It's a 2014 model, 64GB, Wi-Fi only, Space Gray. It's replacing a first-generation iPad I was gifted in 2011. While my first-generation iPad is only running iOS 5.1, I have been using the latest iOS on my iPhone 5s for a year.
The setup process was simple but felt administrative. It was not fun or delightful. It could be, given some imagination.
It was setup as a new device but pulled down about 20GB from iCloud including an iOS system update, 40 apps, and 19k photo thumbnails. Everything was located, downloaded, setup, and ready to use in about an hour. It took overnight for all 19k photo thumbnails to appear.
It's thin and dense. After holding it, a friend remarked it was lighter than his first-generation iPad Mini (it's not, it's heavier by more than 100 grams).
At mid to loud volume the internal speakers vibrate the back of the iPad in a specific location, with force. It is reminiscent of Force Touch feedback from a haptic engine. It was literally alarming the first time I felt it.
The first-generation iPad feels like four joined pieces: aluminum back, glass front, buried LCD screen, and home button. The Air 2 feels like one solid piece.
The screen. THE SCREEN. The homescreen parallax effect paired with a retina display of this size creates real depth. It feels more alive than OS X on my retina MacBook, despite the MacBooks larger retina display.
I love four and five finger multi-tasking gestures. That you are still required to click the home button for some remaining OS functions feels broken (leaving "homescreen edit" mode, for example). Build a Force Touch + Touch ID layer into the whole display and remove the button entirely. No moving parts.
Being able to split-screen 1Password while setting up 40 new apps made the process immeasurably less painful.
It feels like the reference for peak iOS performance (and in some measurable tests, still is).
I was able to write and post this without pulling out my MacBook. Reducing the need for my MacBook to two remaining functions (storing my 300GB iTunes library and playing StarCraft).
The first-generation iPad feels like a proto-computer. It contains the most basic components and functions of a modern computer. The Air 2 comes alive as the mastery of those basic functions.
Split-screen apps and multi-tasking gestures, powered with real amounts of RAM, create a computing environment that feels limitless in a way the iPhone has never felt.