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jm31828

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 28, 2015
1,122
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Bothell, Washington
I have a 2017 iMac 27” that I use currently for photo editing (Luminar AI, which isn’t available on iPad), and when I need to do much typing.

I use my iPhone 13 for all of my media consumption, my late evening couch sessions checking social media, online banking, watching an occasional video, etc.

I was hoping to get a device with a but bigger screen than my phone to bridge the two devices- to use for some of those longer consumption sessions, but also for photo editing and even some light video editing.

I picked up an iPad Air 5 on sale for $499, and a MacBook Air m1 on sale for $799- neither has been opened yet, intending to keep one and return the other.

My concerns with the iPad would be that it’s a bit too big to hold when sitting on the couch to use for very long, and that it’s s bit limited in which apps can be used and I can’t use my Luminar AI app. It also seems to overlap too much with my phone, which is so comfortable to hold and use for media consumption.

The MacBook would of course allow me to use my Luminar AI app, and it can run mobile apps as well, a bonus as there are a few I’d like to continue using.
It also has the built in keyboard and sits nicely in the lap.

The down side with it seems to be that it overlaps too much with my iMac, which is perfectly capable- just slow and can’t be used in other parts of the house.

I’m a bit torn here- I’m feeling that the MacBook feels more like the better choice as an extension of my iMac- but am I off base? Or is it silly when I have an iMac already?
 
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Realityck

macrumors 603
Nov 9, 2015
6,208
9,066
Silicon Valley, CA
I picked up an iPad Air 5 on sale for $499, and a MacBook Air m1 on sale for $799- neither has been opened yet, intending to keep one and return the other.

My concerns with the iPad would be that it’s a bit too big to hold when sitting on the couch to use for very long, and that it’s s bit limited in which apps can be used and I can’t use my Luminar AI app. It also seems to overlap too much with my phone, which is so comfortable to hold and use for media consumption.

The MacBook would of course allow me to use my Luminar AI app, and it can run mobile apps as well, a bonus as there are a few I’d like to continue using.
It also has the built in keyboard and sits nicely in the lap.

The down side with it seems to be that it overlaps too much with my iMac, which is perfectly capable- just slow and can’t be used in other parts of the house.

I’m a bit torn here- I’m feeling that the MacBook feels more like the better choice as an extension of my iMac- but am I off base? Or is it silly when I have an iMac already?
My opinion based on that I have a 24" M1 iMac, then a 16" MBP, then a 8.3" iPad mini 6 for usage flexibility. Why did I go with a iPad mini 6, was because of its smaller size which is perfect for very casual surfing or media content watching. The laptop is a fall back for the iMac, loss of power at home just take it and go elsewhere. Same with iPad mini 6 its highly mobile usage. The 13.3" MBA screen is bigger and better utilized with macOS than it would be IPadOS on the Air, that and the differences in multitasking, fast editing. Obviously you have an extra TB/USB-C port and 3.5mm audio jack on the MBA compared to single USB-C connector on the iPad Air. Yes I have picked large to small with these devices, Also add if something happened to your iMac you are not dead in the water if you have a laptop also to run the same software.
 
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HDFan

Contributor
Jun 30, 2007
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My concerns with the iPad would be that it’s a bit too big to hold when sitting on the couch

Here's one possible workaround:

 

jm31828

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 28, 2015
1,122
712
Bothell, Washington
Here's one possible workaround:

Thanks! Yeah, I guess I could consider something like that....

What are your thoughts- is the iPad really a good option if one already has a desktop Mac (even an older one like mine), to be a bridge between the phone and the Mac?
 

darngooddesign

macrumors Pentium
Jul 4, 2007
15,000
5,817
Atlanta, GA
I have a 2017 iMac 27” that I use currently for photo editing (Luminar AI, which isn’t available on iPad), and when I need to do much typing.

I use my iPhone 13 for all of my media consumption, my late evening couch sessions checking social media, online banking, watching an occasional video, etc.

I was hoping to get a device with a but bigger screen than my phone to bridge the two devices- to use for some of those longer consumption sessions, but also for photo editing and even some light video editing.

I picked up an iPad Air 5 on sale for $499, and a MacBook Air m1 on sale for $799- neither has been opened yet, intending to keep one and return the other.

My concerns with the iPad would be that it’s a bit too big to hold when sitting on the couch to use for very long, and that it’s s bit limited in which apps can be used and I can’t use my Luminar AI app. It also seems to overlap too much with my phone, which is so comfortable to hold and use for media consumption.

The MacBook would of course allow me to use my Luminar AI app, and it can run mobile apps as well, a bonus as there are a few I’d like to continue using.
It also has the built in keyboard and sits nicely in the lap.

The down side with it seems to be that it overlaps too much with my iMac, which is perfectly capable- just slow and can’t be used in other parts of the house.

I’m a bit torn here- I’m feeling that the MacBook feels more like the better choice as an extension of my iMac- but am I off base? Or is it silly when I have an iMac already?
Use both for a week and keep the one you like more.
 

jm31828

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 28, 2015
1,122
712
Bothell, Washington
Use both for a week and keep the one you like more.
Yeah, that's what I would do if I could- however I bought the MacBook from BestBuy on sale, and I have a 14 day return window as long as it is unopened- but if I open it, they charge a pretty hefty restocking fee.

The iPad, though, was purchased from Amazon- and from what I am gathering, I am OK to open and use that, and can get my full refund if needed when I return it.

My thought is that I may open the iPad today or tomorrow and try it out for a bit to see what I think, and only open the MacBook if I really feel strongly that the iPad is not worth keeping.
 

sunapple

macrumors 68020
Jul 16, 2013
2,270
3,850
The Netherlands
I've owned my iPad Air 4 for 3 years now. The past year it was my only computer. Now for about two months I have been using MacBook Air M1 alongside it.

I will say for browsing, like typing this post right now, I always grab my MacBook. The ergonomics are just more comfortable to me. Screen stays upright without any effort, trackpad is close I can rest my palms all the time, screen is bigger. Using it on the couch almost exclusively. Using iPad with Smart Folio.

Software seems more complete on a Mac, but that isn't even a big differentiator for me. iPad worked well the past year. Mind you none of the use of either device is work/professional.

I keep the iPad around for sketching with Pencil. It could also be a great second touch screen interface for the Mac, though I am not using that much yet.
 
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jm31828

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 28, 2015
1,122
712
Bothell, Washington
I've owned my iPad Air 4 for 3 years now. The past year it was my only computer. Now for about two months I have been using MacBook Air M1 alongside it.

I will say for browsing, like typing this post right now, I always grab my MacBook. The ergonomics are just more comfortable to me. Screen stays upright without any effort, trackpad is close I can rest my palms all the time, screen is bigger. Using it on the couch almost exclusively. Using iPad with Smart Folio.

Software seems more complete on a Mac, but that isn't even a big differentiator for me. iPad worked well the past year. Mind you none of the use of either device is work/professional.

I keep the iPad around for sketching with Pencil. It could also be a great second touch screen interface for the Mac, though I am not using that much yet.
Thanks for sharing!
What are some other apps you used frequently on the iPad- did you do anything like photo or video editing?
 

darngooddesign

macrumors Pentium
Jul 4, 2007
15,000
5,817
Atlanta, GA
Yeah, that's what I would do if I could- however I bought the MacBook from BestBuy on sale, and I have a 14 day return window as long as it is unopened- but if I open it, they charge a pretty hefty restocking fee.

The iPad, though, was purchased from Amazon- and from what I am gathering, I am OK to open and use that, and can get my full refund if needed when I return it.

My thought is that I may open the iPad today or tomorrow and try it out for a bit to see what I think, and only open the MacBook if I really feel strongly that the iPad is not worth keeping.
Yeah. Use the iPad during its return period and see if you like it as a compliment to your Mac. Sit across your sofa and rest it against your propped up legs. There are also things like lap pillows you can rest it agains or even a keyboard if you don't want tot hold it.
 
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darngooddesign

macrumors Pentium
Jul 4, 2007
15,000
5,817
Atlanta, GA
Bear in mind that as you do more photo editing on the iPad you may find 64GB to be too small of an SSD. Also, 64GB iPads get Stage Manager but they do not get live multitasking.
 
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jm31828

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 28, 2015
1,122
712
Bothell, Washington
Yeah. Use the iPad during its return period and see if you like it as a compliment to your Mac. Sit across your sofa and rest it against your propped up legs. There are also things like lap pillows you can rest it agains or even a keyboard if you don't want tot hold it.

Yeah, as much as I have been leaning towards the MacBook, my concern is that I don't want to get something that makes my iMac irrelevant- it cost a lot of money back when I bought it and it's perfectly usable (though a bit slow), and I'm cheap that way in that I don't want to really buy devices that would cause me not to use something else that I spent good money for.

The MacBook Air is portable which would be a huge plus for using on the couch or upstairs, and of course would be far faster than the iMac.... but a bridge device that I can use when my phone is too small, but when I don't want to be tied to the room where the iMac resides makes the iPad seem appealing- that and the fact that it's $300 less than the MacBook.

So, I think I will open the iPad and take it for a test drive, I imagine I'd get an idea rather quickly on whether it's the device for me or not. I was just trying to avoid that worrying that once it's opened the return to Amazon might get more complicated.
 

jm31828

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 28, 2015
1,122
712
Bothell, Washington
Bear in mind that as you do more photo editing on the iPad you may find 64GB to be too small of an SSD. Also, 64GB iPads get Stage Manager but they do not get live multitasking.
Yeah, I know there may be times I'd want to use an external SSD on the iPad- but but in looking at what I use, with all apps I would have installed, I'd only be using about 27GB in total (including the OS and associated files), which would be fine for me as I would just move a dozen or so RAW images to the device to edit, then move them off to cloud storage or my external SSD (or over to my iMac), so I would never accumulate very many images on the device.

But, clearly the MacBook would provide more headroom in that regard with 256GB.
 

jz0309

macrumors 604
Sep 25, 2018
6,627
17,852
SoCal
I have a 2017 27 iMac, using LR/PS.
I have a M1 MBA so that I can use LR/PS for when I'm traveling with my photo gear, also use it as my "couch" computer.
Wife has an iPad, I've used it, don't like it, and I could never download photos from my DSLR while traveling, well, some people do but far too cumbersome for me ...
 
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darngooddesign

macrumors Pentium
Jul 4, 2007
15,000
5,817
Atlanta, GA
I like my iPad's LR workflow when I take a lot of photos.

1. Import all to the Photos app.
2. Mark the keepers as Favorite
3. import from the Favorites album to Lightroom.
 
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Ludatyk

macrumors 601
May 27, 2012
4,392
3,145
Texas
Yeah, that's what I would do if I could- however I bought the MacBook from BestBuy on sale, and I have a 14 day return window as long as it is unopened- but if I open it, they charge a pretty hefty restocking fee.
Umm.. are you located in the states? Because Best Buy does not charge a restocking fee on laptops… only if it has cellular capabilities, which the Macbook lacks.

The MacBook Air is portable which would be a huge plus for using on the couch or upstairs, and of course would be far faster than the iMac.... but a bridge device that I can use when my phone is too small, but when I don't want to be tied to the room where the iMac resides makes the iPad seem appealing- that and the fact that it's $300 less than the MacBook.
Yeah, that’s my thought process… I’d rather have a iPad than a MBA next to an iMac. Given both MBA and iMac runs macOS… I desire something versatile hence why I gravitate toward the iPad.
 

jm31828

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 28, 2015
1,122
712
Bothell, Washington
I have a 2017 27 iMac, using LR/PS.
I have a M1 MBA so that I can use LR/PS for when I'm traveling with my photo gear, also use it as my "couch" computer.
Wife has an iPad, I've used it, don't like it, and I could never download photos from my DSLR while traveling, well, some people do but far too cumbersome for me ...
Thanks for sharing! So besides the photo editing, it sounds like the MBA is your web browsing/social media/news reading couch device as well? Any concerns there? I assume the MBA doesn't get warm/hot like pre M1 models, and the size is still small enough that this works out well?
 

jm31828

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 28, 2015
1,122
712
Bothell, Washington
Umm.. are you located in the states? Because Best Buy does not charge a restocking fee on laptops… only if it has cellular capabilities, which the Macbook lacks.


Yeah, that’s my thought process… I’d rather have a iPad than a MBA next to an iMac. Given both MBA and iMac runs macOS… I desire something versatile hence why I gravitate toward the iPad.

Oh interesting! Yeah, I'm in the states and must have completely misread the return policy.... if they do allow returns of opened laptops, then I can easily test both out for a week or so and feel confident in which one I want to return.

And on the 2nd comment- part of the reason I'm interested in the iPad is what you said, I already have the iMac and I don't want to just duplicate equipment (sure the MBA is MUCH faster, but the iMac is still very usable), so the iPad was intriguing as that bridge between my phone and my iMac.

I'll read up again on the return policies, and definitely will tear both of these open if I find clarity that I can indeed do so without any restocking fee.

EDIT:
Well I found the note on the Best Buy website that outlines the return policy for laptops, and yep- I was way off base. I think I was confusing it with what you said, the blurb on their site about activatable devices, which of course the MBA would not be.

Thanks again!
 

Realityck

macrumors 603
Nov 9, 2015
6,208
9,066
Silicon Valley, CA
Thanks for sharing! So besides the photo editing, it sounds like the MBA is your web browsing/social media/news reading couch device as well? Any concerns there? I assume the MBA doesn't get warm/hot like pre M1 models, and the size is still small enough that this works out well?
Without opening the boxes, have you thought about going to a store and just playing with both a bit. The MBA is feature complete (trackpad/keyboard) with a 30W USB-C Power Adapter + cable. The iPad comes with no keyboard, no case, and 20W USB‑C Power Adapter + cable. Most people in Starbucks use a MBA, rarely see iPads. I drag my iPad mini to a Starbucks but you have to hold it, unless you have something like a Targus case that you can stand up the iPad at some angles in Landscape only, in Portrait you have to hold it. Comparably you place the MBA down on something flat and tilt the screen. Both are highly usable but which is what you want? :p
 

1BadManVan

macrumors demi-god
Dec 20, 2009
2,771
2,682
Bc Canada
After having iPads for years, my most recent being an 11” M1 Pro, I finally gave a MacBook a try for the first time and I honestly reach for my m2 air much more often than my iPad Pro.

My iPad Pro main use is if I want to play a specific game or stream a show in the kitchen while I’m cooking or cleaning.

But the rest is either my phone or my MacBook. After years of iPad only, it’s refreshing and feels like a more polished experienced
 
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jm31828

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 28, 2015
1,122
712
Bothell, Washington
Without opening the boxes, have you thought about going to a store and just playing with both a bit. The MBA is feature complete (trackpad/keyboard) with a 30W USB-C Power Adapter + cable. The iPad comes with no keyboard, no case, and 20W USB‑C Power Adapter + cable. Most people in Starbucks use a MBA, rarely see iPads. I drag my iPad mini to a Starbucks but you have to hold it, unless you have something like a Targus case that you can stand up the iPad at some angles in Landscape only, in Portrait you have to hold it. Comparably you place the MBA down on something flat and tilt the screen. Both are highly usable but which is what you want? :p
Yeah, absolutely did that a lot over the last couple of weeks... hard to get a feel for what it would be like at home, using my apps on the couch, though. :)
 

jm31828

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 28, 2015
1,122
712
Bothell, Washington
After having iPads for years, my most recent being an 11” M1 Pro, I finally gave a MacBook a try for the first time and I honestly reach for my m2 air much more often than my iPad Pro.

My iPad Pro main use is if I want to play a specific game or stream a show in the kitchen while I’m cooking or cleaning.

But the rest is either my phone or my MacBook. After years of iPad only, it’s refreshing and feels like a more polished experienced
Thanks for sharing! Do you have a desktop Mac (Mac Mini or iMac) as well?
 

Ludatyk

macrumors 601
May 27, 2012
4,392
3,145
Texas
Well I found the note on the Best Buy website that outlines the return policy for laptops, and yep- I was way off base. I think I was confusing it with what you said, the blurb on their site about activatable devices, which of course the MBA would not be.
Yeah, I tend to shop quite a bit at Best Buy. So, I'm well aware of the return policies there lol.

Without opening the boxes, have you thought about going to a store and just playing with both a bit. The MBA is feature complete (trackpad/keyboard) with a 30W USB-C Power Adapter + cable. The iPad comes with no keyboard, no case, and 20W USB‑C Power Adapter + cable. Most people in Starbucks use a MBA, rarely see iPads.
Tbf, I'm not sure what most people use in Starbucks has anything to do with the OP choosing MBA or the iPad.

I'm fully aware what the iPad lacks when unboxing, but I gravitate towards it. For my particular setup (M1 1TB 5G 12.9" iPP, MK, Apple Pencil)... I could of have gotten a 14" MBP if I were to wait 5 to 6 months, but I prefer the iPad.
 
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Realityck

macrumors 603
Nov 9, 2015
6,208
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Silicon Valley, CA
Yeah, absolutely did that a lot over the last couple of weeks... hard to get a feel for what it would be like at home, using my apps on the couch, though. :)
You click and open an app, that all you can see mainly, as IPadOS doesn't have floating windows. You have to learn some touchscreen movements to do things. It will take you a bit to get use to using a iPad touchscreen. Some things are easy, some are more of a challenge because the interface is not like pull down menus and keystroke shortcuts, its finger tips or an Apple Pencil. In this manner somethings are as efficient as macOS, while others are tedious because you don't have a cursor to accurately point and select a string of text without a pencil. So for extensive forum contributions a iPad can be slower to work with. I use both all the time. Yes sometimes to correct something that is buggy with iPadOS interface I give up and use a Mac. :D
 
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