2

It’s understatement to say the Air 2 is faster. It’s afterburners-on compared to the old A5-powered Air. I’m also looking forward to the four times greater system RAM, allowing faster switching among open apps and browser tabs, which has been an increasingly major source of frustrating slowdowns on the iPad 2 lately, even though cautionary prudence has kept me from upgrading to reportedly even slower iOS 8 on the old machine after reports that it’s even more sluggish on A5 Pads. The iPad Air 2, of course, came loaded up with iOS 8, but it has plenty of power to support it.

The new fully-laminated Retina Display is beautiful. I haven’t been chafing with the iPad 2′s relatively mediocre 1,024 x 768 panel, but the Retina is definitely nicer; much brighter and snappier with higher contrast. Hopefully, the anti-glare coating will hold up in use.

Observations after upgrading from iPad 2 to iPad Air 2

I don’t find TouchID much of a big whoop. Typing in four-letter passcodes is really no hardship, and I find Touch ID misfires annoyingly often, even though I have recalibrated my thumbprint three times.

The Lightning connector is two-year-old news, but this is my first device to have it. I found no deficiency in the old 30-pin connector, and for me Lightning is just another proprietary bit to possibly get lost or damaged and not as easy/cheap to replace.

These are very early days impressions. I’m not a fast adopter of new hardware, and prefer to ease into it slowly and deliberately. I did a full iTunes backup of the iPad 2 onto my MacBook Air and restored it onto the iPad Air 2. The settings “took” (mostly), but I found that the restore didn’t bring my app collection with it, and I’ve been obliged to manually download dozens of apps via the iTunes “Purchased” pane. Not sure whether this is normal or not, and it isn’t a show-stopper, but has been time consuming and tedious.

Consequently, three days on I’m still using the old iPad 2 for production while I experiment with the Air 2 and get it configured the way I like it. The 2 feels like a comfortable old shoe/glove/pair of jeans—the new has long since worn off, but I know exactly what to expect. I’ll get comfortable with the Air 2 in time, but it’s not a process I like to rush. I think I’m going to really like this new tablet, but it will be some time before I know for sure.


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