September is just around the corner... iPad or Mac?
September is fast approaching, your loan paperwork is sorted, you’ve got a room in halls and your uni acceptance letter is getting liberally flashed around for every discount you can get. Question is though, you’re going to need something to type up all those class notes, read through the online course material, to write those late-night, caffeine fuelled essays whilst kicking back with Netflix or iTunes. Which laptop do you get? Do you even get a laptop at all..?
Mac Vs iPad Pro
Apple have recently revised the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, which has resulted in improvements in the overall speed and performance of both machines.
The Mac has been the laptop of choice for many students in the last few years, particularly for students who are doing more power-hungry, computer processor intensive courses; such as design and media.
In the latest round of major updates the MacBook Pro lost USB ports, an SD card slot, and a HDMI port. However, is this necessarily a bad thing? USB-C offers an incredible amount of power and speedcompared to previous iterations of the USB standard, transferring data up to 10 gigabits per second. Remember that annoying issue where you couldn’t plug a USB cable in, seemingly no matter which way you tried it? USB-C is reversible, meaning you can plug it in either way. There are some disadvantages to USB-C, the main one being not all technology companies have fully adopted it, yet. Although, with the massive number of dongles and adapters on the market, this isn’t an insurmountable issue for most users.
It’s not just the Macs that have received upgrades, however. iPad is the ultimate in portability and and is gaining ground in the power stakes, too. With the release of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, they’re now legitimate rivals for the MacBook Air. Replacing the original 9.7-inch, the 10.5-inch offers slightly more screen real estate but is less than 5mm wider than it's predeccessor. Apple have managed to do this by minimising the bezel. Offering portability and power alongside great accessories like the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil, Apple finally have an iPad that won’t be embarrassed by it's notebook bretheren.
Last month Apple unveiled iOS11, introducing many new features for the iPad and iPhone. With this release, the iPad will make another step towards being potentially the perfect ‘personal computer’, adding features that many users will be familliar with from macOS.
Take the new Files app for example, it is incredibly similar to Finder on macOS. You can easily browse, search, and organise all of your files in one place. This isn’t just for the files on your iPad either. You can also find, read and edit files stored on your other iOS devices, your Mac, on iCloud Drive, and across third party services like Dropbox and Google Drive.
One of the key benefits of the Apple ecosystem is iCloud. Take the iWork suite for example, where each of the constituent applications have the ability to save to iCloud, so you can view, edit or download documents on any of your Apple devices, as well as via any modem web browser. iWork also offers a collaboration feature, allowing you to work on the same document in real-time with friends, work colleagues or tutors.
Printing your work seems to be an almost prehistoric task these days, with the introduction of digital hand-in and plagiarism checkers like turnitin. That said, there are certain documents that need to be printed during your time at university. AirPrint allows you to do just that, without wires or the need to download and install driver software. AirPrint is available across Mac, iPad and iPhone devices for use with compatible printers.
Based on the recent improvements to the iPad, could you realistically use something like an iPad Pro rather than a notebook, like the ever popular MacBook Air? Both Mac and iPad are ideal for further education use, but are ideal for different users and it’s really down to your course and your preferences. The good news is, with the impending release of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, the gap between the two is only getting smaller.
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