Can the rMB effectively replace an iPad for mobile users?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by johngwheeler, Apr 15, 2015.

  1. johngwheeler macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I know some people are claiming (incorrectly) you can do the same things on an iPad that you can on the rMB, but what about the other way round?

    I have an iPad 2 that is really showing its age with iOS 8.3 (it's very sluggish), and was thinking of either getting a new iPad Air or looking at the rMB.

    I tend to use my iPad nearly all of the time with a Logitech keyboard, which I've found really makes the device much more useful for any kind of text input - I've never been efficient with the on-screen keyboard, and the loss of screen real-estate that it involves.

    The *important* exception to this usage is when I travel or am more mobile, where having a keyboard-less device is often more convenient - e.g.use on airline tray tables when eating, using the device while standing, reading on the bus etc.

    I have a rMBP 15, so this would be a secondary device capable of doing some productivity work (MS Word / Pages, Evernote, reading iBooks & PDFs, e-mail, browsing etc.).

    Can you see the rMB effectively replacing, and improving on, an iPad for most of the above, or would the clamshell laptop form factor be too restrictive?

    If the rMP had a detachable keyboard (containing an Intel / Mac OS X computer) with a simple tablet in the screen (iOS), it would be perfect, but I don't think the technology is ready for super lightweight hybrid or 2-in-1 devices yet.

    Thoughts?

    TIA
     
  2. TheBuffather macrumors 6502

    TheBuffather

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    #2
    I use an iPad mainly for reading books or PDFs in iBooks, browsing and reading stories in Flipboard, and occasionally looking at Facebook or Twitter. I hate to read on a notebook-style device. So, the answer for me would be that the MacBook Retina could never replace an iPad. Just like an iPad could never replace a phone (or vise versa, at this point for me).

    I think that it certainly could for some people out there. I guess what I'm saying is that the use cases between an iPad and a notebook are so different for me. I'd hate to do work on an iPad, even with a keyboard. I think iOS apps for productivity are actually quite good, but the form factor of a notebook and of course OS X are just leaps and bounds above the productivity iOS and tablet devices can provide me. I think you could certainly make the jump.
     
  3. jonfarr macrumors 6502a

    jonfarr

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    #3
    for me, no. They (macbook and iPads) serve very different purposes. My iPads are media machines. I use them as 2nd (and 3rd) screens with sling box, MLB.tv, other apps that stream live content like sports and etc and movies and music. I will use them occasionally for web browsing but I tend to like to do that more on a computer with a track pad as I just like the experience better. I usually will browse forums and websites opening multiple tabs and like to jump back and forth and having the keyboard and track pad just suits my needs better than switching tabs on the iPad.
     
  4. junkw macrumors regular

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    #4
    you may consider the duo ipad Air + TextBlade keyboard ( waytools.com )
     
  5. johngwheeler thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Wow, that's a seriously space-age design! Have you used one? What is the keyboard typing experience like compared to a regular portable keyboard (e.g. Logitech, Apple bluetooth etc.)?
     
  6. Anand953 macrumors regular

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    #6
    No.. Both have their own space in terms of utility.

    The way iPad Air is a better portable replacement to the old gen iPad and iPad 2, similarly rMB needs to be compared alongside MacBook Air
     
  7. AdonisSMU macrumors 603

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    #7
    Agreed. I also almost never watch videos on my mac. I use my iPad for that as well.
     
  8. PDFierro macrumors 68040

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    #8
    I think it can. I do think the iPad still has its place, but I've been contemplating whether to sell my iPad or not. If Apple doesn't step up its game with the Mini again, I might be out.

    They are different form factors, sure, but the rMB gets rid of a lot of the disadvantages that once made people use a tablet over a laptop. Even from the teardown that iFixit did, we can see that Apple built the internal configuration more like a high-powered iPad than a laptop.

    I actually prefer to use my Mac for a lot of the things you would normally do on an iPad. But I do read a lot of PDF documents, so the iPad comes in handy for that.

    ----------

    Ha, really? I pretty much always watch movies on my Mac, except for situations where the iPad is clearly better...like in bed at night. I just usually have the movies on my Mac hard drive and not on my iPad.
     
  9. junkw macrumors regular

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    #9
    Pre-ordered one, I plan to replace my Apple bluetooth with it for desktop use. :cool:
     
  10. johngwheeler thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Maybe I need to rethink my question....

    Thanks for posting your thoughts on my "rMB vs iPad" question.

    I do like the iPad form factor, and it's a lot cheaper than the rMB. Perhaps my question should be "what tasks can't I do effectively on a iPad"?

    A key requirement would be the ability to edit MS Word & PowerPoint documents. No need to compose major documents, but just have the ability to make updates and type comfortably.

    The iPad external keyboards that are the same size as the iPad tend to be a bit small for comfortable typing, but are OK for a short time. This is probably the single most important factor that would push me towards the rMB. Yes, I could use a larger bluetooth keyboard (I've tried using the Apple keyboard with the iPad), but it just becomes unwieldy trying to use two separate devices, and very inconvenient when mobile.

    Similarly to other posters, reading books or PDFs feels more natural on an iPad which you can hold like a book. On the other hand, I do sometimes find the 9.7" iPad screen just a little bit small for technical books that contain diagrams.

    Maybe the mythical iPad Pro 12" is what I need! Anyone have any idea whether this is likely to every become a reality? I would think that the introduction of the rMBP 12 makes this less likely than it was before the launch.
     
  11. PDFierro macrumors 68040

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    #11
    You have to consider how small the rMB actually is. I sure as hell wouldn't want a touch screen on a Mac.

    As for what the iPad can't do...for me it's a whole bunch of things. I need a desktop OS. I like to have different windows open at the same time. Also, I use a lot of writing apps that are exclusive to OS X. No way could I get by with just an iPad.

    I'm also a bit confused if you're asking whether the iPad can be your only computer? I think the main debate going on with iPads in relation to the rMB is if the smaller form factor of the rMB enables people to go completely without an iPad for mobile usage.

    For me, the rMB will be my main computer. I currently have a 13" rMBP, but I'll be selling that. I don't have an iMac or anything.
     
  12. johngwheeler thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Agree that I wouldn't want a touch-screen mac - just not an optimal way to interact with a clamshell laptop - a hybrid like the MS Surface is a different matter.

    I'm not after a single device; I already have a rMBP 15 and various desktop machines. I upgraded my MBA 13 to the rMBP 15 because I needed a bit more power for a largely desktop machine (home & office). However, I do find the size & weight of the rMBP 15 to be a bit restrictive when travelling or mobile.

    What I am after is a dual-purpose mobile device that allows me to do real work (mostly writing, browsing etc but some development is a possibility), and also consume media without too much weight.

    This is exactly my question! My gut feeling is that the rMB (or some computer with a full OS) is a more flexible option than an iPad running iOS.

    The downside is that I would lose the flexibility of the screen-only iPad for mobile use.

    I think the solution probably lies in getting a smaller tablet or phablet for the mobile use case (e.g. standing on a bus), and a super-light ultrabook such as the rMB when out and about.

    I don't think the iPad or iOS is really there for productivity - particularly for anything related to software development. If the iPad Pro or some future hybrid were to run Mac OS, then this would completely change the equation. I can't see Mac OS X on an iPad though because it would overlap the rMB too much.

    In this respect, I think Microsoft and other vendors have done quite well with the Surface and similar 2-in-1s. I don't particularly care for Windows, but their move to unify Windows 10 to run on all devices (with some adaptive device recognition) makes sense to me.

    Personally, I think I'm going to wait until the second half of this year to see whether Intel Skylake Core-M offers any improvement, and whether an iPad Pro is released. Until then, I'll just lug my rMBP 15 around!
     
  13. jonfarr macrumors 6502a

    jonfarr

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    #13
    I honestly think the real question should be do you like/need a track pad? That should answer your question. One has one (any macbook/laptop) the other (iPad) is not even compatible with one. If the iPad was compatible with a trackpad/mouse, yes it could replace everything for me.
     
  14. garyleecn macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    largely depends on two things

    1. does your iPad has LTE (which makes a huge difference)
    2. do you do a lot of typing?
     
  15. johngwheeler thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Well, the choice of trackpad vs touch screen is certainly an important and personal one, but I think the major differences (to me at least!) are:

    1) How much typing you do - in my case I would use an external keyboard case with an iPad for pretty much *any* productivity tasks. On my iPad, I can't type accurately or fast on the screen, you lose half of the screen real-estate and the screen gets really dirty!

    Even with a Logitech keyboard on my iPad 2, I find it a bit small for really fast & accurate typing.

    So +1 to the rMP for having a decent full-sized keyboard

    2) Operating System & Software

    I would view iOS *in general* as being more limited in it's capabilities and professional software than Mac OS X. There are obviously lots more apps for iOS, many of which are useful, but there's an awful lot of rubbish as well. My experience of iOS versions of software that exist on both platforms is that they are a bit "cut-down" in features. There is plenty of business or productivity software that just isn't available on iOS (although IBM and Apple are trying to change this). In particular, software development software often requires a full OS with more resources than available on an iPad

    +1 to rMB if your favourite software only runs on Mac OS X (or Windows via a VM / Bootcamp)

    +1 to iPad for its vast selection of mobile apps.

    3) Form Factor

    This is probably the main consideration all else being equal. The rMP is a clamshell laptop, and you can't change this. This makes it somewhat limited to using it on a suitable surface with enough space, be it a table or your lap. It's not really going to work if you're standing up, or have no space for the keyboard (airline table, in a car etc.)

    +1 to the iPad for it's small size and footprint (and the possibility of using a detachable keyboard). [I'm not considering weight because an iPad + keyboard is about the same as the rMB ]

    There is also the consideration of overall power and capacity of course. I suspect that a 2GB iPad, even with 128GB storage is going to reach the limits of memory, CPU and storage more rapidly than the rMB, although for some applications the difference may only be minor.

    The elephant in the room is price. In my region, the base rMB is twice the price of a 64GB iPad Air 2 with LTE.

    I'm not sure if I'm trying to talk myself into getting an rMB or not! C'mon Apple, make a hybrid already!

    ----------

    I agree with point (2). The first item is less relevant if you have a good data plan on your phone and can tether, but undoubtedly less convenient that having it built in to the iPad (for which one pays extra, and requires a separate data plan).
     
  16. bibyfok macrumors 6502

    bibyfok

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    #16
    I have the same "problem" as you as I have an iPad Air LTE + MBr 12 + iPhone 6 Plus.
    In my opinion, the duo MBr 12 + iPhone 6 Plus is enough as multitasking is so much important to me. (And don't tell me that iPad is multitasking)
    I will miss LTE but for the few time I will need it I will share my iPhone data and that's will be enough.
     
  17. iSheep5S macrumors 6502a

    iSheep5S

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    #17
    Could i do without my Mac? NO!

    Could i do without my iPad? Maybe but i'd miss it. iOS games, big screen IG and vine. iOS games being the biggest thing. Also Toilet (we all do that) use and pre sleep social networking/portable music player vis Spotify... etc etc.

    OSX vs iOS is not a one vs the other they go together.

    FWIW i'm on holiday with my 13" MacBook and am loving it. My iPad is here but i'm hardly using it. A laptop on your knees etc is a laptop on your knees 12 or 13". A tablet is more portable IMO. My 15'6" windows machine wouldn't be any use for portability at all. 13" Mac? 12" Mac? maybe not too different.

    I can fit my iPad Mini in my inside jacket pocket. :)
     
  18. PDFierro macrumors 68040

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    #18
    Oh hell no. Hybrids or horrible. I'd want that even less than a touch screen on a Mac.

    ----------

    That's exactly what the rMB is, IMO. At least for me. You'll have to weigh the pros and cons yourself.
     
  19. newellj macrumors 601

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    #19
    Agree. I really can't see getting rid of the iPad, personally. They're really complementary, not so much duplicative, for me.
     
  20. johngwheeler thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Yes, this is the conclusion that I'm coming to. Apple is pretty clever in positioning their products so that they don't overlap in features enough to allow one product to completely replace another. The intention is for you to buy everything they make from iPod Shuffle to 12-core Mac Pro!

    However, if I had to make a decision of rMB vs iPad as my only mobile device, it would be the rMB. It's just more useful for me to have a fully functional Mac OS X computer, albeit not terribly powerful, than an iOS device which isn't really 100% compatible with the software I want to use.

    I would be prepared to sacrifice the greater mobility of the iPad for the features of a super-light laptop that is nearly as powerful as last year's ultrabooks.

    The only problem is the price! The base model is A$1800 here in Australia, and the 1.2GHz/512GB is A$2200. I paid A$2500 for a refurb 2.5GHz/512GB rMBP 15 last year - only $300 more for a much more powerful computer (which is also quite a bit heavier, I should add!).

    At the moment the rMB is an object of desire, but not really a terribly sensible option unless you absolutely have to have the lightest Mac OS X laptop available. But it is a vision of the future of laptops, and possibly the first step in an Apple tablet/laptop convergence of a sort.
     
  21. PDFierro macrumors 68040

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    #21
    I'm on the verge of getting rid of my iPad. I do agree that it is more complementary than duplicative, though.
     
  22. jazz1 macrumors 65816

    jazz1

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    #22
    I just wish the rMB had built-in LTE. I know I can tether. I'm taking delivery today of the rMB, I guess I'll see how tethering works on AT&T. But I'd rather pay AT&T $10.00 more a month over the tethering thing.

    Is anyone using tethering? Can you still take phone calls?
     
  23. PDFierro macrumors 68040

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    #23
    Wouldn't it just be easier to use the iPhone hotspot feature?
     
  24. bibyfok macrumors 6502

    bibyfok

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    #24
    That's what he is talking
     
  25. legioxi macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Ditto. My iPad is my favorite reading device. iBooks and GoodReader are my top apps on it. I don't really use it for anything else so I finally started buying lower end models (64GB, no cellular last time).

    ----------

    I use my iPhone hotspot all the time. I'd still love a built in LTE modem in my laptop. Mostly so I don't have to take out my cell phone to activate the hotspot (the OS X 10.10 / iOS 8 hotspot activator stuff doesn't work for me on any of my laptops).
     

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