What can a laptop do than an iPad can't?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by yanksrock100, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. yanksrock100 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 30, 2010
    San Diego
    Hey guys. I'm a student, and was looking at MacBooks for school. Then I thought, I could use an iPad for everything I do, right? I mostly surf the web, email, FaceTime, and write documents. Also, I do minor video and photo editing (which can be achieved using the iPhoto and iMovie app). I can do school work using a Bluetooth keyboard. I can get a larger viewing area using a $99 apple tv.

    So, what can a laptop (MacBook) do that the new iPad can't?
    What is your opinion of using an iPad instead of a MacBook? It's certainly cheaper...it has a better screen...ect.

  2. basesloaded190 macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    Depending on what you are going to school for, Word, Excel, and PP will be crucial for most Universities. I know there is Pages, Keynote, and Numbers, but they aren't the same and it can be a pain going back and forth with both formats.
  3. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Do you actually have an iPad, and have you tried to write a paper using one?

    The iPad is a wonderful device, but the list of things a MacBook can do that an iPad can't is quite extensive. And even some of the things you *can* do on an iPad, like write a paper, is MUCH easier to do on a notebook or desktop.

    I have a hard time imagining that anyone could get through school with an iPad as their only computing device. If you have a desktop at home, and use the iPad as your on-the-go device, then MAYBE, depending on the kind of classes you take, and how iPad friendly your school setup is.
  4. silverblack, Jun 19, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012

    silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    Things that I require my students to do, which need access to computers, and cannot be done on iPad:

    - run full version of Excel
    - (updated) use full version of endnote with cite as you write function on word
    - use full version PowerPoint to prepare posters for presentation
    - access special education website to download files (flash based?) which don't work on iPad

    Bottom line: while iPad is a very useful tool for school, you'll also need to have a computer. It doesn't need to be an expensive Mac, a cheap old pc would do, and you don't have to have a laptop.
  5. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
  6. FSMBP macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2009
    Open multiple windows at the same time. I remember writing a paper for a film-class and it was nice having the movie playing for reference while I was typing. Or using an article on an online database & having that open next to your paper.

    That's just my example; I couldn't imagine constantly swiping between applications (I'm lazy :p)
  7. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
  8. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    Run any number of software programs, like the firmware update program on your favorite gadget?
  9. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    Store a huge amount of data locally, easily 400 gb, without accessing cloud or net. Read DVDs if you want to watch a movie without paying for the download. Attach USB flash drives. Connect via ethernet, which is faster than wi-fi.
  10. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    I use my iPad for several hours every day for my academic work, but if I was choosing between that and a macbook air, there is no question that I'd go for the macbook air, for the following reasons:

    - multi tasking (hugely helpful when you're writing papers, switching back and forth between the paper, journal articles, lecture notes, and so on)
    - referencing papers (to my knowledge, it's impossible to cite while you write on the iPad)
    - printing from the iPad can be more of hassle than from a macbook
    - and as others have said, full fledged versions of Microsoft Office are missing, as is also a USB port

    In short, I agree with silverblack:

  11. Snowy_River macrumors 68030


    Jul 17, 2002
    Corvallis, OR
    Myself, I think that the idea of a combination approach is a good one. As others have suggested, while you might be able to get by with just the iPad, you'll probably be creating more work for yourself because of the workarounds that you'll have to employ to achieve the results you're after.

    As someone who brought a laptop too class as an undergrad in the mid-nineties, and also as a grad student in the early 2000s, and now brings my iPad to meetings in place of a laptop, I can say that I would have greatly preferred to have a tablet for taking notes. But, I do think that you'll want access to the full power of a computer, as well.

    The setup that I'd recommend would be an iPad and a recent, but not necessarily new, Mac Mini or iMac. Really, any computer that is less than maybe six years old should give you plenty of power for that little bit more that you'll want to do from time to time.

    Also, you could get the iPad now and wait on the computer until you get to school and really start to see what you need. That way, if you can get by with only the iPad, you'll have the chance to find out.

    iPads are quite capable devices and it's really a matter of getting used to a somewhat different workflow. However, there will be some classes that, if you take them, you will need access to a full computer, whether that's your own in your dorm room or in the school computer labs.
  12. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Best case scenario: use the iPad for everything without problems. Worst-case scenario: the iPad is great for taking notes, great for writing papers, but cannot upload the assignment to Blackboard (no file system). It's not so awful.

    In my case, I actually could do everything on my iPad. I am a graduate student doing a lot with it (see my threads / posts). But, sometimes a computer comes in handy (see example above). As a student, the cool thing is that your school has computers available in computer clusters. You'll be fine.

    I you have the money, it wouldn't hurt to have an Air on hand. That's what I do.
  13. yanksrock100 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 30, 2010
    San Diego
  14. whynotgotovegas macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2012
    I use my iPad for school (I'm in hs though) and its so much more useful because I take my iPad EVERYWHERE, whereas my old laptop I didn't. You def. need a bluetooth keyboard and apple tv with an HDTV though!
  15. Ariii macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2012
    Your iPad can only boot iOS and nothing else, while you can boot others on the MacBook if you need different software. On an iPad, you are limited to anything in the App Store which really doesn't contain a very large portion of the software available, so you'll probably run into issues with that. Web browsing won't really be affected, though the iOS keyboard causes problems for some people. iOS is pretty locked down compared to most desktop OS's, so it would be harder to do a lot of serious work with it. A lot of schools expect that the students are running a desktop OS, so if you're school requires that, there's probably not really much you can do about that. If you're going to take a computer science course, you can't really use the iPad for that. The iPad works great for web browsing, playing music or videos, and even gaming or services created to help with daily tasks, but it's not that good for serious desktop work.
  16. mtnDewFTW macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2009
    San Francisco, CA
    I'm a college student that relies on my iPad for much of my school work. Hope I can help you out!

    Alright, so let me just start off by saying I have an iMac at home. However, I rarely use it to do any of my school work since most of my work gets done on the go (campus, starbucks study sessions, etc). I use Pages and Keynote a lot. I don't come across too many assignments that would ever make me use numbers. Clearly, I don't know the kind of college you are attending or what you are studying, but as far as writing papers, making presentations, and things of that nature go, the iPad performs wonderfully. I think my favorite thing of all about it (that actually cannot be currently done on OS X Lion) is the fact that it syncs it all to iCloud wirelessly. So if you ever do start a project on your iPad that needs to be finished somewhere else, you have that option of easily doing it by just logging on.

    With that begin said, the iPad is really just good for saving money. If you don't want to throw down a grand on a macbook air or whatever else you may be interested in, the iPad will get you by just fine. However, you will miss out on a real computer, and if you don't currently have a laptop or a desktop, that could be a huge problem. the iPad is a great extension of OS X, however it cannot replace it.
  17. gonca macrumors regular

    Nov 15, 2011
    Obviously it also depends on yr studies. I studied economics and I cant tell you that my needs on a laptop would be achieved using a nowadays iPad (with jailbroken). With an external keyboard.
  18. LiloThePleo macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2010
    My university sent out DVDs with my subject info, can't run those on an iPad. Also Pebblepad, the iPad version was not suitable for my needs in that respect.

    Also, while certainly possible, writing an assignment on an iPad is a pain, not so much the typing, but correcting. I always did my correcting on my Mac, so much easier than the somewhat bulky finger selection.
  19. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    The iPad does not play DVDs. Neither does the Air, though. In your case, I think the university is far behind the times, but I guess that is not your problem!

    Writing on the iPad is a wonderful experience. With the external keyboard. The keyboard shortcuts ( http://www.princeton.edu/~cmayo/external.html ) make it easy to move around, and you can breeze through your work. The only thing missing, in my opinion, is Pages integration with Dropbox.iCloud is fine for iOS, but going from iCloud to OSX is a pain. This stuff ought to be syncing behind the scenes.
  20. MH01 Suspended


    Feb 11, 2008
    Effectively your stuck having to synch your ipad to some sort of computer. Too much content must go via itunes to get onto your ipad.

    with a laptop, nearly everything is USB based, no need to run home to synch.

    My pet peeve, watching movies, wish it just supported AVI, converting and synching via itunes is a waste of time.

    Also you are limited to apps. There are so many more programs under OS X and windows via bootcamp for productivity.
  21. mlmwalt macrumors 6502a

    Jun 8, 2010
    Philadelphia, Pa, USA
    I was under the impression that iCloud and Lion link seemlessly. That's why I've been considering moving away from Snow Leopard.


    I agree with the synching issue. There are video players out there that will play AVI files.
  22. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    If someone can explain it to me, I'm all ears! I had a hack in SL that I tried (and remember it working) to seamlessly sync. I'd prefer not to mess around with that again. Apple tends to screw around with hacks whenever they update stuff.

    So, here is how I think it works. Pages in iOS syncs regularly (not constantly) to iCloud. You can then open that same document up on your iPhone, for example. It is not quite seamless, like Dropbox, but OK. When you turn on your Mac, though, there is no "iCloud" folder. You have to login to the website and download a copy of the file if you want to edit it. When you are done editing, you have to upload the file. There is nothing seamless about it. In contrast, any change made to a document contained in your Dropbox folder is instantly updated and made available on every device.
  23. iEvolution macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2008
  24. Doombringer macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2012
    Multiple windows at once. That's huge. You can have anything in any of those windows... other docs, videos, reference photos, whatever. Trying to do this on iPad is grueling and in many ways impossible.

    Get a notebook.
  25. Carouser macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2010
    All the other criteria are far more important: biblio/reference management, running Microsoft Office or stat software, working with on-line course materials. 'Universal file management' is utterly irrelevant to the current requirement of post-secondary education if those other demands are met, except for niche cases.

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