Advice for a writer...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by macme10, May 25, 2012.

  1. macme10 macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2012
    Well I'm finally making the switch to Apple. Not before time but I would be very grateful for some advice.

    I write for a living, doing most of my work in cafes. But I also do a little video editing and graphic design work.

    On my budget I think I can get either:
    a) a Mac Mini plus an iPad with bluetooth keyboard; or
    b) a Macbook Air.

    At the moment I'm leaning towards Option A. But I think the only reason for that is that if I get mugged in the street at least I won't lose all my equipment :rolleyes:

    I'd appreciate it if you guys could give me some pros and cons of both options.

    Thanks ever so much.
  2. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    Either solution would probably work well for you
    I love my MBA, and I love my iPad as well, but for different reasons

    I think if you are going to spend a lot of time mobile AND writing, I would opt for the Air
  3. Comeagain? macrumors 68020


    Feb 17, 2011
    Spokane, WA
    I'd suggest the Air. The iPad/ BT keyboard is good, but you still need to reach up to the screen for some things that you could use keyboard shortcuts for on the air.
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    MacBook Air, with a back up. A cheap USB external HDD that can either hook up to a router or directly to the Air. You can back up the Air overnight so speed doesn't matter.

  5. macme10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2012
    Thanks guys. Very interesting.

    The only thing that is making me hang on to the iPad option is the extra battery life if I'm out all day. But, on the other hand, what perturbs me is the idea of transferring files between the iPad and the Mini constantly.

    So maybe I will go for the Air, unless anybody can come up with any pros for the iPad option :rolleyes:
  6. DoghouseMike macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2011
    I'd probably go for the Air.

    But, with the iPad/mini option, don't forget about dropbox/icloud.
    I've been using Byword lately for anything longer than a few lines, and nvAlt (mac) and simplenote (ios) for shorter stuff/ideas.
    There's a pretty impressive list of ios text apps at that summarises the main features and stuff. Getting stuff from ios to OS X is NOT something to worry about. Well, for long. Pick a system and have all your stuff everywhere!

    For what it's worth, byword on ios doesn't store much locally, so you need a connection to edit anything (you can create new stuff regardless), which has caught me out a few times, where simplenote has all your text files (from the last sync) on your device.
  7. MiniMoke macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2009
    I just got my iPad and Logitech Ultrathin keyboard cover after thinking very long about this option or an Air.

    Seems like I did the right thing, though I had to adapt my computing a bit to the fact that iOS has no real file system.

    My Documents (Pages, Numbers, numerous PDFs) are all either in iCloud or still in Dropbox, waiting for Apple to come up with a smart way to store and sync documents. Perhaps Mountain Lion will do the trick.

    The Logitech keyboard is really a great piece of work, protecting the iPad and very nice to use, though the keys ars a bit close and I still an not completely up to speed typing.

    I'm really trying to switch over to the iPad completely for my light computing and will use the Mac Mini only for backup reasons, as a Music and Movie-server and, well, I'm surely gonna find some things impossible to do on the iPad.

    I call this lightweight computing and I really think this is the future of computing. Mobile, small and versatile appliances that will eventually replace the bulky Desktops and heavy laptops (those will be used mainly by powerusers and professionnals in the future), and maybe even the MacBook Air?

    Well, this is my take on the usefulness of the iPad with some smart accessories.
  8. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    I do think both are valid options
    But just remember, the Air gets phenomenal battery life as well
    And I would use Dropbox as my backup for documents
  9. Scott Baret macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2011
    I do a lot of writing myself, both for work and for fun. My primary writing machine for the past year and a half has been a MacBook Air, and I have nothing but positive things to say about it in all areas, including the keyboard (for me, this is a huge factor when writing for extended periods of time). Admittedly, I still like my tangerine iBook's keyboard the best, but the Air comes awfully close.

    Having a mouse or trackpad is the other reason you'd want an Air for writing. The editing process is much easier with one of these devices than the touch screen is at present.

    There's also the question of having only one document at a time open on an iPad, at least on the programs I've used. If you're like me and want to have some sort of outline in part of the screen while you write, you'll find yourself getting a bit frustrated by the constant document switches.

    That being said, I do like my iPad, but as a content consumption device, not a content creation device. I use it for surfing the web and reading books more than I do creating material. The version of Pages for the iPad isn't bad, but the writing process is still much smoother overall on a regular computer.
  10. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    Very valid points and I agree with you
    All depends on the OP's workflow as a writer

    For light writing, blogging, etc., the iPad is probably fine
    But as you said, multiple documents, editing, etc. make the MBA a better choice
    Having the file system available as well would be key to me in this work flow

    I too, use my iPad more for reading books, Netflix, etc than creating
  11. macme10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2012
    Thanks guys for the interesting points.

    Writing fiction is interesting in that sometimes you want an overview of the whole structure and other times you need to focus on just hammering out a chapter. My take is that an iPad might be good for the hammering out part while the Air would be better for editing and sorting out the overall structure.

    Decisions, decisions.
  12. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    If you're writing fiction, you should take a look at Scrivener. It can be helpful in short fiction, but for something like a novel, it's unbeatable.

    You need an overview of the whole structure? Scrivener gives that to you by default.

    I'd suggest that you download a trial copy of Scrivener, move some of your work into it (not difficult), and give it a try.

    If it's what you need, then your question's answered: Air.
  13. macme10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2012
    Yes, M, I use the Windows version of Scrivener. In my transition to the world of Apple I was thinking of switching to Storyist which as Mac and IOS versions. And I suppose one of my thoughts about using an iPad was that there might be less distractions. But I think I might be making this all rather too complicated. I think the Air is the way to go.
  14. Cougarcat macrumors 604

    Sep 19, 2003
    An iPad/iPhone version of Scrivener is coming, but it'll likely be a while.

    If you're honestly worried about your laptop gettin stolen, look into insurance with your home insurance. I have theft and accidental damage coverage with mine, and it's far, far cheaper than AppleCare.
  15. macme10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2012
    Thanks guys for all the advice. It is much appreciated. I think I'll go with the Air.
  16. TheGenerous macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2010
    I'm an Austronaut
    I´ll go with the mini and the iPad.

    iPad will be great for reading and highlighting pdfs, and mobile. The mini will do all the video and pohoto editing just fine. And a Mac feels different to an iPad, each has its strengths.
  17. noshjewman macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2008
    Seems like you've already made your decision, so I may be flogging a dead horse here, but thought I'd put it in a different light.

    If you see your 'on the go' device as your main writing device, then I think you have to go with the laptop. I love my iPad, which is my main on-the-go device, but any long-form writing and editing is frustrating, even with an excellent bluetooth keyboard - and once you start getting too complex with the keyboard set up you might as well have a laptop.

    However, if you are working from home most of the time, the power of a mac mini as your main computer, with the iPad as a 'gadget' that you can use quickly and easily around the house, and in particular for content consumption (reading your drafts or reading someone else's novel for example) is a great bonus. iOS allows for lots of fun!

    Either way - I'm sure you'll be happy with the move.

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