Ipad 12.9 Pro 2017-Best apps to use it as Laptop?

Discussion in 'iPad Pro Forum' started by perseid, Jul 29, 2017.

  1. perseid

    perseid
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    Hi, I just bough an Ipad 12.9 Pro 2017 2nd Gen, I intend to use it as a laptop replacement as much as possible (MS Office, online banking, some photo editing, browsing, etc), also intend to use it for college textbook studying. What apps and hardware accesories do you recommend? Thanks
     
  2. twerppoet

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    Well, it's hard to make recomendations without more specific reqirements; but I'll give it shot. I'm feeling chatty.

    MS Office; of course almost all the major Microsoft Office apps are available on the iPad. As long as you don't need high end features like automatic indexing and pivot tables, they are good. Microsoft does not offer the free version of their apps for any device with more than a 10 inch screen, so you'll have to pay something. I have the Home Single User subscription, which is pretty cheap. I haven't checked recently, but I believe the student account is cheaper with more licenses. Go that way if you can.

    The native Photos app is good enough if all you need is basic photo enhancement. I rarely use anthing else, but when I do it's either Snapseed or Enlight. I used to have Adobie Essentials (or whatever it was called) installed, but they keep changing things. At some point it got removed, and I've never had a reason to search for it and re-install (if it still exists). At this point, if I needed a powerful photo/image editor I'd probasbly go with Affinity Photo. It's pricier than most iOS apps, but the feature list and reviews suggest it's more than worth it for those that need the tools.

    As far as viewing and organizing photos, the Photo app's iOS system integration make it the easiest to use. Unless there is some feature you can not live without, it's better to learn to work around the few eccentricys of the Photos app than trying to replace it.

    Text books is going to depend entirely on your text book source. iBooks, Amazon, and a few other ebook sources fully support thier textbooks on the iPad (in their own apps). If the textbooks are PDF based, then you have a huge selection of choices. I use Documents by Readdle for most of my PDF reading. If you get their PDF Expert apps as well, Documents will use the more extensive PDF editing tools, but the PDF annotation tools in Documents are enough for most.

    Other apps you might look at are Notabilty (good for all kinds of note taking and PDF markup), and Nebo (great handwriting note taker with automatic text conversion). I highly recommend the Apple Pencil for this. Any other stylus is a huge let down after you've used an Apple Pencil. It's not just about drawing, though that's fantastic as well.

    Most of the native apps (Notes, Calender, Reminders, etc) are good enough that you don't need to rush finding a replacement. Personal preferences play a big role in these kinds of apps, and there are a lot of really good replacements, so shop around until you find exactly what you want. In the case of Calendars and Reminders, almost all the replacements will use the same account. You don't need to worry about accumulating a lot of data, and haveing to start over.

    For myself, I really like the native Notes app. With the new iOS 11 update (I'm on the Public Beta) it's even better. I have not plans on replacing it. I used to use Evernote, but it got to complicated. The've fixed that, but they have also make entry level accounts more limited. The difference is no longer worth the trouble to switch back.

    Reminders is basic, but all I need is a basic reminders apps. If I were to upgrade I'd consider either Things or Todoist. I've used both in the past. Things back before iOS, and for a while later. Todoist when I briefly had both Android and iOS devices.

    Calenders is ok, but I prefer Fantastical. Calendars 5 by Readdle is a close second for me. Feature wise they are similar. I just like Fantastical's layout a bit better.

    Oh, and if you are going to do a lot of typeing you'll want a keyboard. I use Apple's smart keyboard, and it's enough for me. However, If I was going to type for hours a day, I'd probalby get a really good bluetooth keyboard. Not a case style keyboard, or at least not just a case style keyboard. Those are always a compromise. Egonomics are important if you're going to give your fingers a real workout.

    Well, that's all I can think of at the moment. Enjoy your new iPad.
     
  3. perseid

    perseid
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    Thanks twerppoet for your feedback. I have not received the Ipad yet, but should arrive soon, it'll be my first iOS device ever, since I use Windows.
    I will be reading ebooks mostly in PDF, Djvu, Epub and Mobi formats. I was told "GoodReader" to be the best app for PDF reading. I found "DjVu Reader Pro", "KyBook" and "PocketBook" all with good reviews.
    As for the keyboard, would this bluetooth keyboard make it?
    Also, is the Ipad secure enough to do online banking and shopping? I mean, is there a need for a firewal/antivirus?
    I found out that iOS does not allow to use a mouse, what about keyboard touchpads? are they compatible?
    Regarding file transfer, other than wifi, can I use the lightning to USB3 camera adapter to transfer files via pen drives?
    Can apps be installed with installer files or am I forced to use the Apple Store?
     
  4. scifan57

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    While you can install web apps from the internet, native apps can only be downloaded from the App Store. If you haven’t already found it, here’s the iPad user guide. Apple - Support - Manuals
     
  5. twerppoet

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    I like GoodReader because it has a lot of oddball tools hidden away. You can often do things with files that other apps and iOS can't. However, as iOS improves I've used GoodReader less and less. As a PDF reader and annotation app, it's only so so. In my experience it handles realy huge files better than most, and there are plenty of tools, but I don't like the UI as well as Documents.

    iBooks is an excelent epub reader. Amazon's Kindle app can import mobi files. I've never even heard of most the other apps you mention, so I can't comment on how well they work.

    I don't know anything about the keyboard you linked to; however my experience with flat portable keyboards is that they are fine for typing on the go, but not great for typing a lot. If you expect to do a lot of typing at a desk, you can't beat a good desktop bluetooth keyboard. Apple's keyboards are pretty good, though hardly the cheapest.

    There is no anti-virus or filewall software for iOS. Viruses and other malware are rare, and almost impossible to get as long as you stick to the App Store. However the iPad is no more immune to scams, web based scare-ware, and other attacks that involve tricking the user than any other computer. So don't go clicking on shady links like you're bullet proof.

    Also, iOS is just a vulnerable man-in-the-middle and other network skimming practices. Don't do banking or other risky stuff on a public network unless you use a VPN.

    No mice. No touch pads. Keyboards and the Apple Pencil are pretty much it. Keep in mind that the iOS UI is designed for touch, so a mouse pointer would be of limited use even if you could use it.

    The camera adaptor is good only for importing photos and videos. Don't count on it for transfering other file types. Most of us use DropBox and/or other cloud services to get files on/off the iPad. There are a few devices and apps that can work around this limitation, but not Apples'.

    Most apps that need to import/export files offer cloud support from various services and/or local wi-fi transfer to/from a computer. Hardware transfer using the USB to Lighning cable can be done via iTunes on a computer, but it's clumsy. Few use it.

    To install apps from outside the App Store you need to jailbreak (similar to rooting an Android device). There is some increased risk of malware if you do this, but it's mostly moot at this time anyway. There is no jailbreak availabvle for the current version of iOS. Also, there is less reason to do so these days. There never were a huge number of apps available in the 'safe' jailbreak store (Cydia), and almost all the features that inspired jailbreaking have been added to iOS over time.

    Well, that's my oppinion, but I never bothered to jailbreak. Those that did, or still do, are likely to disagree.
     
  6. twerppoet

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    Ah, web apps. I guess there are still a few sites, if you can find them, and if they still work. I never had much luck with them.

    For those who may wonder, web apps don't actually intall executable files on the iPad. They are special javascript sites that leave persistant data in Safari. The can be made to look like regular apps, and can even have their own icons, but in the end they still run inside the Safari browser and almost always need an active internet connection to work. They tend to be slow, buggy, and generally have terrible interfaces. Though, there were a few exceptions.
     
  7. Mickeylittle

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    I want to like the Notes app but I can’t seem to change the size of pencil tips like OneNote or Notibility and various others.
     
  8. twerppoet

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    True enough. While I wouldn't mind having more than one pen size, or a larger selection of colors to work with, it's not a big deal for me. I don't draw much in notes, just quick sketches and jotting down lists and stuff. It's enough. A clean UI, quick access, and ease finding my notes are very important. What puts Notes over the top for me is the system integration and the knowledge that this app I depend on so completely is not going away.

    OneNote I don't like the interface, and the share options are terrilble.

    Notability is pretty good, but it's way overkill for the kinds of things I use Notes for. I'd probably use it for taking notes in class, or for studdying (and marking up) PDF books, but I don't do that often. Still, I keep it around just in case.

    Note taking app preferences are very personal. It's a good thing there are so many to choose from.
     
  9. perseid

    perseid
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    Thanks twerppoet again. Yes, a VPN is a must no matter what OS when doing sensitive stuff in public places (hotels, etc). I go as far as saying that anything that involves a username and password, even logging to this forum, requires a VPN to avoid the chance of hacking.
    I've read somewhere that the camera adaptor allows for transfer of other file formats like Excel, Word, etc. I assumed that the Ipad came with Office. I guess I can use Google Docs as a free alternative.
    Also, I plan to use it to connect to a USB Ethernet Adapter to use the Ipad in my home LAN in wired mode.
    The reason I asked about the touchpad is consistent with trying to convert the Ipad ito a laptop as much as possible, but I guess this is not possible.
    My main use of the Ipad will be ebook reading/studying so a keyboard is not critical, hence those "portable" keyboards are fine. For me having the backlit feature is a must, and Apple does not provide it.
    Would you say the Apple pencil is justified in my case? As far as I see my only use would be to highlight or add notes to PDF's. I don't see any other use to it.
    I've read about jailbreak in this forum, and what I like most about it is that it's risk free, i.e. you can never brick the device as it can be restored to factory using iTunes.
    I hope iOS 11 makes the iPad a more open device, to be able to act more like Windows (multi task, file explorer, tranfer any file, etc)
     
    #9 perseid, Jul 30, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017
  10. Mickeylittle

    Mickeylittle
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    The pencil is also great to use as a mouse. it scrolls through webpages, and apps as well as acting like a right mouse click most of the time if you press and hold it. Besides the more you use the pencil the cleaner your screen remains.
     

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