All iPads How useful is iPad for a university student?

vmflapem

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 27, 2013
424
67
I have a MacBook pro, but since it is too heavy to carry to school every day, I'm debating on whether I should buy a MacBook Air or an iPad Air.

I'm only going to be using it for typing notes onto PDF files (and sometimes drawing diagrams too)

If I buy the iPad Air, I'm also gonna buy a keyboard.
Is iPad Air really useful for taking notes purposes?
 

BasicGreatGuy

macrumors G5
Sep 21, 2012
13,021
12,459
In the middle of several books.
It will be useful for that. I plan on doing the same with my new iPad Air, along with using it to read college textbooks. Whether you need a separate keyboard to type effectively is a different matter, and one that is unique for each person.
 
Last edited:

jojoba

macrumors 68000
Dec 9, 2011
1,582
21
I'm a researcher and use my iPad extensively for academic work. I've written about how an iPad can be useful for academic work here

http://macademise.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/ipad-tool-or-toy-2/

I've also written about note taking for academic purposes here:

http://macademise.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/hand-writing-on-the-ipad-note-taking-with-notability/

http://macademise.wordpress.com/201...-the-ipad-ii-hand-writing-to-text-conversion/

Personally, I don't like typing on the stock keyboard. I either use a stylus with one of the programs described in those links, or I use an Apple wireless keyboard with an origami workstation.

You can also look up the threads of a user on this forum called palpatine. He has lots of info on how to use an iPad for university.
 

tanderson11

macrumors member
Jul 21, 2010
35
0
I got my iPad in march and haven't hardly used my Mac Pro for school since then. I do only use it for writing papers and posting things online. As for papers, I type them through google drive and then edit them into word on my laptop. I love the iPad for school, the only reason I haven't sold my MP is because I need itunes.
 

BasicGreatGuy

macrumors G5
Sep 21, 2012
13,021
12,459
In the middle of several books.
I'm a researcher and use my iPad extensively for academic work. I've written about how an iPad can be useful for academic work here

http://macademise.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/ipad-tool-or-toy-2/

I've also written about note taking for academic purposes here:

http://macademise.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/hand-writing-on-the-ipad-note-taking-with-notability/

http://macademise.wordpress.com/201...-the-ipad-ii-hand-writing-to-text-conversion/

Personally, I don't like typing on the stock keyboard. I either use a stylus with one of the programs described in those links, or I use an Apple wireless keyboard with an origami workstation.

You can also look up the threads of a user on this forum called palpatine. He has lots of info on how to use an iPad for university.
Thank you very much for your informative post.
 

The Samurai

macrumors 68020
Dec 29, 2007
2,013
615
Glasgow
Don't expect it to replace your MacBook or desktop machine any time soon. The iPad is handy as an addition in certain university settings i.e. Taking notes in lectures, having your lecture slides in a lecture, using it during group presentations.

You'd still want your Mac to type up reports, preparing keynote slides and lengthy emails.

Don't get me wrong, you CAN do all the above on the iPad but only if you have time on your hands... In which, being a student, you probably don't. Something which you can do in 10 minutes on a computer (desktop or laptop) will take longer on an iPad... Especially if your going between a lot of documents I.e. Journals, referencing etc.
 

Wiesenlooser

macrumors 6502a
Jul 9, 2010
903
1,054
I'm using one or my studying and it's great. It is very portable and you can use a Bluetooth keyboard if you want.

Also creating keynote presentations is awesome. iOS Keynote is better then desktop PowerPoint for example.

It is also the best reading device ( if you don't count kindle that is).

Of course a MacBook Air 11" is almost the same size (though heavier) and it ships with full fledged OS X. However - it's not like it is going to be the total productive device since OS X on the MacBook Air 11 is kind of cramped.

I can only recommend it
 

Mainsail

macrumors 65816
Sep 19, 2010
1,462
1,480
My nephew is at Rice this fall. He brought an ipad and a windows laptop. The laptop crapped out after a month or so. For the remainder of the term, he just used the ipad and campus computers when needed.

Apparently, campus computers are everywhere at Rice, including the basement of his dorm. So, he never had a problem getting on to a computer. Rice is a well funded private school, and maybe other campuses are not so well equipped. Nevertheless, I thought it was surprising that a student could get by this way.

Personnally, I sent my daughter to college this fall with a MacBook Air.
 

Mxbzz

macrumors 6502
Jul 22, 2012
346
137
The ability to multitask (such as taking notes and having a PowerPoint presentation open) made the Macbook Air the obvious choice for me.

With the Air's weight and dimensions, I think it is the ideal computer for students.
 

mcdspncr

macrumors regular
Jul 2, 2011
159
198
I bought my iPad 1 as a first year medical student, and for reading and annotating PDF's, textbooks, and basic academics it lasted me years of daily use. Now I have my iPad Air with the new Zagg Keyboard and it truly is replacing my laptop. For the tasks the OP suggested, I think it is perfectly suited.
 

vmflapem

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 27, 2013
424
67
Thanks everyone.
I've decided to go for an iPad Air! I think it's kinda of a waste if I buy the Macbook Air since I already have a Macbook Pro.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,689
33,575
Boston
Thanks everyone.
I've decided to go for an iPad Air! I think it's kinda of a waste if I buy the Macbook Air since I already have a Macbook Pro.
That makes a lot of sense and the iPad Air will compliment the MBP more then the MBA and MBP would.

Congrats on your new purchase :D
 

MartinAppleGuy

macrumors 68020
Sep 27, 2013
2,244
888
I have a MacBook pro, but since it is too heavy to carry to school every day, I'm debating on whether I should buy a MacBook Air or an iPad Air.

I'm only going to be using it for typing notes onto PDF files (and sometimes drawing diagrams too)

If I buy the iPad Air, I'm also gonna buy a keyboard.
Is iPad Air really useful for taking notes purposes?
More useful than ever not that it has iLife and iWork for free. Works really great.
 

mattkidd

macrumors regular
Hey there!

I'm about to start my final year at University in September and have been using the iPad since the early days! Starting with my iPad 2 and moving onto the iPad Mini and now the Air.

As others have stated do not except the iPad to completely replace the role of a computer.

In my case I study Computer science therefore some of the work I am involved in has no option but to use a computer. In my case either my MacBook Air or Windows 8 machine. This includes tasks such as networking, programming....

However for most of my study work which includes: attending lectures, researching, writing notes, preparing presentations, writing reports the iPad is without a doubt a handy tool.

It's all about finding your own use cases for the iPad and fitting this around your university setup. Personally I recommend downloading some apps and finding those which work best for you.

I currently use:

- Evernote
- iWorks
- Clear+

:)
 

Krazy Bill

macrumors 68030
Dec 21, 2011
2,985
3
Now I have my iPad Air with the new Zagg Keyboard and it truly is replacing my laptop.
I have one of the earlier releases of that keyboard for the Air. Is your SpaceBar key stubborn and finicky like mine? Especially the right side?

I don't think Zagg put enough contacts in that long key and I have to remember to whack the thing hard just so it registers a space.

Thanks everyone.
I've decided to go for an iPad Air! I think it's kinda of a waste if I buy the Macbook Air since I already have a Macbook Pro.
Another perspective: I'd sell the MBP and get an 11" MBA. That little thing will give you the best of both the iPad and a Laptop. And it uses a real OS.
 
Last edited:

Rocketpaul

macrumors regular
Aug 3, 2012
156
2
London
I am thinking of getting the iPad mini Retina, I have access to all my text books as PDF downloadable from a website and I think it could work very well.

Not sure the mini will be large enough to display my text books though hmm. No way it could replace my rMBP but it could replace my entire book collection.
 

RickTaylor

macrumors 6502a
Nov 9, 2013
697
190
I am thinking of getting the iPad mini Retina, I have access to all my text books as PDF downloadable from a website and I think it could work very well.

Not sure the mini will be large enough to display my text books though hmm. No way it could replace my rMBP but it could replace my entire book collection.
I used the mini and now the retina mini for my book collection, which includes textbooks in PDF format. PDFs are not always quite as readable as they would be on a full size iPad would be, and I often resize documents to hide the margins to make up for that (which most PDF readers support). But it's worked wonderfully, and for me the additional portability is well worth the minor inconvenience. As always, YMMV.
 

Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
13,074
5,173
Another perspective: I'd sell the MBP and get an 11" MBA. That little thing will give you the best of both the iPad and a Laptop. And it uses a real OS.
11” MBA is great for portability, but for me that screen would feel too small when working on a paper -- I find I like to be able to see 2-3 paragraphs at once while writing. I know this is an individual thing, and other people wouldn't be bothered by this, just pointing out why iPad + MBP could be a better choice, depending on how you use your computer.
 

Rocketpaul

macrumors regular
Aug 3, 2012
156
2
London
I used the mini and now the retina mini for my book collection, which includes textbooks in PDF format. PDFs are not always quite as readable as they would be on a full size iPad would be, and I often resize documents to hide the margins to make up for that (which most PDF readers support). But it's worked wonderfully, and for me the additional portability is well worth the minor inconvenience. As always, YMMV.
Thanks for your input, how does it cope with large PDFs, I'm talking 200mb PDFs with up to 2000 pages. Nothing would drive me more insane than stuttering while scrolling.
 

Krazy Bill

macrumors 68030
Dec 21, 2011
2,985
3
11” MBA is great for portability, but for me that screen would feel too small when working on a paper
That's why you get an inexpensive external monitor for that 11" MBA when you're deskbound.

Just pointing out that by the time you start buying pricey accessories like a keyboard for an iPad you can spend more money on that thing than you will on an 11" MBAir. And the Mac will run circles around it as well.
 

Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
13,074
5,173
That's why you get an inexpensive external monitor for that 11" MBA when you're deskbound.

Just pointing out that by the time you start buying pricey accessories like a keyboard for an iPad you can spend more money on that thing than you will on an 11" MBAir. And the Mac will run circles around it as well.
Agree that if you are going to be pairing a keyboard with an iPad, you should seriously consider the 11 inch MBA. For me, the iPad is best when used for reading, surfing the web, and possibly marking up PDFs.

But since OP already has an MBP, it might not make sense to switch that with an MBA + external monitor combo. It all depends on whether they want to do extensive typing while on the go. And as nice and functional as the MBA is, that keyboard doesn't come off. And there's nothing like curling up with an iPad on a sofa or in bed, to savor a good book or an in-depth web article. ;)
 

RickTaylor

macrumors 6502a
Nov 9, 2013
697
190
Thanks for your input, how does it cope with large PDFs, I'm talking 200mb PDFs with up to 2000 pages. Nothing would drive me more insane than stuttering while scrolling.
The PDFs I read tend to be smaller, perhaps 15 to 25 megabytes. After reading your post, I downloaded a 70 megabyte file and it read it fine, scrolling was fast and smooth. If there's a publicly available file you can give me a link to I can take a look at it. Or if you have access to a store with a demo ipad available within reach of wi fi, you can upload a file to drop box or some similar service and try it on the demo model.
 

jav6454

macrumors P6
Nov 14, 2007
16,876
1,532
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
I have a MacBook pro, but since it is too heavy to carry to school every day, I'm debating on whether I should buy a MacBook Air or an iPad Air.

I'm only going to be using it for typing notes onto PDF files (and sometimes drawing diagrams too)

If I buy the iPad Air, I'm also gonna buy a keyboard.
Is iPad Air really useful for taking notes purposes?
It will depend entirely on your professor, class and type of class you take [lecture/lab].
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.