iPad for Education (College/University)?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by SilentWalker, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. SilentWalker

    SilentWalker Retired Moderator

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    My intention was to buy a MacBook Pro for university, since I'm starting in this September. However, it's a lot of money, more than twice the money for a regular, old laptop.

    Anyways, after seeing all the new screenies and videos of the iPad leaked apps, I am seriously considering it as one of my options. There is a much more diverse range of apps, that are more graphically pleasing than for Mac (IMO). And I think iWork for iPad will satisfy my needs, I'm not entirely sure.

    But I have never owned a Mac, so basically I'm looking for the opinion of you Mac users, AND of those of you who are going to start/are in university/college (I'm guessing Abcsmaj's opinion will be useful here).

    I currently have an iPod touch (1 year old this summer), but the iPad is no longer looking like a big iPod touch.

    So let's discuss. iPad vs MacBook for education? So far, my HUGE pros vs. cons are: iPad: $599, MacBook Pro: $2000. I really want a full OS, but then again there's a huge price cut. Ugh...decisions are so hard!!! lol

    And please, I really don't want to turn this into another of that '$299 Netbook vs $499 iPad' thread. Let's keep this civil, respect other's opinion, and not try to shove your opinion down other's throats. If you can't resist, please do so in some place other than this thread/site.

    I would really like to hear your opinions now, and see if they change after the release of the iPad

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  2. Abcmsaj

    Abcmsaj Retired Moderator

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    Firstly, Yo.
    Secondly, I bought my Macbook back in October 09 because my old Windows PC was becoming clunky and getting a lot of BSODs... it was all sluggish and near enough unusable - One of the hinges of the screen was snapped! So I decided to take the plunge to buy a Mac, originally because I wanted to start developing OS X apps and iPhone apps, but once you've lived with one for a while you notice how much better it is than a PC - especially for education.

    However, like you've said, I've seen some of the apps emerging for the iPad and some of them look spectacular. If you couple this with the Keyboard Dock from Apple, you've got an awesome combo for education. However, some things which cross my mind:

    • Sure, the price difference is massive... almost a 1:4 ratio.. but consider what you're getting for your money. It's not a computer. It's got the apps for one, but it can't multitask. You won't be able to MSN while working on Pages unless a jailbreak + backgrounder app come along. For $500 you get a quarter of a Macbook, pretty much.
    • Can you type quickly on touch screen keyboards? I was thinking about this the other day. Even if I have the keyboard dock with mine, the majority of the time I'll be on the move and won't be able to carry a keyboard with me. Can I write a 2000 word essay on a touchscreen? Will the Pages app be THAT good and correct my mistakes?
    • Can you print from it? No. You'd need a SECOND computer anyway to print your work from, and to sync your iPad to... Because you can't just download music straight onto it, and you can't print a spreadsheet from Numbers.

    If you were looking for a cost effective method for education, and you didn't already have a Macbook Pro / iMac... here's what I would do:

    • iPad
    • Really, really, REALLY cheap netbook
    • 200GB/500GB/1 TB hard drive
    This way, you can sync your iPad too and from your netbook, copy documents back and forth and print, and store all your music, documents and films on the hard drive (because netbooks don't have the biggest hard drive space...)

    That set up could cost you LESS than £1000 if you hunt properly, and it would all be pretty much portable and perfect for education.

    Just my 2c though... That's what I would do if I didn't already have this Macbook.
  3. William

    William New Member

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    This might be just me, but I think the iPad's biggest downfall (if you want to use it as an educational tool) is its keyboard. I once typed an article (500 words) on an iPhone, and I must say it wasn't as streamlined as the standard keyboard.

    You can use the keyboard dock-but that kind of takes the point out from a touch screen based device. And then having a carrying case for both the iPad and the keyboard, would be too much hassle.

    If you can't afford a macbook pro, and don't already have a good laptop -- have you considered buying a normal macbook? I have a friend who has it and so far he is quite happy with it

    EDIT: Dayum, just realised that Abcmsaj, pretty much covered all my points
  4. Bubalooshi

    Bubalooshi Active Member

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    While I don't have that much to say (Abcmsaj covered it all), I'm sure you should buy a MacBook.

    I can't see somebody seriously using it for college.
    At least in the iPhoneOS's current state, at least.

    I'm going to buy a MacBook Pro for college.
    I've also thought about it... And the idea doesn't seem like it'll work that well.
  5. Abcmsaj

    Abcmsaj Retired Moderator

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    I'll say though, I'm not completely shunning the idea. I will be taking it to college most, if not every single day, and using it in class to see what it's like as a device. Also, by then there'll be educational apps which will definitely help. I can imagine some pretty sweet graphing apps, some extremely complicated calculator apps... a massively detailed periodic table?! So many options for education.
  6. Abcmsaj

    Abcmsaj Retired Moderator

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  7. SilentWalker

    SilentWalker Retired Moderator

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    You made a very good point Abcmsaj. However, I think that carrying around an iPad and a netbook would be a bit too bulky for me, as I would not be staying on the university campus. I would have to travel to and from the campus everyday.

    Right now, the major factors influencing my decision are:
    • Will Apple release a new MacBook/MacBook Pro this summer? I'm really looking forward to the i5 cores.
    • Will there be a price drop in the MacBooks? This would greatly aid in my decision making.
    • How does the iPad really compare to its hype?
    • Can iWork for the iPad do all of the basics and most of the 'extra stuff' that most office suites can (mainly iWork for Mac)?

    For those of you who currently have a Mac, and if you have used both Office for Mac and iWork, which is better?

    Secondly, can iWork import and export Microsoft format documents (.doc, .docx, .ppt, .pptx, etc)? Since this is the format that most people use, I would need to do this effortlessly. If so, would there be a loss in certain (major) functionality when converting to/from formats?

    And lastly, I would appreciate it if you all could keep this thread alive/active, mainly I really want to see if people's opinions on the iPad change. For the better or for the worse? I would also like to see how iWork for the iPad compares to the Mac version. And essentially, is it fit for college/university use? Maybe we could go more in depth; what needed functionality for higher level education is lacking in the device. Ease of use for projects/spreadsheets? In what areas is it more convenient than a MacBook for a travelling student?
  8. Bubalooshi

    Bubalooshi Active Member

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    I understand what you're saying, but the iPad can only go so far.

    I'm sure engineers won't find this too helpful compared to a MacBook or laptop.
    There's other fields where a more powerful machine would be necessary.
    Again, it all boils down to what you'll primarily be using it for, I guess.

    I would defiantly promote the idea to use it with school.
    There's no doubt that developers will take advantage of the bigger screen and power.
    But I would not recommend it over a MacBook.
    It has a bigger screen, full keyboard, and can do more than an iPad.
    There may be 145,000+ apps, but I'm sure a MacBook would be better for most tasks.
    I can only see it being useful in class for jotting some notes down.

    @SilentWalker: I've read on Engadget Apple may increase the prices for the new cores

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    Still, it's only a rumor. Not official.
  9. SilentWalker

    SilentWalker Retired Moderator

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    You are right, but there is a much bigger market/source of educational apps at a much cheaper price with the iPad. This point is what causes my split in decision. If there was such a market (App Store) for Mac, I would blindly go for the MBP.

    I guess I might have to end up buying a MBP, and if the iPad evolves enough generations on (3 years, give or take; because I don't have that much money lol), I'll see if i can get one.
  10. Bubalooshi

    Bubalooshi Active Member

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    Well, how about waiting a little longer and trying it out in the Apple Store?

    I'm sure the iWork Suite will be on the iPads for people to test.
    That, and some other applications will be there, along with the iPad's App Store.

    Keep in mind this is the first iPad. Every time Apple releases something, it usually becomes more powerful (in the iPhone and iPod touch's case). Next generation, or two from now (as you said), may be much better.

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