iPad iPad Air 16GB + MBA for Uni

Discussion in 'iPad' started by vhbelvadi, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. vhbelvadi, Jun 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2014

    vhbelvadi macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2014
    I'm planning on getting an iPad Air for university (not really interested in Touch ID or an even thinner device — at the moment — so I am not keen on waiting till November for an iPad Air 2 &c.) I can break the bank and get myself a 32GB with LTE, or I can get the 16GB LTE version with no trouble.


    Given that I recently picked up a 13" MBA (2014) which was my first Apple device and which I've absolutely enjoyed so far and take with me everywhere, from your experience (or guess), would a 16GB iPad suffice? The main point being I need the LTE since I travel often and not always with a WiFi zone nearby (so I cannot cut down on that) besides I hear the WiFi only version cannot even track movement via GPS.


    In any case, I do not plan to load lots of films/videos, but I will download TED talks a lot. I do plan to have a portfolio of my photography — 2GB maximum — and the rest of my memory for apps, including some magazines I subscribe to (especially NatGeo and The Economist, both of which seem to have a large download footprint), lots of pdf (scientific journals from ArXiv &c.). Most of my music is on my phone and my MBA, so I won't have more than a handful here (mostly symphonies, so they're large files, but not giga-byte-sized). I may steal an occasional hour a week to play a game, but I can live without it. I have lots of documents and like to dabble in code for no sane reason, but that should not take away more than 2-3GB either.

    Apart from that, my usage will mostly revolve around note-taking, reading papers, articles etc. with highlighting, annotation and such. And synchronisation with my other devices.

    So now

    Would the 16GB still be enough, (preferably from experience)? I want to get this sorted out before I bother myself with the Silver v. Space Grey debate. I think I would be left with 6-8GB for apps? How does that sound? This is my first iOS device, my experience has mostly been with Android, so I don't know how much memory is enough around here. And I don't have problems with either platform, just for the record.

    Thank you.
  2. taelan28 macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2014
    Its called a surface 2 and I'm using it now on the subway.

    Cash money investment for students
  3. vhbelvadi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2014
    I cannot begin to state how glad I was when I left Windows 8 behind and moved to Mavericks. (My other computers run Ubuntu.)

    So, Surface 2? No thanks! That, and as much as I like Android devices (and do not plan to switch to an iPhone because I enjoy my Note 3 too much) I think the Android Tablet ecosystem is extremely poor. So iOS is my choice.

    Thanks for the reply.
  4. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012
    You sound like you know your tech. What constitutes enough will vary from person to person. My advice is to buy the most/best you can afford. When I bought my MacBook air 2012 I went for the higher processor and ram, because I had the money at the time. If I had gone with the basic configuration I would be trying to upgrade soon, thus spending more money.
  5. Visa Declined macrumors newbie

    Jun 8, 2014
    I absolutely would not buy a 16GB iPad. I made that mistake on the first model I purchased, I was certain it would be enough storage, I was wrong. I used my first iPad much more than I ever thought I would. In the end, I was constantly deleting games and apps every time I needed to install some cool new thing that came along. My next iPad was a 128GB model, completely overkill, but I didn't ever want to worry about storage space ever again.
  6. vhbelvadi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2014
    Thanks for the reply, @617aircav. What you said sums up my fears. From what I hear, retina-ready apps especially take a lot of space, so I should probably get the 32GB version; but I think 16GB is as far as I am prepared to go unless I find one simply cannot live with 5-6GB dedicated to apps.

    In short, is assuming 5-6GB for, say, 10-15 apps a sound idea? (Regardless of which apps specifically, lets leave the extremes out.)


    128GB? That lack of space must have had some effect on you! (Nice handle, by the way.)

    How was your app usage, though? I can understand how lots of games might have taken your 16GB space, but if games were all, then I have no problem not playing games. My question really is, what would you attribute your lack of storage to: apps, documents or media?
  7. WilliamLondon macrumors 68000


    Dec 8, 2006
    I'm at uni and I've got the MBA/iPad combo, which is a great combo. For me, though, the biggest thing is portability, so I opted for the 11" MBA and then complemented that with a mini, which together are a perfect combo.

    I first started with the 32GB gen 1 mini and I found I was running into storage issues quite a lot, especially with games (which this is perfect for, and necessary as a distraction from studying!<g>), so when I upgraded to the rMini, I opted for the 128GB option, so I'd never have to worry about storage issues. I'm currently running at less than half available free space, which means that even the 64GB wouldn't work for me.

    I've also got an Air, but that stays in the living room - I just don't find it complements the MBA well enough. If you're willing to haul something out that big, why not grab the MBA instead? The mini always is easily thrown in the bag, and so easy to take out too. Have you looked at the mini?

    You can make 16GB work, but if you can swing it, I'd definitely opt for one of the larger storage options, you wouldn't regret the extra space, but you would regret *not* having the space for something. I use Dropbox quite a lot and sync various folders (filled with PDFs of books, scans and journal articles for school) and that takes several GB right off the top. Other great apps include Evernote (a must for uni students), GoodReader (excellent, excellent app! great for reading PDFs and annotations). Lots of threads here with other great suggestions, check them out - lots of great apps that are incredibly useful, and some even lots of fun.

    Regardless which you choose, none are bad decisions, the combo is at least for me an excellent combo for school, they've been essential tools. Hope that helps.
  8. vhbelvadi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2014
    Thanks for the reply, @WilliamLondon.

    I opted for the 13" MBA because I needed the longer batter life (which is the best part) and the SD card slot and, yes, the slightly larger screen, for my photography. I also really like the colour rendering on the MBA in general.

    As I mentioned above (somewhere) I own a Galaxy Note 3, and a 7" Android tablet (the very first one actually, so its age is showing now, three-and-a-half years later.) What I've noticed is that having an almost 6" phone and a 7" tablet is pretty pointless. The rMini is close to 8", but I still ruled it out for this very reason.

    When I travel, I usually leave my laptop at my hotel and haul my dSLR and other gear around, so I'm planning to add the iPad Air to that. As for Uni, my MBA still remains accessible, so I can afford to work by transferring files I need right away and get rid of those I'm done with. Also, I use Google Drive (and generally Google's cloud systems) a lot more than dropbox or iCloud (which was pretty useless until the recent iCloud Drive, in my opinion.) I do use Evernote to sync notes from my Note 3, but clearly a phone is not the most convenient device to use for class notes, which is where the iPad and EN as backup come in; and I looked up GoodReader too: it's great — that's going to be one of my early installations now — so thanks for pointing it out!

    From where I stand, I see this helpful thread leaning towards the 32GB version.
  9. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Another vote for 32 GB. You mentioned several things that tend to be space creeps -- photography, magazines, and PDFs. Apps also tend to multiply when you are not looking, because there's always so many free apps and "free for a week" apps that sound great and you decide to give them a try. So even if you leave off games, they tend to build up over time. Magazines also will increase in size with each new issue unless you diligently delete old issues. PDFs and pictures -- you keep adding just one more until suddenly you realize you are at 90% of your space. And iPads are like other computers in that you don't want to fill up all of your storage, you need to leave a bit of space free for temp files. So 16GB is more like 13.5, after the space taken up by the OS and that bit of free space you want to leave free. I would recommend the 16 GB only to the lightest of users, and you seem to fall more into the "medium" category.
  10. vhbelvadi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2014
    Hard to argue with that, @Night Spring — as gruesome as it may sound, device memory is like carbon monoxide poisoning: you don't realise it until it's taken up all available room and it's too late to do anything about it!

    I think I'll go with the 32GB after all.
  11. brilliantthings macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2011
  12. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
  13. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Those drives are good for some things, but not for others. For instance, one of the things OP mentioned wanting to do is read magazines on the iPad. Those will have to be saved on internal storage, there's no way to save them to external storage. Plus, it's easy to forget to bring the extra gadget, so you could arrive somewhere and find the file you want is on the external drive at home. Since those things cost about $50, for $50 more, you can have all 32 GB on internal storage.
  14. vhbelvadi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2014
    As I stated above, I have a Note 3, which is close to 6", so a tablet that is 10" makes more sense than an 8" one.

    Thanks for your reply, @brilliantthings :)

    (All measures rounded to the nearest integer.)


    That's my biggest problem with external storages. I already carry a couple of 2TB external storage drives for my photography which I could use, but then not all apps are happy with retrieving stuff from them either.
  15. temna macrumors 6502a


    May 5, 2008
    I've always said that when you buy a 16gb iOS device a kitten dies. That said, no one should ever buy a 16gb device because as you use it, your use pattern changes. You buy more apps. You buy music. You buy TV shows. You buy movies (most are easily over 1gb a piece). Trust me, I might even skip the 32 and go directly for the 64, especially if you get the LTE model. Considering the average user won't upgrade the iPad for three years, it is a worthy investment to get as much storage as you can afford.
  16. Rajani Isa macrumors 65816

    Rajani Isa

    Jun 8, 2010
    Rogue Valley, Oregon
    Another thing to consider is eTextbooks - do you think you'd want to use those?

    Those take up room too.
  17. RickTaylor macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2013
    With ios version 7 and 64 bit apps, I'd recommend getting the 32GB model. I was able to get by fine with 16GB on my previous iPad, but quickly went over that with my newer one. And I mostly use it for pdf documents.
  18. vhbelvadi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2014
    @RickTaylor, @Rajani, @temna — thanks for your replies.

    I think the 64-bit is a consideration; especially if a lot of apps are going to take advantage of that, then they're probably going to be huge. And, yes, I may carry an eTextbook or two, but I haven't given it as much thought as I should have.


    I'm extremely happy with the response I got on this forum! I finally went for the 32GB Wifi-only version because I get to use 5GB data for free each month on my phone, so I figured I could always tether it. So far I've found tethering pretty great, seamless. I'll probably write more about this on my website after using my iPad for a couple of weeks.

    Thanks to everyone who replied; it all helped immensely.

    [P.S. For what it's worth, I went with the silver/white because I felt it's a lot better to read with.]
  19. Ezhik macrumors regular


    Apr 28, 2011
    Cupertino (No, really)
    One problem with the current generation of iPads is the lack of RAM - it makes web browsing pretty damn annoying, constantly reloading open tabs in your browser. If you can live with that, go for it. If you can wait, then I suggest that you wait.


    Man, I must be the only heretic on this planet that prefers using Windows to OS X :V
  20. Dave245 macrumors 603


    Sep 15, 2013
    How are you finding the 2014 Macbook Air? i'm also a University student, and i'm thinking about upgrading from my 2011 Macbook Pro to a Macbook Air.

    With the iPad i've always found that its best to get a little bit more than you need, mainly because your app consumption may grow over time, for example i have a 64GB iPad because of the apps (games, productivity, magazines and so on) but i have 15GB free, which i may eat into in the future with new apps always coming out.
  21. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    I'm using Windows 7. For some reason, I like file explorer in Windows better than Finder in OS X. Everything else, I could go with either, but it just feels so much easier to manipulate files in Windows. Can't put my finger on why that is, though.
  22. vhbelvadi, Jun 20, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014

    vhbelvadi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2014
    What I like best about the 2014 MBA is the SSD that makes things really fast. For documents, presentations etc. there is, of course, no problem. I have no games, so I cannot say anything there. However, I make short films and I've run premiere pro and it runs lag-free. I regularly use Lightroom, which, while it isn't as much a memory-hogger as photoshop, is still pretty huge and it runs great. (I did have to switch to FAT32, though, because even with Paragon(?) the NTFS r/w is buggy.)

    As for the hardware, I don't think I can ever live with a laptop heavier than the Air now, so that is a drawback in a way! Browsing and running my website is great (I use Chrome, and habitually open three windows with over fifteen tabs each — I often never know how I got there — and given that Chrome creates a whole heap of processes, it's great how well the MBA still survives it.)

    I think at the end of the day, the point is simple: the MBA can replace a regular theoretically more spacious/powerful laptop with great ease. It comes with the added benefit of being light and lasting upwards of 12hrs of fairly heavy usage (WiFi on, document editing with iTunes running and an occasional edit on Lightroom). So the only thing that holds you back could be the lack of a retina display, but I honestly have never been able to see pixels on its screen the way some superhumans claim to, but that's just me.

    To put things in perspective, my previous (and current) Windows laptop has 8GB RAM, runs Ivybridge Ci5, has 1TB hard disc and that half-baked Windows 8 and the MBA seems faster or at least as fast at any given time, but mostly faster.
  23. Dave245 macrumors 603


    Sep 15, 2013
    The faster SSD would be a great thing, at the moment I use my 2011 MacBook Pro which has a standard HDD, I also use a 2012 iMac which has the Fusion Drive and its fast. But I would be buying the MacBook Air for univeirsty, so writing essays, web browsing, and watching some of my TV programmes from ITunes in the cloud ( I don't store them on my computer). But the main attraction for me, is the 12 hour battery life and portability.

    I have recently read that the 2014 MacBook Air has a slower SSD than the 2013 model.

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