Just some current thoughts on my gadget situation. I bought the Macbook Air in Singapore recently. Was initially planning on the 11″ 128gb and 4gb RAM. But the RAM upgrade would mean i cannot do any impulse purchase from the shop. So i decided on the 2gb RAM version. It turns out to be a good choice. The only reason i wanted more RAM was to run Windows 7 in Parallels. But i just saw an youtube video that Win7 in Parallels run pretty fast on 2gb RAM on the MBA. Reason is that the SSD drive makes swapping very fast although not as fast as RAM. But the MBA is about compromising for the size and putting all factors together including cost, size and performance, the 2gb RAM and 128gb SSD is properly the best combination. There is one caveat. SSD currently have limited write cycle lifespan and using it for swap drive will quickly use that up. There is also another issue about SSD slowing down after many read/write cycles and require a format but this seem to be something that apple has taken care of already.
Now, back to my situation. Ideally, one should need only a powerful machine at home and one portable for traveling. I was planning on selling my MBP but so far there has been no taker. The reason could be because it is a very powerful machine and i wasnt looking to sell it cheap. It is a 15″ Core i7, 4gb, Hi-Res, 128SSD (swap in myself) AND 500gb 7200rpm internal drive. I took out the DVD drive and have it in an USB casing. Any case it is more powerful than any mac mini on sale and i am not going for the Mac Pro, so i will just keep it as the powerful home machine.
Now for MBA and iPad. The overlap is big here, but the non-overlap is also small but significant. The MBA is straight forward light and small computer. The iPad on the otherhand is a totally different device and has the following unique features:
1. It is much better device for taking notes in meetings than a laptop.
2. As a mobile device, you can use it standing or without a table. Example in site meetings.
3. The touchscreen allows for drawing and quick notes.
4. The multitouch allows for apps with very unique interaction.
5. Much better device for reading (magazines, pdf and ebooks) and viewing photos.
6. Much better device for games.
7. Longer battery life.
8. Great for the bath tub (with a waterproof case over it)
Having said all that, i still find myself not using the iPad as much as i should. For now i guess i will resign myself to traveling with the MBA and iPad and office laptop.