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But the iPad has always threatened to disappear, to put you right into the picture with no awareness of the device. The major constraint always holding it back was its weight. Successive generations nibbled away at the edges of this problem. Now we're at a threshold: The iPad Air has lost 33% of its predecessor's weight, making it just 1 pound. That's the same as two cups of sugar or a pint of water without the glass.

The device is well named. It's hard to explain, but you feel it when you pick one up. 

For the first time, you can comfortably hold a full-sized iPad in one hand with no strain whatsoever. It's also 20% slimmer, but I found you just don't sense that unless you look at the side. It's the weight that's really noticeable.

One innovation I found that wasn't mentioned in the keynote, imported from the iPad Mini: If you hold your thumb on the edge of the screen, the device understands that you're just resting it. No more accidentally flicking forward a few pages in iBooks or Kindle.

Speed is simply no longer an issue either, at least in my limited testing. Every app I tried just opened; even opening an app as hefty as Garage Band or iMovie has faded into the background. Apple's claim of doubled Wi-Fi speeds will also have to wait for more serious testing, but put it this way: I have never before downloaded a book in two seconds.

Indeed, the only problem with the iPad Air is, where does Apple go from here? If this is the Platonic perfection of the interactive screen, the company is going to have an awfully hard time making future innovation stand out. Much like the thickness change on this one, it seems destined to fade into the background.


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