All iPads How productive is your iPad for school usage?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by vmflapem, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. vmflapem macrumors 6502

    Dec 27, 2013
    I'm debating whether i should keep my surface pro 3 or sell it to buy the new ipad.
    I do most of my stuff on my Macbook Pro, and if I get the new ipad, I'll only be using it for school (reading pdf books, drawing diagrams, etc.)
    Obviously, ipad is nowhere close to being as good as the surface pro 3 for drawing diagrams, but low battery life on SP3 is a huge con for me.

    Do you think ipads are productive for school usage? Also, is it still possible to draw decent diagrams on ipads using stylus (i.e. does it support palm rejection, etc.)?
  2. CEmajr macrumors 601

    Dec 18, 2012
    Charlotte, NC
    I can't speak on the drawing but as far as PDFs go my iPad mini Retina works great for textbooks. I have eBooks on it for all of my classes. Yes the battery life is also great as I only have to charge it maybe once every other day.
  3. iPadDad macrumors 6502


    Sep 8, 2014
    I would image the simple operating system, fast functionality and App Store alone would make the iPad far superior to any tablet on the market.
  4. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Jun 27, 2009
    Great for textbooks, useless for anything else
  5. TechGod macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2014
    New Zealand
    Not really...
  6. Mitman macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2012
    I currently use an iPad Air to take notes and read books for classes. It's a great alternative to lugging around 10-500 page books everyday to class plus all your notes and notebooks and it's amazing to have everything at your fingertips wherever you go.

    Unlike the SP3, the iPad wasn't really designed for use with a stylus and external keyboard but once you get used to it, it works great. So it won't be as sensitive or work as well. I was initially skeptical when I bought a stylus and keyboard about this set-up, but its really worked out well so far.
  7. Totally macrumors 6502a


    Feb 22, 2012
    West Coast = Best Coast
    As a science major, I can say that the only thing that an iPad is useful for me is saving my problem sets to it in iBooks or opening PDF text book versions. And I rarely do the latter because I hate ebooks. It's much nicer to turn the pages.

    You can't use matlab or mathematica or anything on iPad. All you can really do is calculate basic stuff or read textbooks. CAviat: by basic stuff, I mean that you can't do complex integrals and other good things like differential equations very easily. Yes, Wolfram Alpha has an app - No, it can't solve everything.
  8. Brittany246 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2013
    Before I graduated college I used my iPad air to read and annotate scientific articles. I used it during one of my classes to take hand written notes where there were a lot of diagrams involved. I'm sure it would be perfect for reading textbooks too. The battery life is really good, and you'll get at least 10 hours of usage. A lot of note taking apps have an area at the bottom where you rest your palm when you're writing, but it's not build into the iPad. The only note taking app I used was notability, and it was fine for drawing diagrams.
  9. charlituna macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    I did my whole senior year of uni with an iPad. Had no issue taking notes, writing papers etc.
  10. macmee Suspended


    Dec 13, 2008
    dear god why. As a fellow SP3 and iPad 3 owner the SP3 is much more useful for school:

    1. onenote and the stylus for note taking
    2. better and faster multitasking
    3. full office
    4. keyboard cover
    5. bigger screen is nicer for reading textbooks on

    I used my iPad 3 for my entire first and 2nd year of my degree, and my SP3 for my 3rd year so far, and without a doubt I've had a better experience with the SP3 and OneNote.
  11. vigilant macrumors 6502


    Aug 7, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    It's not for school usage but it is for work so I thought this would be relevant.

    I have an Apple only household. I use my iPad Air for work when I don't want to carry my Macbook Pro. This is for things like traveling and I'll be walking around a lot and don't want to be tethered to the laptop.

    The iPad Air is fantastic for work on the go. I have hammered out many documents on the side of a road using the on screen keyboard on my iPad Air because things just need to get done. I've been stranded in New York City last year with only my iPad Air because it was a personal trip and blizzards kept me from leaving.

    It's very possible to do it.

    Make sure the tools you need are on it though or else it doesn't matter.

    For work I keep these apps on my iPad for travel and can get a lot done:
    - Omnigraffel
    - OmniPlan
    - Google Docs
    - Google Sheets
    - Numbers
    - Pages
    - Keynote
    - Microsoft Word
    - Microsoft Excel

    I did a presentation last year done completely in Keynote on my iPad using my iPhone as a remote. It all went great.

    I wouldn't plan on doing coding (not yet at least) from an iPad but you can be very very productive.
  12. negroswamy macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2014
    charge it every 2 days?!?!? sounds like someone needs to hit the books! just kidding.

    but the ipad (waiting to switch to ipad mini) is basically the only tool i use for school. i can either use the computers at school to do miscellaneous stuff (if i need to save an audio/video lecture to dropbox, etc...) OR i just do that stuff whenever i get back to my laptop.

    but, my ipad 3 currently has games, productivity apps, but also recorded audio lectures (about 200 hours), recorded video lectures (~200 hours), like 200+ pdf textbooks (most would be over 1000 pgs), and like every set of lecture notes with my own notes handwritten & drawn diagrams over them (annotation via goodnotes) from the last 2 years or so. my notes/textbooks are also bookmarked and searchable.

    i can also quickly open wiki/google when i need to quickly & quietly clarify something during lecture/rounds, i can use the ipad to take pics/video of diagrams written on the board that may be difficult to represent in the notes (for example: a lot of teachers make last minute changes to their slides and people dont get a copy of the updated while others are somehow trying to frantically represent the new info into their notes, i can easily paste a pic INTO that exact spot of my notes where it should have been anyways)

    its even eliminated needing to pack the backpack between school days & saved carrying around tens of pounds of notes, books, spiral notebooks, etc...

    i like the fact that i walk around with that accumulation of knowledge of stuff i already combed thru and have experience with (instead of trying to find a specific thing of info on the internet that i have to re-evaluate & re-process).

    hope that makes sense! btw, i dont use a keyboard w my ipad at all...just a cheap ebay microfiber stylus & i handwrite/draw everything.
  13. macmee Suspended


    Dec 13, 2008
    Limited coding is possible. I've SSH'd into a remote machine and edited files using a modified version of emacs to work nicely the touch keyboard, but it's not glamorous. Unfortunately switching apps and coming back would disconnect you from the session. Such a shame :(
  14. markusbeutel macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2014
    Except the SP3 is a tablet/laptop hybrid. It runs circles around an iPad from a productivity standpoint as it runs full windows, (way more variety than just an App Store, both in quantity and quality), and its specs are equal to those of the MacBook Air. Also, you can't really beat the 3:2 aspect ratio on a 12' screen as you're getting way more information on the screen compared to the iPad resolutions.

    For the OP, if you already have a MacBook Pro, an SP3 probably is a bit of overkill, unless you really want to be able to annotate documents, use OneNote a lot, and/or really like having a touch-screen. At the same time, I'd say this is only the case is you have the i5 or i7 SP3 - if it's a choice between a new iPad and, say, the comparably priced i3 SP3, I'd go with the SP3.

    If battery life is an issue, get the power cover - while it doesn't completely cover the screen of the SP3 (being made for the SP2 and earlier models), it'll give you +60-70% battery life. Just make sure you get a good carrying case or folio case and you're good to go.
  15. vigilant macrumors 6502


    Aug 7, 2007
    Dallas, TX

    All depends on the use case.

    In the professional world the only people I've seen with any version of SP are those given to them by Microsoft as part of a developer spiff. Even then they still use a thinkpad.

    The SP3 does hit a certain spot though that is appealing. For me personally though it's more expensive then a similarly speed MacBook Air, and less usable in a lap when the cover is attached.

    They Surface series would be very very interesting with windows 10 though.


    This is actually very very true but it's an edge cause scenario.

    I've actually logged into my workstation from NYC (Workstation in Dallas) and done reviews of work from developers in Xamarin Studio and Xcode through Parallels Access and it works really well. Especially with a keyboard.

    Coding though needs some work from an iPad though.

    Ssh to a remote box isn't fully useful for most people.

    Even for my needs Parallels Access goes a very very far way. But I don't know if I'd recommend it for people.
  16. kevroc macrumors 6502

    Oct 15, 2011
  17. vigilant macrumors 6502


    Aug 7, 2007
    Dallas, TX

    See all of this is reasonable but here is one thing though.


    The Microsoft productivity interfaces always feels like trying to eat soup knives for hands.

    This is a perception deal though.

    A few weeks ago one of my .net developers was showing off Visual Studio to some of my Ruby guys and the first response I heard from the ruby guys was "so is there an area to type in code?"

    The whole ribbon UI for many people (I've seen entire rooms filled with people who hate it in office, in Seattle at the Microsoft campus who hate it) is too busy.

    The SP3 is really interesting hardware but I wouldn't buy one for OneNote alone. If your sole reason for a device is note taking anything with Evernote would work more consistently across more devices.

    There's tons of keyboards for any tablet. The sp3 runs like an ultra book with a removable keyboard. That isn't a bad thing but why on earth get something that you can't use flexibly on your lap instead of ultrabook.
  18. markusbeutel macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2014
    That's because the tablet/laptop hybrid is a new form factor that's just starting to take off. Once more people figure out that these 'tablets' aren't just merely iPad knockoffs, and that they warrant the higher price point, you'll see less Thinkpads and traditional laptops.

    As for price, the SP3's are a bit more expensive once you factor in the keyboards - but Microsoft has way better student discounts than Apple last I checked - I got $200 off the SP3 i7 version, and with the keyboard, it cost me $1550 - the exact same price as the same spec'd model of the MacBook Air. Conversely, the last Apple product I purchased, was an $800 Mac Mini - I got a $20 student discount on it :p
  19. vigilant macrumors 6502


    Aug 7, 2007
    Dallas, TX

    This is still all many variables though. The Mac Mini has never had good student discounts. My student discount on a Powerboom (yes I'm dating myself) i college was a few hundred bucks,

    I agree that tablet style devices are the future. From a day to day usage viewpoint I can honestly say the new line of Nexus devices and current iPads do a better job. The Samsung Note Pro has been very interesting as well.

    Microsoft has seemed to have abandoned the arm based said of the market.

    Really really good solutions for vdi ran by Dell and Microsoft that will let people running thin clients do most complex needs directly from thei network.

    The idea of an iPad
  20. FatPuppy macrumors 68000


    Jul 14, 2012
    I have a retina mini and took it to school once to use it to take notes and stuff but everyone was looking at me like I was a spoiled rich kid showing of with his ipad.:(
  21. Barhen macrumors member

    Mar 20, 2013
    haha no, thats just you being insecure.
  22. macmee Suspended


    Dec 13, 2008
    It would make no sense for me to compare the SP3 to my macbook, because I bought the SP3 to replace my iPad, and I use my SP3 in a way which completely replaces my ipad. It has the specs of a laptop but it's still a tablet :p
  23. epi117 macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2010
    I dont use for school, but use it for work, mainly as a document vault and my go to device for powerpoint presentations. I rarely ever use a laptop.
  24. Traverse macrumors 604


    Mar 11, 2013
    I take my iPad and a logitec ultra thin keyboard to class and use Word and OneNote to take notes in class. I use PDF Expert to markup PDFs for my thesis.
  25. zakarhino macrumors demi-god


    Sep 13, 2014
    Bay Area, CA.
    I don't think you're a student then with an iPad...

    Using a note taking package with cropped screenshots/equations from a math textbook is awesome. It's hard to write out equations on any device (yes, even the Surface Pro 3 because I've tried that -- it doesn't work how I want it to. Hard to write equations and hard to draw things anyhow). It's a lot easier to have a nice formatted equation from a book and then maybe draw in the occasional graph or sketch from an iPad stylus if needed.

    That's the case for math anyway. Plus there's no need to take that damned graphing calculator anywhere since I can use the official TI 84 app... God is that powerful and simply amazing to use. I can plug in data points and get a colored, fully fledged graph from the app... Looks like something straight from Mathematica.

    Again, math/engineering example. I imagine for English it's just as good with a keyboard case. I've exclusively used the onscreen keyboard so far but I am 90% sure that Logitech case is :cool:

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