iPad as a SOLE device for students?

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by Superbike81, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. Superbike81
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    Superbike81 iPad Addict

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    Before you respond with "OMG! FAIL! I NEED MORE!" hear me out.
    This obviously isn't a thread geared towards students who are IT majors or engineers who use CAD or anything like that. This is more towards your non-tech majors like myself (Psychology/Pre-Med) or social science, English, History, etc, etc, majors. So let's hear a little story:

    There's a student, let's call him Billy. Billy doesn't have a computer at all, his family couldn't afford to buy him one, but he's a good student and got a scholarship to cover his tuition and housing. Good job Billy!

    Billy got some money for graduation gifts from his family and friends, he's got a little bit of money to spend, so he buys a bicycle, and needs a computer, but on impulse decides to buy an iPad. "UH OH!" you say, "Billy can't only have an iPad! He needs more functionality for school!" Billy also buys a network capable printer, an iPad dock, and a bluetooth keyboard and headset. Now billy can print what he needs for his research, buy e-books for school, type his term papers, and listen to music, movies, and games all without disturbing his roommate.

    Billy starts school and is doing very well, he's a Biology major with hopes of going to Dental School.......



    Ok, so you take the story from here, what problems is Billy going to run into? Multi-tasking? Maybe he'll need to print out his references and type them, or copy/paste (which supposedly the updated OS will support) from Safari to the word processor.

    That's really the only problem I'm seeing, but maybe I'm not seeing everything, so how about some input please? I'm not asking if a laptop or netbook would be better or cheaper, I'm asking what problems you think Billy would run into in this hypothetical situation.

    Again Billy is NOT an IT major, he barely knows how to use a computer, he won't be networking, programming, or doing any of that stuff, he can take basic computer lit courses like every other non-IT major.

    Please discuss, show me what I'm missing, show me why Billy made a bad decision. :)
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2010
  2. iVegas702
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    iVegas702 iPF Novice

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    The only issue I see first is that the ipad might need to sync with a computer at some time. How are you going to back up the ipad. Like the iphone he needs to sync to get updates and such. Maybe the computer lab at school will have a way to do that and than back it up on an external hard drive. My daughter is at college now and will use it to take notes in class and as a ereader. She also has a mac book though.
  3. Superbike81
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    Superbike81 iPad Addict

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    Ok, valid point. I would hope they come up with a way to back it up and upgrade it without having to sync it to another computer. If they did, I think they would be able to market it as a device that's not quite a full computer, but still doesn't need a computer to operate.
  4. Dorje
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    Dorje iPad Enthusiast

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    I've seen this combination bounced around as a cheap Mac setup for college students.

    MacMini + iPad (as main working device and screen). On of the bigger costs of the tiny little computers, even PCs, can be the monitor you get to go with it. Unless you can dig into surplus or sales and get them used, that's often an extra 100 dollars.

    Depending on how well the iPad can handle VNC type programs it could function as both a mobile screen and your laptop replacement for general use. I've been using my iPod basically daily with JaaduVNC to connect to both work and home computers for various tasks. I can *almost* watch flash sites like Hulu this way as well.

    A basic iPad at 500 + MacMini at 600, is 1100. This is getting into reliable low end laptop territory. However the upside is that if either one of the devices fails for some reason you're not necessarily screwed in the short term. You can also likely do this with an even cheaper generic PC.
  5. imatt
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    I don't think this will be a good sole piece of hardware at all for students. When I type, I don't have to look at the keyboard and I can look up at my screen on my laptop. With the iPad, I'd have to be looking down the whole time which puts a strain on my neck. Love the product, just not about to use it as a sole substitute for my classes. Maybe an add on so I wouldn't have to bring books. Just bring a laptop and ipad to class (and having an MBA, I could carry both with no problem).
  6. JohnnyApple
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    I couldn't use it as a sole device. Doing extended periods of typing on it would become tedious, IMHO.
  7. iVegas702
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    Well what if you had the keyboard and stand accessory for the iPad? That way you can look at the pad standing up and type on a real keyboard. I agree though, with apple's student discount program a lab top would be best. I wonder if they will allow a student discount on the iPad?
  8. AbblePC
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    lol first off, what the * is Lab top, they are LaP tops always has been and what they were portably marketed for.
    I would think a LaB top would be anything that is more cumbersome to carry about and thusly would sit always on a students Lab top/desktop. Most Lap tops Iv'e seen, serviced or worked on are just that, comfortable and compact enough for most laps while outside the office setting. Yes some do engorge on the Desktop mentality as far as size and features. Then you also have Netbooks, which is a name I can't argue with.

    Also, your story about Billy assumed that copy/paste was not a current available function without an update to the iPhone or iPad OS ?? Currently copy/paste on the iPhone "is" able to function between apps. Apple just doesn't support true multitasking by allowing two programs/apps to interact with one another, besides this CP feature.
    I copy/paste between apps all day long, I print work orders from my iPhone as well as scan them back to the iPhone once signed and completed and also paste photos and other items to create PDF's to mail to clients or vendors, all on the iPhone without any help from a PC, besides the initial printer share that I printed to. (that will be remedied soon with the iPad with use of a bluetooth printer in my mobile office as well).

    As far as "Billy" using the Mac Mini to dock his iPAd with, that is feasible, however what about interfacing with iTunes for syncing, unless he sets prior using a borrowed desktop/laptop to join some "cloud computing" backup or make use of the iDisk app (another $100) annually.

    I think using an iPad as a "thin client" is very do-able and is something you will see very soon become a normal atmosphere when visiting your next office or business situation. Especially the way I have been seeing Hospitals and medical staff recently submitting surveys when it comes to the implementation of iPads into their current working conditions.

    With all the e-book support and iBookstore that Steve Jobs is currently and heavily touting to publishers, the whole class and study on the iPad platform becomes more real than ever before. :comingsoon:

    Edited on my iBhone; http://www.urbandictionary.com/iphone/search?term=labtop
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2010
  9. system
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    system iPF Noob

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    Printing

    Printing. Other than this, I will attempt to make it my sole computing device the Fall of 2010. (I know I can email to select printers on campus and the device will print when I arrive and start it)
  10. Default
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    I'll give this a try as well.

    One concern would be "updating"... however I can't for the life of me understand why Apple didn't (or hasn't yet) released a way to do updates directly on the phone or pad itself without requiring a computer.
  11. iII
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    ...
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  12. terry
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    No way. As others have stated one would have to look at the screen to type the whole time. That alone rules it out. As for hospitals, I would bet that over 90% of hospitals use a form of windows and would most likely go with a windows tablet if they were to go that route. The ipad is a e reader that can do multiple fart apps, one at a time.
  13. KiltedTim
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    KiltedTim iPad Fan

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    Actually, a lot of hospitals are looking seriously at the iPad. The Windows based tablets that are out there are just too complicated, etc. Development for them is even more difficult that developing a standard Windows app due to the need to take the tablet into account when designing.

    The iPad is nearly an ideal platform for hospitals. Not just for charts, but for delivering diagnostic imaging, etc.
  14. digitalgiga
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    Honestly, as a student i use a TON of websites that use flash. It sucks that the iPad browser doesn't support flash. I think this ipad forum post also gives a lot of insight into the subject.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2010
  15. rorschach23
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    im going to b an art student & am required to have a mac computer. i dont have a laptop @ all. im going to get the 32g wi-fi model, would it get the job done? will i have 2 put down @ least $1000 for a macbook, too?
  16. KiltedTim
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    rorschach23, I'd advise against trying to use this as your primary computer. It's not going to be able to run things like Photoshop and other applications you're undoubtedly going to need as an art student.

    It would be fantastic to have, though as your primary piece of tech to carry to classes. Light, fast and 10 hours of battery life. If you can't type fast enough on the soft keyboard to take notes, get yourself an Apple bluetooth keyboard. It's small and light and would work with both the iPad and a full blown Mac.

    I'd consider getting an iMac and an iPad instead of a MacBook or MacBook Pro... More bang for your buck and the iPad will let you carry 90% of what you need to do for most classes much easier.
  17. Dorje
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    Dorje iPad Enthusiast

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    From an education use stand point for K-12(or k-8) there some other issues that keep the iPad from being "Yes Please!" item. First, like all Student issues (and really really bad for Apple sorry to say) is no support for Flash and the older Shockwave. K-12 does tend to be behind the tech curve and many old education sites are not maintained or not forced to ever upgrade. This makes the iPad DoA for many sites I'm sad to say.

    Another issue is App control. At least under 3.1.2, it does't seem like you can lock out spesific 3rd party apps. Only Restrict by age rating. This does not help if we want to say create an iPad based testing program and lock out all fuctionality besides the testing software during that period. Even to just restrict it to say a VNC client spesificly setup to connect to a multi-user terminal setup (a some testing software would likely never make it to any mobile device).

    If Jobs wants this as a kids teaching tool platform there are going to need to be some adjustments before it can be taken seriously.
  18. Ninja
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    As a sole device the iPad would be a terrible choice. It's restricted internet access because of the lack of Flash should be a deal breaker. You need not look further. Get a real computer.

    If is is not a sole device, the various shortcomings of the iPad may or may not be deal breakers for any given purchaser, but it is still not a general purpose device.
  19. Superbike81
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    Superbike81 iPad Addict

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    My school doesn't require FLASH in any way. Neither do any of the research sites that I use. So, ummmmm, why is Flash a deal breaker again?
  20. KiltedTim
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    By the time little Billy bought the 64GB 3G model and keyboard dock, he could have bought himself an iBook. Not as portable or as ooohhh, cool!, but much better suited to what he needs to do.

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