I have owned the new iPad Air for a couple of weeks and have been more than a little impressed by the way it works. The design is sweet enough with modern sharp edges and it feels good in the hand, but as ever a case covers this and makes the choice of a new shape somewhat moot.
It is, however, the performance that has impressed me the most and it really does feel snappy at every corner. iPadOS helps this of course and I can only imagine how fast the new M1 powered iPad Pro would be, but it does feel as though macOS and iPadOS are starting to merge in many of the most important ways.
Potentially the newer iPads are MacBook replacements, especially when married to a Smart Keyboard, but still iPad OS feels and works like a mobile operating system that does not allow the openness of macOS and the ability to play with every file you may want to.
I must say that I have found it very useful in place of the MacBook recently for many tasks, but alas as a reading device it still stinks. The application of a Paperlike screen protector tops off what is a brilliant note-taking and drawing experience with the Apple Pencil 2, but the larger iPad form is too big, too heavy and the screen is not capable of being used in all conditions in a comfortable way. Otherwise it is a superb product.