Apple has the goods, Microsoft the vision

Microsoft has an enticing vision of the only-computer-you'd-ever-want. But Apple gives you what you need.

iPad Air: it appears to deliver what Apple promised.
iPad Air: it appears to deliver what Apple promised. Apple

The iPad Air isn't visionary, but it's a strong update. That's good enough for me.

I've been using the Air for the last 24 hours and it does pretty much everything Apple promised: it's faster than the iPad 4 (which I traded in at Verizon), thinner, lighter, better looking, and appears to have equal or better battery life.

That's a tall order considering the challenges of packing a power-hungry 9.7-inch Retina (2,048x1,536) display into a one-pound, 7.5mm-thick package. (And one of the reasons that the iPad Mini Retina is delayed, as the Mini is much smaller but with the same, demanding high-resolution Retina screen.)

And anyone doubting its battery life, should check out Anandtech's claim that the Air delivers 24 hours of battery life as an LTE hotspot on a single charge.

The one quibble I have is that Apple is still offering the same vision of the tablet that it did back in 2010 with the original iPad.

That's where Microsoft and Surface/Nokia Lumia 2520 come in.

In an interview I had this week with Raj Talluri, a senior VP at Qualcomm, he swore that the Lumia 2520, which runs Windows 8.1 RT, is the only computer he needs. (In the spirit of full disclosure, the 2520 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor and Talluri has an early version of the device, which is not yet available to the public. )

"It's the only computer I have with me. It's got a keyboard, it's got Outlook, does Powerpoint...It's pretty much got everything I need," he said, speaking from Asia, where he was traveling.

It's an enticing vision, as Microsoft tried to elaborate on last week.

But one I don't buy into (yet). As I said before, I had a Surface Pro for two months but ultimately sold it because it didn't deliver on the vision: it was a decent laptop but a lousy tablet.

The Lumia looks like it has potential as a hybrid device that may obviate the need (for some people) to carry around two devices -- if you can live with Windows RT, that is. (Note that Microsoft is in the process of acquiring Nokia's mobile device business).

It's certainly a vision worth pursuing. But for now, I'll stick the with the two-device (one-laptop, one-tablet) paradigm.

Nokia Lumia 2520: the only device you'd need?
Nokia Lumia 2520: the only device you'd need? Nokia
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Details about Apple's 'spaceship' campus from the drone pilot who flies over it

MyithZ has one of the most popular aerial photography channels on YouTube. With the exception of revealing his identity, he is an open book as he shares with CNET's Brian Tong the drone hardware he uses to capture flyover shots of the construction of Apple's new campus, which looks remarkably like an alien craft.

by Brian Tong