My iPad Dream - replace iPhone?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by iRCL, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. iRCL, Nov 16, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011

    iRCL macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2011
    Right now I use a MacBook (I change it up every several months, going to an air 11" soon) as my only computer and I have an iPhone 4; my wife also has MBP and iPhone 4. I'm on the 2GB plan she's on the 200MB plan. I could probably fit in to 250MB.

    I'm interested in iPad. Who isn't? But there's no place for it between my iPhone and MBP. I am a software engineer by day, do App development by night, and am in graduate school for computer engineering - there's almost nothing I do that *doesn't* require a full OS (i.e. MBP). However, I use my iPhone constantly - email, reading, games, music, calendar/productivity, mobile browsing.

    The one thing I truly hate about the iPhone is that we're spending about $100 a month, and I literally call my wife and my parents. And very very rarely call other places like utilities, restaurants, hotels, work, etc. I do sometimes travel for work - sometimes it's 2 weeks a year, sometimes it's as much as 3 months a year, and during those times I'm quite expected to answer a phone and need one to call out too.

    What I ideally would love, would be to ditch the iPhones, ditch the AT&T plan, buy us each an iPad with data plan, and somehow transition to VOIP. But from what I see, it doesn't seem like there is any "killer app" for VOIP that allows you to do .. you know, 'normal' stuff like receive calls in a manner you would expect. And they also seem somewhat prone to breaking - Skype recently seemed to have a disaster of an update. Losing my phone capability until they sort out a mess would be pretty awful.

    I keep thinking about this and it keeps seeming more attractive, although risky and maybe strange and not (yet?) feasible. I haven't talked about it with my wife, she may hate the idea which would kind of make it a non-starter, but there's no reason to bother her unless I've got a solution..

    I think at the end of the day:

    - Save ~$600/year
    - Superior device
    - Won't be quite as fast to compulsively whip out my device every 5 seconds
    - Won't have the repulsion of paying $50-60/mo for voice minutes that I'm not using

    - Carry the iPad everywhere - somewhat inconvenient?
    - Initial purchase price of iPads roughly $1200 expected [resale would recoup at least $7-900 of that eventually]
    - High risk of losing phone capability
    - VOIP solution won't be free (significantly cheaper expected)
    - Restricted to speakerphone type use (or require headset..)

    I am very interested in hearing comments on this... especially if someone has tried it
  2. m3coolpix macrumors 6502a


    Dec 24, 2007
    I'm thinking along these lines with my recent iPad 2 purchase (and my wife is getting a Kindle Fire for Christmas) you said, there's not a complete and reliable VOIP option to ditch our iP4s yet (2 on our AT&T account, as well as a 3GS).

    What I am thinking bare bones iP4 data connectivity plan (if we keep the iP4s), or even switching to a simpler 'dumb' phone that can go along with a smaller data plan. The iPad 2 and Kindle Fire devices are going to kill our 'want' for re-upping for the latest/greatest iP4S or iP5.
  3. iRCL, Nov 16, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011

    iRCL thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2011
    That's a good point that I thought about but neglected to mention. So, the option basically being to buy like a pay-as-you-go phone. So tracphone, that's $120 a year basically for some average amount of minutes. So 2 phones, $240/year. Plus you have another device to charge, maintain contacts on, and so on. Plus it's sort of picking up a very awful device to use a slightly better device (iPad) so I think the net result is not good
  4. iRCL thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2011
    I guess the problem here is that an iPad just isn't a phone no matter how you slice and dice things. It's too bad because I don't understand having both of these devices. For example, there's a guy in my class who has a MBP, an iPad, and an iPhone. He sits down and pulls them all out on the table during class. And just surfs facebook on his MBP anyway.

    That basically sums it up I guess - paying for multiple devices, and separate service for the devices, and carrying all of them around - to do the same basic tasks with them..
  5. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    I have a MBA, iPad and iPhone. And while some tasks do overlap, mostly, I use each of them for different sets of tasks.

    MBA is for heavy word processing. I might also surf the web or watch the occasional video on it if I happen to have it out, but mostly, once I shut it down after work, I don't open it up again until I go back to work.

    iPad is my most frequently used device. I use it to surf the web, read ebooks, watch videos, play games, listen to music over my bluetooth speakers, and light word processing while I'm commuting on the train or bus (MBA is too awkward to take out in bus/train).

    iPhone is for phone (duh), texting (though with iMessage, I can now also text from the iPad), music over headphones, and occasionarily reading ebooks when I'm in a situation where taking out the iPad is awkward. I do have a game or two that work better on the iPhone than the iPad, but most games are better on the iPad's larger screen.

    Actually, when the iPad first came out, I thought it might maybe replace my iPod touch (didn't have an iPhone back then). However, once I started using them both, I found that they were quite different devices, and I usually carry both around, and switch back and forth depending on what I'm doing. If I want to listen to music while walking, then the iPod/iPhone is the best device for that. If I want to read a book on the subway, then depending on how crowded the train is, I either use the iPhone or the iPad. Watching videos, surfing the web, playing most games, the iPad wins hands down. Yes, it's another device to keep charged, but I just have two plugs next to my bed and I plug both in every night before I go to bed, it takes only a second more to plug in a second device.

    So if you can afford it, I'd encourage everyone to get both. It's true that some people might have use cases where an iPad can replace their phone or their computer, but most people will find that they have uses for all three -- computer, iPad and smartphone.
  6. m3coolpix macrumors 6502a


    Dec 24, 2007
    Mostly Ditto. But my 3 devices are iPhone, iPad, and new Mac Mini (cause my 2007 MBP died...and the mini loaded out is really all I need horsepower wise for a desktop, just use it with 2 32" 1080p monitors).

    I see it also as location/time based device usage. The iPad gets more use in the evenings, while the iPhone/Mac get more use in the day....unless I'm traveling....then it's iPhone/iPad almost all the time (although I actually do have a setup to travel with the mini and it's monitor/keyboard/mouse <- it's for a display of my work at locations I go to).
  7. iRCL thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2011
    Thanks for sharing. With iCloud it does definitely become easier to have them both. For example iWork synchronized between the iPhone and iPad, it shouldn't matter which one you pick up and use right? And I'm sure that's coming to iWork'12 or whatever's next too, to complete the loop. I didn't want to drag out yet another 'what do I need an iPad' for thread but I guess they all end this way :)

    My activity is so screwed up that I think I'm just not the use case for an iPad. I sit at work all day and use my iPhone for music and messaging and emailing, that's about it. I could use an iPad for that but I'd need to carry both to have phone, and it looks worse when my boss walks in to my office and I'm holding an iPad with 2 hands typing away instead of casually using my phone that I can click off..

    My commute is sucky and trafficy so I spend the entire thing on my iPhone writing emails and stuff. I definitely can't do that with an iPad because I can't hold it with 1 hand

    When I get home I'm constantly with my very young children doing all kinds of things and I will take my iPhone out all the time randomly when I get a push alert or need to jot something down or whatever, while we're taking a walk or down at a playground or in the back yard or in the play room playing around - an iPad would draw them over way more and isn't something I can "put away" real fast to get back on to meaningful tasks, and isn't something I can just "take out" real fast to check either.. unless I carry it from room to room, which I could do on a laptop already but obviously never do because that's clunky

    Then after the kids are asleep my wife and I are usually on our laptops and I'm doing stuff that absolutely requires a full OS, like writing code or running engineering software in VMs or writing long papers or stuff like that, switching around a ton and pulling up webpages a lot while I wait for short tasks etc. All of that I think would be slower and clumsy on an iPad (or impossible)

    Every day ends with me in bed using my iPhone and I think that's the #1 time I would use an iPad. I wish I had a bigger screen to read on, or write longer emails on, or (more rarely) watch netflix on or something. I can take my MBP (11" MBA is easier) with me but it's kinda hot and kinda awkward and reading or whatever is out of the question (hate it)

    I left out the days when I have classes and go to my university but when I'm there I'm doing almost the exact type of work that would require a full OS. I take notes on paper and have no interest in digital. And I've only got like a year of classes left so I don't care to make a big life change with that - I've gotten to the end of grad school without an iPad and am totally comfortable with how I learn/note take..

    So that was a big monologue of, I guess, me talking myself totally out of an iPad hahaha
  8. m3coolpix macrumors 6502a


    Dec 24, 2007
    I had that monologue back when the iPad 1 came out.....which was when I didn't need glasses.....
  9. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Well, I find the iPad is a lot easier to carry from room to rooom than a laptop! True, it's less easy to whip out than an iPhone, but not having to open the lid and wait for it to boot up / resume from sleep as with a laptop makes a huge difference in ease of use.

    And this is exactly where the iPad excels, and the main reason I was so excited when the iPad was first announced. I lined up on the first day it went on sale to get one -- and I've never lined up to buy an electronic device before! But I love to read in bed, and like you say, with a laptop that's impossible.

    Still, I do agree the iPad isn't for everybody, and you may be right that it might not be for you. On the other hand, there's no real way to tell if you will or will not find an iPad useful other than actually using it. Perhaps you might consider looking for an used iPad 1. I haven't checked on the prices for used iPads, but if you can find something for a reasonable price, it could be a way to try one out without feeling guilty about spending too much money on a device that isn't strictly "necessary."
  10. tgcken, Nov 16, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011

    tgcken macrumors member

    Mar 8, 2011
    Without any regard to what you do or do not decide to do about the ipad, I recommend you switch to AT&T's pay as you go service with your current iPhone.

    Since you already have an iPhone, all you need is a SIM card for PayGo which you can usually get for free from AT&T.

    I've been on $.10 a minute for the past 8 months and have had no problems. This summer I purchased a used iphone4 and now use it on my paygo plan. I have data and texting as well, and the whole thing usually runs about $10-12 a month. The biggest expense is texting by far.

    The minimum monthly cost is $100/12 months, or $8.33 a month.

    If you still want an ipad, go for it. Either way you're already saving money.

    --- Might want to consider a used 1st gen, or even just a low spec'd iPad. Found a first gen 16gb on craigslist for $250 when the ipad2 was announced. Have gotten tons of use out of it, without much upfront investment. Perhaps its just me, but that extra $1000 for a maxed out iPad 2 would in my opinion add very little marginal benefit for a very high marginal cost.
  11. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    Virgin Mobile has smartphone plans (unlimited data, 300 minutes, unlimited texts) for $35/month. Maybe that is something you could consider instead of a Trackfone as you mentioned.
  12. iRCL thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2011
    This is interesting. I didn't even know it existed! The voice plans look perfect, but I'm confused about the data plans and confused about how you could get away with $10 to $12 a month? It looks like the data plans are about twice as expensive as the normal iPhone data plans, and they're all above $10, so..

    I really like the $2/day plan that activates only when you use the phone on that day. That would work out so much better for me. Almost every time I use the phone it's about 25 minutes so right there I beat the 10cents/call...

    I wish I could get that plan on contract even hah :)

    Yeah I'm with you on that. Completely on board with the base units. I resell all of my devices and always make out quite well on it. So the expense isn't killer since I know I'll end up reselling and recouping 80-90% in general. I may do that, it's hard to say..
  13. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    From your described daily use, I don't think you'd actually be happy without your iPhone. It sounds like you use it a lot - and while yes, a voip app or dumb phone may largely solve the problem of making calls, that's the thing you do the least. The iPhone is far better at quickly checking emails, sending text messages, etc. And I'd wager that if you pay attention to your use for a few days, you pull it out rather frequently to look up basic things while out and about or otherwise away from your computer. The iPad doesn't serve this purpose well because it's too big to be always with you unless you always carry a bag - and even then, it's in your bag, not your pocket.

    The iPad really IS an in-between device for exactly the scenario you describe above. The reality is that for many people we are SO digitally connected that there is a real call for 3 devices in our lives. I can tell you where the iPad works for me really well - despite also having an iPhone, iMac, and work-issued (but essentially personal) laptop.

    The iPad is great at night in bed as you suppose - but it's also great at the breakfast table in place of the newspaper or whatever else you read. It's awesome as a recipe reference in the kitchen. It's great in the livingroom while others are watching tv. It's the best device we have for sharing pictures with guests or otherwise sharing something digital. All of my magazine subscriptions are now on the iPad alone. With my frequent travel, I don't touch my laptop anymore until I need to work. I get my magazines and can buy a new book even when away from home. In the airport, car, or on the plane, it's much more comfortable for reading, web browsing, or doing basic email. I never worry about the battery, even when traveling to the other side of the world. It's always ready and approachable in a way that a laptop isn't. An iPad isn't for everyone, but it is hard to quantify how useful it is until you've lived with one.
  14. Zcott macrumors 68020

    Oct 18, 2009
    Belfast, Ireland
    You could probably save some by not buying a new MacBook every few months if you're interested in cost reduction.
  15. steviem macrumors 68020


    May 26, 2006
    New York, Baby!
    *Ding ding ding* we have a winner!

    For your requirements, and that I'd guess you carry your MacBook pro most places, I would say you don't need to get an iPad. I spend maybe less than an hour on my computer a week going through photos in aperture, after that it is really just for syncing podcasts to my iPhone and iPad. I carry my MacBook with me for work, but only take it out when I'm working onsite, even then, the iPad is getting more useful as apple brings out more admin type apps.
  16. vitzr macrumors 68030


    Jul 28, 2011
    The choices are easy, the solution is not.

    The hurdle in this case seems to be your wise consideration of the costs involved.

    I'm very happy with my solution, also an engineer, I use an:
    iPhone 4S
    iPad 2
    2011 13" MBA
    2011 15" MBP
    2010 Mac Pro

    See how addicted I am to having just the right tool for the job?

    And that's not all of my personal Apple ecosystem, just the core group.

    And obviously that's not even talking about the expense.

    So my point is? There's no easy solution when money comes into play.

    That said, I believe you're in good shape now. Make do with what you have, then as your income increases you'll have the ability to own more.

    See how easy that is ?
  17. B.A.T macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2009
    I have an iPad1 that I take to work with me. I text with it all the time and occasionally make phone calls as well (although not in public). I have iPhone envy (especially the camera) but for me I just can't see the point in paying the monthly fees on a phone.

    Wait for the next iPad to come out and see if the carriers get rid of iPad2s. I bought a refurbished 16gb for $329. Maybe that deal will come along again.
  18. iRCL thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2011
    Actually, this isn't true.

    Since 2007 I alternate between buying my wife a MB and myself a MB whenever the newest one comes out on refurb. I sell the oldest and rotate in the newest. I buy @ refurb prices and sell the old one on craigslist for roughly 90-95% of the cost - before I have an expense such as a power adapter, battery, etc. I actually sold my 11" MBA for exactly what I bought it for. I've done the same thing with a 21.5" and 27" iMac as well

    Almost all the sales have been to guys who wanted a Mac, their wives said absolutely not, and they buy these because it's "such a great deal" (and I'm sure they lie about what they paid) and because they can't be made to return it.

    It has been working for 4 years now and for a quite small price we always have brand new computers and pay nothing over total cost of ownership except the time investment of selling them. So no this is actually already a cost mitigation strategy and works GREAT. ymmv I'm in the Washington DC area


    That's interesting. I've been contemplating all this stuff a lot recently. I think there's an interesting balance here between getting "full functionality" from the fewest amount of devices possible, and getting "exactly the right tool for every job" from having many devices.

    I'm kind of a minimalist and I think this may be why I struggle on the iPad issue. As others in this thread have suggested, they do things like read magazines and such on their iPad or they will use it during specific times of the day and so on. For me I feel more lean and mean maybe if I can make use of 1 device to do all of that.

    A somewhat relevant example is that at work I gave away my 2nd monitor because, as many times as I have had a 2nd monitor at work (several), I've never really used it. Sure side by side doc compares are fine or whatever, but I can alt tab frantically and achieve about the same result. Same thing on a 27" iMac I usually just full screened everything anyhow (some exceptions), and on an 11" MBA I don't have any issues with screen real estate because everything's full screened and I can scroll and apple-tab and so on. Most people would rather solve these productivity issues differently (more screens/screen real estate) but I find satisfaction in being able to handle these cases with a little less efficiency, but without having a whole extra device to solve the problems. Therein may be the answer to why I am thinking more and more that the iPad would go unused in my hands

    Lot of great thoughts in this thread. Who would think the iPad is such a personal decision that really has to match up with your personality and lifestyle? I can't believe it is so popular because I think it is the most complicated decision to make..
  19. snugharbor macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2007
    Phone on iPad

    Get the app, TextNow which not only gives you texting but give you a free phone number so you can call and receive calls. You are then good to go.
  20. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    iPad (3G preferred) + AcroBits $6 (with G729 codec $9) + + Moshi Moshi MM01H = awesome big & cheap phone.

    If you want to use a MacBook use Telephone (free app in the Apple App Store) + + Moshi Moshi MM01H
  21. m3coolpix macrumors 6502a


    Dec 24, 2007
    We use TextNow for family texting/calls for almost exclusive communication between my kid's iPod Touches, and our 3 iPhones on our AT&T account. Works very well. Anytime the kids are connected to our home wifi, they can text and/or call their grandparents, or their best friends (which we helped their parents set it up also). It's free texting and free calling all within the app for everyone. Whenever the iPod Touches leave the house, nothing works (which is how we want it). Doesn't matter where the iPhones are, because they always have either 3G or wifi.

    TextNow is nice, however....we hate the SPAM from them (at least once a week it seems). It also struggles (like any VOIP app would) when the iPhones are only on an EDGE connection (which happens sometimes when I travel).

    Google Voice would also serve the same purpose, but it's not near as simple to set up....
  22. spinedoc77 macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    I've tried it on and off for various reasons and I just couldn't get it to work as well as a full cell phone solution. Here are my thoughts.

    First of all this depends on where you live. If you live in a city that has ubiquitous wifi coverage you might be able to pull it off but with some major caveats. If you live in a more suburban area, such as myself, you won't be able to pull it off. There are several reasons I think we are just not there yet.

    I'll give you a huge example of what happened to me just recently. I live in the northeast, right in the middle of those nasty storms last month that shut down power in most of the northeast for a good week. ATT completely went down for about a day, whether it's cellular or data/voip you were stuck any way you look at it, but so would landline users with wireless powered phones. After the first day I had very sparse ATT service, I would have to be in the right area and I still dropped lots of calls, but as long as I could call my family and communicate with my wife I was fine with it. There was NO data, none at all. I have an ipad2 with the unlimited data package and it was really just a dead weight (actually it was incredibly invaluable as I spent all that time with no power reading books on the ipad in the dark/cold). But in terms of any VOIP it was completely dead.

    Now that's an extreme example, but one thing I've noted with ATT is that even in areas with 2-3 bars of reception and a 3g indicator for some reason data is very spotty. Quite often I will have 2-3 bars, a 3g indicator, I can make and receive calls just fine, but my data will time out, and if I try to use VOIP it sounds horrible, dropped calls, calls not connecting, calls sound like they are underwater, etc. This is why I say if you are in a city with a lot of wifi spots you might be able to make it work, VOIP under wifi usually is pretty decent, but over 3g it can be very spotty even with what you think are good signals.

    With that said if you can get a cheapie prepaid cell phone with only a few hundred minutes for emergencies it's not out of the realm of possibility to make VOIP full time work, it's just that you will be regularly annoyed and frustrated when you can't make a call, or when it sounds like crap. I use google voice paired with Talkatone (awesome program), but have used skype as well as a couple of other VOIP solutions and they are all the same, it's about the data connection.


    Oh and I almost forgot 2 of the other caveats. First you lose MMS, might not be a big deal for some, but I use it a lot with my wife and upcoming daughter. I believe Google is working on this, I thought I read that somewhere, but currently I'm not sure of any MMS service, hopefully someone chimes in and says there is one as I'd be interested.

    2nd is functionally handling phone calls. I have yet to find a bluetooth headset that actually works well, whether it's me hearing the other person in a crowded room, or the other person hearing me accurately. Having VOIP on the ipad reminds me of the Trigger Happy TV guy who would walk around with the HUGE cell phone and scream into it.
  23. iRCL thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2011

    Thank you so much for the first hand experience. This sounds like exactly what I would have ended up doing. You have saved me misery :)
  24. ironheadb31996 macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2011
    This might help

    Me and the wife were in the same boat and we wanted to lose the contracts of the cell phones. We only have the WiFi models of the iPads but what we did still works. If you go for the 3g models then all you need to do is download the app textnow and you get a phone number that people can call you on and you have picture and texting with that app. The app is free and the service for calling costs between 1.99 for 100 min and 9.99 for 500 min. The best part is those min do not expire so when you run out you buy more. This would turn you iPad into a really big iPhone. The only thing that you would not be able to do is call 911. Try that and see what you think.

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