iPad as a SOLE device for students?

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Before you respond with "OMG! FAIL! I NEED MORE!" please 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, iPad case 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?

1) 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.

2) Backup and Updates. Without another computer to sync to, Billy wouldn't be able to backup his iPad contents and run updates. Maybe Apple should come up with a way that it could be backed up and updated over the web? I don't know how feasible this is, especially on low-speed DSL connections. But if they could come up with something, the iPad would become a standalone device, which would be pretty cool IMO.

That's really the only problems 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.
 
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It's not going to fair well as your only machine as a student. It will be tiresome to write long papers on, lack of multitasking will make doing many things unnecessarily time consuming and the fact that you can't really store folders/files etc on it will be a little strange. (I don't know exactly how that will work yet)..

Get a refurbished 13" MacBook.
 
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As much as I want an iPad...it is not designed to be nor will it fit as your only computer.
Sorry I ment billys only computer. Lets try not to make it out to be the end all cancer curing world peace making second coming ! For the best read I have seen on the subjsct I give you BOBTOMAY:



"While not "in the business" so to speak, I am "that" guy... the one all the friends/co-workers/family call when they have problems with their computer, TV, audio gear, etc. I'm also the one they call when it's time for a new one.

I've already had a couple of folks ask about the iPad for their use. Have to say at this point, I believe the vast majority of folks that have to ask someone else about the iPad... it is not the device they're looking for. No more than someone that reads/buys 5 books a year needs a Kindle, Sony or B&N e-reader.

The folks that turn to their geek friends to get purchasing advice about these type of things tend to buy a new computer about once every 5-8 years. They have no clue where technology has gone since the last computer they bought. They just wonder what's wrong with the $600 Dell, HP or Compaq they bought back in 2002 and how cheap can they go and still get something that will last them another 5-8 years. This is not the iPad market. Not yet.

The iPad starting out is a device for folks that know what they want. They already have a computer and at least semi know how to use the thing. My guess is that most of the people that go for an iPad already own more than one computer. This is for those folks who are tired of being tied to their desk for "all" their computing. Or maybe tired of having that 5-8 pound weight tied to their lap whenever they need to just do quick check of their email or maybe googling to do a little research.

The iPad is not a machine that is going to take the place of your work computer. Not even take the place of your primary personal computer. It's certainly not going to take the place of my HTPC or my media server.

A lot of the comments I've seen are those looking to replace their $1500-$2000 computer with this new magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price. $500?? Yeah, right people, come on and get for real.

I will be able to sit back in my recliner without this heatsink sitting in my lap while I'm banning spammers. I'll be able to pull up Amazon to check pricing on the next thing I need to buy and without this power cable that I have to run from a not convenient outlet. e-mail? it's there too.

Grabbing a copy of the newest Sci-fi just released in hard cover at 50% or more off the hard cover price. (And I say, some folks need to learn how to adjust the brightness on their monitors. Maybe they wouldn't have such a problem reading. You just wouldn't believe how many folks have the brightness turned up about as high as it will go all the time rather than taking the time to adjust it to existing light conditions.)

I'm like everyone else. I could come up with a lot of stuff that I'd like to have on the thing. I'd like to see full blown 10.6, or dual booting to Win7. Yeah, and then I'm right back to a computer in my lap again. Face it, both 10.6 and Win7 are going to run like poop on a 1Ghz chip. We know for sure Win7 does, just ask someone that owns one of those 1.6Ghz atom chips in a notebook running Win7 (oh sorry, they're actually so bad they came up with a new name for them - netbook - just to let you know up front not to expect too much out of them).

The fact of the matter, the technology to put a Core2Duo, i5, or i7 along with 512MB 3D video, 4GB RAM, 2 USB ports, FW, SD card slot, video camera and 256GB drive all into a 5"x7"x1/2" slab is just not here - yet.

What we do have is a new device with a new chip with a new purpose in a size us old timers might actually be able to see. So for those that would like to sit in the Family room with the rest of the family instead of at that desk at the opposite end of the house "all" the time, the iPad might be for you. Those tired of that hot weight sitting on your lap "all" the time, the iPad might be for you. Those interested in the possibility of color magazines and newspapers, comics, graphic novels, cookbooks..., the iPad might be for you."
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Read the whole thread here http://www.mac-forums.com/forums/ipad-hardware-accessories/189424-why-i-can-t-recommend-ipad-2.html

Clay
 
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Can you guys not stay on topic at all?

I didn't ask what other product Billy should buy, I asked what problems he would run into with the setup he chose. If you can't come up with anything, don't respond. I don't care what you would have bought, or what Billy should have bought. Billy already bought the iPad and some accessories for it.

WILL HE HAVE PROBLEMS?


Now, to Zorro and Clay, I appreciate the responses, but they weren't really on topic. I asked a specific question about a specific hypothetical situation, please try to stay on topic.

Zorro: You did bring up a valid point with multi-tasking, however, I don't think it would be as big of an issue as you are making it out to be. With the setup Billy has, he can do everything a laptop can except run Windows/MacOS programs and multi-task. But I do believe they will add in some sort of multi-tasking since the iPad has a more powerful processor and bigger screen than the iPhone.


Oh, BTW, this really is a hypothetical question. I already have a laptop, and a desktop, and will be buying an iPad on day 1.
 

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As someone who has done five years of social science univeristy level education (both undergraduate and graduate), you really are going to need more than an iPad. I can't speak to the quality of iWork for the iPad (it not being out and all) but I think I can safely say that you're going to regret trying to make it your sole machine for studies.

To be honest, it's not my kind of device for many reasons so I am trying to approach this from a "student's perspective". As a student therefore, I can imagine that you will regret purchasing an iPad over a notebook (whether it be Mac or Windows machine). You/Billy won't be able to use optical media including games and DVD movies which are great for both unwinding and content for class projects. On top of this, there is no Flash which powers a lot of the content online for video. I'm going to assume that it also has no Java like the iPhone which may also give you some grief down the road. On top of this, and not to get into a deep discussion about the merits of the App Store, but you are limited to apps on the App Store. With a notebook, there are no limitations on what you can download/purchase/install. Another thing: browser. If it doesn't work on Safari, you just won't be able to get to it. At least on my MacBook I have choice - if Firefox doesn't load it, I can open Opera, Chromium or Safari. Since there are no alternatives available in the iPhone OS (either through the App Store or in the default install), you're left hoping that MobileSafari renders and opens everything you throw at it (don't get me wrong, it does a very good job). One last thing - printing support. I very much doubt the iPad will have printing support and trust me, you need to print a lot in the social sciences.

Regardless of whether or not my aforementioned concerns are important to your consideration, you need to look beyond the "social studies = word processor and browser" requirement. This is why it is hard to justify an iPad as a sole device. And, before you respond, "you" above is not directed at you (it is you in the general sense).
 
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Billy got some money for graduation gifts from his family and friends

I would just like to live in a country where you get money for finishing School .... ;P
 
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Regardless of whether or not my aforementioned concerns are important to your consideration, you need to look beyond the "social studies = word processor and browser" requirement. This is why it is hard to justify an iPad as a sole device. And, before you respond, "you" above is not directed at you (it is you in the general sense).

The reason i mentioned non-IT majors is because the majority don't require any special software. Throughout my entire Psychology degree, I needed nothing but a web browser and word processing.
 
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And lets not forget...with out another computer how will young billy sync his contacts , ical , music , movies , up-date software and do that occasional restore that the iphone ( and ill bet ) iPad will need.

Clay

hope this was more on point
 
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The reason i mentioned non-IT majors is because the majority don't require any special software. Throughout my entire Psychology degree, I needed nothing but a web browser and word processing.

Every math class I've taken at my school has required me to install programs to a (usually windows based) computer. Not to mention that many schools require students to go thru a Microsoft Office class. Also, Several of my classes have come with license codes to use online supplement software, while web based, typically uses flash, java, or both. Not to mention how many of these sites just plain don't work with Safari.

If "Billy" wants an iPad, let him get one. But as a primary/sole machine, I can't see it working with complete functionality.
 
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i say way to go billy! ipads look freaking amazing and are incredibly cheap. i also believe that he would be able to cope with just his ipad.
just one point made would put me off "And lets not forget...with out another computer how will young billy sync his contacts , ical , music , movies , up-date software and do that occasional restore that the iphone ( and ill bet ) iPad will need.
"
pages and safari should get billy passed.
 

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The reason i mentioned non-IT majors is because the majority don't require any special software. Throughout my entire Psychology degree, I needed nothing but a web browser and word processing.
Yes, but as my post also said, you probably needed Java and/or Flash at some point in those browsers to access some material. Also, not all sites work in all browsers so, on a notebook/desktop, you have the option of using a different browser.

Everyone's experience is different. I was encouraged to have SPSS for stats and there is no way that any statistical package for the iPhone OS can provide that kind of power (I assume).
 
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First, I cant speak for myself as I am an engineering major, but I do know many Psychology majors, and I can speak for them. You will have to write tons of papers about 99% of which will need the internet. All math classes even basic level math have online homework, some with flash... As much as anyone wants this iPad, it is just too impractical for any student. Imagine typing a paper then having to get out just to look back online, and go back. I don't know how iWork will work yet but saving it won't be very simple to do when having to switch back and forth... Sorry, but I don't think it would work at all.
 
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First, I cant speak for myself as I am an engineering major, but I do know many Psychology majors, and I can speak for them. You will have to write tons of papers about 99% of which will need the internet. All math classes even basic level math have online homework, some with flash... As much as anyone wants this iPad, it is just too impractical for any student. Imagine typing a paper then having to get out just to look back online, and go back. I don't know how iWork will work yet but saving it won't be very simple to do when having to switch back and forth... Sorry, but I don't think it would work at all.

Well, considering that I have a degree in Psychology currently, and I didn't even install Adobe Flash until about a year ago (yes I was way "behind"), I got by just fine, with doing a lot of research online. Now I do understand about the multi-tasking, but like I said, with the extra processing power of the iPad, I don't see why they wouldn't implement some form of multi-tasking. I think the reason they never did it for the iPhone is simply because it didn't have the power.
 
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Well, considering that I have a degree in Psychology currently, and I didn't even install Adobe Flash until about a year ago (yes I was way "behind"), I got by just fine, with doing a lot of research online. Now I do understand about the multi-tasking, but like I said, with the extra processing power of the iPad, I don't see why they wouldn't implement some form of multi-tasking. I think the reason they never did it for the iPhone is simply because it didn't have the power.

I agree with you, and that's why I believe that the iPad is being "hated" by some because it doesn't have the power that people were hoping for... But it's not that it doesn't have the power, with the new A4 "all-in-one" processor, but Apple didn't use it to it's fullest potential. Why? because that's Apple. When you use something to it's fullest there are chances it will be slow, or cause problems. So Apple as usual makes the software way less powerful than the hardware can handle, which makes the product so good, and I don't think what they're doing is bad, but we wont see a "tablet" if you can even call the iPad a tablet, that's powerful enough to Apple's standards to run things that most of us were hoping for such as multitasking, unless its a full-blown intel processor.
 
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You know what, Superbike? Your tone in this thread is ridiculous and doesn't warrant help from anyone really.

I answered your ostentatious "hypothetical billybob" question as per my opinion and thought based on what you laid out and you tell me I'm off topic? LMAO!!!

For someone with a psychology degree, you don't really have the "interacting with strangers via social nettiquette" thing down pat, do you?

BEST of luck.
 
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As much as I want an iPad...it is not designed to be nor will it fit as your only computer.

Actually, it would take only the most MINOR of software adjustments to make the iPad a standalone unit (which, contrary to your assertion, is exactly how must customers will in fact use it).

Pretty much the ONLY thing that needs to be upgraded is the execution of "cloud storage" and "cloud automatic backup."

MobileMe as an example (for obvious reasons) is already halfway there. It would not take much to put it all the way there.

I frankly think a lot of people (not you, I'm referring to the haters) are suffering a pretty deep deficit of imagination when it comes to the iPad.

Are our (collective) memories so short that we can't recall that just two years ago, the iPhone had NO options AT ALL for apps beyond what Apple shipped with it? Yet look what happened in the last 18 months, and what the iPhone can do now compared to then. Was the iPhone a flop until it acquired the ability to do GPS? Was it a boondoggle before it could do actual IM chatting? Was it a disaster up to the point where Apple FINALLY gave it push notifications and what I'll call "the corporate features"? Over the past five years, Apple has *quadrupled* in size, largely on the back of two devices that when originally released had little going for them beyond basic functionality, and were ridiculed and dismissed as being inferior to available options by people who couldn't see that the device was more than just its' day-one hardware and software.

As they used to say in Twin Peaks, "It is Happening. Again."

While my wife's computer was out on loan, she used my iPhone as her SOLE computing device for SIX MONTHS. I won't say she didn't miss her computer -- of course she did -- but apart from Facebook games, she had to admit she could do EVERYTHING (let me repeat that -- EVERYTHING) she needed to do on the iPhone. The only thing the iPhone didn't offer without docking to a computer was a way to back up her photos and music. All her writing and such was cloud-stored and cloud-synced and cloud-pushed -- no conventional backup or computer-based syncing (except for photos/music) required.

If you haven't already, have a click over to these three essays:
The iPad's future shock | Tablets | iPhone Central | Macworld
stevenf.com - I need to talk to you about computers. I?ve been...
The iPad — The ?Goldilocks? Computer? (dead link)
 
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I agree with almost every thing you wrote, i was iPhone only myself for a little over 7 months and did just fine . Other than backing up , software updates and the ever present movie and music issue. I went as far as taking my Carbon Copy back-up to best buy and used a display MBP to download and install iPhone 3.0 !
But until the device is allowed to evolve it just isn't up to the task of being a stand alone unit. Now that isnt to say that it wont happen but until then ....

Clay
 

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Pretty much the ONLY thing that needs to be upgraded is the execution of "cloud storage" and "cloud automatic backup."

MobileMe as an example (for obvious reasons) is already halfway there. It would not take much to put it all the way there.
Perhaps but many many people don't want backup or storage to reside online. The fact of having all of my data controlled by someone else, frankly, terrifies me. True, I have a lot of data "in the cloud" now but I have many times more data on my Mac which will never be online. There is no reason to have a fully cloud based machine regardless of how easy it is.

I frankly think a lot of people (not you, I'm referring to the haters) are suffering a pretty deep deficit of imagination when it comes to the iPad.
No, not a lack of imagination but a suitable amount of justified frustration. There is no reason Apple couldn't have given the iPad an SD slot and some other basic ports. Sure, it may not come with some things now that could be implemented in the future but that's the problem - why not now? People were complaining about copy and paste, something available to most smartphones, when the iPhone came out. Sure, I could have faith and "imagination" but why should I when it is so common already?

Are our (collective) memories so short that we can't recall that just two years ago, the iPhone had NO options AT ALL for apps beyond what Apple shipped with it? Yet look what happened in the last 18 months, and what the iPhone can do now compared to then. Was the iPhone a flop until it acquired the ability to do GPS? Was it a boondoggle before it could do actual IM chatting? Was it a disaster up to the point where Apple FINALLY gave it push notifications and what I'll call "the corporate features"?
See above. To reiterate, it wasn't a flop but there was absolutely no justifiable reason that it didn't come with many of the features it has now.

You are premising your argument on cloud storage and a hope for future innovation. Simply put - some people are very frustrated that we have to have both (me included).
 

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