I bought my first iPad in the summer of 2012, under the pretense that it would be a really killer digital photo frame at my wedding. (Ahem.) In the two-plus years since, I've never had a reason to upgrade. It still browses the internet just fine, still plays most every iOS game out there, and the gorgeous 2048 x 1536 Retina display hasn't aged a day. If I ever get married again, you can bet your ass my iPad will be there.
But my third-generation iPad is thick, wide and heavy. It requires two hands.
Unlike the new iPad Air.
I can hold the iPad Air 2 above my head in bed with just three fingers.
It also rests comfortably between my forefinger and thumb, leaving my other hand blissfully free to pet cute dogs.
And surprisingly, it's only this new .98 pound, 6.1mm thick iPad Air 2 that can do so. I put it right up next to the previous iPad Air, which barely tips the scales at 1 pound and 7.5mm thick, but it wasn't the same. The extra thickness and relative lack of rigidity (did I mention the Air 2 is rigid?) was enough to make it unwieldy. The iPad Air 2 really is the tipping point, at least where my hands are concerned.
Of course, the new Air is also superior in a number of other ways. The camera is better. The Wi-Fi is faster. The processor is more potent. It can read your fingerprint with Touch ID. My personal favorite: the screen throws off less glare. Still not enough to read in direct sunlight, because the screen isn't that bright anyhow, but it's more than enough to keep my reflection from distracting me with narcissistic charm.
But let's get real: nobody who bought an iPad Air should buy an iPad Air 2. The burning question is whether anybody who buys an iPad should ever upgrade at all. And with my perfectly good two-year old third-generation iPad and absolutely no money burning a hole in my pocket—because mortgage—I'm the guy who can answer that for you.