So I've been living with my 11" Air several weeks now and have had an iPad since it debuted in 2010. There's been quite a bit of discussion regarding the 11" Air making an iPad redundant and vise versa, which was weighing heavy on my decision to buy one. Having lived with both for an extended period I'll offer up my thoughts to anyone considering these devices. Summary The iPad excels at casual browsing and general media consumption, especially when factoring in the 10 hour battery life. The iPad is more comfortable and natural to use in relined/relaxed situations such as a sofa or bed. The 11" Air is not an iPad substitute. The iPad is not a laptop substitute. The 11" Air makes a great desktop replacement when combined with an external monitor and mouse/keyboard. The Air and iPad make a great team, complimenting one another and fulfilling all needs an average user would have. They are not redundant. The 11" Air is superior from a mobility standpoint when compared to the 13". The 13" is a better choice if it will be the sole computing device used without an external monitor or iPad. Background Prior to the past few weeks I was on a Mini exclusively since 2007. Before that I had a 17" Powerbook, but found myself using it on a desk as a desktop 95% of the time (due primarily to its bulk) and figured I'd just go desktop when it came time to upgrade. When the iPad came out in 2010 I thought it'd be a great way to get back into portable computing without making my Mini redundant. Since an iPad has been marketed as a compliment to a fully-featured computer from the start, I figured it would be a great addition, with the two machines combined having all the benefits of a laptop without any of the drawbacks. Given the mini was over four years old and beginning to show its age, it was time to move on up. Since I needed a fully-featured laptop for work by this point I started considering the Air. After all the reading and research I did prior to purchase I was set on the 11" model. For me, it seemed to replace both the mini and the iPad with one device. My reasoning was that it's effectively the same size [footprint] as an iPad, while having full OSX and the ability to attach to a large monitor and use as a desktop when needed. All this in mind I planned on selling the iPad and using the 11" Air as my sole device. 11" Air: In Real Life After receiving the Air it met my expectations in terms of performance and mobility. It is indeed a small package; for practical purposes it doesn't take up any more room than my iPad. Easily the best computer of this size on the market, which, if you're reading this, is probably self-evident. Does the Air really fill the role of both desktop and iPad though? My answer to that is no. First off, after reading and research it seems the size and weight similarities between the Air and the iPad would make casual use on the sofa or in bed a roughly similar experience. However in actual use I find the iPad much more natural and comfortable in those types of situations. True, the 11" Air is about 1000% easier and just generally better to use "off the desk" when compared to a standard laptop, but the iPad is the clear winner in this regard. The Air also suffers when it comes to battery life. On paper I figured five hours would be just fine, but in real life I never acknowledged how much I've come to expect the 10+ hours of browsing/multimedia use the iPad offers. I at first thought something was wrong with my Air -- How is the battery draining that fast?? -- but after adjusting settings accordingly (turning off bluetooth and flash, dimming to 50%), I was in fact getting the full advertised life. The iPad's Shortcomings Of course, the iPad isn't perfect. True, it has that long battery life and great form factor, but when I originally purchased it I had banked on doing some light productivity with industry-specific apps. In short, I intended the iPad as a "laptop replacement." Unfortunately, the specific app I was looking for back in May 2010 still hasn't been released, and in general I find the iPad in its current form lacking when it comes to productivity, even with the external keyboard. It's been stated many times and I'll reiterate here: The iPad excels at consumption, but quickly shows its weaknesses when it comes to creation. Even typing this forum post would have been a chore on the 'Pad. That said, in quick order the iPad became my browser/media player/video viewer of choice, effectively being used for 75%+ of my computing needs, and it really does excel in this area. It has just the right combination of efficiency and interface for this sort of work. It is still a bit glitchy, a lack of overall memory being my biggest gripe, but this has improved with the iPad 2 and I'm sure will get even better with the 3. I imagine the iPad will be quite mature by its fourth iteration, but still won't replace a computer...yet. iPad + Air When originally purchasing the iPad -- when I had a Mini -- I felt having a laptop and an iPad together was redundant and unnecessary. Now I see quite clearly they both do different things with different degrees of competence. After having used them side by side for a while now, it makes perfect sense to use the iPad for its intended purpose -- browsing and media consumption -- thus taking that burden off the laptop and have a more comfortable experience in the process. Meanwhile, the Air can be used as a desktop replacement and also has the advantage of full-featured computational portability when required, in an eminently mobile package. I don't know if there's ever been a laptop that's crammed this much performance into such a small and convenient package. The promise of more efficient and powerful CPUs down the line will only make this better. Had I ended up getting rid of my iPad I would have put an unnecessary burden on my Air's battery. Seeing now how much I rely on the iPad for casual computing I imagine I would've been tethered to the Air's charging cord a good 50% of the time, crippling what is already an inferior mobile platform for casual use when we're doing a direct comparison to the iPad. 11" vs. 13" My primary reason for going with the 11" was a [faulty] belief that it would replace both my desktop and my iPad. I now know that to be untrue, but with this knowledge would I instead have gone with the 13"? Well, with the added screen real-estate, processing power and battery life for only a marginal increase in price (I'm on the 4GB 11") it would have seemed a no-brainer at the time. BUT... ...I've come to see the 11" form factor as a bonus, even with an iPad in the equation. For those times around the house I need OSX on the sofa or I want to hook it up to the TV for HBO Go, the 11" is just easier. It's also easier to transport, and much less obtrusive in tight quarters (think airplane tray table). Regarding the 1.6 and 1.7 GHz processors, yes, there is a measurable difference. Will it really make a practical impact for the type of real-world situations this class of consumer-level computer is subject to? No. And if it does -- if you're the type of user pushing the machine to its performance edge -- you're better suited with a MB Pro. Screen real-estate: The difference in actual resolution is not significant. That said, if you're getting this as a primary machine without an external monitor, then yes, for sure, go with the 13. And if you intend to use it on the go many hours each day you might be better served with the 13", although on the other side of the coin you'll be adding weight and size that detracts from mobility. In my experience I haven't found the 11" screen to be a detriment. In fact it's quite a nice display, one that I can (and have) used for hours on end without issue. True, coming from a 20" external on my mini I do wish it had more real estate, but practically speaking we're talking the difference between a desktop and a laptop, not between the 11 and 13. And I have that same 20" at home I can thunderbolt to the 11 whenever I choose. Speaking specifically about eleven diagonal inches, at times it's difficult to fit some windows (iTunes in particular), but Lion has a great full-screen feature that makes this a non-issue. Using this with the OSX hotkeys mitigates the small screen size. At worst, it's an occasional minor and fleeting annoyance for someone accustomed to larger screens. For emphasis, given the fairly close resolutions between the 11 and 13 you're not gaining all that much actual usable space on the screen, just a physically larger display. The seven hour battery life on the 13 is a clear plus compared to the 11's five, especially if it will be your sole machine. If, however, you're using it in conjunction with an iPad then battery life becomes a non-issue. Given I won't for the most part be using it in casual iPad-specific locations where I wouldn't want the burden of a charger, I can think of very few scenarios where I'd need more than five uninterrupted hours of battery power without using the A/C adapter. The only real exception is air travel, where I frequently do West-to-East coast flights and back again, but having just done one the 5 hours is fine (the trip is only 5-6 hours). So I'd say for me, the 11" is still the winner. ---------- I hope this may have been some help to a potential purchaser. The actual use of these three devices in real life was a bit misty for me, but now having used them their specific applications and niches have become clear. Enjoy your mac whatever way you go, and above all... Have a merry Christmas and a happy new year!