All iPads New to iPad=Which one?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Codeseven, Jun 22, 2015.

  1. Codeseven, Jun 22, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015

    Codeseven macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2008
    Hi everyone. I spend most of my time over at the MacBook Pro forum because that's all I own. But now I'm contemplating buying an iPad, something I know little about. I have an old 2008 MBP that about as heavy as a ships anchor and defies the term portable.

    I'm traveling and have just bought a travel guitar and case which, conveniently, has an iPad pocket. I like to play and record so I'm using Digital Audio Software and Guitar Amp Modeling software. I'll also be using it for the usual internet surfing and email. So not allot of heavy demand but I don't want any chance of audio signal lag (latency) while playing live and recording. I don't mind spending a bit more if that's what it will take (considering this may replace my intention of spending $2-3,000 on a new MacBook Pro!).


    1) Would an iPad Mini be sufficient?
    2) If, not a Mini, which version of iPad would be sufficient?
    3) There is a new iPad Air (Pro?) coming out, is it enough of a game changer to wait till it's available?
    4) Thanks!
  2. IrishVixen macrumors 68020


    Jun 20, 2010
    Before you even try to figure out what model you might want: is the software you need or an equivalent that you are comfortable with available in iOS app form? Because there's nothing like dropping $500-1000 and then discovering your new wonder toy won't actually do what you need it to do.

    Assuming you have that covered already...

    Differences between models:
    Mini 2 = Air 1 Basically the same specs, except the Mini displays a more limited range of colors. This is mostly relevant to visual artists and photographers.

    Mini 3 = Mini 2 + Touch ID and gold color option. The specs are identical, no other differences, just a higher price.

    Air 2 is the current latest and greatest. Faster, more ram, thinner & lighter, + Touch ID. Thinness comes at a price; it vibrates a bit at volumes over 1/3. Some hate this, some barely notice it, and there are loads of posts around here on the subject that you might want to search for. Try it before you buy it, as it's a real dealbreaker for some people.

    If an app exists, any of these models can run it fairly well.

    The rumored, not fully confirmed, no concrete release date Pro model: beyond the fact that it will be larger than the Air 1 & 2 (and therefore probably won't fit in the "iPad pocket" on your new guitar case), very little is confirmed. Current rumors can be found by clicking on "Front Page" just below the MacRumors logo, then on "iPad Pro" on the toolbar, a little further down on the right.

    Beyond all that, I'd suggest that you not get suckered into the 16 GB models. Both the operating system and apps grow larger every year. You cannot add storage later, and not all media can be run from an external wireless drive, so if you ARE going to get the 16 anyway, do the research to find out how big your recording app files are and if they can be used from an external device. (Probably not a bad idea to find this out regardless; iPads do not have a drag and drop file system the way a Mac does. Your files either go through the iTunes app on your computer when you sync, or up to the cloud & you can hopefully access them from there--which cloud services are supported may very by app used.)

    Personal opinion only: I'm a writer who uses the iPad as my primary device since my MacBook Pro is on its last legs; I was really looking forward to the Pro at one point. Not anymore. The Air 2 is plenty capable for what I need, and it's not worth waiting for the less portable Pro. But I came to that conclusion after doing a good bit of research and really hammering out what my personal needs were likely to be for the next two years before I upgraded.
  3. Codeseven thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2008
  4. Codeseven thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2008
    Hey, thank you Irish, I appreciate that.

    Unfortunately my 'main' DAW, Reaper, does not have an iOs version but I have enough experience with it and GB that I feel I can adapt to another DAW if need be. The recording I do is just for me so not a professional level. seems like using an iPad for music and recording has really gained allot of popularity.

    If an iPad can do what I need it to, it would be a relief to stop waiting for the latest and greatest MBP and the rather huge price tag it will include. Just the portability of an iPad is exciting to me. I've been lugging my MBP around for years and really dreaded dragging it along on another trip.

  5. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    It may be that an iPad is the perfect tool to do what you need, and if you decide to go that route, more power to you. It's worth noting though that big strides have been made in the laptop arena as well, and a computer like the base model 12" Macbook, let alone the more powerful and cheaper Macbook Air, are significantly more powerful than your Pro model from 2008. And they weigh all of 2-2.5lbs...
  6. IrishVixen macrumors 68020


    Jun 20, 2010
    I get not wanting to drag around an MBP--I have a heavy 2008 17" myself that literally never leaves my home office. The weight of dragging it around was the main reason I was an early iPad adopter. :) Zhenya's correct though, newer MacBook Airs and MBPs are light years from what they were weight wise, though not as light as any iPad currently.

    I have no experience with GarageBand, but it might be worth confirming to see if your most used features are present in the iPad version. A lot of times, functionality differes a little between Mac & iOS apps.

    Other than that, if what you need musically can be done on an iPad, I'd say pick one up and try it out to see if you can live with any other limitations iOS may have that you're not yet aware of. You have 14 days to return it without penalty if you buy directly from Apple, and it's probably the best way to see if an iPad is a good choice for you.
  7. Codeseven thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2008
    Thanks guys.

    I bought my wife an 11" MacBook Air a couple years ago (she bought me the MBP) and I automatically tighten up in anticipation of lifting my normal laptop load only to pleasantly be surprised at how feather light it feels in comparison (as you know Irish).

    Along with what Irish pointed out, one of my favorite programs, Scuffham's S-Gear, does not have an iOs version, so I'm not liking that. Also, I'm 56, so even my 15" laptop is hard to see at times :( so an even smaller screen might not be a good thing.
  8. IrishVixen macrumors 68020


    Jun 20, 2010
    As for S-Gear, check around for alternatives. Many well loved programs have been tossed by the wayside over the last few years in favor of something iOS based as the iPad ecosystem improves. Others eventually develop tablet apps after enough demand from their customers.

    Font size can be something of an issue on the Mini (I've spent the last 2 years on the first, non retina Mini and then on the Mini 2, which does have a retina screen.) I don't recommend it if you have close up vision problems, unless you're willing to zoom in routinely on websites or heavily use the Reader function built into Safari. I do both.

    Just today I moved to a refurbished Air 2, and that's definitely less of an issue with the larger screen. Any retina device will improve things a bit over your old screen though; the resolution on the retina screens imakes for a significant improvement in readability.

    Again, this is something you are only likely to decide when you've had one in your hands & used it for a few hours. From a reading standpoint, most people I know tend to move an ipad closer to their face than they can with a laptop...reading it more like a book, magazine, or newspaper than a computer. This compensates somewhat for the smaller screens.

    My in laws are between 65 & 70. One uses an iPad 4. The other bought a MacBook Air. Neither complains about reading on their heavily-used devices, both rarely use the other's choice. Everyone's a little different, and you just have to find what works for you. :)
  9. XTheLancerX macrumors 68000


    Aug 20, 2014
    NY, USA
    I would definitely go with an Air 2 if anything, or wait for the Air 3. I, myself am torn on whether you should wait for the Air 3 or just get an Air 2 now. Try out the Air 2 in store and take into account how much you need the device (whether it's a desperate "I need it this instant" or "I can get by fairly well to get better tech in the future/more bang for my buck").

    I personally am a user of a mini 2 and it is really stuttery (UI wise, apps are fine) and it constantly refreshes safari tabs and apps that are only in the background for a small amount of time. So yeah, I would advise against the mini 2, mini 3, and iPad Air. The iPad Air 2 has none of these issues and I would expect it to last quite awhile into the future compared to the other iPads, plus it has Touch ID and the "Splitview" feature of iOS 9.
  10. nj-morris macrumors 68000


    Nov 30, 2014
    I would advise waiting for the next generations of iPads. The Mini 4 is likely to have pretty much the same internals and goodies as the Air 2 in a smaller form factor. The Air 3 is likely to have an improved processor and maybe better battery life. The Pro is likely to have a bigger, higher resolution screen, more pro processor, more memory, more storage options, maybe even pro software. All models are also likely to get Force Touch, which is definitely a plus, especially for the iPad. Even if none appeal to you, all models that their currently selling are likely to stay in the lineup for a cheaper price, so there is still those options.
    Hope that helps.
  11. Codeseven thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2008
    Thanks guys, I appreciate your advice.

    Being basically a testbed to see if I even like iPad's I went ahead and got a simple Air 1 16Gb Refirb for pretty cheap (geez, Apple Refurbs look brand new!). I'll spend the next few months in the iOS environment to see if it's adequate for my daily usage. So far, it's been great!
  12. ser968 macrumors member

    May 18, 2008
    For anyone but a casual user, I would recommend the Air2 - the others are too slow. Like a previous poster indicated, if you can wait, get the Air3.
  13. macintoshmac, Jul 31, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2015

    macintoshmac macrumors 68030


    May 13, 2010
    Irish, I am a writer and web designer too, and with the same predicament: a MacBook Pro 15 Late 2011 on its last legs. I say last legs because of the following:

    - It needs a new battery (In India, the cost is about 10-11k as compared to the cost of this laptop at 116k at the time of purchase) So, that is 10 percent of the cost of the laptop.
    - This being a 2011 model, I have doubts regarding its graphics chipset dying on me anytime. There are signs sometimes that get me really worried.

    Other than this, the laptop works flawlessly performance-wise.

    I am considering an iPad for the following things:
    - content creation (Microsoft Office 365)
    - content consumption (browsing, research)
    - QuickBooks
    - MoneyWiz
    - Todoist
    - DayOne
    - iOS Games
    - Movies

    This leaves the MBP for the following:
    - uTorrent
    - Rapidweaver
    - Transmit

    Point is, it seems that since most of my life is now in the cloud, right from my Outlook email to the option of using Office 365 Online for documents and collaborating with writers, everything I want to do is possible on the iPad. This takes a load off the MBP, which means I only need it for software development and my websites, which means fewer chances of it giving up on me?

    I want to wait for a design refresh I fancy may happen next year, in the MBP department. I do not want to put down close to $3000 on a new MBP today, when I know that next year the chipsets will be much much better than today and maybe we will have a design refresh (I am looking for that new MB keyboard in the MBP).

    Now, with this background, my point of quoting you was this:

    Since you are a writer too, do you think my approach holds merit? Offloading all my work on the iPad so that the MBP can rest and is used only for websites, which means lesser chances of death this year?

    I have an Asus FonePad 7 that I can use uTorrent on to download stuff, so that takes care of using the MBP even less and for only the requisite times - thereby theoretically prolonging the life till when I would like to put down Rs. 2 lakh (this is 0.2 million Rupees or $3000) for a new MBP with a design refresh.

    iPad Air 2 128GB with cellular comes for around $950 (65 rupees for 1 dollar) and gives me the following benefits:

    - since my life is now relying heavily in the cloud, I rely on my wifi which can be flaky at times, at least twice a week these days, and hence the cellular option gives me seamlessness that I would love to have.
    - it solves my battery issues, with Apple-stated 6-7 hours or so? This is fine, I have a power bank as well as I will use it at home mostly so power is not going to be an issue.

    How is the experience of typing on the iPad? I lazily do around 5-10 articles of around 500-600 words a day, in only content writing, and I wonder how the experience is on the iPad. Are you using a keyboard? Would you suggest a BrydgeAir keyboard accessory? (I would love to have backlit keys)

    Thanks for reading!
  14. IrishVixen macrumors 68020


    Jun 20, 2010
    It sounds like you've thought everything through. I'm not seeing any significant reason you can't do what you propose. I'd be pretty surprised if battery life was as low as 6-7 hours unless you're in an area with very poor cellular signal, and I'd think that number was a minimum you can expect.

    For a post of 500-600 words or so, I often do just type on the virtual keyboard. It's not as fast as a real keyboard, but it's sometimes more convenient. I do use a Bluetooth keyboard as well though; currently, I use Logitech's Keys To Go. I don't like buying expensive accessories that aren't device agnostic--that is, if I can't use the device with my next iPad (or horrible thought! an Android or Windows tablet sometime later on), I generally won't buy it. So a keyboard like the BrydgeAir or a stand that only held a specific model of iPad would not be something I'd spend money on. But many people do prefer to use iPad specific keyboards & keyboard cases.

    Good luck with your plan!
  15. macintoshmac, Aug 4, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2015

    macintoshmac macrumors 68030


    May 13, 2010
    I thought 6-7 hours as I didn't know .. totally new to the iPad ways.. Glad to know it will be more!

    BrydgeAir comes with Air shims installed and secondary Air 2 shims in the box.. I am going to be buying an Air 2, or let's see if an Air 3 comes. I think they could just give me replacement shims at the cost of shims for a new device? Wondering.. But yes I will not be buying the keyboard straightaway anyway.. so I have time... I am waiting for an announcement though.. maybe September ...

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