I have an iPad Air 2 which as much a joy for reading and as nice a device now as it was four years ago.
But it’s always been basically useless for web browsing.
It’s never been able to keep a usable number of websites in memory, leading it to endlessly reload sites as you switch between tabs or apps. Web apps are basically unusable because of this even if you don’t save them to your home screen (web apps that have been added to your home screen suffer from an entirely separate and more destructive reloading bug that is apparently baked into how iOS implements those apps).
It doesn’t look like the new iPads are any better, except maybe the iPad Pro, but even those still only have 4 GB of RAM and still suffer from the home screen bug. It doesn’t really matter that these devices have ‘desktop class’ CPUs. Constantly reloading sites from scratch makes the experience of using them to browse the web dramatically slower than it should be.
Using the web is unavoidable for most people because it turns out that there just isn’t an app for everything. There’s a lot of them, sure, but not for everything, and in many cases niche apps lag severely in updates compared to their web peers.
Meanwhile the Surface Go, which starts at 4GB RAM and offers a 8GB RAM version, runs an OS with decent support for Progressive Web Apps, and supports multiple competing browsers through a simple and free OS update, is starting to look very interesting.
It has fewer apps but better support for the web and from my perspective that just looks like a better mix than the iPad’s ‘everything has to be an app to work well’ approach.
So, let’s just say that I’m very much tempted by the Go.