iPad 2 as a suppliment device for a college student?

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by tactK, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. tactK
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    tactK iPF Novice

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    Hi all! I'm a 3rd year college student majoring in Physical Therapy and I am in a dilemma (like every other students out there) whether to get an iPad 2 or a simple notebook for note taking and research assignments.

    I do own a very powerful laptop but it has been a burden to carry around due to it's bulk so I thought I would turn to a more portable alternative for doing my assignments when I am at school or during group meetings.

    My degree involves reading many research articles (in pdf format), writing essays and note taking. Do you think an iPad is capable of doing the above tasks? Bearing in mind that I have a computer to sync my documents to for editing and printing. Of course, I would also consider getting a blue tooth keyboard to go along with the iPad. I would also like to know how well iPad 2 handle multitasking. Say a couple of articles opened along with safari and a word processing app.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Tim SPRACKLEN
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    Tim SPRACKLEN iPad Legend

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    Good to hear from you. You’ll find a whole bunch of iPad enthusiasts in this Forum who are only too willing to help other iPad owners and to hear of their experiences. Don’t be afraid to post any questions you may have or use the ‘Search’ button near the top of the Forum web page. I usually find I discover one new interesting and useful piece of information about my iPad every day - and often not even what I was looking for!!

    OK - you asked about multi-tasking on the iPad so I thought I tell you a little bit about what goes on in iPad multi-tasking because it's not quite the same as multi-tasking on a PC.

    The iPad's operating system, iOS, is not really a multi-tasking system in the way that PC guys think - it's more of a task switching operating system. When you switch from one app to another, the app that you've switched out is suspended and its 'context' (state) is remembered by iOS. Suspended tasks can only perform a very limited range of operations. See this Apple official link for details of what a suspended app is able to do.

    What's New in iOS 4 - Apple Developer (What's New in iOS 4 - Apple Developer)

    iOS leaves recently suspended apps in the iPad's memory (RAM) until it finds it needs that space for another app. Then the suspended app is overwritten but its context is remembered.

    When the user switches back to a previously suspended task/app, if it's already in RAM iOS can immediately re-instate it and it 'comes alive' very quickly. If iOS had had to remove it to make room for another app, then it's reloaded from flash and brought up in the state in which it was originally suspended by using the context information that iOS stored when the app was originally suspended.

    When you 'flush' a suspended app by using the multi-task bar you do a couple of things. If the app is in RAM still, its space is freed up and another app can use it. If it's already been removed from RAM then its context information is deleted and iOS will forget the state that the app was in originally. Thus, when you start that app up again, it will come up in its default state with no reference to the state it was in when it was last closed (there are some exceptions to this, however, when an app itself stores context information).

    So, when you look at the multi-task bar and see all those apps 'running' all they're probably doing is having their context remembered - a few bytes for each app stored in the iPad's flash memory. Only the most recent apps - those that are shown to the left hand side of the multi-task bar - are even candidates to be in RAM. You can usually tell which apps were in RAM by the time the iPad takes to switch back to that app when it's re-instated. Those that are 'down the list' to the right, or even on the next screen, were long ago removed from RAM.

    There are plenty of good apps for the iPad for note taking etc..one of our members has published his research that he carried out for his company in this thread...

    http://www.ipadforums.net/new-member-introductions-site-assistance/22431-hi-all.html

    Hope to hear from you soon with your thoughts about the iPad.

    Have fun and enjoy your iPad


    If you don’t already have it you can download a copy of the iPad manual for free.

    Apple - Support - Manuals

    Please read the rules too!!

    http://www.ipadforums.net/forum-rules-help-info/2119-forum-rules-everybody-please-read.html

    Tim
    Scotland
     
  3. DontUnderstandMyIpad
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    DontUnderstandMyIpad iPad Guru

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    Just a side-note, as Tim already did a great job in explaining what the iPad can do. Any iPad app can only run once a time, while most browsers, including Safari have multiple tabs, to switch quickly between open websites, other apps, such as word processors and PDF readers can only have one file open at a time.

    A not so convenient work-around would be to install multiple PDF readers and open your files in multiple apps.
     
  4. tactK
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    tactK iPF Novice

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    Wow, thank you for your explanation Tim! So the iOS is essentially putting tasks into suspended state when they are switched out, and reload them to the exact state when we left it.

    I find that thread you provided really informative. It is great to hear that there are apps out there that allows me to edit and export/import microsoft office documents! iPad may be a great choice for me. Though I am still very interested of what others have to say about the iPad and their experiences with it in terms of school work.
     
  5. Tim SPRACKLEN
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    Tim SPRACKLEN iPad Legend

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    Thanks for that - yes, I'd completely forgotten about that aspect of the iPad :(

    Tim
     
  6. tactK
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    tactK iPF Novice

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    Ahh, thanks for bringing that up. What a bummer :( The suggested work around wouldn't be too much of a problem with the multi-touch gestures though! Which reminds me. Is the Multi-touch gestures enabled in the latest update?
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  7. gray_mouse
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    If I was in college now, I'd use iPad for reading books. I'd carry iPad with me instead of 2, 3, or 4 books. It's also good for research on the internet. But as far as writing something lengthier than couple of paragraphs, I'd stick with a netbook.
     
  8. Jman09
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    I'm in college right now too and use mine to pull up PDFs and other documents in class. Some Internet browsing during class and games and other things in between classes. When they put more textbooks in a digital format I will be happy, but will probably be done with my degree by then.

    I also use it to read magazines( I have a couple subscriptions with Zinio) and also use the kindle app to read books.
     
  9. wytey
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    wytey iPad Junkie

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    fully agree, the on-screen keyboard isn't really suitable for typing for long periods

    unless you want to use it to record the whole session so you can snooze ;)

    but already having a full sized laptop and being a student on limited budget, would be a waste of money buying a netbook.... so you could buy an ipad and also the apple keyboard accessory

    Apple iPad Keyboard Dock - British - Apple Store (UK)

    you should be able to pop into an apple store and play with an ipad hooked up to the keyboard accessory to see what it is like.
     
  10. irwaffles
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    irwaffles iPF Novice

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    From my experience it's perfect for just reading, fine at taking notes (via keyboard, writing by hand/stylus not so much).

    If you're reading and taking notes at the same time using a pdf, iAnnotate is a great app for that purpose.

    I think in general though, it really depends on the class. I'm a biochemistry student in my last semester of school, and for lecture heavy classes I was able to download the lecture slides before each class and load them onto my iPad, and then use iAnnotate to follow along and jot down notes (either by hand or typing). Really useful since you can also draw figures and whatnot using iAnnotate.

    More computational heavy classes (for me Physics/Calculus/P. Chem) where you're constantly solving problems and writing down examples, I think the good old pen and paper is going to serve you better in that department. That's just my experience though.
     
  11. volcanopele
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    volcanopele iPF Novice

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    I am past college now, but I still work at one :)

    the iPad 2 can be great for those tasks. For reading research articles, get the GoodReader app. Done. Definitely the best PDF (and other document) reader when you have A LOT of research articles you want stored on the device thanks to its folder structure. Very fast and has great annotating capabilities. But its ability to organize the 100+ research articles that I have on my iPad 2 makes it a winner for me. Finally, it has pretty easy capabilities to retrieve pdfs wirelessly without syncing through iTunes either by using wifi upload (where GoodReader creates a webpage a web browser on your laptop can access in order to upload PDFs and other documents to the app), ftp/sftp, or Dropbox.

    For note taking, I use Evernote since it keeps those notes synced with my ipod touch, my desktop, my laptop, and through the Evernote website, my work computer. So note taking in the cloud. Also helps to ensure you have backups of your notes as it can be synced to multiple devices. Though of course there are plenty of other text apps that you can use for note taking, like the built-in Notes app. But for you particular application, I think Evernote might be the best for you (where you want to easily read notes on your ipad and your laptop). Also, you can take pictures via Evernote if words don't quite capture a concept... Again those pictures are synced to your various devices that have Evernote installed or can access the Evernote website.

    For essay writing, personally, unless you have a bluetooth keyboard or the keyboard dock, I wouldn't write essays on the ipad, I don't care what app you use. I have the Apple Wireless Keyboard ($70) and it works wonderfully. The on-screen keyboard is fine for emails but remembering all those papers I wrote in college, *shiver*, no, not using the onscreen keyboard. Anyways, you can always use Evernote to type up the essay, then on your laptop at home, copy it to your word processor to format it for your needs. If you want a real word processor, there is Apple's Pages, QuickOffice, and Documents to Go. I use Pages, but I haven't really used it.

    And dropbox use it...love it.
     
  12. Katoosh
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    Katoosh iPF Novice

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    I don't think the iPad can be a replacement device for a full operating system like windows or apple OSx. I had a windows tablet all last year for my classes and loved it. Took notes with a stylus and having a real keyboard is much better than trying to type something really long out on a virtual kb.
     
  13. tactK
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    tactK iPF Novice

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    Wow exactly what I would like to hear :)

    I do have a fully functional laptop at home so that wouldn't be a problem! I am indeed looking forward to notes annotation when I get an iPad!

    @Everyone: Thank you very much for your experiences guys! It's great to see that majority of the comments are positive. I would definitely consider getting an iPad now!

    I have a question though, is the new hardware on the iPad 2 a huge jump from the original? Is it worth the price or should I get the marked down iPad original?
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  14. DontUnderstandMyIpad
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    DontUnderstandMyIpad iPad Guru

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    Well, on iPad 2, iOS runs almost instantaneously, there is almost no lag when switching between apps. Whereas on iPad 1, it always takes a few seconds to load the app, before it responds to any input. Another thing to consider is, that iPad 1 apps are prone to crash, when running low on memory. And websites get quickly cleared from the RAM, when another app is opened, as the device is running low on memory, meaning that you need to reload websites frequently. With iPad 2, this is less of an issue, as the doubled RAM really helps.

    The camera is useful, if you want to import any printed document, but depending on your course, this may never be important for you.

    I would definitely buy iPad 2 and a Zaggmate case, because multitasking works so much better.
     
  15. youngun
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    youngun iPF Novice

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    what windows tablet?
     

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