iPad Pro iPad Pro as the e-Textbook Solution?

chasonstone

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Dec 24, 2010
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I'm a Graduate Student as well as an Apple/Tech Enthusiast and I've been dying for a viable option to utilize e-textbooks. When I first saw the iPad Pro announced I wasn't overly sold on the idea of a bigger iPad, but I've been thinking about it since and it really could be the answer. My main problem with e-textbooks is they often require me to pan to see everything when I'm on a smaller screen. This isn't really great. I have an iPad mini right now, it doesn't get used too much anymore because of my 6 Plus, but at one point I had an iPad 2. When I had the iPad 2 for the short time I did before it met a milk soaked demise that we won't mention further, I used it for textbooks and I found it less than ideal still. Right now I actually have opted back for renting physical textbooks. I can read e-books and navigate them decently on my computer but what I've found is when I'm writing a lengthy paper I miss having the book separate to the side. I've gotten pretty used to having a separate book beside me to reference as I'm typing, and it seems like an iPad pro given the right e-book apps would allow me to see full size pages and keep them at the side while working on my computer, or just be read in a standalone setting. Does anybody else think the iPad Pro could be good for this? I would like to see it in person first/give it time to get optimized apps. I think the size alone would be key for the experience personally though. I'd like to hear anybody else's thoughts, and if you have an e-textbook set up you'd like to share.
 
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JerTheGeek

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May 15, 2014
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I use e textbooks for homeschool, currently using an iPad Air 1 and the Intel Education Study app. I find this to be perfectly usable, and I just zoom in to read. The app allows zooming up to a certain point, and this works fine for me. I'm even considering going for the mini 4 cause I'm holding it for long periods of time, and the lighter weight would make holding it for reading and studying very comfortable. This is also my first year using e textbooks and I'm very impressed, love them.
 
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jmeas

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Jun 30, 2015
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San Jose
I study math and physics in my free time with my iPad Mini and PDFs of textbooks. I plan to use the Pro for the same purpose, and I can't wait! I think it'll be perfect for that use case. Also, I plan to try using the GoodNotes app + Apple pencil to replace my notebooks.
 

ahostmadsen

macrumors 6502a
Dec 28, 2009
751
425
I'm a Graduate Student as well as an Apple/Tech Enthusiast and I've been dying for a viable option to utilize e-textbooks. When I first saw the iPad Pro announced I wasn't overly sold on the idea of a bigger iPad, but I've been thinking about it since and it really could be the answer. My main problem with e-textbooks is they often require me to pan to see everything when I'm on a smaller screen. This isn't really great. I have an iPad mini right now, it doesn't get used too much anymore because of my 6 Plus, but at one point I had an iPad 2. When I had the iPad 2 for the short time I did before it met a milk soaked demise that we won't mention further, I used it for textbooks and I found it less than ideal still. Right now I actually have opted back for renting physical textbooks. I can read e-books and navigate them decently on my computer but what I've found is when I'm writing a lengthy paper I miss having the book separate to the side. I've gotten pretty used to having a separate book beside me to reference as I'm typing, and it seems like an iPad pro given the right e-book apps would allow me to see full size pages and keep them at the side while working on my computer, or just be read in a standalone setting. Does anybody else think the iPad Pro could be good for this? I would like to see it in person first/give it time to get optimized apps. I think the size alone would be key for the experience personally though. I'd like to hear anybody else's thoughts, and if you have an e-textbook set up you'd like to share.
I think an iPad Air 2 would be sufficient (as opposed to the mini). The page size of most physical textbooks are smaller than the screen size of the iPad Air 2, so you can see it in full size. For papers (which are usually on letter size pages), you only have to shrink slightly if you cut the margins; perfectly readable, I do it all the time. The Pro is overkill for this purpose. Unnecessary extra weight and dollars.
 

s2mikey

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Sep 23, 2013
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I don't see why the standard sized iPad wouldn't work for such a thing. I find it the perfect size for reading and stuff. The pro might be overkill if it was used just as a reader or whatever. Just saying.
 

jmeas

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Jun 30, 2015
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San Jose
I want to use two full-sized apps side-by-side, which the Air can't provide me with, unfortunately. I also want to use the Pencil for illustrations, which is also limited to the Pro (for now).

You're both absolutely right, though; the Air 2 will do fine for many people. But I think the Pro will be better for my particular use cases. However, when the Air 3 and Pro 2 are out, I might consider switching over the Air if the Pro ends up being too large. But I'll give it a try for a year and see how it goes.
 
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chasonstone

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Original poster
Dec 24, 2010
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Kentucky
I use e textbooks for homeschool, currently using an iPad Air 1 and the Intel Education Study app. I find this to be perfectly usable, and I just zoom in to read. The app allows zooming up to a certain point, and this works fine for me. I'm even considering going for the mini 4 cause I'm holding it for long periods of time, and the lighter weight would make holding it for reading and studying very comfortable. This is also my first year using e textbooks and I'm very impressed, love them.
It has been a while since I've used e-textbooks on a tablet so maybe the experience has matured. To be fair it wasn't unusable on the iPad 2 I had. It just wasn't ideal at the time, I was panning more often than I'd like to.

I study math and physics in my free time with my iPad Mini and PDFs of textbooks. I plan to use the Pro for the same purpose, and I can't wait! I think it'll be perfect for that use case. Also, I plan to try using the GoodNotes app + Apple pencil to replace my notebooks.
I'm also intrigued by the idea of replacing notebooks with an all digital solution. I think the apple pencil and pro combo could be the first solution that would personally work for me.

I think an iPad Air 2 would be sufficient (as opposed to the mini). The page size of most physical textbooks are smaller than the screen size of the iPad Air 2, so you can see it in full size. For papers (which are usually on letter size pages), you only have to shrink slightly if you cut the margins; perfectly readable, I do it all the time. The Pro is overkill for this purpose. Unnecessary extra weight and dollars.
You may be right about it being overkill, I'm most intrigued by the bigger screen but the weight and definitely the dollars wouldn't be ideal.

I don't see why the standard sized iPad wouldn't work for such a thing. I find it the perfect size for reading and stuff. The pro might be overkill if it was used just as a reader or whatever. Just saying.
You're probably right. Maybe the Air 2 is where I should be looking after all, if the pro were cheaper it'd be more appealing for my uses. But it would be pricey for my purposes.
 

ke-iron

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Aug 14, 2014
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I will aquire on of these on release. I plan on using for text books and notes for school as well as browsing the web and YouTube videos when I'm home sitting in bed.
 

JerTheGeek

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May 15, 2014
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I will aquire on of these on release. I plan on using for text books and notes for school as well as browsing the web and YouTube videos when I'm home sitting in bed.
That's basically how I use my iPad Air 1. Textbooks for homeschool, managing homework assignments, and browsing web and watching YT in my free time. I honestly think the iPad Pro would be overkill for this, at least for me.
 

ke-iron

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That's basically how I use my iPad Air 1. Textbooks for homeschool, managing homework assignments, and browsing web and watching YT in my free time. I honestly think the iPad Pro would be overkill for this, at least for me.
I currently use the mini with my psychology text book and it's too small, but with the iPad pro it will be perfect as I can have the full text book split screen with Safari while I search the web for references or whatever, or have a note taking app open the same time as a book. November is almost here so I guess I'll find out soon enough.
 

JerTheGeek

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May 15, 2014
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I currently use the mini with my psychology text book and it's too small, but with the iPad pro it will be perfect as I can have the full text book split screen with Safari while I search the web for references or whatever, or have a note taking app open the same time as a book. November is almost here so I guess I'll find out soon enough.
I was considering the mini 4 but I guess it would be too small for textbooks. I think I'll get the air 2, split view will come in handy.
 
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ke-iron

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Aug 14, 2014
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I was concerning the mini 4 but I guess it would be too small for textbooks. I think I'll get the air 2, split view will come in handy.
Textbooks are doable on the mini but the constant panning and zooming on PDF text books gets tedious so better off with the iPad Air or iPad pro. I can't speak for text books in other formats because I don't know how they work on smaller screens but I can imagine it would be a similar experience.
 

JerTheGeek

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May 15, 2014
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Textbooks are doable on the mini but the constant panning and zooming on PDF text books gets tedious so better off with the iPad Air or iPad pro. I can't speak for text books in other formats because I don't know how they work on smaller screens but I can imagine it would be a similar experience.
Well my textbooks are in a specific app but are basically PDFs and I do most of my reading while zoomed in, but I can imagine it would be not as nice on the mini.
 

chasonstone

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Original poster
Dec 24, 2010
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Kentucky
I currently use the mini with my psychology text book and it's too small, but with the iPad pro it will be perfect as I can have the full text book split screen with Safari while I search the web for references or whatever, or have a note taking app open the same time as a book. November is almost here so I guess I'll find out soon enough.
I was thinking along similar lines. For me, the mini isn't an option for textbooks. For reading it's good, but that's not the same as textbooks with graphics that don't adjust like something in an ePub file would. I love the idea of having it as a book and a notepad like you described. I think my reluctance to jump on the iPad Pro stems from two things: 1) It's expensive. Once I get the Pro and the pencil, which I think I would want, I am at a minimum of 900 dollars and 2) It's a "first generation" product. This doesn't normally steer me away as much, but I fear an iPad/iPad 2 or iPhone/iPhone 3G scenario where the 2nd generation is improved pretty significantly. And at 900 dollars I would want this to last me as long as possible.
 

alecgold

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Oct 11, 2007
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I'm studying law and read a lot of textbooks. around a 1000 pages per 4 weeks and around 300 pages of verdicts that are printed in multi collum pdf's. Reading the textbooks can range from excellent to reasonable/doable.
but it's the scanned multi-collum 100-year old verdicts that are a pain in the proverbial place to read. Bad scan's, lot's of panning and very difficult to read language. This is where I hope the iPad Pro will shine: reading pdf's in a chair, a good pen for markings and annotations and very now and then a keyboard when you need to write some text.

My 2015 macbook pro 13" (spec'ed out) with a thunderbolt display is primarily intended for work, but also does well writing longer texts and essays for my study, but reading a hundred pages on an evening I think/hope the iPad Pro will be better. It also gives me some AFK time.
 

chasonstone

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Original poster
Dec 24, 2010
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Kentucky
I'm studying law and read a lot of textbooks. around a 1000 pages per 4 weeks and around 300 pages of verdicts that are printed in multi collum pdf's. Reading the textbooks can range from excellent to reasonable/doable.
but it's the scanned multi-collum 100-year old verdicts that are a pain in the proverbial place to read. Bad scan's, lot's of panning and very difficult to read language. This is where I hope the iPad Pro will shine: reading pdf's in a chair, a good pen for markings and annotations and very now and then a keyboard when you need to write some text.

My 2015 macbook pro 13" (spec'ed out) with a thunderbolt display is primarily intended for work, but also does well writing longer texts and essays for my study, but reading a hundred pages on an evening I think/hope the iPad Pro will be better. It also gives me some AFK time.
It sounds to me like the iPad Pro would be perfect for those scanned documents you mentioned. I think the most compelling thing about the iPad Pro is simply the screen size. Not having to zoom or pan on PDF's would be super helpful.
 
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JerTheGeek

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May 15, 2014
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I've been thinking, though the mini is small, I think the smaller size and reduced weight might make it a lot more comfortable to hold and read and study with, since I usually sit and do my work outside and hold the iPad for 45 minutes or longer; in this case the mini 4 might actually be better than the air 2, at least for my usage.
 

ahostmadsen

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Dec 28, 2009
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It sounds to me like the iPad Pro would be perfect for those scanned documents you mentioned. I think the most compelling thing about the iPad Pro is simply the screen size. Not having to zoom or pan on PDF's would be super helpful.
You can do that with an iPad Air 2. The key is to remove the margins of the PDF file (you can do that in for example GoodReader). In that case, the pdf file is nearly full size. I read lots of scanned PDF files that way, and never have to pan or zoom. And while reading, you can hold the Air 2 in one hand, not something you can do with the Pro.
 

chasonstone

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Original poster
Dec 24, 2010
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Kentucky
You can do that with an iPad Air 2. The key is to remove the margins of the PDF file (you can do that in for example GoodReader). In that case, the pdf file is nearly full size. I read lots of scanned PDF files that way, and never have to pan or zoom. And while reading, you can hold the Air 2 in one hand, not something you can do with the Pro.
I don't have experience with GoodReader, but I can see where that could work. I'll have to check it out, thanks! And you're definitely right about the size being more appropriate from a portability and ease of use standpoint. After everyone's comments on this thread im thinking about going to the Air 2 route, I can get a good deal on one because they've been out a while. It would probably be well under half the cost of an iPad Pro. The only downfall is it wouldn't be as good at note taking or annotating things. But that's not exactly a priority in a tablet for me at the moment.
 

chasonstone

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 24, 2010
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281
Kentucky
You can do that with an iPad Air 2. The key is to remove the margins of the PDF file (you can do that in for example GoodReader). In that case, the pdf file is nearly full size. I read lots of scanned PDF files that way, and never have to pan or zoom. And while reading, you can hold the Air 2 in one hand, not something you can do with the Pro.
I don't have experience with GoodReader, but I can see where that could work. I'll have to check it out, thanks! And you're definitely right about the size being more appropriate from a portability and ease of use standpoint. After everyone's comments on this thread im thinking about going to the Air 2 route, I can get a good deal on one because they've been out a while. It would probably be well under half the cost of an iPad Pro. The only downfall is it wouldn't be as good at note taking or annotating things. But that's not exactly a priority in a tablet for me at the moment.
 

Smeaton1724

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Sep 14, 2011
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I don't have experience with GoodReader, but I can see where that could work. I'll have to check it out, thanks! And you're definitely right about the size being more appropriate from a portability and ease of use standpoint. After everyone's comments on this thread im thinking about going to the Air 2 route, I can get a good deal on one because they've been out a while. It would probably be well under half the cost of an iPad Pro. The only downfall is it wouldn't be as good at note taking or annotating things. But that's not exactly a priority in a tablet for me at the moment.
To get me through daily life taking lots of notes at site meetings, marking up engineering drawings etc. I use an iPad 4 with Notability, a note taking app with a Bamboo stylus and Goodreader (Stores around 6500 PDF's, some up to 500mb in size that syncs to my Macbook). Only reason for not upgrading to the Airs is the iPad works fine and I believe in upgrading when the experience is better for the use case.

The iPad Pro will make the experience better (But at what price for you?) and so will the Pencil, for me cost is not an issue and I think I'm about due an upgrade. If cost is an issue get an Air 2, Goodreader, Notability could be mute now with the Notes app in iOS 9 accepting written notes and also a low priced stylus, go through the learning curve of writing on the screen. Then upgrade next year or the year after.
 

Loge

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Jun 24, 2004
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I agree that GoodReader's cropping ability makes the iPad Air much better for technical documents, and it remembers the settings for each document and allows for different crops on left and right pages.

One area where I expect the Pro would be better though is to use for digital sheet music; just a better size for placing on the piano and playing from.
 

AppleMan2015

macrumors regular
Sep 25, 2015
235
62
I'm a Graduate Student as well as an Apple/Tech Enthusiast and I've been dying for a viable option to utilize e-textbooks. When I first saw the iPad Pro announced I wasn't overly sold on the idea of a bigger iPad, but I've been thinking about it since and it really could be the answer. My main problem with e-textbooks is they often require me to pan to see everything when I'm on a smaller screen. This isn't really great. I have an iPad mini right now, it doesn't get used too much anymore because of my 6 Plus, but at one point I had an iPad 2. When I had the iPad 2 for the short time I did before it met a milk soaked demise that we won't mention further, I used it for textbooks and I found it less than ideal still. Right now I actually have opted back for renting physical textbooks. I can read e-books and navigate them decently on my computer but what I've found is when I'm writing a lengthy paper I miss having the book separate to the side. I've gotten pretty used to having a separate book beside me to reference as I'm typing, and it seems like an iPad pro given the right e-book apps would allow me to see full size pages and keep them at the side while working on my computer, or just be read in a standalone setting. Does anybody else think the iPad Pro could be good for this? I would like to see it in person first/give it time to get optimized apps. I think the size alone would be key for the experience personally though. I'd like to hear anybody else's thoughts, and if you have an e-textbook set up you'd like to share.
Honestly, it would be cool, but I would still want the portability of a smaller iPad. The air and mini are way more portable than the pro and would love if they focus on books for school.
 

Rhonindk

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Oct 3, 2014
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I use e textbooks for homeschool, currently using an iPad Air 1 and the Intel Education Study app. I find this to be perfectly usable, and I just zoom in to read. The app allows zooming up to a certain point, and this works fine for me. I'm even considering going for the mini 4 cause I'm holding it for long periods of time, and the lighter weight would make holding it for reading and studying very comfortable. This is also my first year using e textbooks and I'm very impressed, love them.
I too found that once I got into the habit of using an iPad for things like this, the Mini actually was a much better option for me. I did try going back to a full sized iPad but found the weight difference surprisingly ugly.