Undecided - should I buy an iPad?

Discussion in 'iPad 3 Forum' started by sgtzebrapants, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. sgtzebrapants
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    sgtzebrapants iPF Noob

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    Hi everyone! My name is Kate and I am new to the site. I came across this website as I was googling reviews of the iPad. I hope you guys can help me!

    I have been considering purchasing an iPad since they were released. I absolutely LOVE the entertainment aspect of the device. If I was just buying it for that - I would've had an iPad years ago.. but ...

    I am a graduate student, so spending 1000 bucks on something that cannot aid me in my studies is out of the question. Several friends in other programs say the iPad is a great tool to have, but I remain skeptical. I'm hoping someone can answer my many questions!

    Can the iPad completely replace hard-copy textbooks? Are most textbooks available in e-format and how do I go about finding them? When I purchase an etextbook, do I also have the choice of printing a hard copy? Is the highlight function on the iPad enough to replace an ink highlighter? Am I able to place notes on articles as I am reading them on the iPad?

    Can I take effective notes during class on the iPad using a stylus or wireless keyboard? (I am SO tired of lugging my 17 inch laptop to and from) And after I take the notes, can I email them to myself or should I send them to the cloud? Or both? How easy is it to do this? (One of my main worries is lack of USB port)

    I will not be using the iPad for research - I have a dedicated PC (I begged and BEGGED for a Mac..to no avail.) in my office for that - but I would like the ability to type papers and create presentations on the iPad. Is this possible?

    I'm also worried about the transition from hard copy to electronic. I would like to to leave my laptop @ home everyday. Although it will make porting everything around MUCH easier, I'm concerned with the 'learning curve'. Is it an easy transition? I've been so successful with pen & paper.. but I really feel I need to become more technologically savy to prepare for my career.

    I'm sorry for the ridiculous amount of questions - but as I've read through other postings - you guys are the most well-informed group of iPad owners I've come across! Thank you in advance for any and all advice you can give me! (I would've gone to an Apple store, but unfortunately the closest one is over 100 miles away. Plus, I figured I'd get some honest answers here!)
  2. AQ_OC
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    AQ_OC Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Very good questions. I cannot say if all textbooks come in PDF but there is a strong trend in this direction. IMO, if even a few of them come in PDF that will be a big advantage. Check amazon and check with the various book publishers. They are all on the web. Also consider whether you only want a soft copy. Some times I want both. I think GoodReader is a great tool for manipulation of PDFs. You also want Dropbox and some other form of cloud storage. It makes moving PDF and other types of files from your pc to your iPad easy. GoodReader works with these.

    The retina display on the new iPad is a big, big plus for any kind of reading and you would do well to get the 64GB LTE model if you can.

    There are tools for taking notes on the iPad using a stylus. I have several of them but I don't use them to take notes. I use them to write things that I want projected on a screen.

    I have the logitech Ultrathin Bluetooth keyboard and a small case that I keep both it and my iPad in. It works well. There are several apps for writing words, not counting Pages by apple.

    There are sue forums here on this topic (using iPads in and for education). Depending on your needs an iPad can cover a lot of what laptops can do, but in all fairness you can get an ultra book for about the same coin and it will be very close in weight to an iPad and Bluetooth keyboard. Of course, if you learn to use the onscreen keyboard effectively you can lose the keyboard.

    Ask anymore questions you may have. Folks are very helpful here.
  3. AQ_OC
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    AQ_OC Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I have no problems getting my stuff to and from the iPad. I use wifi for everything. I hate iTunes and try to avoid it has much as possible. There are apps for everything and they are fairly inexpensive compared to programs for the PC. Thinking cloud. I also have an air stash a02. Search the forum here for posts on this device. I carry it around with my iPad in case I need to trade files with laptop users. Great at conferences and such. And you can watch movies from it (multi-usage is key).

    It has a USB plug on one end and an sd card on the other. Your iPad connects to it over wifi, but you can take the sd card our and put it in a laptop to trade files with a laptop user. Or you can plug the USB plug into the laptop (this is my last option if the file is big).
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012
  4. rkarolak
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    rkarolak iPF Noob

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    The iPad and other android tablets will give you good flexibility with text-book availability as you can get books from the iBooks store, Amazon Kindle store, Nook Store, etc. They each have their different features as far as highlighting. I wouldn't expect the ability to print from these, unless if you can find them in a pdf format, which is less common. I don't have a lot of experience in this area, as I got an iPad after I graduated from college. Perhaps others can help here.

    The ipad works well for notes. There are different ways to do it. If you don't mind carrying a bluetooth keyboard it'll probably work the best as the iPad's screen isn't designed very well to use a stylus and the experience is sluggish and not very smooth (imo).

    You can create and edit papers, spreadsheets, and presentations, but the apps are much more limited than desktop apps. They may work well as a companion for updating and viewing documents, but there is much you can't do in terms of formatting, password protecting, macros, etc. I wouldn't use the iPad as a replacement for a desktop for these things, but it probably will work file for simpler tasks, documents, and presentations.

    Files can generally be sent to services like Dropbox, Box, iCloud, other cloud services, etc. Some apps can have files transferred to a computer within iTunes. You can of course also email the documents.

    I don't think the learning curve is too high. Nothing is as simple as pen and paper, but the iPad has as good of a learning curve as anything else you can find.

    Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions.
  5. sgtzebrapants
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    sgtzebrapants iPF Noob

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    Thanks everyone!

    I was just going to buy the wireless keyboard offered through the Apple site. Would you suggest doing that or purchasing one elsewhere?

    I'm also going to search the forums for discussions on the smart case - but if anyone has any advice on that topic (i.e. - should I buy it from Apple?) feel free to let me know!

    I'm strongly leaning towards the iPad.. simply because I think it might make my last year of grad classes a bit fun and not to mention safer. Dropping the iPad on my face won't hurt as much as a 2000 page book. :)
  6. AQ_OC
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    AQ_OC Super Moderator Staff Member

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  7. Asharp
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    Asharp iPad Enthusiast

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    The etextbook industry is unfortunately still in its infancy. Use the search term "textbooks" in the App Store at the Apple website for current offerings and also try individual publishers and online bookstores to see if the textbooks you'll need are available.

    Notetaking on an iPad, depending on the stylus and notetaking app, is superior to pen and paper because notes on the iPad are easier to to find and you'll be able to eliminate the notebooks you've had to carry. There are a lot of threads on good styluses and popular notetaking apps in this forum.

    Creating basic but professional slide presentations with Keynote, for example, is faster and easier than using the same app for a laptop: Moving text, photos and reordering slides by hand is faster and easier than with a mouse or trackpad.

    The learning curve may be greatest in terms of typing on the virtual keyboard. For heavy-duty typing, get a Bluetooth keyboard. Some people prefer to store their iPad and keyboard in a case that opens and can be used like a laptop and others don't. It depends on your needs.

    Learning to live without a flashdrive also appears to be another issue for many. That's why several members suggested Dropbox. I think that replacing the flashdrive with apps like Dropbox and other apps that have options for transferring significant numbers of folders and files is better because you will no longer have to worry about keeping track of such a small object like a flashdrive that might have your only copy of significant revisions on a draft of a paper.


    While you don't need it, if you get an iPad, there's no reason to ignore conducting research on it, especially as search results are easy to keep organized. I conduct research, take notes and organize and complete slide lectures and documents all on my iPad. My laptop is only used for accessing a couple of software programs that are superior to similar apps currently on the market and I use a virtual desktop app to access them while at work.
  8. Wolfpuppies3
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    Wolfpuppies3 iPad Junkie

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  9. AQ_OC
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    AQ_OC Super Moderator Staff Member

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  10. Asharp
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    Asharp iPad Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the info about Airstash. iPad users like me, whose needs are pretty basic, just don't need a physical flash drive device anymore. I've learned how to live without a flash drive for a while, but it looks like an interesting and useful device for those who need one.

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