All iPads Can iPad replace laptop?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by 22mac, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. 22mac macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2012
    I'm a student and I am looking at getting an iPad instead of a laptop due to it being a lot cheaper and much more portable.

    I was thinking of getting either the new iPad 5 or mini 2 when they are released and getting an keyboard for them to use. I will need to be able to type up notes and write essays on it.

    Do you use an iPad for writing essays and how does it stack up against an 11 inch macbook air in typing and portability which is important.

    Thanks :)
  2. Jesla macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2013
    Tennessee USA
    I would say that current state of iPad technology is not quite there yet.
    I go with the Air, you'll have less regrets…….
  3. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    It can replace a laptop, it can't replace a computer. If you're limited to a single device, make it a MB. When a big paper is due in the morning, you don't want anything taking longer than necessary.
  4. Centris 650 macrumors 6502a

    Centris 650

    Dec 26, 2002
    Near Charleston, SC
    And the real answer is....maybe.

    Most people will tell you that there is absolutely 100% no way that an iPad can replace your laptop. What they are actually saying is that THEY can't replace their laptop with an iPad. I did but in my field of work an iPad works wonderfully. I have a MP and a Macmini, both of which haven't been touched in some time.

    If money is tight then an iPad might be for you. I would recommend a few things....
    1) a Bluetooth keyboard. It will make typing papers easier. Trust me. (Get the Origami keyboard case if you can)

    2) iWork. If you'll be buying a new ipad you'll be getting it free. The learning curve isn't too steep but get cracking with it and learn it.

    3) if you aren't already then sign up with Dropbox. Do all the things to get extra storage. Putting papers on DP will be nice if you need to print it somewhere else or if you don't have an AirPrint capable printer.

    4) Smart Device Print App. A good AirPrint app if you do have an AirPrint capable printer.

    Leaving the laptop behind IS possible if it fits your work needs (and it doesn't for everyone...shoot probably most! But it can be done)

    Good luck and let us know what you decide.
  5. MauerFan macrumors regular

    Mar 9, 2012
    Go with an Air, but IF you decide to get an iPad then get the 5. What are you going to school for?
  6. Bryanw3535 macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2006
    I'd vote for the Air. Go with refurbished and you're only talking a couple hundred more. (I know... "only")

    I see the iPad as great for consumption (reading on that Retina screen, watching movies, etc) and the MacBook Air as great for creation (typing essays, light photo/video editing, etc).
  7. reltm macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2011
    iPad has got me stuck before. Can't replace a laptop for a couple of reasons:

    1. Browsing on an iPad can be limiting. Some websites are not touch friendly, and if you ever get in a bind (eg need to waive something with student services, need to enter text in an online form), you might be hunting down a laptop or desktop.

    2. Printing to school printers is a pain with a regular laptop -- good luck trying to make it work with an iPad.

    3. No way to collaborate with others or track changes in MSWord.

    4. If you use specialized software (eg citation managers), better make sure you can get a version for the iPad.
  8. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    This depends what you use your laptop for.

    The air has a "real" os for one thing. just look at the benchmarks if you really need convincing. The latest and best iPad still doesn't even have the same geekbench score that the base 1st gen mba had.

    Now obviously I'm not suggesting that you should go out and buy a 5 year old 1st gen air instead of an ipad but it illustrates the fact that they are two different devices designed for different purposes.

    The latest 2 generations of airs (at least) are fully functioning computers absolutely suited for virtually any work or student environment with the exception of maybe the most processor-intensive tasks or games.

    OSX is a real os, iOS isn't...while it's certainly a useful tool for many many people, the iPad is not (yet) a desktop/laptop replacement.

    Now if you really are just going to use it for taking notes, email and browsing then maybe...although i think you'd run into limitations and frustrations sooner rather than later.

    Lack of multitask being a big one...printing is a HUGE pain. I know there are apps that will let you print from an iPad but good luck getting them to work with network computers your likely going to be using on a university campus.

    what are you studying? what kind of school are you going to? are you an undergrad?

    will exams be done on computers? if so, then likely no iPad.
    will they give out computers to students for such purposes? if so then maybe an ipad is perfect.

    To be fair, the cheapest macbook air is 2-3 times the cost of the various iPads. But if it doesn't work for something you absolutely need it to work for then it doesn't work for you. It's up to you to figure out what you need.

    As for portability, there 11" Air is damn near perfect.
  9. shigzeo macrumors 6502a


    Dec 14, 2005
    It depends. I edit thousands (sometimes tens of thousands) of words a week on the iPad. I also write the bulk of my articles (audio stuff) on the iPad. I take it, throw it around, flop it, and smash it up against my camera and light systems in a very stuffed bag.

    I've used it since 2010. It is a bit slow, and other than not having enough ram (gen 1) for editing RAW photos, it is a flawless laptop replacement for what _I_ do.

    I no longer have a lappy. My main computer is an iMac. The iPad does everything, and I mean everything besides heavy photo manipulation. But you have to get used to it. And even after getting used to it, you have to decide to use it. I know that I can type a bit faster on a real keyboard and that scooting around the screen is faster with a mouse and keyboard combo for my use, but if I focus on using it to the best of its abilities I am fully satisfied.
  10. 22mac thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2012
    Sorry I wasn't very clear with my post.

    I have a 15" Macbook pro that I use as my main computer. However its pretty heavy and a bit of a pain to carry around with me everywhere I go.

    Any longer essays I would write on the macbook but for when I'm at uni for for the day and all the library pc's are taken I need a computer to work at.

    This is why I was thinking an iPad would be a perfect option as its light and alot cheaper so I wouldn't be so scared of damaging it while carrying it.

    The only problem is that I have never used an iPad for serious work before and don't know how it will perform at writing essays, adding links, italics and pictures.
  11. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    well in that case, yes - an ipad is fine. the pro for when you need it.

    the pro + ipad makes far more sense than the pro + air. especially if this is mom and dad's money.
  12. eastamherstbias macrumors 6502

    Mar 18, 2012
  13. Macalway macrumors 68030

    Aug 7, 2013
    Yes but not with school. It 'might' ,but it's way to big of a risk if your on a budget.

    Don't be stupid :)

    I use mine a lot but have a laptop as a backup, as I'm not 100% on going solo iPad, and I'm really a perfect candidate for an iPad only mode
  14. rczj macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2013
    I had the same dilemma year ago. I bought iPad 3 as a Air replace. I use it with BT keyboard, Office2 HD + iWork, some pdf software, clouds software, VGA converter etc.
    Mostly I use it for writting (I'am research worker),web browsing, files browsing.
    Office2 HD works very well with clouds (like Dropbox).
    iPad is very good for simple editing work. It is light to carry with, runs whole day without charging, it needs no time to launch (it's ready to action in no time). If you lose it or somebody stole it : no worry, you can remotely erase it (or thief erase it with wrong pin code ;) ) and have iTunes/iCloud backup which make your new iPad the same like previous one, with all your documents, files.And iPad is unbreakable, pretty solid piece of glass and alu ;)
    - You can't have two (or more) documents opened at once,
    - using some Excell-like software is pain ( lack of tab key to skip between cells),
    - forget heavy text formating or tables, because often it doesn't work if you i.e send your file to anybody with computer,
    - the same with footnotes or page numbers etc.,
    - you get no advanced options in .docx/.doc files (like change tracking or documents comparing)
    - file saving is a bit different (i.e Pages makes autosave) - I prefer saving right to Dropbox,
    - fortunatelly, external keyboard lets you to skip by words, select whole words forward and backward, copy-cut-paste, use arrows. BT keyboard is a must.

    Conclusion: for me iPad is fantastic tool if I need to read content "in the field" or launch Keynote presentation, but is a more sketchpad to work. Finally I still polish my doc files on my computer before I send it out. I still keep iMac ;)
    I don't regret at all, today with all my experience I would buy iPad again.
  15. saberahul macrumors 68040

    Nov 6, 2008
    For me: laptop for doing heavy work. iPad for taking handwritten notes using stylus + notability (app store) + voice recording in either notability itself or evernote. Best combo for me. Also, iPad for reading articles and PDF's and buying PDF books so I can carry all on the go.
  16. s2mikey macrumors 68020


    Sep 23, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    I agree with you - but Id venture a guess and say that most people can NOT replace their computer with an iPad for various reasons. Storage, lack of a mouse, extra keyboard purchase required, no file system, always having to use wifi/data for dropbox, etc, etc. Plenty of reasons why it cant be done.

    Plus, lots of people have legacy games and stuff that they simply dont want to give up. The iPad is a media consumption device first and foremost. Its a damned good one too. It can also be quite productive as you've found out. But, it has some limitations that simply cannot be overcome by most users.

    Id say: 20% of the people could replace their PC/laptop completely. The rest of us 80%ers couldnt do it.
  17. Pheebers macrumors newbie

    Oct 7, 2013
    I'm wondering this myself....I have two 10th graders who have slow PCs, and I know I'll have to get them new ones when they go away to college. I'm strongly considering getting them iPads & keyboards for the holidays, and hoping that will carry them through the rest of high school.

    My impression from what I've read is that depending on what you use it for you might be able to use it 95% of the time, but there are still going to be times when a PC is better. I know my kids spend a lot of their time watching school videos on Youtube, writing, and researching papers on the web, so I think it would work for us. YMMV.
  18. s2mikey macrumors 68020


    Sep 23, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    Your particular use case is more towards being able to go just with the iPads but as you said...that pesky 5% of the time when they really need to have a PC is going to hurt. With college too, Id think USB ports would be hugely important although I suppose the cloud or dropbox does work OK.

    Its a tough call for anyone though since you can always find some reason to have Good old Bessie the laptop laying around ;)

    Maybe you just keep the laptops running enough for those minor tasks they are needed for and go with iPads/keyboards as the main devices? That may work for you.
  19. zorinlynx macrumors 603


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    iPads are not full computers. They are great for reading and media consumption, but really lousy at certain things, especially management of your data. When you're in school, you are creating a lot of data. Homework assignments, term papers, notes, etc...

    Having a laptop lets you store this data on a real filesystem, where you can organize it and back it up reliably. iPads just aren't good at this yet.

    If you MUST have only one device, get a Macbook Air. It'll do pretty much anything you'll need to do with a computer in school. Get an iPad later if you want; but make sure you have the computer first.

    Macbook Air + iPhone is another good device combination.

    As someone who has lightened the load by taking only an iPad on vacation trips and such, I've run into situations where I become frustrated with the device's limitations. Don't sell yourself short by trying to survive with an iOS device as your ONLY device.
  20. hallidc macrumors 6502


    Sep 26, 2013
    I'm a full time student currently and I use my iPad quite frequently for school related assignments etc. However, owning a MacBook as well I find that the laptop is more convenient in my opinion. Like mentioned above you can store your files straight on your laptop where as its a different story with an iPad. After using my iPad for a couple weeks to take notes I decided I definitely needed a laptop due to its functionalities, so I bought my air.

    Although I use my laptop most of the time, I'm also running iWork, therefore I can open my documents on my iPad through iCloud which I find is very convenient. I still use my iPad on the occasional day at school but rarely do so now.

    In my opinion the iPad cannot replace a laptop, the laptop has plenty more functions then the iPad does. Really it varies on what your going to use it with.
  21. pikachu2k7 macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2012
    North Carolina
    With no physical keyboard, it will be tedious and futile for you to type of essays and other college documents.
  22. s2mikey macrumors 68020


    Sep 23, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    True but the OP did mention that they were going to get a keyboard with it(Blue tooth).
  23. Pheebers macrumors newbie

    Oct 7, 2013
    That's my main concern is that they have PCs, not Macs, so I'm wondering if that's going to be a big deal, particularly if they decide they want to transfer something from the iPad to the laptop to work on.
  24. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Not really. I have an iMac and MacBook Air, but I mostly have them running Windows with bootcamp, and rarely boot into OS X. I have no problems flipping files between my iPad/iPhone and my "Windowed" Macs. :p iCloud for Windows will even sync iOS Safari bookmarks with Internet Explorer, and I think Firefox. You can also set up PhotoStream on Windows. Dropbox works great at transferring files between iOS and Windows, though I also use an app called File Browser, which lets you transfer files to and from iOS devices over a wifi network. The only weak point is that iTunes for Windows is clunky and a pain to deal with -- very slow to start up, and not very stable with wifi sync and downloading stuff. However, since iOS devices are now pretty much PC-independent, you'll need to use iTunes only rarely. There are of course a few other stuff that are better integrated on OS X, but nothing that is a deal-stopper, IMO.
  25. sarakn, Oct 7, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013

    sarakn macrumors 6502a


    Feb 8, 2013

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