The ideal combination of Apple products (to maxirmize productivity)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by luffytubby, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. luffytubby macrumors 6502a


    Jan 22, 2008
    For someone who loves the Apple ecosystem, what is the best combination of devices made by Apple to own, to get the maximum needed potential out of the devices, without becoming a headache with too many systems and devices, and some not being used enough.

    At the end of the day, these electronic devices are tools and tools are made to be used.

    I was wondering for example if productivity and if it would make more sense to get a Macbook Air 13 + Imac 27'' + Iphone


    Macbook Air 11 + Retina Macbook Pro + Apple TV + Airport Extreme + Ipad + Iphone


    a Retina Macbook Pro + Thunderbolt Display + Iphone


    To really get the best out of it, if money was not the issue - and if the needs was those of a normal consumer. Someone who likes to watch films, listen to music, edit video for youtube, play games in boot camp, browse, use the product at work/school/at friends and family houses, downloading.
    We're talking about the overall needs the most without succumbing to having too many devices (first world problems!)

    I just speculate and wonder about the perfect set up. What you would need. What in terms of storage? connectivity?
    It's interesting that we are now seeing things like the Apple Cinema Thunderbolt display. It has real computer parts. it's like a screen mixed with a dock since it has gigabit, needed USB ports and so on.

    TL;DR - which combination of apple products do you think compliment each other the best?
  2. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Your third option doesn't make sense. Why couple the Thunderbolt display with the Retina MBP which already has plenty of pixels?

    I would think that a MBA + Thunderbolt display + iPhone would be a reasonable option, more than Retina + Thunderbolt display.

    Anyway, a lot of this depends on what you do. There really is no way to recommend an ideal Apple setup without understanding what you do. I would think an iMac plus iPad plus iPhone would have an "ideal" mix of portability and power but without knowing more about what you do, it's difficult to make a credible recommendation.

    One thing to consider is upgradability. Apple desktops (Mac mini and iMac) are fairly upgradable except that iMac has a special HDD setup. If you want an Apple notebook, keep in mind that the most upgradable models are the non-retina MBPs while the MBA and Retina models require you to invest more up front for upgrades directly from Apple or brave some daunting disassembly/reassembly issues.
  3. 184550 Guest

    May 8, 2008
    I currently use a Mid 2011 iMac 21.5 inch as my main machine, I have a Mid 2012 Macbook Air 13 inch for school/ portability, iPhone 4S 64gb and a Apple TV 3. I use to have an iPad 3 Wifi + LTE but I found it redundant with an iPhone and MBA.

    I find that this combination works well for me. YMMV.
  4. throAU, Sep 4, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012

    throAU macrumors 601


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    2 portables is pointless.

    - Pick an air or an rMBP
    - if you want a second machine to use at a desk, maybe a 27" iMac (when they update)?

    However, personally, given the current lineup, i would take

    - Classic MBP 15 with high res option. no its not retina, but it has the ability to upgrade storage and ram easily.
    - replace the optical drive with an SSD
    - replace the spinning drive with a hybrid momentus XT
    - fill it up with 16gb of RAM. when 16gb dimms are out it should be able to take 32gb - the chipset can.
    - buy a 27" thunderbolt display for the desk
    - live with the 15" machine for portability. splitting work over multiple machines sucks.

    If you don't need 3d and quad core (the airs don't have it), and can live with 1280x800 res when on the road, the MBP 13" is a worthy consideration (tricked out with the same upgrades as the 15" above). It still has 2 drive bays, removable components and can maybe take 32gb of ram when the appropriate DIMMs are available, too. with an SSD it will be faster than an Air.

    I'd add an iphone, ipad and appleTV to that. AppleTV is good for the living room to easily stream to, ipad is good for browsing on the couch, and the iphone will sync to the other stuff for use while you're at work, etc.
  5. luffytubby thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 22, 2008

    well, if you had a Retina MBP, you could hook it to a thunderbolt just to get a larger image. for example if your working on photoshop for many hours its nice to have a bigger screen to have everything on, even if the small 15' already has more pixels.
    the thunderbolt display can hold HDDs, Gigabyte ethernet. its more like a dock. it seems like a needed access for many of these notebooks which lack things like sufficient amounts of thunderbolt ports, usb ports and so on..

    but is the 15 retina portable enough? would you combine that with an Iphone AND a Ipad/MBA 11?

    but you cant use more than one machine at a time. if you wanted the most light, yet most powerful then you only had to back up one device. the all-in-one.


    would you rather watch a movie or browse in bed on an Ipad rather than a Macbook Air 11 for example? (to your two notebooks are pointless statement )
  6. beammeupscottie macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2012
    For me it would be iMac + iPad + iPhone. Power at home, everything I need when I travel. Of course this is just my opinion, and there are as many different needs to be met as people.
  7. cvaldes macrumors 68040

    Dec 14, 2006
    somewhere else
    I have a Mac mini, an iPad, and an iPhone.

    The Mac mini is powerful enough for my needs at home. As a headless Mac, it's the most affordable. At home, I've always insisted on using decent-sized monitors, so this Mac is hooked up to a venerable 5-6 year old Dell 24" LCD.

    I actually have a 2006 MacBook sitting on a shelf collecting dust; I've noted that it has left the house a couple of times each year over the past 3+ years, a clear indication that I no longer need a notebook computer. It still runs great, but no longer serves the purpose of mobile computing.

    Everyone has their own needs, so I imagine each person will have their own "ideal combination."
  8. wolfpuppies3 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2012
    Virginia, USA
    iMac is an option as well. If you want the 27" monitor. I use one with my 15" MBPro as a desktop with the Apple 27" monitor. I use my 2012 13" MBA for portable use but still love my 2011 11" MBA and can't bring myself to part with it. I am a photographer and the 13" MB Air makes lots and lots of trips out of the house. Your portable needs may be different.

    Retina display is of no value to me with my photography as I use the 27" monitor to process images with at home and the resolution on my 13" MBA is plenty fine enough for on the road.

    Wife and I each have iPhones and 64 GB WIFI/4G iPads as well all networked wirelessly through an Airport extreme extended with an Airport Express.
  9. englishman macrumors 6502a


    Nov 6, 2006
    You need a desktop with a display, or 2. Mini or MP

    You need a laptop - MBA?

    You need a phone.

    That combination of 3 is ideal - if you want you could ditch the desktop and just hookup the laptop.

    I'm not a big fan of the iPad - neither a phone or a laptop.
  10. jmcrutch macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2010
    Here's what I plan to have within the next few months (much of which I have already):

    - iPod shuffle 2GB (for running/exercise)
    ---- maybe substitute new iPod nano?
    - iPod Classic (for music portability w/o need for cloud)
    - iPhone 4S 64GB (or iPhone 5?)
    - iPad mini 8" (for portable web-browsing and media consumption)
    - maybe an iPad (for home web-browsing and media consumption)
    - MacBook Air 13" - for portable computing
    - iMac 21.5 or 27" - for desktop computing
    ---- maybe substitute MacMini + Thunderbolt display instead?
    - AppleTV2 (1080p)
  11. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    As for 15 in MBP being "portable enough", now that I own an iPad, no "notebook" is portable enough. Not even a MBA. I have a BT keyboard for my iPad that I can use if I need to. I prefer watching movies on my iPad and reading ebooks on my iPad. My iPhone feels tiny by comparison.

    I'm considering a 13 in MBP to replace my 13 in MB later this year. Heck, I might even go Retina.

    You are proposing 3 devices. A MBP makes a fine desktop and the 15 in MBP makes an excellent desktop. Who cares if it's portable if you never take it with you because you have an iPad? I don't think I'd bother with 2 "computers." I'd have an iMac and iPad or a MBP and iPad. As for iPhone, it's a phone. It's with me all the time and in a pinch I can read an ebook on the thing but I'd much rather read an ebook on my iPad.

    One thing to consider is a Thunderbolt display is like a docking station. So I can understand why you might want one even if you have the Retina MBP, I just think it's overkill. I'd rather consider a non Retina MBP and Thunderbolt Display.

    I should mention that an 11 in MBA feels just like an iPad when you carry it around. It's just that when you use it, you flip it open and you are still using a notebook and there is nothing as easy to use on the couch or in bed as an iPad.
  12. KeithJenner macrumors 6502a

    Sep 30, 2010
    I have a 21" iMac at home as my main machine. It also has attached 5tb of external HDD's so acts as an iTunes server for the whole house. I usually use that machine if I'm working at home.

    I then have a 13" MBA which I take to work, but can also be used at home if I want to do some work somewhere other than my office.

    If I'm out on the road, or in meetings, I tend to just use my iPad unless I know that I will need some documents which are better handled on the Air. Usually the iPad is fine. It is also full of video and has books on it, so it is used for entertainment both at home and at work. It isn't unusual for me to have the iPad on my desk playing a video whilst I am doing my more mundane work.

    I only use my phone for calls, email and internet browsing. I could do with a lot lower spec than the iPhone, but go for the iPhone as it is so easy to keep in sync with everything else, otherwise I would just get the cheapest option that I could.
  13. luffytubby thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 22, 2008
    Good one. That makes a lot of sense actually.
  14. opinioncircle macrumors 6502a


    May 17, 2009
    For me productivity in the Apple ecosystem would be the following:

    - Macbookpro + iphone.

    No need for an iPad when you have an iPhone IMO. Yes, I would love to be proven wrong if someone can show me the way :D...
  15. iamsen47 macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2012
    Kobe, Japan
    Mini to use at home. Small enough to bring to the office if necessary.

    11" Air to bring to the office / work outside.

    iPad to read books, watch movies and some light surfing.

    The last 2 items I always carry with me.
  16. s1lv3r macrumors member


    Oct 25, 2010
    I'd go with a rMBP + Thunderbolt Display + iPhone + External USB3.0 HDD

    Maybe an Apple TV depending on how your house is or how do you want to watch movies.

    I've already had an 2010 13" MBA, and now i've the base rMBP. It still very portable and its one million times faster. Also I've already had an iPad 2 and in my case it was a complete waste of money. The SSD on both MBA and rMBP makes the computer much more practical, as I don't power off the computer every time. I agree with opinioncircle. If you already have an iPhone, there's no need for an iPad, especially if you have a laptop with SSD drive.
  17. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    The only person that can "prove you wrong" is you. Go on down and get some of that crack... ahem I mean iPad... and give it a try. It's not addicting. I promise. :D
  18. kolz macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2012
    imo the first one, desktop covered, mobility covered, telecom covered.
  19. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    13" MBA - coding, graphic design, web design, Adobe CS, light video/audio editing, listening to music, web browsing, email, etc.

    iPhone 4 (soon to be iPhone 5) - best smartphone on the market 2 years ago, does all that I need, syncs with my iTunes/iPhoto, has all the apps I want/need, mobile gaming, retina screen, mobile computer

    iPad 1 (soon to be new iPad) - entertainment device, watching movies, looking at photos, reading books, news apps, for on the couch or in bed when a laptop, something I pick up and put down all the time

    Apple TV - I plan on buying one of these when I have $99 to spare. Great way to share content from iPhone/iPad to my future HDTV (I also need to buy of these when I get about $200-$300 to spare)

    Mac Pro - workhorse computer, handles all of the various Linux/Windows VMs I run for dev work, great for moderate to heavy video/audio editing, great for heavy dev work
  20. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    I use a 15" MBP and an iPad. My wife uses an iMac and an iPad. We're both quite happy with our choices. We also have iPods for portable music and audio books. Since I got the iPad I find I use the laptop less for routine tasks like web browsing and email.
  21. flyguy206 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 5, 2008
    iMac + MBA + iPad + iPhone

    iMac main machine gets all major work done

    MBA work on the go

    iPad entertainment and light work

    iPhone 4s- talking texting music player looking up things on the go.
  22. hacke macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2011
    I'm good with Iphone + MBP with external display + iPod nano

    Only considering of buying an iPad for reading and couchsurfing ;)
  23. opinioncircle macrumors 6502a


    May 17, 2009
    Thanks for the tip :D....I already have an iPad, and having somewhat of a rough time in between my Mac & the iPad. So much that it is now my better half's primary computer ;)...

    The iPhone I could see in my mind, because of the "phone" :D part...Yes, I'm completely screwed up inside :cool::D:apple:
  24. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    For me the ideal combo is:
    *mini Server (or upgraded mini with dual drives)

    mini is a power-efficient beast to host and serve all your media. rMBP for all the work fun you need. iPhone meets the portability function better than iPad IMHO; you always have it on you. ATVs are a revelation now with improved AirPlay tech.
  25. Braniff747SP macrumors 6502


    May 30, 2010
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    MacBook Pro (Retina or not, whichever you prefer) + Thunderbolt Display + iPhone.

    Sounds like a nice set-up. Maybe an iPad too.

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