iPad for math, university and productivity.

Discussion in 'iPad' started by rectifiability, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. rectifiability macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2010
    I'm about to buy an iPad for school-- I'm a grad student in maths, and it seems like a pretty awesome way to organize my many, many PDFs. I use Papers on my Mac now, but it's both awkward and a distraction to read it on my computer-- would much rather head to the library with a paper-sized tablet.

    My question is, has anyone else tried this? I'm wondering if it'll actually be useful. A year ago, I fantasized about a Kindle DX for the same purpose, then I bought a nook: the device is fantastic for long-form reading, but kind of terrible for flipping through papers. And part of me wonders just how much I want an iPad for dicking around on a shiny new toy and am just rationalizing it as a productive purchase.

    Insights and experiences, please!

    (BTW-- I'm not really worried about the timing. If a new iPad comes out in March that's substantially better, I'll sell mine on eBay or Craigslists for hopefully 75-80% of the cost and get a new one, considering the money "lost" a bargain.)
  2. GadgetAddict macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    As far as creating documents the Office suites available right now do a decent job but in no way as good as on a Mac. But since you mentioned you will be reading PDFs then I believe the iPad will fit your needs just perfect! I use MobileMe and DropBox to keep my documents synced between all my devices and then there are several apps for reading and annotating PDFs. The ones I use and do a really good job are Noterize and iAnnotate PDF. Good luck with your studies!
  3. tachnyrus macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2010
    It's much better than trying to read on a laptop but nowhere near as effective as good old paper. I was going over my thesis draft with my supervisor using the iPad, and it's a pain to make notes or quickly switch pages.

    Still, if you don't need notes and don't want to print, then the iPad's the next best thing.
  4. Walter Bell macrumors regular

    Mar 25, 2010
    Well I am returning my iPad as I was planning on using it for school this semester but it just doesn't seem like a viable solution AT THIS TIME. I am sure once it catches on more and people have time to create apps and etextbooks, it will be better, but right now its still in its newborn phase. Give it 6 months to a year and it will be better.
  5. Ciclismo macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2010
    I beg to differ - you can take notes, but so far all the apps that let one take notes have several shortcomings which are taking quite some time to be ironed out.

    However, the iPad's saving grace, in my opinion, is the fact that you can carry tons of readings with you, and easily add more as most journals thankfully offer articles in PDF form. One of my papers (only a stage 2 politics paper) has over 50 mandatory readings with as many as 220 pages:( But at least I can always look at them, highlight anything of interest, and even record the odd lecture (Notarize lets you treat Powerpoint presentations like a PDF for the purpose of note-taking).

    I think the problem is not the iPad, but the fact that apps for the iPad haven't even begun to make the most of the hardware.
  6. halogan macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2008
    They you might like Papers for iPad.

    I will tell you this about iPads at school:

    1) iPad is awesome for PDFs. When not using Papers (e.g. other than school related PDFs), you can try iBooks (no folder support, but automatic iTunes sync), GoodReader (soon to support highlighting and annotation, can download from Dropbox, FTP, SugarSync, ...) or Dropbox in combination with GoodReader. My use case: when sending a batch of PDFs, I send them wirelessly to GoodReader. When on the go and need to manipulate with a PDF, I download it from Dropbox to GoodReader and store it there to be offline.

    2) It's quite heavy, so you can't hold it in one hand over long periods of time (like a Kindle). I prefer to use a pillow as a stand in my bed at night.

    3) If you're a night owl, you'll appreciate a normal screen, not e-ink.

    4) The battery life is very good.

    5) A lot of people complain about eye strain when reading for a long time. It depends.

    6) It's not ideal for in-class note taking, advanced editing of any kind or as a replacement of paper for jotting something. The bluetooth keyboard helps for longer input, but even then it's not a replacement for a laptop or paper for some advanced tasks. Especially if you study math.

    7) You can enjoy RSS, music, video, ... when taking a break from studying.

    8) iPad has been out only for a few months, so there's plenty of apps not ready for it yet. Like tour guides, geocaching, Facebook, fashion apps, etc.

    Hope that sums it up.
  7. EthanNixon macrumors 6502a


    Sep 30, 2007
    New Jersey
    I am going to be using my iPad this semester to hopefully take notes and such. I am still not too sure if I will take note in class, or just type them up when I get home or have down time.

    I like the idea of not having to worry about paper, but I'm not sure how feasible that is.
  8. Jmehl macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2010
    Mobilenoter might be worth looking into if you've used onenote in the past (my utmost preference for class note taking)
  9. Noumenon macrumors regular

    Jun 30, 2007
  10. saberahul macrumors 68040

    Nov 6, 2008
    I don't agree. There are many apps like Notes Plus which allow you take very good notes. CourseNotes (i think that's name) allows very good note and sketch and wiki compatibility. For PDF's GoodReader is so far the best I have found and works flawlessly. As far as etextbooks go, I was able to purchase many directly from publisher for engineering course, which aren't as popular as say Chem courses.
  11. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

    Nov 20, 2002
    This is literally the exact reason I bought my iPad, and I absolutely love it. I have all of my Math, Physics, and CS books in PDF form on my iPad, along with hundreds of other reference books in PDF form. I used GoodReader, but switched to iBooks, but now I might go back because GoodReader is getting (has gotten?) annotation for PDFs.

    It is sooo nice carrying just my iPad instead of two massive texts with me to class. And if I have a few minutes, fire up Safari, AirVideo, or any of the other amazing time vampires on the iPad.

    I was a little worried about using the device for so much reading - I wondered if a Kindle would be better. BUt I'm very happy to say that I don't regret my decision in the least. This is seriously my favorite piece of tech gear I've owned. I like it more than my Mac Pro, MBP, Mac Mini, iPhone, iPods, AppleTV.....all of them.
  12. DNAppleGold macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2009
    I just bought an app called "noterize". It allows you to record classes while your taking notes - and notes and audio are synchronized! Plus you can annotate (with words, highlights, and drawing,) pdfs. So you'll have notes, text pages, and lectures all synced. I know there are other similar programs, and I strongly suggest you check out one of them. They really take the art of in-class/meeting note taking to the next level.
  13. macpluslaptop macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    I use iAnnotate for my PDFs. You can highlight, bookmark, and annotate them. In November, rumor has it, the iPad OS will get printing capabilities (real, not a workaround) and that will kick it up a notch.

    Now, the iPad is in its primitive incarnation. I use it for notetaking on the fly (in meetings and when I'm doing research for my own work) and that's good, but not great. However, I'd be using pen and paper otherwise, which I'd have to transcribe, so it works for me. As long as you remember it's not quite a laptop, you'll be fine. And the portability can't be rivaled. The best reading device is always the one you have with you!

Share This Page