How useful is iPad 2 to college student?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by kulimer, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. kulimer macrumors 6502

    Aug 30, 2011
    How useful is an iPad to college student? I like the iPad, but do have a budget constraint.

    I just got the 2011 MacBook Air, which is also very light and portable. But I am not overlooking the iPad, what are your thoughts?

    I am also considering the iPhone 4S, and noise cancelling Bose headphone($299). If I get them all, it would be too much, it's not even Christmas or my bday.
  2. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    it can be very useful. most of my posts in this forum are on the topic, and i have started a few threads on it. click on my profile and look under statistics for more. a search of the forums will uncover a lot of great discussions.
  3. cdcastillo macrumors 6502a


    Dec 22, 2007
    The cesspit of civilization

    If you do really have a budget constraint, it doesn't show. But more to the point, if you already have a macbook air, I would think that the advantages the iPad would bring are somewhat redundant.

    But that is just my opinion, and you might have a very different set of priorities than most of us.
  4. jaikob macrumors 6502


    Jul 1, 2008
    Freeland, MI
    I use my iPad as a gradebook (for classes that don't record online grades), and I bring my apple bluetooth keyboard and take notes on the iPad, and sync to iCloud. I also do presentations on my iMac at home, and if I want to make a last minute change I pull it from iCloud on my iPad, edit it, and it syncs back up.

    For the notes I don't take on the iPad I use a scanner and scan them to the iPad (sync via iTunes).

    It's also very nice to play Angry Birds when you get done with a quiz or test early.

    Being a CS major I can also connect to my schools server via SSH to do my C++ assignments from my iPad.

    As you can see I use my iPad a lot for school, and it is a real benefit for me. I find it too cumbersome to bring a macbook, even an air, my iPad 2 is perfect size.

    It's also nice when you can find your textbooks in digital format, and transfer them to your iPad.
  5. Bluisnblklungs macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2008
    Its been really useful to me so far, I've only had it since the start of this semester. One reason is portablilty it beats taking my 15" MBP with me to class. Another thing is this semester a lot of classes didn't have books but instead they have PDF and PowerPoints. Its truly amazing to have accesses to all of them and can have them with me all the time. I also find its help me study more, just being able to pick it up and scroll though a PowerPoint/PDF to me has more appeal then sitting at my computer.

    Do know that while the iPad when you buy is great you will need to spend some money to make truly useful to a student. Pages, Keynote, Numbers, PDF reader etc. When I first bought it I was hoping that it would take over using a pen and paper but that hasn't happened. While I can type pretty fast on it doesn't come close to how fast I can type on my MBP. There are many apps that will allow to take notes as you would on pen and paper but the technology on the side of the stylus is not there. I find them too slow to keep up with notes and write too big.
  6. KandyKane macrumors 6502

    Mar 23, 2009
    I use mine to read my text books. Not that I consult them as much as I thought I would (B.Sc.) but it's handy.
    Also our lecturers upload slides before a lecture. I also have a smart pen, and sometimes it's easier copying off the iPad than the large screen

    I don't take notes on it though. Tried it with Physics for a while but I kept deleting my drawings when I went into typed text or vice versa!!

    I also have a 11" MBA, which I almost never take to Uni and an iPhone 4S.
    I've seen a lot of students with the same or similar combo, but my University did give 'free' iPads to a whole faculty.
  7. 99problems macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2011
    As a college student, if you just got a new MBA you really don't need an iPad 2. It really isn't justifiable at all.

    If you want one as a "toy" then just admit it to yourself and get one. But it's more likely to make things harder on you for school work than it will make things easier
  8. Tiger8 macrumors 68020

    May 23, 2011

    Ok I've been out of college for a few years now, and I'm gonna feel ancient right now, but here it goes...

    it is not. In fact, I remember reading a whole editorial saying that parent should say NO to the iPad in college. You already have a kickass laptop on which you can take notes (most of them), look at references, read e-books, etc.. So really, you don't **need** an iPad.

    In fact, the iPad will probably end up distracting you, the iPad has way too many apps for you to do your school work, or even read a nice book or novel (And that's why, for example, Kindle is the #1 reader, it is very simple and no distractions).

    Last but not least, one of the most valuable lessons I learned in college is how to manage my money and pace myself. When I was in college there were no iPads, but some of my colleagues went all out and went for expensive laptops and iPods and what not, I didn't. I got my first iPod shortly afterwards, paid for it with my first real paycheck.

    Good luck!
  9. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i have pretty much the opposite opinion. rather than saying it isn't justifiable at all, or saying that you have to have it, i'd say it COULD be really useful. i get the vast majority of my work done with the ipad. a short list of the benefits:

    1. inexpensive. about 1/2 the cost of the mba.
    2. long battery. about twice as much as the mba.
    3. lightweight. even with the bluetooth keyboard (highly recommended) it weighs about the same as the mba and easily fits in a small man bag.
    4. e reading. i pretty much read everything on here, and if a book isn't available electronically, i digitize it (see my other threads).
    5. you can take both handwritten and typed notes. for handwriting, i recommend note taker hd, but there are others out there.
  10. drober30 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 5, 2007
    College students should have a laptop. If you can afford an Apple laptop, even better!

    iPads are not for college. They are for college dorms.
  11. ecschwarz macrumors 65816


    Jun 28, 2010
    I would disagree with this - although I'm a few years out of school myself, I can see the value in an iPad + desktop Mac combo versus most MacBook Pros for those who fall under the geekier category...I do think the Air + iPad combo is a bit unnecessary. There are a number of good note-taking and research apps, and due to the design, the iPad's unitasking interface kills some of the distractions usually associated with traditional laptops (that IM window in the background or a browser window open with Facebook). With Lion, this is a bit alleviated on Macs. Battery life was the killer for me when I was in school...I couldn't get through a few classes with it, especially 3-hour lectures.

    Still, I think with no matter what someone is using, it all comes down to self-discipline. I had a professor express the expectations that people used their laptops in class as a research tool to enhance learning and anyone who was blatantly "socially loafing" would be asked to put it away for the remainder of the week. We never had repeat offenders. Although he didn't really patrol the classroom, the expectation was there, and most people followed it - I suspect it would be harder in a large lecture hall.
  12. kulimer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 30, 2011
    wow, two strong groups of opinions. Anyways, there is the best buy deal for $45 off, and the micro something? store for $50 off. Definitely a steal. More temptations? :D

    I spend a lot time in front of the comp, so I avoid reading on a pdf, if I can read a book. I also like write and highlight my books.
  13. 99problems macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2011
    He's already got the MBA, so the iPad is just more expenses to be able to do what he can already do.

    Taking notes in class? The extreme majority of people will prefer the MBA. A MBA will last an entire day of classes. It's extremely lightweight already.

    The cost (for a college student) just isn't justifiable for class/schoolwork use.

    Entertainment and personal use is another story
  14. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    no. you cannot write by hand with an mba. you cannot read regularly (portrait mode) on an mba. you cannot use it all day without a plug (back to back lectures). And, you cannot easily take it out and study (flashcard programs, reviewing notes, etc.--think the bathroom or laying in bed). the ipad and mba do a lot of the same things, but it is surprising how long i go without even turning on my computer. it is just nicer to do stuff with the ipad. it depends a lot on your field of study and how well you use it, though.

    how can a five hour battery last all day (assuming you stay on campus more than five hours)? yes, there are people huddled around the outlets. i, on the other hand, am lounging around outside, or just sitting anywhere i please. i don't know of any studies on this preference you mention for the mba, but given that you can type with the bluettooth keyboard exactly the same as with the mba, you can read, and you can handwrite, i don't see the benefit of an mba in class. maybe the students you surveyed just don't know how to use it well. i have found this to be the case, and have given presentations to faculty and students on how to incorporate it into their workflows. it isn't for everyone, but it is certainly something with great potential.

    that is a case by case thing. it depends on your budget. for me, i basically have every book, note, receipt, etc. at my fingertips. i have flashcard programs, i have notetaking programs, i have all sorts of things that greatly increase my productivity and learning. i love the mba, but it just isn't very pleasant for reading. to each his own. i don't think you can write it off as a frivolous expense, though.

    i can't tell you how nice it is to read, write in the margins, highlight, and then email that to yourself. basically, you get to do exactly the same thing as you would with a regular book, but you can:
    a) read all of the notes separate from the book (highlighted and annotated parts get exported)
    b) read the book/article anywhere/anytime.
    c) find any word anywhere. how many times does the name "john f. kennedy" come up in my notes and the thousands of books and articles i have digitized? i can tell you in a few seconds. an expert in the field couldn't beat that.

    i just got back from a meeting with a retired professor. we had a discussion about the usage of a term in one of the texts i am reading. i pulled up every instance of the word from the 16th century in a few seconds and we read through the texts together.

    yes, this is possible with the mba, but how likely is it that you will have it charged, on, ready to whip out of your bag, and are you both going to huddle around the screen? probably not. i put my ipad flat on the table and had it all there in seconds.

    the ipad has paid for itself time and time again. the mba has its place and i definitely don't recommend the ipad for everything, but on campus, it's usually all i need.
  15. kulimer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 30, 2011
    I've got 99 problems, ipad ain't one, trust me, if I want to get it, I will. But I am not.

    I am a grad student in the math and science field. I want to get the Bose headphone so bad, so I think I'll take that for now.

    I will get it when they release the 3 ;), they better not pull a talking ipad 2S on me!!!
  16. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Yeah, wouldn't that be a shame if they significantly increased the performance, but as we all know, performance upgrades don't count if other people can't see you have the new one.
  17. nStyle macrumors 65816

    Dec 6, 2009
    Your a grad student and havnt found out Bose is OP?
  18. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    actually, the bose noice canceling headphones (q15) are quite reasonably priced, and they are (in my opinion) the best ones on the market.
  19. 4zuresky macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2011
    I disagree with this quote too. I actually have an iPad AND a macbook aluminum unibody and the macbook is useful for note taking especially if the teacher has powerpoint. As I am about to finish up typing within a few minutes, I see other students struggling to finish writing :D And as for the iPad, its great for viewing pdfs which the laptop isn't exactly great for doing. You can view many different documents on the iPad if you're willing to get apps or take the time to convert it so that you can view your documents like a book. The iPad has been VERY handy in every way and especially with iOS 5, you can message your friends if they also have an iOS device :) The iPad isn't as great for note taking because of the capacitative touch screen, but its doable. It really depends on the use. Good luck!
  20. IllIllIll macrumors 65816

    Oct 2, 2011
    You obviously haven't used a pair of really good noise canceling headphones.

    "Bose...better sound through marketing"
  21. heyloo macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2006
    Useful? Yes. Do you need it? No...IMO...

    Thank God I wasn't in college when the iPad came out :) I use my iPad2 every day and it's absolutely wonderful. I usually take my iPad and the Bluetooth keyboard when I travel just because it's usually capable of taking care of everything I need to do.

    That said, you'll end up wanting to use the iPad2 to read textbooks and take notes on... Doing both on the iPad2 isn't bad, but I'd just find it harder to focus on the material and become overwhelmed with temptations to...well play Angry Birds during class while taking notes, for example ;) One thing that I don't like the idea of reading textbooks from an iPad is, with books, you're able to flip through and scan the materials that you'd need for review or study; however with the's just a lot more cumbersome. Taking notes on the iPad actually can be pretty handy, especially now that most professors give lectures using PowerPoint slides. However, I found writing legibly on the iPad much more difficult, distracting and slower than if I had the good 'old paper and pencil (or typing on the computer for that matter).

    You already have the latest gadgets - MBA, 4S, Bose :) I'm sure it wouldn't hurt you to have the iPad2 but for the purposes of what you inquired, I'd stand by that you wouldn't 'need' it. Besides, iPad3 should be coming out next year... :)

    *P.S. I guess having an iPad can be useful if you give a lot of presentations. But at the same time, I think MBA is small and light enough to handle basically everything that an iPad could :) Cheers!
  22. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Maybe. Give me a schooling then. What do you recommend?

    I've tried Sennheiser, Sony, Bowers and Wilkins, and Audio Technica. None of them even come close to doing as well as Bose with the noise canceling.

    I spent hundreds of dollars on these things. You had better bet I tried everything else I could get my hands on before I bought them :)
  23. vitzr macrumors 68030


    Jul 28, 2011
    Kudos for an excellent post. I concur.

    Especially for school, the MBA in a familiar form factor (laptop) is going to serve you best. You'll use it without having to think.

    The iPad as simple as it may seem, it just different enough to be a bit of a slowdown & distraction at times. I know even for casual use I find mine a bit cumbersome at times.

    While tablets are the popular headline grabbing device presently, they're also a bit of a fad. Let's face it their the newest form factor. They generate tremendous profit for Apple since their cheap to build. Therefore it's only natural they get a lot of attention.

    I've had both the original & iPad 2. As an alternative secondary device it's fun. As a stand alone gadget, even with the excellent Zagg Keyboard / Aluminum Case, it still lacks a file system like a computer. A shortcoming that becomes very obvious once you get serious about using it as such.
  24. IllIllIll macrumors 65816

    Oct 2, 2011
    Well there's your problem. Sony sucks. Audio Technica, Sennheiser, and B&W are just OK.

    Instead of junky active noise cancelling phones, sound isolating in-ear monitors are the way to go. Ultimate Ears, Westone, Shure, Audeo Phonak, Etymotic, JH Audio, and Ultrasone are all better than Bose, that's for sure. Even cheap Grado phones are an order of magnitude better than Bose.
  25. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    the in-ear ones, especially shure, are nice. the sound quality was better. but, i didn't find them to be as good at canceling noise. i wish i could remember the model number, because they were really irritating.

    i prefer not to stick things into my ears in general, but i will give some of those other brands a try when i get a chance.

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