In short: the iPad was a nice portable computer, but the Air is better. It offers more flexibility and freedom. The iPad was a good solution but bulky (because Riegler was toting a keyboard for it too), and sometimes – not often – he found himself wishing for a plain old USB port, or the chance to see something in Flash.
What I find interesting about this is the notion of both devices as portable, mobile computers. As soon as the new Air was announced, people began arguing over whether it was going to steal sales of iPads, or the other way round. There were discussions about where the Air sits inside the Apple product line.
(And everywhere you looked, there were disagreements about whether the Air is a netbook or not. The Air is what you call it: it’s a netbook if you want it to be, it’s a tiny notebook if you’d prefer to call it that. Apple doesn’t care what you call it, they just want you to buy one.)
Here’s a question for Cult readers who qualify as “road warriors” (executive or otherwise): is the iPad sufficient for your mobile computing needs, or are you, like Paul Riegler, thinking that an Air would do the job better? Let us know in the comments.