What CAN'T I do on an iPad???

Discussion in 'iPad' started by maestrocasa, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. maestrocasa macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2007
    Somewhere on the Buffalo National River
    With the promise of an iPad 2 coming Wednesday, I'm thinking of finally pulling the trigger and buying one of the new iPads. (likely mid-range 3G). I'll probably be selling my 13" black MB (2.16 C2D) and a 2nd gen iPod Touch (8GB) to finance part of the purchase.

    My question is: What will I be giving up by switching most of my mobile computing to this device?

    I teach high school and view/edit a lot of MS Office docs (so I'll need a good office suite, either iWork or similar). I create docs less frequently, but fairly regularly. Lots of internet, mail, video (dvd and stream), and similar consumption-end activities.

    I'll keep my home 'content creation' system (MBP, monitor, KB, etc.) and will have easy access to a <shiver> Windows 7 machine at work (for gradebook app and for projecting dvd's, ppts, etc. that I create or edit on the iPad)

    So, What teaching tasks are likely to be more difficult if the iPad becomes my primary mobile computing device?

    What tasks are likely to be easier?

    What apps and/or accessories can you recommend to help me do my job and to share data between home and school computers?

    any 'remote' screen sharing apps that will work with the iPad and Win 7 and OSX.6?

    Thanks for the input. Looking forward (hopefully) to joining the iPad ranks!
  2. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    I would hang onto your MacBook if I were you. The iPad is a great device, but whether or not it can replace your MacBook depends on a lot of factors. For instance, I can type up a business letter on my iPad, but for formatting it to make sure it fits on our business stationary, I need a desktop/laptop computer. There are countless little quirks like that that would be different from user to user, so it's very hard to say if *in your case* the iPad can be your only mobile device. So if you can afford it, keep your MacBook, and if, after you get your iPad, you find that you can do without the MacBook, *then* sell it. If, on the other hand, you can't buy the iPad without selling your MacBook first, then give it a pass. There's too many unknowns about how it will work *for you* as an only mobile device.

    Oh, and I have to add that the iPad hasn't replaced my iPod touch, either. It's great listening to music on the iPad until you are trying to pour water from a water fountain into a cup and there's nowhere to put the iPad down.
  3. RichardMZhlubb Contributor


    Nov 26, 2010
    Washington, DC
    If you teach history or any other subject that requires production or review of documents with footnotes, you won't be able to use your iPad for those types of documents. Also, if you use or need any sort of redlining feature in Word or other word processing software, the iPad won't work. For me at least, these two shortcomings make it impossible to make much use of the iPad in a work setting.
  4. maestrocasa thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2007
    Somewhere on the Buffalo National River
    Thanks for the info... but these really aren't the responses I was hoping for :( Any one else have any thoughts?
  5. neko girl macrumors 6502a

    neko girl

    Jan 20, 2011
    Where you might have difficulties:
    • Have heard instances of the mobile browser being a bit troublesome with spurious refreshes
    • Inability to upload files. Not that important, if you don't do it a lot. There are interim solutions like Droplr, Dropbox, etc. that are quite convenient.
    • Content creation and editing. Now disclaimer: I haven't used an iPad extensively, but I do use my iPhone a LOT. Text selection and manipulation can be a bit tricky sometimes, I think the select/move functionality looks good initially but can really get old for heavy text editing. Keynote on an iPad takes some getting used to - check it out at an Apple store before you commit.
    • YouTube unfortunately is better on a Mac/PC than on the iPad, sorry (personal opinion).

    What you might like:
    • Goodreader and PDFs (and other files). It is great to read documents on the device.
    • Apart from some irritating functional issues, you might find yourself addicted to browsing the web with it. You might also find yourself crawling back to your Mac/PC to do some things on the web sometimes, too.
    • Social networking is easily better. Beejive, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter. I find the interface to be much more personal and engrossing (not necessarily a good thing!)
    • Google Voice. Google Places. Google Maps.
    • Emailing, esp. if you have lots of accounts.

    I don't know, just some things I could think of.
  6. benji888 macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2006
    United States
    :confused:are you keeping your MacBook or selling it? Am I seeing two machines there? You will need a computer at home to sync the iPad to, whether it be Mac or PC/win via iTunes. (Unless you personally own the PC at school)

    I don't have a lot of tips, but

    •Dropbox app: I recommend, I use it to share files between my MacBook Pro, iPad and iPhone, however, it is pretty universal, works w/PC/win, linux, etc. you install free app on each machine and it syncs automatically (similar to what I've heard about MobileMe, but I haven't used MobileMe). Up to 2GB of storage for free, sufficient for text/photos. If you need more, you can get it, but then you have to pay. ...for text only (no formatting) i use myTexts Pro app (I think it was free or cheap). Notepad does not work w/dropbox.

    •If you're going to do a lot of typing, you will need a bluetooth keyboard (such as the one I am typing from now). I found one specifically for the iPad on ebay for $30 in december, of course, other options are available as well. The touchscreen is not great for typing more than, say, one paragraph. (Exception: unless you hunt&peck with two fingers, then you'll be ok :)

    •Video: unless they surprisingly add some kind of port to the new ipad2 you cannot connect a DVD player to the ipad, you'll have to use your computer for that. You CAN sync your ipad to movies that are in iTunes. However, it comes with a video player and youtube app, also see if you can get the VLC app for video that quicktime can't read. (I have a free version of it, but I heard it may have been pulled from the app store). If you are going to be putting lots of video on the iPad, consider getting one with the largest amount of memory. I have 16GB full, no video, but lots of apps, magazines, etc. some ipad specific magazines take up to half a gig or more of space. I have a navigation app that takes up 1.8GB of space, etc. Take whatever amount of memory you think you may need and double it, unless you plan to replace the iPad in a year or less. You can't add more memory to it later on, it's not like a computer where you can change the hard drive to a larger one, or add a second one. (unless they add some kind of port to the iPad 2).

    •If you are going to use files from both your Mac at home and your Win/PC at work, you will have to decide which ONE you will sync to, this will be the one you transfer video (and your main email and files) from to your ipad (I just assumed the Mac at home would be the one you sync to, but you could sync to PC at school instead). I would go back to my first bullet about dropbox as far as transferring files between all devices, just that whatever you sync the ipad to will be where you have your main store of stuff. I have a MBP, iphone & ipad and my AddressBook is synced so that I have my contact info. up to date on all devices.

    •iWork is not available for the iPad, however, the individual apps are... Pages for word processing, Keynote for presentation, and if you use spreadsheets, Numbers is also available.

    •Screen sharing: what exactly will you be doing? A) If you want to control your mac or pc with your ipad, there's a free app called TeamViewer that works, but is not slick looking on the ipad. B) Air Display app claims to enable you to use your ipad (or iphone or ipod touch) as a wireless display to extend your desktop (like a second monitor), but it is not free. Both work over local wifi networks both PC/win & OS X 10.6. I'm sure there are other options as well, maybe someone else can post.

    I hope I was somewhat helpful.

    you might be interested in the PBS app, also NASA HD app, if your teaching has any relation to the last space shuttle flights, you can watch live video or previously recorded video of Discovery up there right now. OH, and a great astronomy app, this one shows you the night sky where you are at in real time (uses gps & compass) GoSkyWatch Planetarium for iPad by GoSoftWorks, I'm pretty sure it is free. There are others as well, but this one, for free shows you planets and star constellations, etc. great app!

    •when searching for apps via iTunes, be sure to get iPad or HD versions or iPad compatible (with a + sign).

    stay away from game apps, unless you want to either: A: be distracted, these will take much of your time up before you know it. or B: have kids at home...you will not be able to get your iPad out of their hands.
  7. benji888 macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2006
    United States
    OMG, I almost forgot...you probably already know this, but you cannot watch any flash-based video on your iPad, so this may limit some of your internet browsing on the iPad. Many sites are iPad (iOS) compatible, but definitely a slow process. I personally don't mind since flash is too memory-hungry and crashes my regular computer. It's a dinosaur in computer years.

    Some websites also take you to the mobile version automatically, which is designed for tiny smart-phone screens and not useful on iPad. I've had a couple that it would not allow me to switch to the regular website. Websites know what kind of OS is connected to the website, and that is how they determine whether to direct you to the regular or mobile site. Some websites also detect what kind of device, not only the OS, so switch to appropriate server for the iPad.
  8. Stealthipad macrumors 68040


    Apr 30, 2010
    You can't set up folder and down load files like office files.

    You can not play any FLASH!

    Flash will change, you wait and see.:p
  9. benji888 macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2006
    United States
    one more thing: I have several cases for the iPad and I keep going back to the Apple case, the Apple case also comes with a great microfiber cloth for cleaning the screen (works well on Zagg invisishield screen protector as well).

    a few links you might find useful:


    note that these were written before the release of iOS 4, so may be missing some minor iOS feature changes.
  10. maestrocasa thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2007
    Somewhere on the Buffalo National River
    thanks for the additional posts.

    I will be keeping a home machine (2010 MBP with busted screen + external monitor) and will be selling my old MB. The MBP would be my syncing base for the iPad.

    It's starting to sound like the iPad might not really work for me. :(:(:( I had grand visions of walking around my classroom, entering grades or other student information, and remotely controlling .ppt or dvd presentations on the school's Win7 desktop in my room.

    Then, I take the iPad home and have a great, mobile, around the house content consuming machine. (If I can get it away from my toddler who already loves watching slideshows of herself on my iPod) :)

    I guess I'll have to keep looking for the right solution. Maybe a full OS tablet of some sort?

    Should I even bother looking at Android-based solutions?
  11. maestrocasa thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2007
    Somewhere on the Buffalo National River
    p.s. Thanks Benj888 for all the detailed input.
  12. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I think if you're looking for a full computer replacement solution and interacting with various computers. I'd see what the new windows tablets that should be hitting the market soon.

    The downside of a full OS on a tablet is the UI is not really geared towards the touch interface but rather the mouse/keyboard paradigm. This is one major reason why prior tablets never really took off. Perhaps MS learned its lesson or perhaps they were ahead of the curve providing a product before the need, but either way, keep that in mind.

    As for android based tablets. They're running a mobile OS as the iPad so many of the constraints echoed in this thread would be applicable to the android based tablets. One major issue at the moment with android tablets is there's little to no apps. While that will change as time goes on, for the consumer it means not having the same level of functionality as the iPad
  13. wolfpackfan macrumors 68000

    Jun 10, 2007
    Cary, NC
    Look through all the software you routinely use on your Mac and see if there is any Mac specific software that isn't available on the iPad. For me, it's Quicken and H&R Block tax software. Other than those two pieces of software, I can do everything else I need to do on my iPad. I have minimal word processing and spreadsheet needs and Pages and Numbers meet my needs perfectly.
  14. OSMac macrumors 65816

    Jun 14, 2010
    IMO keep your laptop it's an extension of your home pc.

    The iPad is really just a limited web browser that plays games, video and music. For many it replaces a laptop because that was all they did with a laptop.

    For a professional you want a full operating system with a keyboard and mouse device, IMO.

    Pick up a used iPad in the next couple of weeks at a low price if you want to try it out but don't sell what you have :)

    I think you would like a MacBook air 11 better for a new device?
  15. TheXIIIth macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2010
    In your case and based on the criteria you've listed -
    It sounds like you should be looking at getting a Mac Book Air rather than a iPad 1 or 2.
  16. benji888 macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2006
    United States
    Now that I know more specifically what you want to do, I will say, yes, I think you can do those things with the iPad, I do not personally, but I'll get back to you after the apple event today. From what I've read there have not been any strong tablet competitors to the iPad yet. In the meantime, check out the links i posted.

    What application do you use on the PC for grading?
  17. jclardy macrumors 68040


    Oct 6, 2008
    Does the school have a wireless network to connect the iPad to? You could use some kind of remote desktop solution like Splashtop if you can install software on your Win7 machine.

    I'm not sure how it would work with a dual monitor setup which I assume you are using (Monitor + projector) but it may work.
  18. alex2792 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2009
    Things you can't do with an ipad:
    Browse the web(no flash)
    Download stuff from safari
    Manage your files and media without itunes
    Many more...

    Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk
  19. Mattstkc macrumors 6502a


    Dec 8, 2009
    Chicago, IL

    www.jumpdesktop.com BEST VNC and RDP app. You'll be able to remote connect to your work and home computers and control everything. This will be a big help and is part of the reason I know I can use the iPad for work and home and make it my primary mobile computing device.
  20. Mattstkc macrumors 6502a


    Dec 8, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    also most of the stuff you "can't" do you can get via Jailbreaking your iPad. It's legal now, so it's not a big deal, just installs a hacked version of iOS that allows for external modification. Hell I had about 100 Gameboy and Game Boy advance roms on my iPhone after jailbreaking. You can pretty much do anything via some sort of jailbreak application. once you jailbreak you'll have full access to the file system via an SSH Client (I use CyberDuck (google it)). Sounds complicated but it's not that bad.
  21. ozred macrumors 6502

    Feb 19, 2011
    What does it really matter? Just hand over your money. Apple will be happy and that's all that matters :)
  22. bsamcash macrumors regular

    Jul 31, 2008
    Santa Cruz, CA
    I understand your dilemma - I had a similar problem. The iPad definitely has the "cool factor," but for your work, maybe you should take a look at the 11 inch MacBook Air.
  23. southernpaws macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2008
    I think the iPad would work for you. You'd have to understand it is a complementary device, not a replacement.

    You don't want a MacBook air because that too is a complementary device, although more full featured. But you won't be walking around the classroom carrying it during a presentation. It's light enough but it's not natural.

    Typing on the iPad is fine. You have to learn to trust your typing and watch the screen instead of your fingers.

    It would take a little bit of work to get everything set up the way you like it but I think it would work well for you. I had to go through a similar thing with my job, I do sales. Once I got everything set up right, it was irreplaceable.
  24. stevep macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2004
    I'd agree with the second sentence, but not the first. Admittedly I only have an iPod Touch and not the iPad, but a typical days use for me would be:
    Catch up on the days news with the BBC News app, sometimes flipping to watch the live 24hrs news service.
    Check a number of share prices several times through the day.
    Check the latest weather forecasts and tides for my local area.
    Make notes for work and check phone numbers, addresses etc
    Use the calculator app (usually when I'm working).
    Use a unit converter app (I work with timber and often convert cubic feet to cubic metres)
    Use a network tool to ping and traceroute my slightly dodgy internet connection on an all-too-frequent basis.
    Occasionally use it for reading, but the screen is really a bit small for that.
    I can also use a vnc app to connect to my laptop, though again the screen size doesn't make this easy.
    Occasionally I will use it for email and web browsing, though again the screen size makes it not so useful for any extended work with these apps.

    Given that the iPad has a larger screen (removing most of the limitations I find using the Touch) I would say that the iPad has the potential to do much much more (depending on the apps installed). We are already seeing major financial institutions issuing them to their staff, and I have no doubt that mobile devices in general (not just the iPad) are playing a major part in the civil unrest in the Middle East. Their influence is already causing a revolution, quite literally.

    Back to the op though - many of the limitations outlined for you in particular will be because of the way you currently work (no criticism!) - you obviously need to run or at least interact with some windows apps. You might be able to get round this by using some sort of vnc app, eg to control a Powerpoint show running on the classroom computer. Or maybe there are some apps out there which will answer some of the other needs in the classroom, things like entering grades, which you can later export or email to your main machine eg Teachers Attache.
  25. tangje macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2010
    I have a 13" MBA as my primary and an iPad. The iPad is great for singular tasks. The only time I find I am forced to put down the iPad and move to the MBA is when I'm trying to do something with any complexity (or occasionally view a heavily flash based website).

    Multi-tasking that demands switching between apps (eg. cutting an pasting from a webpage to email) or switching frequently between Safari tabs, bothers me simply because the iPad interface is not as efficient as a full computer with a keyboard, mouse/trackpad, and larger screen. In my experience, people who use keyboard shortcuts find the iPad challenging in such instances.

    Like many have said, it's an amazing consumption device. Creation is where things can become a challenge, but that all depends on your personal needs.

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