I have an iPad- should I get a MBP or iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ScaryMerry, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. ScaryMerry macrumors member


    Nov 29, 2010
    North Carolina
    I have an iPad that I love for its battery life/portability. I have no problem typing on it- I've actually written several essays on it as my PC laptop is dying. So now I can't decide if my PC's successor is going to be a MBP (after the coming update, mind you) or an iMac.

    Some background info:

    I am a college student that will soon enter the teaching workforce, either here or abroad. I mostly surf the web, check e-mail, etc., but I also do some heavy photo/video editing from time-to-time and need to run Parallels and Windows 7 as well. Oh, and I have been known to do some Java programming and BitTorrenting on occasion. It's also a possibility that I could be working as a school tech-specialist.

    SO, with that in mind, would it be better for me to get an iMac or a MBP? I kind of hated the size of my 15" PC, but with an iPad for portability, I could possibly stomach a 15" MBP. On the other hand, as I use ebooks on my iPad for the vast majority of my textbooks (it's so much cheaper!), I feel like having both an iPad and MBP out in class would be a little pretentious. But on the other hand, as I may very well be teaching abroad in a year or two (and I need whatever I get to last at least three years), the relative portability of a MBP may be a better option.

    And then there's the matter of money. I need to keep my purchase under $1400, though I could potentially spring for a low-end 15" MBP if the update is good. I'm feeling like the iMac would be a better bang for my buck, though the portability of the MBP (for school, work, and travel) keeps making me look its way.

  2. absynth macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2009
    What work would you need to do on the go that you cannot do on the ipad?
    are you talking the casual stuff like emailing, internet, slight word processing or do you intend to use applications not available to the ipad?
    with so many applications making iOS 'light' versions or moving to the cloud i think it'd be crazy to buy a macbook pro when you already have an iPad.

    The laptop is a compromise between portability and productivity. You already choose the optimal for one side of the spectrum (portability), so i dont see why you should opt for a compromise on your main computer.
  3. ScaryMerry thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 29, 2010
    North Carolina
    Well if I got a MBP as my main computer and traveled with it between work/school and home, I would have Eclipse for programming, grade keeping software, Parallels/Windows 7, and video/photo editing software. I'm mostly concerned about working abroad- it's much easier to take a MBP with me rather than an iMac.

    ETA- I'd be working abroad for just a year or two, so I wouldn't be moving a lot of stuff overseas with me.
  4. T-bag Guest

    Jan 20, 2011
    Agreed (to Absynth's post :p ) . You don't get a comfortable feeling working on a laptop for many hours. I was on the fence like you, check my thread here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1083346

    I've ordered the 27" now. My only concern is the screen issues with the newer iMac-models.

    EDIT: If you're in need of those programs abroad you obviously need more than an iPad on the go. MBP or a cheap traveling laptop then.

    You could get the MBP and just use it with external monitor/mouse/keyboard at home, but I guess you've already thought about this.
  5. cheeseblock macrumors member

    May 23, 2010
    SLC, UT
    If I were you, I'd definitely go with the iMac. You only need one portable computer, and that is your iPad. Even if you only go for the 21.5" iMac, it will be so much nicer for everything, especially if you have to work for several hours on it. Plus, the 15" MBP starts at $1800. iMac starts at $1200.

    My only computer right now is my 13" MBP. The only way i can use it is awkwardly hunched over at a desk, or sitting on the couch. And sometimes i really miss being able to sit at a desk with a nice big screen, and separated keyboard & mouse, etc. You will not regret buying it. I'm eventually going to sell my MBP and go the iMac & iPad route
  6. CmdrLaForge macrumors 601


    Feb 26, 2003
    around the world
    If you can get the MBP with an external screen otherwise get the iMac which is way more affordable.
  7. Popeye206 macrumors 68040


    Sep 6, 2007
    I'd stick with the MBP. Great laptop, and you can always get an external screen to dock to. At least with a MBP, you have the option of taking it with you easily.

    Also... if you can wait, new MB's may be on the way very soon. I'd wait and see.
  8. malnar macrumors 6502a


    Aug 20, 2008
    iMac. I also have an iPad and had a Macbook, which got stolen last fall, and replaced it with an iMac and I'm much, much happier. I loved my Macbook but the Ipad handled all of my portable computing needs, so the Macbook became pretty much permanently desk-bound. My uses for a portable sound to be pretty much like yours - light duty uses, basically. The iMac is a much more robust computer than the Macbooks at the same price.
  9. LynnW macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2008
    St. Louis, MO
    Since you already have an iPad and a budget of $1400, go to the Refurbished section of the Apple store and buy an iMac.
  10. newConvert macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2006
    I currently have a 15" mbp and iPad... I do feel that there is a bit too much overlap between the two. I'm definatley thinking of swapping out the mbp for an iMac, as I feel it would suit my needs better. But, I am going to wait until the iMacs get refreshed to make my decision as I'm in no rush at all.
  11. krimsen macrumors member

    Dec 15, 2005
    you'd definitely want to check your use cases. After I got an iPad, I traded my MBP for a baseline iMac, but it does not really fit my needs. Now, whenever I want to use Logic or Eclipse or watch movies that are not in H264, I have to be at my desk.

    While the iMac sure feels fast for me (Been using notebooks exclusively since 2003), I'll be selling the iMac as soon as the MBP refresh is happening.
  12. Andeavor macrumors 6502

    Aug 19, 2010
    I have been told that laptops are more convenient in the teaching workforce and since you aren't all too clear about where you'll be doing that, I would suggest a MBP.
  13. Mirai 11 macrumors 6502

    Mirai 11

    Aug 3, 2005
    I've had an iMac for nearly 5 years, and especially in the last couple of years is that i've grown tiresome of having to sit down at the same desk in the same place to my computer, especially when i may need an app for my iPhone when i'm 5 miles away.
    If i was you, i'd get a macbook, get the lowest model, and whenever you are at home and need to do work, connect it to a bigger monitor that suits you, and enjoy.
  14. Andyjack macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2010
    Durham UK
    I too had the same dilemma. I had a G5 iMac to upgrade. I bought an iPad, an mbp and an external monitor.

    Most of the quick surfy email stuff at home or on the move, I do on iPad (using my phone for portable wifi)... And apps, lots of apps.

    Anything that needs more power (for me, Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator) I can do to a point on the mbp, screen size being the only drawback - great for having ideas, mobile 'real' work etc.

    Anything where I need more real estate, I simply hook it up to a large monitor and there's my desktop. The mbp is more than capable of the work I do, it compares well to the MacPro I use at work.

    It gives me a great mobile solution (my first laptop), without losing the advantage of a desktop when I'm at home working big.

    Dude, i'm in dreamland with this setup!

    I wouldn't have it any other way.
  15. Btrthnezr3 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 5, 2010
    I love my iMac/iPad combo...it's pretty much perfect.

    And right now, I have my iPad up on a picture frame stand (my ghetto dock) and am streaming netflix while working on the iMac....

    LOVE IT!
  16. ScaryMerry thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 29, 2010
    North Carolina
    Hmm, I think I'm going to stick with my original plan of getting a 13" MBP if they get updated with Sandy Bridge in the coming refresh (they're going to have to put something better than C2D in the 13-inchers, given that Intel EoLed the C2Ds). If I'm not satisfied with whatever they change the processor to, I'll either spring for a new SB 15" MBP or one of the Arrondale i5s, which will surely be cheaper after the refresh. As much as the iMac would be a better value for my money, the need for high-powered portability is still a big concern. I feel like my iPad is great for when I visit my parents for the weekend, visit a friend, or go on vacation, but a MBP will be better for work and school (especially if I take another comp sci class before I graduate). If I end up desperately wanting more screen space, I'll look into getting an external monitor.

    Thanks for everyone's input!
  17. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Easiest answer:

    Sell the iPad.

    Get an 11" MacBook Air to replace it.

    Get a 27" iMac for home use.

  18. T-bag Guest

    Jan 20, 2011
  19. tkingart macrumors 6502


    Apr 1, 2010
    West Coast
    iPad + iMac = best combination ever. It's what I have, and I don't use my notebooks anymore, literally. I had thought about getting a 17" mbp this year, but have decided with iPad 2 coming out, I'd rather have that and a new 27" iMac. The screen size of the iMac is so worth it. OS X + big screen = amazing.
  20. TheNakedMan macrumors member

    May 20, 2007
  21. Andyjack macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2010
    Durham UK
    MBA 11" + 27" iMac.

    Yes, very nice setup, but you've just doubled the guy's $1400 budget for him... :eek:
  22. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    I'm similarly torn right now.

    I got an iPad through a trade, in theory for the iPad to be my wife's. A week later, and she has isn't that interested in it any more, so it has become mostly a "house toy", replacement for the coffee table book for example.

    It does mean that around the house, my Linux netbook has gone completely unused. I had been thinking of replacing the netbook with a MacBook Air, but now after playing with the iPad for a week, I can't think of any real reason that it can't be my primary portable.

    So now the money that was going to go for an Air is looking more like it will replace my desktop.

    I'm going to wait until mid-to-late February to see what is announced by then. If an iPad 2 comes out, with native Verizon access (better Verizon signal here,) or preferably 4G on any carrier (I'd have to see what the 4G coverage around here is,) then I might sell the old iPad and buy a new one. If a quad-core Mac Mini comes out, then I'll get that.
  23. T-bag Guest

    Jan 20, 2011
    I would spend all the money on an iMac first - refurb or not. The power you get from it will last longer than what you get from a MBP. Since you already have an iPad you might find yourself having all the things you need. If not you can survive on the iPad until you have enough for a better portable solution (netbook? MBA?). If you need more power on the go - it's a no-brainer. Then just get the best MBP you can afford.
  24. ScaryMerry thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 29, 2010
    North Carolina
    Indeed, I would have gotten a MBA 11" in the first place if could have afforded it. The 27" iMac isn't even in the picture. Under $1400 folks. $1500 tops.

    P.S. I'm not a guy. Check the avatar- Femme = Girl.
  25. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Indeed, I would have gotten a MBA 11" in the first place if could have afforded it. The 27" iMac isn't even in the picture. Under $1400 folks. $1500 tops."

    A 27" iMac may be _very much_ still "in the picture".

    Consider buying an Apple refurb. They come with the same one-year warranty as do new ones, and you can buy AppleCare for them, too.

    The vast majority of folks who buy Apple refurbs report good experiences.

    A good page to check what's available is here:

    Just browsing, it shows a 27" iMac, Core i3, 3.2ghz, 4gb RAM, available today, for $1,439.

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