For the record, I have never purchased an apple product with my own money. My iphone and ipad was provided by work. As for the ipad, a senior manager didn't want his so I was the lucky recipient and about the only non-manager in our group to have one.
All employee's have laptops instead of desktops now. That was a company initiative years ago and you really don't have a choice in the matter.
"What "20%" of my use of a computer am I going to have problems with if I switch to an iPad+keyboard for my portable?"
That 20% is going to be different for most people and depends on how you use a computer day to day. For me its bouncing between ssh sessions, most of our enterprise applications (which I support) won't work on an iPad. I find its great for short duration tasks such as an app server crashing, logging in to take a quick look, restart it, etc. Its great for bringing to meetings to look stuff up quick, meeting materials, etc. I brought it while on vacation last summer and had to login to work for a couple of hours. I could get the job done but it was much more time consuming to do on an ipad.
"Well, maybe because it weighs half as much and has three times the battery lifetime?"
Once you factor in a Zaggmate keyboard, they are pretty close in weight. I haven't used either an ipad or a air until they were drained to do a valid comparison of battery life.
"To be fair, a decent 13" laptop with a spare house brick would be easier to tote around than the average 17" laptop."
For sure, I had a Lenovo X200 with an extra battery. Loved it but unfortunately it wasn't fast enough and they replaced it with a T61.
To the Anonymous Coward's:
"Because he his a fucking hipster apple faggot thats why"
As I said, for the record, I have never purchased an apple product. I'm lucky enough to have work provide me with some nice toys. Other than the iPhone, I am not sure I would spend my own money on it. I get the sense your the jealous type who can't afford apple stuff.
"There are so many subnotebooks with ~1kg weights and built-in Ethernet, 3G and even DVD drives. The Air hype is just fanboy self-fellatio."
I'm sure there are.. Just as i'm sure management is just waiting for me to research it and provide them a recommendation. For one, thats not my job, its someone elses. For the uneducated, like yourself, there is much more than picking a piece of hardware and asking management to buy it for you. There are such a thing called support costs.