Let's compare and contrast some of the key features of the iPad and the MacBook Air.
A key selling point with both gadgets is that they are portable. Whilst the Macbook Air is very compact and almost razor thin, it still doesn't beat the iPad in terms of size.
The iPad is easily held in your hands, even when you find yourself squashed into a small seat on public transport.
I have certainly found it easier to get my iPad out on trains and elsewhere when I might have felt slightly uncomfortable with a laptop on my lap. The iPad is also slightly lighter to carry around.
When it comes to portability we have to consider the battery life. How long will you be able to use it for on the go without finding a charger? For the MacBook Air, it's somewhere between 5 and 7 hours depending on which model you decide on. It is also able to go for 30 days when you have it in standby.
With the iPad, you get somewhere in the region of 9 hours on 3G or 10 hours on Wifi which can be very useful if you are going to be away from power for a while.
Ease Of Use
One of the things that has struck me about the iPad is that it really is very simple to use. Even more so if you have already got an iPhone or an iPod Touch. However, I have found myself investing in a separate keyboard for when I want to type more than a short email or note. So if you are going to be doing a lot of typing you will find it a lot easier with the Macbook Air which of couse comes with a full keyboard.
In addition with the Air you will also get the Apple trackpad, which helps you to control various functions on the laptop as easily as possible.
Connectivity On The Move
If the main reason you are looking at the iPad vs MacBook Air comparison, is because you want to stay connected when you are on the go then the iPad could be the device for you. Whilst it comes at a price, you can purchase a monthly 3G data plan in order to stay connected to the internet even when you're away from a WiFi hotspot.
However the Air only includes WiFi connectivity but you can add a third party solutions such as a dongle which you could use to stay more connected. The prices are probably comparable to a 3G plan for your iPad but it will mean that you need to carry around a dongle and plug it into a USB port. Just a quick mention here that the iPad doesn't have any usb ports which may be an issue if you think you might need them.
When it comes to functionality it really does depend on what you need the iPad or Macbook Air for! If you are looking for the sort of functionality you would get from a standard Mac computer with OS X then the Air maybe for you. With it you are able to download software and play games although of course these are available on the iPad in the form of apps. Essentially you can use the Air as you would a desktop computer.
In terms of functionality the iPad is more limited with iOS. Yes you can download apps which are approved to be sold or given away free in the iTunes store.
However, the good news is that both the iPad and the Air will do most things you would need on the go. You are able to check emails, do work, listen to your music, watch movies, play games and more.