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Old Oct 9, 2010, 03:14 PM   #1
ejlorge
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Post Is Writing a Thesis on an iPad Do-able?

Hello all, I have been writing my thesis on an Macbook Air which got dropped and is too expensive to fix. So I am debating between getting a regular MacBook and an iPad as a replacement.

The problem of course isn't the iPad's memory, but the typing function. My question is: How difficult is it to type for one or two hours at a time on the iPad? Is the screen to small for text docs?

Also, I read somewhere that typing on the same plane as the screen feels unnatural. Do you find this to be the case?

Thanks for your advice.
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 03:22 PM   #2
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Typing on the iPad for something as long as a thesis would probably be a suboptiomal experience. But you can always get the keyboard dock or a bluetooth keyboard. But then again, if you need footnotes and/or endnotes, or other fancy formatting options, I don't think the word processing apps for the iPad are quite there yet.
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 03:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ejlorge View Post
Hello all, I have been writing my thesis on an Macbook Air which got dropped and is too expensive to fix. So I am debating between getting a regular MacBook and an iPad as a replacement.

The problem of course isn't the iPad's memory, but the typing function. My question is: How difficult is it to type for one or two hours at a time on the iPad? Is the screen to small for text docs?

Also, I read somewhere that typing on the same plane as the screen feels unnatural. Do you find this to be the case?

Thanks for your advice.
depending on what kind of formatting options you need i can't see why not, it'd probably be easier if you got a bluetooth keyboard for it as well but you're still gonna need some form of computer for updates and syncing. you also need to think about if you've got any other reasons for an ipad, they're a great device if you can find a niche in your life that it can fill but i wouldn't want to be forced to used an iPad everyday it's much nicer as an option.
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 03:24 PM   #4
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Why would one want to do this?

Yes, I understand their are some reasons, but still...
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 03:29 PM   #5
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I've done university assignments on mine, I'm working on one now in keynote...

Just remember not to tap too hard or you'll get sore fingers and prop the iPad up a little.

Also a Bluetooth keyboard probably isn't a bad idea


Edit: I add footnotes just by dropping the font size.
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 03:32 PM   #6
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An ordinary paper or essay? Sure.

A thesis or dissertation? I wouldn't.
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 03:56 PM   #7
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I don't see why not, I'm using my iPad to write a book, at 1-3 chapters per file (mostly for organization), but I'm also using my iMac bluetooth keyboard which I'm used to typing on. The iPad keyboard is nice to type on, but thumbing a book in isn't "ideal" for me.

The iPad has made it possible for me to get in about 5 pages each night while in bed before going to sleep, an otherwise project that I would have never finished if not for the existence of the iPad. Thanks a ton Apple!
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 03:56 PM   #8
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Thanks to everyone for some very good points.

I should have mentioned that I have a new-ish iMac as my regular desktop. The prob is my wife works from it too so I need a second independent device to keep the peace.

Someone asked, Why? Its a good question. I guess because if an iPad would be even more versatile (i.e. portable) than a Macbook, then I might be more prone to taking more places with me. Plus, of course the fact that it is about half the price as a Macbook. Finally, I don't really need all those extra apps and power for writing a text doc.

And yes, an external keyboard would definitely be needed—(which might negate the portability point).

Quote:
Originally Posted by tkingart View Post
The iPad has made it possible for me to get in about 5 pages each night while in bed before going to sleep, an otherwise project that I would have never finished if not for the existence of the iPad. Thanks a ton Apple!
Exactly what I was thinking.

Last edited by Mitthrawnuruodo; Oct 11, 2010 at 02:37 PM. Reason: Merging, please use MULTIQUOTE and/or EDIT...
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 03:30 PM   #9
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I'm writing three dissertations this year (30,000 word count total). Subsequently ebayed my iPad and keyboard dock and bought myself an Alienware m15x. The iPad's word processing capabilities are great for typing up the odd thing, but if you're doing serious work it's a joke.

The iPad's a great toy and whatnot, but frankly speaking I struggled to type up lecture notes on it, attempting to do a serious piece of academic research on it would drive me up the wall.

EDIT: Bye bye!
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Old Oct 11, 2010, 02:29 PM   #10
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Why would one want to do this?

Yes, I understand their are some reasons, but still...
He listed the reasons.
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Old Oct 11, 2010, 02:34 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ejlorge View Post
Thanks to everyone for some very good points.

I should have mentioned that I have a new-ish iMac as my regular desktop. The prob is my wife works from it too so I need a second independent device to keep the peace.

Someone asked, Why? Its a good question. I guess because if an iPad would be even more versatile (i.e. portable) than a Macbook, then I might be more prone to taking more places with me. Plus, of course the fact that it is about half the price as a Macbook. Finally, I don't really need all those extra apps and power for writing a text doc.

And yes, an external keyboard would definitely be needed—(which might negate the portability point).
The Apple wireless keyboard is quite small and portable and easy to use with the iPad. The keyboard dock would not be nearly as portable and not functional with the stand case like the Apple Case or other folio cases.
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 03:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ejlorge View Post
Hello all, I have been writing my thesis on an Macbook Air which got dropped and is too expensive to fix. So I am debating between getting a regular MacBook and an iPad as a replacement.

The problem of course isn't the iPad's memory, but the typing function. My question is: How difficult is it to type for one or two hours at a time on the iPad? Is the screen to small for text docs?

Also, I read somewhere that typing on the same plane as the screen feels unnatural. Do you find this to be the case?

Thanks for your advice.
A real thesis, with footnotes and everything? Then you probably want a real word processor. Sorry, but Pages for the iPad doesn't make the cut.Not yet, at least.

As to the longterm usage of the onscreen keyboard: I wouldn't recommend it. You really do want some sort of physical feedback, and most importantly a "give" of some kind. Slamming your fingertips against a hard, smooth surface, several thousand times a day, isn't going to make your hands feel wonderful.
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 03:30 PM   #13
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While I'm sure that it is technically possible, I certainly wouldn't attempt to do it.
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Old Oct 11, 2010, 06:59 PM   #14
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Buy a cheap netbook for $400 and use OpenOffice to type it up plus install AVG or some other freeware virus scanner and you don't have any further investment in software to make. If you really want, buy an iPad as well and you'll STILL be under the price of a new low-end Macbook.

Besides...you'll need a real computer to make full use of the iPad's kludgy file system and to back the thing up from time to time.
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Old Nov 11, 2010, 08:24 PM   #15
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May I ask which kind of thesis? I mean, a scientific grade, with many formulas and figures and diagrams, or a literature or similar, mainly text?
If the thesis is similar to a book, 90% text of so, well I could go for iPad. But with many formula et al., well probably Pages won't be enough...
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 10:11 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by ejlorge View Post
...The problem of course isn't the iPad's memory, but the typing function. My question is: How difficult is it to type for one or two hours at a time on the iPad? Is the screen to small for text docs?
Buy the cheapest iPad, try typing on it, return it during the 15 day return period Apple gets you and if you like it buy the ipad you want or if you don't the MacBook you want.

it's not that typing is harder to do on the Mini, its all the research, copy & paste, and editing you will be doing that is harder on the iPad than on a regular computer.
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Last edited by darngooddesign; Jan 24, 2013 at 10:21 AM.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 01:26 PM   #17
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Buy the cheapest iPad, try typing on it, return it during the 15 day return period Apple gets you and if you like it buy the ipad you want or if you don't the MacBook you want.

it's not that typing is harder to do on the Mini, its all the research, copy & paste, and editing you will be doing that is harder on the iPad than on a regular computer.

In this respect, a bluetooth keyboard is wonderful, because it allows you to use keyboard commands like CMD + A, or to navigate around a document easily with the arrow keys, etc. Writing is fine, but editing (part of the writing process), copy/paste, and everything else is a bear with the virtual keyboard. I just don't do it, and in a 300 or 400 page dissertation, it sounds like a nightmare.

As suggested, go to a store and try one, or buy one and try it out. That is the best way to know.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 02:20 PM   #18
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If you're going to type the thesis up, you will need a keyboard. If you are going to format the report I would do it on a mac.

Apple haven't taken work seriously on iOS and have left that to MS to deliver. What a lost opportunity.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 09:04 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ejlorge View Post
Hello all, I have been writing my thesis on an Macbook Air which got dropped and is too expensive to fix. So I am debating between getting a regular MacBook and an iPad as a replacement.

The problem of course isn't the iPad's memory, but the typing function. My question is: How difficult is it to type for one or two hours at a time on the iPad? Is the screen to small for text docs?

Also, I read somewhere that typing on the same plane as the screen feels unnatural. Do you find this to be the case?

Thanks for your advice.
You could write a thesis on yellow pads, in block letters, or on grains of rice. You could write a thesis on anything. Doesn't mean you should. Borrow someone's ipad and try knocking out a page or two. I'm betting you'll opt to stock up on legal pads...
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 09:16 PM   #20
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You could write a thesis on yellow pads, in block letters, or on grains of rice. You could write a thesis on anything. Doesn't mean you should. Borrow someone's ipad and try knocking out a page or two. I'm betting you'll opt to stock up on legal pads...
I'm betting given that this thread is 3 years old, that his thesis is already done.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 09:19 PM   #21
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I'm betting given that this thread is 3 years old, that his thesis is already done.
If he's doing it on a 3 y/o ipad, he still working on it. Guaranteed.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 09:28 PM   #22
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If he's doing it on a 3 y/o ipad, he still working on it. Guaranteed.
Bazinga!
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 09:44 PM   #23
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hope your thesis is more original than this tired thread idea....My motto, "find the the wrong tool for the job"
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 11:02 PM   #24
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I'm betting given that this thread is 3 years old, that his thesis is already done.
Not if he used an iPad.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 10:45 PM   #25
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Not if he used an iPad.
Attempts at being cute but lame in the end.

Any time length in writing something like a thesis is about the writer, not the tools.

In the end, use what works for you and hang everyone else's opinions. They aren't doing your work. The only solid advice given was try it and return it before the period is up.
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