Techy Talk 2022: Upgrading to iPad Air 5th Gen
Back in April of 2019 I wrote a blog post in my tech series about productivity helpers. In the article, I lamented briefly about not being able to get the 2018 iPad Pro. At the time, I was looking for something to take with me to make writing at work easier. Not being an Apple gal, I was attracted to things like Photoshop and the USB-C port. Which meant I could use the iPad for my writing and art.
Unfortunately, the price of the Pro and my issues with Apple’s longevity of such items outweighed the price tag. So, later in the year I purchased an “entry” level iPad. The basic 32GB 2018 model. The tablet was definitely a game changer for my productivity in both writing and art. I liked the tablet so much I considered the Apple iPad Air 4th gen when it came out, but again the price tag stopped me.
When we hit a few bumps in the world and everything ground to a halt my life changed. Suddenly I was home ALL. THE. DAMNED. TIME. I didn’t know what to do. The world was crumbling around us and everything seemed bleak. I’ve tried really hard over these last two years to be productive in my art and not just my day job. I’ve mostly been focused on my art. The one new book I did finish in 2021 hasn’t been published yet because I wanted to write the other two in the series. Yeah. That didn’t happen.
I’ve tried to find ways to motivate myself to write, but it’s been hard. In 2021 I pretty much burned myself out on art tutorials. But, I just couldn’t jump start my writing. Honestly, I’ve pretty much just been playing Guild Wars 2 non-stop since August of 2021.
However, at the end of April, 2022, I attended my writing group’s writing conference. During one of the sessions I wrote a poem and I read it out loud to a room of strangers. Now, if you know me, you know I have 0 problems with confidence in my poetry. I received positive feedback on the poem, which only reinforced my confidence. Somewhere between this conference and planning for future live events happening in 2022, I had a crazy desire to make a new poetry book with all my new poetry. All those art tutorials came into play allowing me to make this really awesome cover with my own two hands. I also scored a contract to make some art for another author. Finally I had some goals. (I have ADHD so the goals I set for myself don’t often motivate me, but when I have to do something for someone else OR there is a deadline set by someone else…well my brain goes chop chop.)
However, during this whirlwind of creativity, I realized my daughter’s PC and mine were going to be dead in the water when Windows 10 lost support. Her computer was my old 2015 custom build and mine was a 2018 Omen. This fact started the race in my brain to start looking for computers.
In the meantime, my daughter got back into art. She was using her FINGER and her PHONE to draw her works. They were amazing. When she lamented her friend’s art was “so much better” I told her I doubted her friend drew with her finger. I encouraged my kid to figure out what this other kid was using. Turns out this other little person had an art tablet….they were not drawing with their finger either. (I told my kid this, but what does mom know, right?) Of course, this now meant she was interested in a drawing tablet.
Essentially I convinced my daughter she needed an iPad or an updated Samsung Tab. After much discussion of my child’s wants and goals, I decided the iPad would be better since she wanted to use Procreate. (Also, my cell phone company lost their mind on the price of a tablet so I couldn’t economically get her a new Galaxy tablet like I usually do). Then after about a week she said she could wait on a tablet. So, I started looking at computers again. I had hoped to buy me a new computer and then give her my old one which was going to be good until 2025. Then we could upgrade her computer in the future and maybe get her an iPad. I waited until Memorial Day weekend to see what kinds of sales I could find on computers. My husband pointed out the new iPad Air and was like why not just get that and give her your old iPad. Well, because she told me she needed a new computer more than a drawing tablet.
I was all set to buy a new PC, but then my daughter was like no I can wait when she saw the price. (I need a gaming level computer and a fancy NVIDIA graphics card to do my renders, so they aren’t cheap, but I expected this.) So, in the end, I didn’t buy anything because my daughter decided she could wait until we absolutely had to buy a new computer.
I went on with my life and back to work on following Tuesday. I had 0 intentions of buying anything for a few more months. The internet thought different. I received a notification in the wee hours of work letting me know about an article showcasing the new 5th gen Apple iPad Air with 256GB of memory was discounted on Amazon. Sure, OK. I figured the sale was a refurbished or some click bait. I went to Amazon and sure enough the article was true. It was only the grey model, but meh. I always get a case for mine so it’s not like the color mattered. I ended up getting Best Buy to price match the iPad so I could have it to my house the next day. Later that evening I was looking for accessories and decided the combo touch looked cool. Turns out Best Buy was having a sale on the keyboard. The money I saved on the case/keyboard and the iPad basically paid for the 2nd Gen Apple Pencil I had to get.
Fast forward to me setting up the new iPad. My case was “delayed” so for the first few days I didn’t even take the iPad out of the box. In fact, I left it wrapped up in the plastic just in case I had buyer’s remorse. I may have gotten a deal, but it was still rather pricey. However, when my case came in, I decided to break the seal. I found the transfer of information from one iPad to the other to be surprisingly smooth. In a matter of about 30 minutes I had the old iPad wiped and all my information on the new iPad.
The first thing I tried out was the Pencil. Originally I had bought one of those Logitech Crayons…but I did not like it at all. I couldn’t get it to do the things it said it was supposed to do….if you are into art…just get the Apple pencil. I was happy to find the rubber tip I needed for my Gen 1 pencil was not necessary on the Gen 2 pencil. Maybe it has to do with the latency of the new pen? My daughter agreed the rubber tip on the Gen 1 Pencil makes a big difference…so I know it wasn’t just me.
The next thing I found out was the interaction between OneDrive and the iPad seemed to be better. I could “save” works offline on my iPad and when I got reconnected to the internet, it would sync with the online version. This was a game changer for me because this meant I could truly work on my iPad without a hot spot. I could actually GO places with the iPad. Of course, I did several tests of working on my computer and then my iPad without internet to see if the process worked as well as advertised. I am happy to say it works pretty dang well. My Office365 subscription is now an awesome asset.
So, what’s the big deal about this? Because I felt the need to justify having the new toy, I started to shut my desktop computer off and write. Plus, it’s storm season here and I won’t work on my desktop when there is a thunderstorm. In a few days time, I managed to finish a book. Maybe the fact that I have just the basic things on the iPad helps me focus? There aren’t 700 other things to distract me. The battery lasts a long time too. You could work on this for several hours straight without needing to charge. But even if you did need to plug in, when the iPad is in the folio, there is a passthrough for the USB-C.
The only cons I have for this iPad have to do with the gestures. Like I said, I’m not an Apple gal and a lot of the gestures are just weird. Kind of like that time I got the fancy Palm from Compaq and had no clue how to do the squiggles. I have also found the double tap thing on the Apple Pencil is kind of annoying because sometimes it thinks I tapped and I most certainly did not.
Overall, as the world is starting to get back to doing things in person, I find the iPad Air 2022 version to be worth the investment. I really like mine so far and I hope it gives me many years of enjoyment. I have read this tablet, since it has the M1 chip, will receive at least a guaranteed 5 platform updates giving this machine some longevity. I have no clue what that means. My other iPad gets updates all the time. I’m thinking they mean like the number. My new iPad came with IOS15 something another, so I guess that means I can get up to IOS20? Again, not an Apple gal. Other things I’ve found say the iPads are lasting longer and longer like 6+ years and still getting updates. I found a chart which showed the earlier versions of iPads got like 3 years max and this IS probably what turned me off of Apple things…I had the original iPad mini as a family tablet long ago….and it was junk before I could blink. Sure, the tablet still works, but we can’t get any newer apps on it….same thing happened with my iPod. It was junk about 2 years after I bought it.
I’d highly recommend the Logitech Combo Touch vs the Magic Keyboard b/c the Logitech one works just as well and is “magic” too…for less…even when it’s full price. The case has the passthrough and cutouts for the pencil plus it’s a nice case and comes apart when you want just the iPad part. This essentially turns it into a laptop. Oh and you can pair a mouse with this thing…..which really turns this into a laptop. Maybe I won’t be playing GW2 on my Air anytime soon, but if you need something with portability and power, you should be checking out this tablet.
To pack all the gadgets around, I like this tomtoc case. I mean it has pockets AND a handle! The area for the iPad also accommodates the iPad in the folio case with plenty of room. You can even stick the iPad in that pocket with the pencil attached. Or if you want you can put the pen in the pen pocket.
If you buy an iPad Air 5th gen, I’d love to hear what you think!