iPad versus Macbook Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by scubus, May 22, 2012.

  1. scubus macrumors member


    May 25, 2001
    Orlando, FL
    I am sure this is not the right place for this, but I wasn't sure where to put it.

    I am having a dilema. My iMac and Powerbook both died within 10 days of each other (They were 6 and 8 years olds, so they were due :)

    I have a Macbook Air and am delighted with it. But...

    I am also a teacher and heading into summer cash is very, very tight. I am considering trading the Air back for an iPad since it would allow me to put $500 back into the bank for the summer. It is not ideal - although my intentions were always to get an iPad but I was going to couple it with an iMac (although having had the Air for 3 weeks, I am going to go back to one if I let this one go.) It was my hope my iMac and Powerbook would last until next September and I would make the buy then.

    Since I had always intended to get an iPad the only real issue is will I be able to get through the summer without a main computer? I mostly surf the web and check email over the summer. I will have to do some writing but nothing major. The real issue is my music and pictures. All backed up to a hard drive, but will I be able to access them with an iPad?

    So, that's my problem. I have to decide TODAY so I need as much info as possible ASAP.

  2. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    Get rid of MBA. Buy my 12" iBook for $200? It's a G4 1.25GHz w/1.5gb and 60gb. The combo-drive is a bit wonky, but I have a 6 month old new battery in it and wifi works fine still. Just throwing it out there. PM if you like the idea.

    Otherwise I'd keep the MBA. The $500 you save now probably will end up as a loss whenever you end up buying another MBA or iMac later on, unless you need to cash to get through the summer.
  3. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    Using an iPad for the needs you laid out seems do able, the usage of the external HDD is the only tricky part. I'm not sure the USB/ SD card adaptor will allow you to access music from the HDD, but.at the least, that's the hardware that would make it possible.

    As for writing, an external Bluetooth keyboard would likely makes things more smoothly. Safari for internet browsing works quite well and should meet your needs quite well.

    You could use your HDD with a PC or a Mac of a friend or from.work to upload your music and files, then use Dropbox to access them on your iPad. Or upload them to Google Music.

    If the external HDD support isn't great on iOS doesn't seem to have the support you're looking for, Android might. I think the iPad offers a better tablet experience, but some things like widgets, more hardware choice and a more open OS might make an Android tablet a better stand alone device. Specificlly the Asus Transformer, which has a dock that makes it look and function like a netbook with USB and mousepad built in, which means external HDD support built in. The Toshiba Thrive has a full USB port, which means you can connect your music files at all times.

    But my person usage has made prefer the iPad, and I'd attempt to set up your music files so you can use them without the external HDD.
  4. Dunbar macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm sure Suze Orman would tell you to sell the MBA and DENY you the iPad. If finances are so tight that an extra $500 in the bank is really that important you probably shouldn't be buying anything. But to answer your question, the iPad can get you through the summer for internet access and e-mailing. It really varies by individual though. Some people prefer their iPads but I own both the iPad and MBA and the iPad would get on my nerves pretty fast if it was my only machine.
  5. scubus thread starter macrumors member


    May 25, 2001
    Orlando, FL
    You make a good point.

    I could survive without the $500 but I hate worrying. If anything should happen I'd be in a pretty tight spot. In my position, there is work I do over the summer (for free of course) and I need internet access for that. So I can kind of justify it as work related ;)
  6. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    I don't think you'll get far with an iPad and no computer at all - you might be able to import you photos to the iPad using the camera adapter - but that's all the adapter will do with an external drive (and, personally, I've only ever tried it with a SD card or camera), but as far as I know the only route for getting your own music on there is via a computer running iTunes. Maybe if iTunes Match is available in your area you could sign up to that before you get rid of your Air, but that's another thing to pay for. Plus you'll need a wireless keyboard, and probably iWork for iPad if you're going to do any substantial writing. If you're skint, this is all adding up...

    My advice is to stick with the Air - which will meet all your computing needs - or, if you're desperate for cash, reluctantly downgrade to a cheap PC laptop.

    iPads are great, but you can live without them.
  7. bogatyr macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2012
    If your only files are photos and music, then you can definitely do the iPad all summer. I personally wouldn't give up a laptop for an iPad - but I use a lot more than the basic functions.

    Before you get rid of the laptop sign up for iTunes Match ($25/yr). Match all your music so it is in the cloud. Create a dropbox or similar account and upload all your photos to that account. Return/sell the laptop.

    When you get your iPad you can add the iCloud account to it so you can use iTunes Match and play all your music from your iPad now over the internet. Any song you play is saved to the iPad so you can play it again in the future without internet. If you don't want to save them on the iPad, you have to periodically clear them out using the Settings tool.

    Then add dropbox and I believe you can view your photos straight from there.

    For email/web it's pretty self explaining.

    For document editing, I would recommend pages/numbers from Apple. You can edit Word/Excel formats and email them to people from these programs. If you need a simple text editor - Textastic is a great one.

    Also get a bluetooth keyboard! Logitech makes a couple nice ones.

    It's very doable - though I recommend keeping the laptop for versatility.
  8. Techwriter macrumors regular

    Apr 1, 2010
    All I can give you is my own experience.

    I own an iPad and a Macbook Air. It's not a contest. If I were forced to choose one, I would pick the Macbook Air.

    The iPad is fun but it doesn't replace what my MBA can do. There are a lot of apps that can come close but it's just not quite the same. Both are highly portable devices.
  9. Xikum macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2011
    Why not just sell the MBA and buy a cheaper Windows based laptop? If money if tight, then money is tight. You could pocket a few hundred dollars and still have a fully functioning laptop (although I'm sure I will get massive down votes and flames for mentioning the W- word).
  10. scubus thread starter macrumors member


    May 25, 2001
    Orlando, FL
    I thought about it. I have just been partial to Macs since I programmed for an Apple developer - besides, all of my software is Mac specific - I'd have to buy a Windows copy of Office etc.

    I may just take theAir back and put a new hard drive in my old Powerbook to get me through the summer. A 6+ year old PowerBook isn't as much fun as new hardware, but it may be the ticket. I just hope it is ONLY the hard drive that died... and that I don't see another pay cut for the 6th year in a row next year (but that is another story :)
  11. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    That sounds like the smart way forward to me. I have an Air and an Ipad, and I'm finding myself using the ipad more and more and the Air less and less, but by waiting you may have much better options in the Fall or Winter.
  12. bemacbe macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2011
    Get the iPad!

    I too have both a MacBook Air 1.4 and a New iPad. I am a graphic designed, so I use the Mac because I have Adobe CS5, and need to use it! But other then that, I use my iPad. It is great! It runs so much snappier than my MacBook, and there are lots of typing Apps you can fine at the app store. You can also store all your music and photos on the iap iPad.

    Get the iPad. My two cents worth!
  13. wickoo macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2011
    I can't possibly recommend the iPad as your only device. There are going to be lots of times for you to regret selling the MBA.

    It is a great companion (I'm writing this on my iPad), but that's it.
  14. glen e macrumors 68030

    Jun 19, 2010
    Ft Lauderdale
    Can't create content easily on an iPad.....keep the MBA
  15. DollaTwentyFive macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2010
    Parts Unknown
    I have both and love both and even use my iPad more than my Air. However, if I had to choose one, I would keep the Air.

    As has been discussed at length, the iPad is fantastic for consumption. Production is very possible as well, but you would benefit from a BT keyboard. There goes $100 of your $500 in the bank.

    I would keep the MBA.
  16. gmikesell macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2009
    You should start a poll. In the meantime, I would suggest just keeping the MBA. Get a job at Walmart or something in the meantime to make some extra cash, even if it's just part time work, just to get ya through the summer. I used to have a pc laptop and an iPad and found I used the iPad pretty much 95% of the time (only used the laptop for Quicken) so I eventually just sold my iPad 2, Sold the laptop and got myself a MBA. Was going to get the New iPad but then realized I was doing everything on my MBA that I was doing on the iPad only more...with access to flash sites, all my important work stuff on my hard drive, etc. I think you are going to regret getting rid of your MBA. Just my 2 cents and it's probably not even worth that much.
  17. bemacbe macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2011
    Get the iPad

    I too have both a MacBook Air 1.4 and a New iPad. I am a graphic designed, so I use the Mac because I have Adobe CS5, and need to use it! But other then that, I use my iPad. It is great! It runs so much snappier than my MacBook, and there are lots of typing Apps you can fine at the app store. You can also store all your music and photos on the iPad.

    Get the iPad. My two cents worth!
  18. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    The iPad is a luxury item, a device to "toy" around with. The MBA is a full working device. A laptop or computer is needed, an iPad is optional. If money is tight, you shouldn't spend on a limited device to toy around.
  19. Donka macrumors 68030


    May 3, 2011
    Personally speaking, I think if you will only have a single device then the MBA is the best compromise - light and portable but still a full computing experience. While I use my iPad the most, there are some things I need my MBP for and I couldn't get by with just an iPad. If I had to lose both, I would get a MBA.
  20. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    I used to feel this way, but am finding myself using the IPad way more. It's actually alot easier to enter text once you use the virtual keyboard for some time. I no longer feel that the ipad is for content consumption only - it is fine for emails (even longer ones), and simple documents.
  21. Satnam1989 macrumors 65816

    Nov 16, 2011
    buy your self a older 2009-2010 model macbook air or even macbook pro if and get your self a iPad 2 if you cannot afford a 3....now days you can buy a iPad 2 64GB 3G for ~$500 at least thats the prices I see in down here in Toronto, Canada.

    you can if you look hard enough get both for <$1000.....

    Reason I would say get a older macbook air that works is because it will give you opportunity to access your files that you cannot access via just the iPad...but will give you best of both words and also last you not jus one year but few years I bet.

    As for any iPad owner it is important to note that you cannot solely live with just an iPad, you will need a Mac/PC at one point or another to access USB/External Drives/SD Card even. so if you do want to live with just an iPad it is truly do-able but you do want to have some sort of actually computer for backup purposes and that Mac/PC doesn't have to be expensive at all just working.
  22. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    Ditto. Personally, I wouldn't depend on an iPad only.
  23. stu.h macrumors 65816


    May 8, 2010
    West Midlands, England.
    I sold my iPad to help fund the 11" Air + Thunderbolt display.

    I love the portability of the Air and I have a good desktop experience when I connect it to the TBD and use trackpad and KB.

    I do miss the iPad though...
  24. JAYBEATS23 macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2012
    BT keyboard can be had for $30 new
  25. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a


    May 19, 2009
    Midwest US
    I'd have to echo the sentiments of the majority of those who've posted before me: I have both an iPad and an MBA. If I had to lose one, I'd lose the iPad.

    For me, the decision is made by the fact that I create content for a living ... and while I enjoy viewing content on the iPad, I don't make much money from that. The iPad is a consumption device; the MBA is a creative tool. Much depends on the software used, of course, but I could survive without my iPad. I think I'd regret selling my MBA rather quickly.

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