Unless you are the type of person who plans on doing very little apart from drinking and partying for the duration of your college course, at some point you will need to do some studying. For the past few years, a laptop has been the accessory of choice for students everywhere, but with the increasing popularity of tablet computers, students are now more inclined to start off college life with an iPad rather than a laptop. But can an iPad really replace a laptop, or will your work product suffer?
The Advantages of an iPad
The biggest advantage of an iPad is its stature. Laptops are heavy and require a decent sized bag or rucksack to carry them around, whereas tablets are small and portable. You can carry an iPad in a handbag or backpack and you won’t even notice you have it. An iPad also boots up within seconds—unlike the average laptop that takes several minutes before it comes to life.
Writing Essays and Taking Notes on an iPad
Taking notes in class and writing essays is a major part of student life. In the good old days, students took a notepad into class and scribbled unintelligible notes they had to decipher later. Nowadays, students are more likely to have tablets and laptops with them in the classroom. However, the main disadvantage of an iPad is that it doesn’t have a keyboard. You can quite easily use the virtual keyboard for writing text, but who wants to tap away on a glass screen for hours? The alternative is to buy a Bluetooth keyboard or an iPad case with a built in keyboard.
Organise Your Files
Another disadvantage of an iPad (and tablets in general) is that you don’t have an easy to navigate filing system at hand. Laptops, whatever operating system they use, have filing systems that allow you to store and retrieve documents at the click of a mouse. Tablets such as the iPad rely on cloud storage, which is arguably better since you can’t accidentally “lose” an important essay from the Cloud. The alternative is to use a system such as DropBox and have access to your files from any device. Simply download the DropBox app on to your iPad, register for an account, and log in from anywhere you like. All your files are synchronised every time you work on them, which is perfect if you move from your iPad to a laptop or vice versa.
Work in an iPad Office
If you use a laptop or a desktop, you can install office software such as Microsoft Office or OpenOffice. Tablets don’t allow you to install software in the same way, but you can still work in an Office environment if you choose to. Check out Google Docs or something similar and work on your files in the Cloud instead. Edits are saved automatically and your work is accessible from any device once you sign in to your account.
A major advantage of an iPad is that you can use it to download and store electronic textbooks. Open reference books on screen using the iBook app and browse away in class or at home.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Glen Fathom is an RSA in Victoria. He likes to keep a tab on the latest technological developments around the world and digs into the tech magazines and blogs. He is also a movie buff and watches his favourite movies in his spare time.