Look, my shoulders and I have long since come to the conclusion that lighter is better, and to a degree I am willing to sacrifice some functionality in that trade.
Using an iPad as my every day, primary computer has definitely fostered new ways of working, both physically (where and how I sit), in terms of processes (storing, accessing, printing documents, etc.) and activity (I now read a LOT more than I used to).
Each of us has our own preference point on the curve between heavy weight + features vs. light weight and a higher or lower price depending on what hardware you buy (read: if you get a net book it’s cheaper, if you get an iPad or Air it’s more expensive).
I’ve made my choice and for me there is absolutely positively no going back. I don’t think I will ever use a “full” OSX device as my primary computer ever again. The iPad is simply (mostly) that good. And for the few remaining workflow issues, help is on the way from iOS 4.2, and will invariably continue to improve further in the future.
That said, the new 11.6″ Macbook Air presents an interesting alternative to the iPad. At 2.3 pounds it weighs more, but not *that much more* considering you get a full hardware keyboard and the ability to run “real” full boat applications if that’s your thing. It’s more expensive of course, even more than the most expensive iPad.
Ironically (at least as far as the iPad vs. MacBook Air debate goes), Apple is clearly heading down a clear road to bringing iOS conventions to its traditional desktop OS, which will ultimately make the Air much more like an iPad with a keyboard than it is under say Snow Leopard: an app store, full screen mode, tiles, etc. all conspiring to make the UI and UE of OSX much more like that of iOS. Of course, regular readers know i’ve been predicting this for a while 🙂
The other interesting thing is Mission Control, which near is I can tell is going to be the easiest way to switch back and forth between old school OSX mode and iOS’ look and feel overlaid onto OSX. Yes, they couch it as a way to get at anything/everything from one easy place. But fundamentally I see this as much more boiled down.
In fact, I think ultimately Mission Control will be disable-able in the master user’s control panel, so that one could leave a Mac in semi-permanent iOS-like mode. Young kids growing up banging on their parents iPhones and iPads, and older, less tech savvy people comfortable with simpler UI metaphors will all feel immediately more comfortable with hardware set up like this.
And further down the road there won’t be a distinction at all – it’ll essentially be all iOS(like) all the time, for all but coders. You read it here, if not first, then…in any case. It’s the future whether you like it or not, says me! Personally, I like it!