Is an iPad 2 plus a desktop Mac at home a good combination for college?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by cobo10201, May 21, 2012.

  1. cobo10201 macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2012
    Hi all,

    I will be starting college this fall at the University of Houston. My parents want to help me out with some sort of computer for college and we are having trouble deciding between a laptop or iPad 2.

    I have a desktop computer at home that dual boots Mac OS X 10.6.7 and Windows 7 Home Premium and each OS has Microsoft Office. I am thinking that I will be able to go to lectures, take notes with an iPad 2 and wireless Bluetooth keyboard but then come home and work on projects/essays/presentations. If need be, I could use iWork or QuickOffice Pro HD to start assignments and then finish them at home. The only problem is that it may be difficult when trying to study with friends and they all have Microsoft Office and I don't.

    If anyone has any experience with this, I'd like to know how it went. I've been doing some research and I've read many articles saying that the iPad doesn't have a proper word processor and things like that, but the articles are from when the original iPad came out. Has the OS been upgraded enough to the point where it could be used as a functional device for college classes?

    Just to summarize, I want to buy an iPad and the main purpose of this device would be for taking notes in lectures, then come home and work on assignments on my desktop computer.

    Is this a plausible scenario?
  2. Drag'nGT macrumors 68000


    Sep 20, 2008
    It was for me. I prefer the screen size of a desktop but loved the portability of the iPad. The downside of the iPad is that Keynote has less power/transitions for a presentation. I ran into this problem when I tried to spice up a presentation on the aging of twins and smoking but the iPad couldn't handle it. I had to just stick to simple transitions. But it worked really well.

    I never took notes with a computer in class but if your professor gives their ppt to the class you can easily follow along and add notes as they go.

    I never found the lack of Office a problem since iWork (pages, keynote, numbers) worked with simple Office docs. Not perfect, but useable.
  3. nuckinfutz macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    Very plausible.

    iPad is more portable and battery life last longer yet forms the perfect front ed for your more powerful Mac back at home.
  4. shinobi-81 macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2012
  5. MusicEnthusiast macrumors 6502


    Jun 23, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I am beginning to think it is a good combination! I am currently in my 3rd year in college and have one more year to go. I currently own a custom built computer, also dual booting W7 and OS X and both with Microsoft Office (thank you UW for providing free software for students! :p ) I also own a 3 year old HP notebook and have sent it in so many times for repair that it's surprisingly stable today. I might pass it on to my mom at home and buy an iPad 3 this summer. That way I can have the desktop at my apartment and the iPad to take with me!

    Why would you want an iPad 2 though?
  6. cobo10201 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2012
    Simply due to the fact that all I need it for is taking notes and possibly electronic textbooks. Of course I will be downloading apps and music, taking pictures, etc., but I don't really need to spend the extra cash for the upgraded features of the new iPad. My friend has an iPad 2 and I feel like it would suit my needs quite well and wouldn't cost a whole lot of money.


    Thanks for the reply, this has helped me start to convince my father that the iPad is the way to go. He is still making the excuse that people in this forum may be biased towards the iPad.

    But thank you, this really helped me feel comfortable about getting the iPad as well.


    This is what I was thinking as well.
  7. Carlanga macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    I would say that is a good combo as long as you can access your home desktop anytime you want w/ no interruptions. If you are going to be reading books or pdfs' maybe consider the iPad 3 due to better resolution.
  8. Fattytail macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2012
    There are some great note taking apps for the iPad, so if that's primarily what you need to do with it, then yes go ahead and get it. Particularly because you already have a desktop computer at home.
  9. MikeeW macrumors newbie


    Oct 24, 2011
    I appreciate the concern of your father. I am one as well. The iPad is definitely an asset as a learning tool. There are some super iOS apps which can be used for recording notes, even speech and video. I fully agree with your logic to have a mac at home for the more elaborate work you may need/want to do. I am truly envious of the technology available to today's students. Hard to believe, but I actually used a slide rule in my studies. You are doing a good thing by making the inquiries in this forum. I also agree with the logic of getting an iPad 2 if it will meet your needs. I used #2 pencils for years before I moved up to a "mechanical pencil". It was a great move upward in technology and saved me a lot of sharpening. Just the same, the #2 worked fine for me for a long while.
  10. metanoiac macrumors member

    Jan 21, 2012
    I think the iPad works great for college and university. There are plenty of writing apps out there that also make the iPad a great tool for writing your drafts. I am thinking of distraction free writing tools such as ByWord or iA Writer.

    I find taking handwritten notes with an iPad and stylus a little cumbersome. I recently got a Jot from adonit and get a little more into that, but I still find there is a shortage of apps that offer you enough space and flow to make good handwritten notes on the iPad. For flow reason, nothing beats a paper notebook for me.

    However, that does not diminish the usefulness of an iPad in college. I am a post-grad student, and the iPad is my main reading tool, and during the summer I love writing outside with my iPad (I use an external keyboard for longer writing sessions though).

    Check out my blog for using iPad and Mac in university and college (link below), there are tons of tips how to make the iPad a great tool.
  11. RossMc macrumors 65816


    Apr 30, 2010
    Newcastle, UK
    I think it's a good combination. When I was at University I got a Macbook Pro to take into lectures with me, Then I bought an iPad 2 in my second year. If I was to do it again I would probably buy an iMac to keep at home and take the iPad to lectures with me for notes, presentations or to start assignments etc then go home and finish it off on the desktop.

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