With a $1500 budget, you can get some pretty decent gear. I'd consider a Surface 3 or Surface Pro (4 just came out but this means 3 is ripe for bargains) with the keyboard cover. If you go Surface 3 you could even go LTE (i.e. sim card built in) and buy all the accessories.
Alternatively if you want a laptop form factor, how about XPS 13?
I'm also a Mac fan, and I wouldn't recommend the Air 11" anymore given how old it is and I don't rate the 12" Macbook yet for everyday life.