Anyone go from a laptop set up to an iMac + iPad set up?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Eggtastic, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. Eggtastic macrumors 6502a


    Jun 9, 2009
    I am rocking a 2011 11" mba that is showing its age as well as horrid battery life.

    I've been to both apple and best buy to compare and contrast any new option for my next computer.

    My needs aren't taxing, so right now the rMB is the better choice. I may however start to do photography as a hobby in the future (but nothing along the lines of professional work).

    I can't help but notice the large screen of the iMac and how easy on the eyes it is. I've been using laptops for a while now so when I come across the bigger screens whether it be iMac or even an ultra wide monitor on display at best buy I am amazed.

    I've been considering going the iMac + iPad route to solve this issue, although I have an iPhone 6+ and that served as my mobile all in one device. I also don't like having too many devices so this option is questionable still. Again, my needs are basic (web browse, music, email, etc.)

    Then I also considered going the rMB route and just getting a good monitor, keyboard, and trackpad combo to serve as my portable / docked set up. Only thing is I haven't came across any monitors that are the size of the iMac AND retina quality, and if they are they are close to $1,000.

    Has anyone came from a more mobile set up (rMBP, MBA, rMB) to maybe an iMac + a portable device?

    Also, are we expecting an update this fall because I've looked all over macrumors and the rumors are saying all kinds of dates.

    Thanks, Eggs
  2. Krevnik macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2003
    I have gone this route, but I've always had a desktop computer. What changed was replacing the laptop with an iPad. But here's some things to think about:

    The iPad is more of a companion device still. I get away with it because of a few workflows I have make it more ideal to use my iPad as my notepad (Paper), portable photo lab (Lightroom, now that it has RAW support and will sync my edits back to my iMac), and lightweight productivity (Ulysses, Soulver, w/iWork or Office when I need it). It also does the job for managing my tasks, calendar, and email. It is a bit barebones there, but I actually prefer it this way. Fewer distractions, etc. But I do my heavy lifting on the iMac at home or my work desktop when it comes to heavy photo processing, programming, gaming, etc.

    The rMB with a large 4 or 5K monitor is not the same experience as going with the iMac. The processor is going to probably feel underpowered for a monitor that high resolution. And you'll need to include the cost of a docking setup there, which is another couple hundred. Otherwise you lose charging, and other fun issues that you'd rather avoid. IMO, The rMB is best as a portable machine, not as a primary computer. I'd look at the 13" rMBP if you want a portable computer to dock. It is going to have a lot more oomph for not much more cash for the task.

    The iMac will have the best performance, hands down. If you want to do photo editing with a 4K or 5K display at the hobby level (i.e. Lightroom & Photoshop) this is really where you should spend, IMO. The processor has double the cores, runs at a higher clock, and will generally give you more room to grow as you get better at the hobby and as the hardware ages. It also includes the display which generally is pretty good out of the box for photo editing, and makes the price a little less insane sounding.

    That said, for dabbling in DSLR level stuff, a 13" rMBP would do the job on the go pretty well, but you would definitely want a larger screen to go with it while at home, it sounds like. A 2560x1440 would do the job nicely if you don't want to shell out for 4K too, just get a good one if the color quality is important.

    My summary is this: if you want a laptop as your main machine, and want to look at photography as a hobby, upgrade to the rMBP. It is still nice and portable, will give you room to grow, and will drive an external monitor with less pain than the rMB. In general the flexibility and power is worth the bit of extra weight and I prefer it to the rMB in this role, the rMB and iPad are both more like companion devices to a desktop. The iMac offers even more power and a built in Retina display, and will generally last longer with your usage before you feel the need to upgrade. An iPad is a good companion here if your workflow allows it (which it might).

    Which will work best? That's really up to your needs and wants, honestly.
  3. spatlese44 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2007
    Someone gave me an old iMac and I found it so useful I replaced it with a newer one. Now the laptops hardly get used. The big screen makes you not want to go back. We use iPads when we travel. That fits our needs.
  4. MyopicPaideia macrumors 68000


    Mar 19, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    If you go for the 12.9" LTE iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard and use a good Remote Desktop app like Jump Desktop, this will be a thoroughly enjoyable experience for you.

    All the advantages of the iPad and it can turn into a remote thin client for your iMac at the launch of an app. I do this with my 9.7" LTE iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard and Mac Mini and it is a great experience. Having a MBr as my work laptop is the only reason I went the 9.7" iPP instead, as both devices are with me at all times while I'm out and about to clients all day long.
  5. toddzrx macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    I went from a 2006 MBP to a 2010 iMac + iPad 3 in late 2012 (bought the iMac used from a guy I found on Craigslist). It has worked pretty well for my wife and I for the past 4 years. I don't need any portability since I lug my work laptop with me pretty much anytime I'm traveling (even on vacation), and my wife (who is actually on the road right now on the east coast) brings the iPad with her. Generally, this has worked quite well for us. Obviously the iMac stays at home all the time, but I don't do any real heavy lifting with it; I use it for the usual surfing/itunes/photos/finances stuff that most home computers are used for. I did use it heavily running MATLAB a couple years ago for grad school, and it worked great. I see no reason why this setup would not work fine for you. I do plan to get a laptop to replace the iMac though, but that is because I think that when I'm ready to purchase (probably in another 2 years or so assuming my current iMac lasts that long) that the rMB will be plenty powerful for what I need it to do, which is basic tasks. That way I can just get an external monitor and keep it docked most of the time but have the option of going portable when desired.
  6. Eggtastic thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 9, 2009
    Yeah my only gripe with the suggestions is the rMBP. It is an old design. I am waiting for the new supposed redesign to see what it brings and hopefully it comes with a smaller bezel and this OLED bar because that would be amazing. If not, I may swing for the iMac, or just take a risk with the rMB + external monitor, keyboard, trackpad combo which may not be the best move but well see.

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