Wife wants an iPad. Questions.

Discussion in 'iPad' started by AbjectEvolution, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. AbjectEvolution macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2009
    My wife is considering selling her laptop PC and replacing it with an iPad. I own an iPhone and a MBP, but I really don't know anything about the iPad and I told her I would ask her questions here. Here are a few and I'll post more if she has them.

    What kind of word processing capabilities does the iPad have? Does it have MS Word or will it in the future? What file format does the iPad save these documents in? Is the format compatible with Word?

    My wife is a college student and will be using this for school. What are some major differences between a laptop and the iPad. What are the pros and cons to having one versus the other assuming you had to pick between them?

  2. 2002cbr600f4i macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2008
    Ok, first off, if she's a student and has to actually write papers and such, I really do NOT recommend the iPad as the device to do it on... Even if using a Bluetooth keyboard, the Pages Word Processor on the iPad is nowhere near full featured. It's fine for light editing or document creation, but I wouldn't use it for huge writing assignments.

    The iPad isn't really a replacement for a full on laptop or PC. Think of it more as a tool that augments those tools. The iPad has limitations where you might be able to do a lot of what you'd do on a laptop, but it won't do everything..

    General web surfing, watching movies, LIGHT word processing or spreadsheets, picture viewing, email - yes... But it's really more of a media/content CONSUMPTION device, not a content CREATION one that a full laptop is.
  3. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Tell your wife to read this forum and ask her own questions. If she wants a device for school, it'd be best if she did her own research.
  4. Cartaphilus macrumors 6502a

    Dec 24, 2007
    I absolutely love my iPad, but for your wife's intended use I agree entirely with the above.
  5. applehappy macrumors regular

    Jun 22, 2007
    I agree that it might not meet the school needs, but it could depending on your needs and desire to have one. I am able to log into my work desktop and fully manipulate anything there. I have pages loaded and can open/save docs in any Pages or MS Word format. Via Exchange I seamlessly synchronize with all of my email, calendar, and contacts. Plus, sure it's the best media/content consumption device ever.
  6. Snowy_River macrumors 68030


    Jul 17, 2002
    Corvallis, OR
    I think it depends a lot on several other factors. Given that he has a MBP, it's quite plausible that his computer could serve to fill in the gaps with the iPad (printing, etc.). It also depends A LOT on what she's going to school for. If all she would need to write are essay papers, then the iPad could probably fit that bill. If she needs to do research papers with charts, graphs and other graphic content, then the iPad would start to fall short. (But do get an external keyboard of some kind....)

    I think, so long as there is a computer around to backup the iPad, it really can do most of what you need.
  7. nidserz macrumors 6502a


    Mar 28, 2008
    Dubai x Toronto
    Agreed with a few of the posters above.
    The iPad is not going to be the ideal device for a college student without a laptop or desktop.
    I just graduated and I can tell you I couldn't have gotten through the 4 years with just an iPad. I was a business student, who doesn't write papers, but the few that I did, it was a nightmare. You need to be able to do research, go through large documents, compare, and the iPad can't have 2 programs open at once, and it isn't that convenient.

    I love my iPad, but obviously for different uses. It compliments my MacBook Pro that is hooked up to an external monitor.
  8. sandydlc macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2010
    I have two daughters in college. They both have macbookpro laptops. I agree that an iPad is great, but not for what you need while in school.

    Get her the 13" macbookpro with the larger hard drive and faster processor. It will last her for several years and it's more portable than the 15 or 17" versions.
  9. niter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2003
    As much as I love my iPad, it would not replace my MacBook. I could see someone using the iPad in concert with either desktop or laptop but not as a replacement for either. Besides, the iPad requires a "home base" computer.

    I use my iPad as an accessory for my laptop just as I use my iPod as an accessory for my computer. I can easily listen to music on my laptop, but my iPod is a more convient device for music listening. For reading and internet interfacing, I find my iPad excels over my laptop. However, for productivity, it falls short. It works for impromptu items, but is not a work computer. It is not made to be that.
  10. Gib macrumors member


    Apr 2, 2010
    I just finished my first summer class with my iPad... Here's my thoughts/opinion.

    The iPad can be used for in-class note taking. Everyone here suggested using a keyboard, but I did just fine without it. I have a bluetooth keyboard that I have hooked up to it, but decided I didn't want to pack it around. The on screen keyboard is not too slow... as long as you are willing to give touch typing a try for a few days before giving up on it. The main catch is getting used to not having numbers and symbols in their regular place. Long essays? No. Notes and small reading reflections? Sure.

    The best $2 you could spend in the app store is Goodreader. File management, sync services, etc. that everyone complains should have been built in is there... I kept all my class readings on PDF, so I could read them whenever... I haven't tried the updated iBooks for PDFs, but the annotating feature might make it even better than Goodreader for viewing her class assignments.

    Again, it all depends on what she is going to study. If she is going to be in classes that she just needs to take notes and write a couple papers, I'd say go for it. It has worked for me so far...

    A general thought, I was the only person in the class with an iPad, so I did get some of those looks. However, no one was annoying about it. It did come in handy to jump online during lame PowerPoint presentations.
  11. PCClone macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2010
    Trust me, we would much rather chat with her.
  12. Snowy_River macrumors 68030


    Jul 17, 2002
    Corvallis, OR
    For the record, I advocate getting an external keyboard for writing papers, not for quick notes. I find the virtual keyboard to be quite adequate (surprisingly so) for almost everything that I use my iPad for (including typing this post). It does take a day or two to get used to, but then it pretty much just works.

    Goodreader is a great app, no doubt, but it doesn't really fill in all of the gaps around file management, etc. Also, if you want a first class PDF markup app, take a look at iAnnotate. It's a very powerful and versatile app for PDF viewing and markup. It's a little more expensive, but it's worth it.

    I would again reiterate that there needs to be a "home-base" computer, either laptop or desktop, to complete the picture for the iPad to be a viable option.
  13. Snowy_River macrumors 68030


    Jul 17, 2002
    Corvallis, OR
    Oh no! Don't trust PCClone around your wife! :p
  14. AbjectEvolution thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2009
    Thanks for all the great feedback. I'll relay the info. She has never been much of a forum poster and I already have an account here anyway. Seems pointless for her to make an account just for one thread.

    Can you use an iPad to store any type of file?

    I like the Macbook 13" suggestion. We'll see.
  15. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    She could post using your account. In any case, I strongly encourage her to stop by and read all the posts herself.

    Apps like Good Reader and Air Sharing allow you to use an iPad as a portable drive, and you can download/copy almost any kind of files to the iPad. Whether or not you can view or manipulate them is another story altogether. Tell us what file types your wife needs to use and we could tell you whether or not they work on the iPad.

    As other posters have been saying, the iPad is a very useful device, but it definitely isn't a computer. Actually, you never mentioned why your wife is thinking about getting rid of her laptop PC -- an iPad + laptop PC might serve a student's needs well. The beauty of iPad/iPhone/iPod ecosystem is that they work almost as well with PCs as with Macs, and that's a major reason why they've become so popular. Again, it's impossible to say without knowing more about your wife's specific school situation.
  16. Ichneumon macrumors member

    Mar 26, 2010
    I'm a student myself and I'm planning on getting an ipad for notetaking and other stuff. Although I might wait a while before I'm actually going to buy it, I'd hate to get strange looks. I'd like to wait till they get more "common".

    Anyway, I've done some research and it seems there are quite a few ways to get files stored on the ipad.

    Movie and Image files: The regular photo's app. You can put stuff on it through Itunes.

    E-books and pdfs: You can download the app called Ibooks, also made by apple, allows you store both types on them. For PDFs there is also an app called "GoodReader" which, I've heard, is also very good. I've used it on my iphone and basically it allows you to download pdfs from different sources or through wifi to your ipad/iphone. It also works great in combination with "dropbox", something I'd suggest you take a look at. Dropbox basically allows you to store files online and access them.

    Office-files: If I'm correct you can store regular Word and PowerPoint files with the KeyNote and Pages apps.
  17. ItsThatKush macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2010
    West Palm Beach, FL
  18. pelicanflip macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2009
    "My wife is a college student and will be using this for school. What are some major differences between a laptop and the iPad. What are the pros and cons to having one versus the other assuming you had to pick between them?"

    I am a student in college as well, going into my 4th year, and i've had the iPad since it was released, and was using for the second half of my second semester.

    First and foremost, before addressing the issue of what your wife needs/wants in an iPad, you need to remember: an iPad is not a replacement for a fully functional laptop, or a tablet, or a netbook, or giant iPod Touch. It is an iPad, in its own market niche, and must be regarded as such. Don't expect things that the iPad was not designed for ;)

    Moving on. In terms of word documents, excel spreadsheets, powerpoints, etc, you can always get the three major apps that Apple sells for the iPad: Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. I currently have all three, and I'm very pleased with the results.

    The ability to use landscape mode for typing is a big plus, since it becomes a fairly large keyboard, but some of the toolbars are a little harder to access in landscape, just a heads up. Otherwise, it is very useful, and I've been taking plenty of notes in class, and I've had no problem keeping up with the professors. Plus, people are amazed that you bring an iPad to class :p

    However, if your wife needs to type up a paper or an essay, or maybe even a thesis, I would stray away from an iPad. It becomes too tedious, especially when you want to edit large chunks of your paper or when you want to quickly move things around. The lack of shortcut commands (copy, paste) while typing slows you down, so in this situation, a laptop or a PC would be more benefitial and less time consuming.

    The iPad is pretty handy when it comes to reading books and pdfs, since it's so much zippier with a touchscreen, so that's always a plus.

    As for storing files and such, there are many ways to turn your iPad into a giant portable device, but as said previously, you might be able to visibly move and control them on the iPad itself.

    From what you've told us, it sounds like a laptop would be a better choice for you wife. A MBP or a Macbook sound like viable options.

    If I didn't have a laptop/PC/etc., I wouldn't be using my iPad as my first choice. I already have a laptop, as well as a PC, so the iPad was just a nifty tool that is very reliable, handy, and fun to use. Like I said, do not confuse an iPad for a replacement for a laptop.

    Hope this helps.
  19. Grievous Angel macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2010
    I can't imagine the iPad being a replacement for a laptop as a primary "productivity" device.

    I thought about recommending it to my mom (before I even bought one for myself) when she asked me to buy her a new laptop, but her "needs" were more consumption oriented.

    Even with the wireless mouse and keyboard I can't think of it being better than a laptop. And when you add those two things, then, what's the point?

    Mine's a consumption device. Rockin' Reeder for Ipad, Twitterrific, mail, netflix, ABC app, and a handfull of games. Only occasionally will I produce anything, and even then it's a short email or facebook message. And even then it's a pain using it.
  20. Crosbie macrumors 6502a


    May 26, 2010
    Brighton, UK
    What subject is she studying?

    Back in the day, before the ipad had been dreamed of, I read Literature at university. The iPad would have been a godsend.

    With basically all the classics searchable and downloadable for free, and with iBooks' bookmarking and note-taking features, this would have been awesome. The kind of essays I had to write didn't need jazzy formatting, charts etc; iPad would have been fine.

    With Google on tap also to chase up references and allusions - again within iBooks if you wish (also awesome is the dictionary feature) - the iPad offers you functionality that's hard to beat in a satchel-friendly package.

    I teach English now and have been recommending it to my Lit students for university unreservedly.

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