iPad Air First Impressions: What's in a Name?

Apple's new tablet is deceptively thin and light.

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 22, 2013 — -- "The next generation iPad: thinner, lighter, more powerful than ever before, and it's new in so many ways that it deserves a new name," Apple's Phil Schiller said onstage this morning as he unveiled the company's latest tablet.

As soon as you lift it, though, you also realize the 0.29-inch thick tablet is much more comfortable to hold. It's even possible to hold in one hand, but because of the width and length of the screen, it can still be awkward. Most people will still prefer to hold it with two hands, or place it in their lap. If you're looking for that real one-handed option, the new $399 iPad Mini with Retina Display is the way to go.

But in another respect, the Air is still very much still like the older iPads. The tablet runs iOS 7, which was released for the iPad 2 and up last month. The new multitasking features, the improved Safari web browsing experience and Control Center all improve the big-screen experience, and new iLife and iWork apps make the tablet much more than just a consumption device.