13" MBA... or iMac+iPad?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by JudgeKenny, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. JudgeKenny, Dec 1, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011

    JudgeKenny macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2011
    Hi Guys,

    I'm about to get my first Mac computer but wanted to get some feedback first.

    This is going to be a Christmas gift from my mom and dad so I need to decide soon. Part of me loves the new MBAs because of the design and thin factor and the fact that they can do everything a regular computer does. They look very slick and I love that.

    But a part of me is also IN LOVE with the iMac (always have been!). I love the big, shiny screen and its sleek and elegant design but unfortunately I have to pick one or the other. I'm thinking if I go with the iMac I would buy an iPad later on, to have that as my portable computer when browsing the web in bed or the couch or when traveling.

    Anyone out there have an iMac and iPad combo? If so, do you like it or do you find yourself wishing you had a MBP/MBA instead?

    All advice or opinions are welcome. Thanks!

  2. TheJing macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2011
    Somewhere in Europe
    I would go with iMac + iPad in your situation. That way you get a really good and powerful computer for your desk but at the same time a really portable device that will handle web browsing without a problem when on the go.

    Personally I went with Pro hooked up to an external screen + 11" MBA for portability. I considerer getting an iPad before I got the Air but after playing around with my mom's iPad2 this summer I realized it just wasn't my thing.
  3. torbjoern macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2009
    The Black Lodge
    Many people in this section (including me) will be biased towards the MacBook Air, but what would you use the Air for when not at home? If you would use it for tasks which easily can be done with an iPad, I think I would recommend the iMac+iPad combo. For writing text documents, the iPad is fine. For programming, however, you need a Mac.
  4. joshuaginter macrumors regular

    May 19, 2011
    As the last poster says, many people will be biased. If money grew on trees, I would say the best option is to get a MacBook Air with a nice Apple display and then the iPad as well.

    Since money does not grow on trees, I would say MacBook Air (hence, my bias). Depending on what you need for processing power, the Air is a sufficient computer for many circumstances. The iPad just won't cut it while on the go if you need to get some real work done.
  5. blesscheese macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Central CA
    It all depends on what you use it for...

    What will you be doing? Do you absolutely need to be portable?

    I don't think you can really go wrong with the iMac and iPad set-up. You may find yourself hampered by the MacBook Air's smaller disk size, as you can rapidly fill it up with photos and movies and music...

    However, if you need a computer and you need it to be portable, the MacBook Air is the way to go.

    If you only need limited computing needs on the road, the iPad will do just about anything you want. If you have access to the internet, you can also remote into your desktop computer and use programs, but the utility of that will depend on your network speed.

    BTW, I use a MacBook Air and a Mac Mini. I'm waiting for the iPad 3 to come out, and then I'll probably get one then. It is nice having a desktop, although, I really don't need it. I travel a bit, and have a work PC laptop, so I just wanted the lightest portable Mac I could get.
  6. JudgeKenny thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2011
    Thanks for the replies!

    I really don't do anything on a computer other than going online for keeping up with some of my favorite sites (such as this one), email, sampling music (most of the blogs I go on all use Flash for their music streaming), and now that I'm going to get my first Mac, I am itching to learn Photoshop and iMovie.

    I'm only 19 and work as a dance instructor so my line of work doesn't require anything complex or over-spec'd. I know that while on vacation trips I could manage nicely with just an iPad, to check up on emails, Facebook, news, etc. I was just wanting to know why most people would choose an MBA before I make the decision to go with the iMac and make sure it's not something I regret later down the line.
  7. tusctodd macrumors member

    Dec 22, 2009
    or you could get a 17" MBP. Either way you can't lose. They are all sexy machines! :)
  8. fjanderson94 macrumors member

    Dec 1, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    I have an iMac and iPad combo and I love them both. I think they compliment each other much better than just a MBA. I do love the airs design but for your needs, similar to mine, the Mac would serve as your powerhouse and the iPad is just simply magical and browsing is just fantastic. I think you should go into the store and decide which is best for you however I recommend getting an iMac.
  9. tanhm macrumors regular


    Jun 7, 2011
  10. Caliber26, Dec 1, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011

    Caliber26 macrumors 68000


    Sep 25, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    As others have posted on here, go with the iMac/iPad option.

    I had actually gotten an iPad for the same reason as you're describing but soon realized it wasn't going to cut it for my needs. I have to have OS X when I'm on the road (which is often) so I ended up selling my iPad getting an 11-inch MBA to take on my travels. (the GREAT part is that I sold the iPad to my roommate and he leaves it on the coffee table 90% of the time, so I still get to use it when I'm on the couch watching TV :D)

    However, in your case, if you're only going to use the iPad for surfing the web and keeping up with emails and Facebook, it is the perfect device for you. Its size and portability make it the perfect travel companion. Oh, and make sure to buy the iMovie app for iOS. You'll have a blast playing with it on the iMac (already pre-installed for you) and even more so on an iPad. I've used it a few times on my iPhone and was very impressed, so I'm sure it's even better on the iPad because of the bigger screen.
  11. tmoerel macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2008
  12. s1ns macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2011
    if you do a lot of 'heavy lifting' or gaming that requires that processing power on the iMac get the iMac + iPad combo.
    If you don't, the air is sufficient enough for you.
    If you do a lot of e-book reading, surfing the web on the couch/bed the iPad will serve you better compared to the air. The air is better for you if you often do a lot of word processing or content creation which I think the iPad is lacking at the moment (in terms of hardware and software).
    based on my own experience. ;)
    good luck with your choice
  13. glen e, Dec 2, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011

    glen e macrumors 68030

    Jun 19, 2010
    Ft Lauderdale
    13 in mac air + monitor and keyboard +(port HDD)- meets all your home and need for content creation
    ipad2 32 g - meets all you needs for consuming content on the go or in portable settings.
  14. Alvesang macrumors regular


    Sep 4, 2010
    I absolutely love my 11" MBA. Having said that, I vote iMac and iPad for your situation. If you're going to use Photoshop and iMovie you need files to work with, so you'll collect certain amounts of photo and video files which use up quite some space. So there's your external hdd added to an MBA setup. Add a mouse (or even better: a tablet) for Photoshop because using that software with a trackpad (no matter how amazing it is) won't do the trick for several tasks.

    So when going with an MBA you'll add several external peripherals reducing the portability factor. With an iMac you immediately enjoy a nice 1TB hdd, a mouse and plenty of screen estate to comfortably use the aforementioned apps.

    Sent from my MacBook Air. ;)
  15. driftless macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2011
  16. johnhurley macrumors 6502a


    Aug 29, 2011
    As nice as the iPads are ( and next gen should be really sweet ) they don't have:
    1) a nice useable built-in keyboard
    2) processing power
    3) adequate memory
    4) adequate storage capacity

    If you really need portable computing power a lot of people have both iPads and laptops.

    If you don't need portable computing power much at all nothing wrong with an iPad.

    It is easy to hook up one of the macbook air's to an external display and the cost of a fairly nice 24 inch external display is way under 200 dollars.
  17. JudgeKenny thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2011
    Lots of great (but conflicting) replies. :p

    Like I said, I don't do anything on a computer that would require more than an iPad, probably, but I still want to have a 'real' computer. I just know that if I get an MBA I will probably have very little to no use for an iPad since the MBA can basically go anywhere with me.

    I think I'll have to go into Best Buy and play with all three and see which one(s) I like the most. It's just a shame that I don't have the money to buy all three things cuz they are all so desirable!
  18. glen e macrumors 68030

    Jun 19, 2010
    Ft Lauderdale
    an ipad last 10 hours and gets the internet anywhere with 3g and is easy to hold standing up.

    a MBA does not do any of these and lasts 5 hours

    just be aware these units are very different...
  19. Kendo macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2011
    iPad is in a different category in the same way a laptop is in a different category than a desktop. Even though I have a MacBook Air, I still utilize my iPad heavily.

    The only thing the MacBook Air and iPad have in common is portability but functionally the MacBook Air is a portable full fledged machine while the iPad is very limited (but great at what it does like browsing the Internet).

    I take my MacBook Air when I need a portable computer with me. I only take the iPad if I plan on browsing the web only because there is no device better at it. It is literally like reading a magazine on the couch except the whole Internet is in the magazine.

    I personally would go with the MacBook Air since you are young and will have many chances to need it on the go. And get the iPad with it.
  20. sostoobad macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2011
    Here is a curve ball, how about a mac mini +an MBA

    Thats what I did, and it works very well for my needs and wants.

    The iPad is cool but it is not a computer.

    I got the 11.6 MBA, mac mini, keyboard, Acer 20" Monitor.

    For about the same price of a iMac + iPad,plus or minus 50.00 you end up with a desktop and a super portable computer.

    A plus for the mini is, if it goes down it is a snap to either ship or bring in.
  21. Caliber26 macrumors 68000


    Sep 25, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    Yeah, unfortunately you're going to have a lot of mixed advice. Ultimately, only you can decide what's going to best fit your personal needs.

    Based on what you've expressed, I think the iMac & iPad are the best for you. If you really don't do a whole lot that requires a powerful machine, go with the base iMac. You get a great processor and plenty of storage, to experiment with iMovie, Photoshop, etc. It seems like you'd spend 75% of your time on your iPad, checking Facebook, emails and blogs, so that will be a nice accessory for your iMac.

    But, like you said, just go to your nearest Apple Store or Best Buy and play with all of them. You might pick up that 2.9-lb MBA and instantly fall in love with it and forget all about the iMac/iPad. Getting your hands on all of them will DEFINITELY help your make choice on the spot.
  22. FredTheDeadHead macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2011
    I would tend to agree with many of the other here, my first choice would be a MacBook Air and the iMac. ;-) Even of you juggled the configurations, and got the smaller iMac and the low end Air, it would still be a great combo.

    That said, the iMac and the iPad are not bad, the main issue you would have would be in typing more than a email or a quick note on the iPad. But if you need that, you can use a bluetooth keyboard with the iPad. At extra cost.

    And the iMac would be your 'main storage' for your files, and you should be able to sync stuff up by using Apples iCloud, and also use Dropbox for different kinds of files.

    Many MB Air users that I know have started using the Air as their main Mac, even when they have a larger and faster Mac available.
  23. Seasought macrumors 65816


    Nov 3, 2005
    iMac it is :). If you've wanted one for a long time now and can get one, I say go for it. Saving up the cash to pick up an iPad later won't be too challenging I don't think.
  24. TrollToddington macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2011
    Another vote for iMac + iPad (that's what I have). Do you really think you'll manage to run photoshop comfortably on a 13" screen? I'm sure you'll end up wanting a bigger monitor.

    And while we are at it, a MBA has only 128GB of storage (256 on the top model). We have discussed to great lengths the needs of space nowadays in other topics. YMMV but in my experience (and I'm not a power user) 128GB is just too small a storage today if that's gonna be your only computer.

    PS consider also getting an external back-up drive.
  25. johnhurley macrumors 6502a


    Aug 29, 2011
    Ummm ... not just consider ... just plan for one and make sure you have a good viable backup strategy that you actually follow!

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