13" MBA even though I have iPad and iMac?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by daftpunkstu, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. daftpunkstu, Oct 21, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2011

    daftpunkstu macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2011
    Hey guys, first thread I've made on here so go easy.

    Basically I've been told I could have a MBA for university (september 2012) which I would be buying around January 2012. I'm hopefully going to be an engineering student and dont want to waste my money getting a 13" MBA due to the fact that I have an ultra portable iPad, iPhone 4S and then a desktop 21.5" iMac for the more heavy work. If I were studying anything other then a science that involves design work, I would have thought I could get away with my iPad but engineering will require a lot of word processing and some light design work. I'm happy enough getting the 13" MBA but I just don't want it to make either my iPad seem a waste of time, or my iMac result in becoming a media hub and nothing else. I am tempted by a 15" MBP but I like the idea of the weight and ssd the mba will have. What do you reckon? [​IMG]

    Also, when is the MBA refresh usually out of interest?
  2. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_5 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8L1 Safari/6533.18.5)

    The last refresh was july
    The one before was october
  3. baaadboy macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2010
    I think you already have more than you need for engineering. I am a Computer Science major and MBP alone did it for me. At this point MBA will be a huge waste of money for you. Think about it, do you really need 2 computers? I should also note the it's pain in the arse to keep all your data in sync
  4. NikFinn macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2009
    Also a CS major here, and just recently moved to a two computer setup (see sig) and love it. I moved from a 13" MBP with an external monitor to the sig setup and find it incredibly easy to keep data in sync using dropbox (or box.net and their current free 50gb of storage). The two computer setup (while pricey) provides more portability (with the 11") and more power, storage and a much larger screen. Previously I had an iPad 1 which was great, but I was unable to do any coding on it as there wasn't (and aren't) any java compilers for iOS. For not too much more I was able to get something with much more processing power and and allowed me to do just about anything a "real" computer can do.

    If I were you, I would consider selling the iPad and getting an 11" or 13" MacBook Air. The only thing you'd be sacrificing is battery life, but the 5 hours or so on the 11" is plenty for me.
  5. eric/ Guest


    Sep 19, 2011
    Ohio, United States
    Definitely no, unless you at least sell the iPad.
  6. lc25 macrumors 6502

    Jul 31, 2009
    I'm actually in the same predicament currently and have decidded to sell my iPad 2 as i just don't use it but a full size mac i would so will be picking up an Air 13" pretty soon.
  7. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I've got all three, but the MBA is used so infrequently that I'm considering selling it. Brilliant computer, but my iMac is covering everything I need to do and I'm never really on the go.
  8. merkinmuffley macrumors 6502a

    Dec 3, 2010
    i've got ipad2, iMac, iPhone, macbook pro and 3 of the 13 inch macbook airs. the pro sees almost no use these days, the iPad and a couple of airs go with us on the road.
  9. ihonda macrumors 68000

    Sep 17, 2009
    I've got a 13" pro and a 13" air and a iPad. I let my gf use the pro it runs WoW great for her. We are an apple family even tho she has a droid yuck
  10. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    What else you got, bro?
  11. sumone macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2011
    Also a Computer Science major and the MBP alone does just fine. If your going to get a second computer maybe a pc I program on both.
  12. Xikum macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2011
    You could sell your iPad; if you bought a MBA, it would effectively replace it. I don't see what advantage having the iPad would be.

    3 Airs?! Somebody had some money to burn; why did you get all that?
  13. snorkelman macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2010
    I juggle the three quite happily

    iPad and MBA? used together while I'm out and about. The iPad displays reference material (pdfs drawings and plans) and sits alongside the MBA (running word or a drawing app etc).

    Its a very portable equivalent of what I'd mainly use dual monitor desktop setup for i.e. even though the iPad isn't actually being used to extend the MBA desktop, its displaying the same content I'd be looking at on a secondary display.

    Once I'm back home I let the MBA autosync any new/changed files with desktop machine (a mac mini). The MBA is then stuck on charge along with iPad ready for next day, while any further work is done on the desktop box.

    Next morning I turn the MBA on for a couple of minutes, to auto sync new/changed files back from the desktop box onto the MBA, and I'm good to go again.

    I tried drop box for the sync side of things, but I much prefer syncing across my local network than having cloud based storage in the middle, so I settled on Decimus Synk 7 instead.
  14. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    I sold my iPad 2 for an 11" MBA. I also have an iMac and an iPhone 4S.

    I use Dropbox to sync my important files (mainly school ones), in which I can then easily access everything from any of my three devices. All three devices have the same music; photos/videos are all on my iMac.

    Whenever I go anywhere, I of course have my phone. When I go to class, I always throw my MBA in my backpack, as it barely adds any weight or takes up any space. My iMac obviously just sits on my desk and it's where I do most of my work. I'll typically only use my MBA when I'm laying in bed or in class (though my girlfriend uses it a lot when she comes over).

    So yup, I wouldn't have an MBA and iPad at the same time. For what I use them for, the MBA comes out on top. The only thing I miss is the iPad's battery life =|

    I'm still excited to see what the iPad 3 will be like though.
  15. LeandrodaFL macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2011
    Some users love the ipad so much that they try to market it as just a good as a macbook air. It isnt.

    Yes friend, you need an Air for college. No, your ipad wont do the trick. It does if you are going to school, or a cooking class, where all you have to do is take notes on a slow pace. Im the college, you need to take notes insanelly fast, while at other time running multiple applications for class work. Even tough the ipad is great, it will not serve you well in college

    Having said that, of course you dont need to sell your ipad in order to get an air. There are many things you can do with your ipad wich are better. For example, the ipad is a gret hub for your digital magazines subscriptions, is great to read while you are resting in your bed, and its very usefull to move around in home.

    Should you get the Air or Pro? The Pro will get an update in weeks (rumored) and the next Air update will probably be next year with the Ivy bridge chips. Having said that, I would get an Air nevertheless, cause the feather weight and small factor are very welcome, specially when you have to transit all day long.

    And no, you will still have purpuse for you iMac. the Air doenst play 1080p content in its glory.
  16. yttrium89 macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2011
    I'm a freshman at a tech school

    I'm a freshman in college and my set up is a 21.5" iMac, 2010 11" macbook air, and iPad 1st gen I got off eBay for cheap. It seems like overkill, but I do all textbooks on the iPad with coursesmart which saves allot of money, (I'm on my second term and my iPad is $50 away from paying for itself). With the iPad being a reference when I'm doing work, I can go anywhere with my air and iPad combo and be incredibly productive. Then, if I have some really intense work to do, I can set them all up with my iMac which serves as my media storage (frees up space on the air). I keep everything in sync with dropbox and iCloud.
    My suggestion is that if you have the money, go for it. What I love about this set up is that I have a secondary mac so if one was to fail, I would have a back up and would still be able to get my work done.
  17. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    Good advice, I suggest the same.

    I have a Mac Pro, Air and iPad, great combo, easy to keep in sync. Very productive with that set up, best of 'all' worlds :)
  18. daftpunkstu thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2011
    Thanks for all the responses guys! I don't wanna sell my ipad, I use my ipad for maybe an hour before i go to bed and maybe 30minutes when I get up. I like how i press the home button and i'm instantly on. The MBA would need booted up just to do something like chekc my emails. That's why I dont wanna sell the iPad. Similarly the iMac is here to stay as I love my 3 screen setup with it and all the space and speed. the idea of the MBA would be purely for school work. I imagine that it would get taken and used whilst at uni but then as soon as i got back to my room, i'd sync through dropbox and then go onto the iMac (I'd literally be using the air as a paperless school file) I just feel that if i were pushed I could manage simply with the iPad but I don't want to get to uni and realise the iPad just isn't enough for me.

    To all you science students, thanks for confirming that the MBA wil be powerful enough to run all the programming and light design apps. I think this solidifies my choice of the 13"MBA over the 15"MBP
  19. raftr macrumors regular

    Oct 18, 2007
    I am using the 13" Air for web design and development, with a large external monitor. It can handle CS5, Windows via Parallels—no sweat. The only piece of software that can make the fan spin audibly faster is Lightroom 2, e.g. when rendering previews.

    I can't be bothered syncing computers, portable and desktop—the Air is a powerful enough desktop computer for me, and the ultimate portable whenever needed. I find myself using iPad less now that I can always have a proper computer with me.

    In my case then, it is 13" MBA instead of iPad and iMac. I will be upgrading it with fast 6G 256 GB SSD to make it even faster at some point.
  20. daftpunkstu thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2011
    thanks for that, i notice you say it struggles with lightroom 2? I have pretty big hobbies in both photo and video editing which confirms that the imac for me wont become obsolete for my needs
  21. raftr macrumors regular

    Oct 18, 2007
    "Struggling" is probably too big a word but you can tell rendering Lightroom previews is a processor-heavy task—barely anything else gets the processor indicator above 10% of its power while building previews oscillates around 50% and gets the fan spinning.
    It can still do quite processor-intensive stuff at the same time, e.g. play fullscreen video and I am sure I could launch a virtual copy of Windows in Parallels and use it without hiccups.
  22. daftpunkstu thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2011
    think im gonna wait for the mbp refresh and see how it looks for me!
  23. iamthedudeman macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2007
    If you keep waiting for the next big thing, you will be waiting forever. Just get what you need now and get it over with.

    If you are worried about power get the i7 13 Air. It will do all you need. I use mine for AutoCad, editing, whatever and it handles it with ease. It will handle everything you can throw at it.

    I just got rid of a iMac 2.93 27 with SSD and don't miss it at all. iPad 2 gone. Don't use it.

    Got a i7 MBA 13.3 with a thunderbolt display and can't tell the difference between the MBA +TBD and my old iMac performance wise. That should tell you something.

    The i7 Air is as fast as this years 13 MacBook Pro and as fast as last years i7 MacBook Pro in the CPU department. And faster since it has a SSD. Do people think that last years top of the line MacBook Pro is now underpowered? Think about that for moment?

    The benefit of having a separate display is that you can keep the Display for a long time and update your MPA just about every year or every two years and sell your old one with very little loss. That is better to me than having a iMac for the next five years.

    I don't see the need to have a iMac and a MBA. None at all. The MBA with sandy bridge is not a underpowered laptop anymore. It is a full fledged laptop. Nothing underpowered about it. It is a full fledged mac and can do everything it's big brothers can do and more with the SSD.

    Maybe a iPad with the MBA but a iMac. No. Laptops are getting as powerful as desktops and soon. The MBP are already and the Airs will not be far behind with Ivy bridge. That makes the iMac redundant and a waste of money. Apples percentage of sales for Macs is 70 percent for laptops and 30 for desktops. What does that tell you?

    I own and have tried just about every setup you can imagine. And the MBA and TBD is the best in my opinion. Throw a iPad on top of that setup and you have all that you need.
  24. Xikum macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2011
    Yea, thats if Intel HDs 3000 is good enough for you. Maybe for you your CPU performance was your bottleneck, but for many of us, we would prefer to have a dedicated GPU.
  25. heyloo macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2006
    I personally have both the iPad2 and a 13" MBA, along with a PC that handles all my heavy lifting, I suppose I have a similar setup.

    I think I read this thread prior to purchasing my MBA and became concerned about the same thing - would either my iPad2 or MBA become 'obsolete'? Well although it's only been a few days since I've been playing with my MBA, the answer is a confident 'No'. While I could understand that they both serve remotely similar(?) 'functions', the purposes that I use both devices for makes up for the similarities. I use the iPad2 for quick emails, reading, news readers, magazines, quick Pages write-ups, etc - tasks that are simple and require quick access for me. The MBA, I use it for standard 'computing', so I don't have to jump through loops on my iPad using remote desktop, etc to do something that could be done on a 'real computer'.

    I guess I forgot to mention the iMac...well when I was in college, I ended up using much more of my laptop than I did my desktop. I found myself working at the library and elsewhere around campus, that my desktop was more or less my server to access files from either my laptop or one of the campus computers. Especially as an engineer, you'll find yourself doing a lot of group work and spending long hours in your engineering buildings, away from your iMac :(. I'm not quite sure how demanding the engineer applications are (and I doubt that MBA would be 'lacking'), but I'd say a 13 MBA would be something that I'd consider getting if I was going to college next Fall :)

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