Can I replace my laptop with an iPad Pro?
January 3, 2017 2:56 PM   Subscribe

My laptop, a 11-inch Macbook Air, is becoming elderly and I need to replace it. Can I just forego the laptop and get an iPad Pro instead? Details inside.

So I don't use a laptop very much at home at all; I tend to use my current iPad (a mini) exclusively when at home. I don't do very much word processing at all at home; if I have to work, I come into the office, at least as of right now. That might change in the next couple of years, but probably not.

Generally, I do very standard stuff on the iPad -- web surfing, Twitter, streaming video, streaming music, iTunes. You get the idea. Right now, I'm pretty primitive with music; I just plug my speakers into my laptop and listen that way. However, I intend to upgrade to Sonos reasonably soon. I don't do anything that would require graphics -- no gaming, video editing, web design, animation, anything like that.

As long as I get a smart keyboard for the iPad Pro, will that suit my needs as well as the laptop would? The one thing that gives me pause is that some websites can be a bit hinky with iOS. I can't think of any examples, but I know there have been a couple of times when I've had to fire up the laptop because there was stuff that wasn't really working in iOS. (Btw, my husband does have a laptop, which he uses for work, so we wouldn't be totally laptop free.)

I have the feeling that this has been a bit less than clear, mostly because I'm not all that sophisticated about hardware, but hopefully that gives everyone enough information. Thanks!
posted by holborne to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Walt Mossberg thinks so.
posted by General Malaise at 3:05 PM on January 3, 2017

Sure, you can totally do it (especially since you can borrow your husband's laptop if you ever need).
posted by katrielalex at 3:18 PM on January 3, 2017

Yes. I have the iPad Pro with the keyboard and it's awesome. Based on your usage that you defined, I think you will do fine without a traditional laptop.
posted by FireFountain at 3:36 PM on January 3, 2017

Totally. Do it! I replaced my laptop with the smaller iPad Pro over the summer, and absolutely love it. I have the keyboard but not the pencil thing. It's perfect for streaming and surfing. The only time I miss my laptop is when I'm working on a paper for school, but based on the usage you describe, you'll be totally fine.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 3:43 PM on January 3, 2017

I have the larger iPad Pro with the Logitech Create keyboard. I think it definitely would suffice for what you need. I like the Logitech keyboard better than Apple's because it is lighted. It is definitely heavier than the Apple version. Both use the connector on the device. One option you have is to install the app versions of a Firefox and Chrome if you want browser options.

I can even connect to my company system through Citrix, although it can be a little clunky. You might also make sure to have a pointer to make navigation better.
posted by jwt0001 at 3:45 PM on January 3, 2017

I * hate * the Apple keyboard for my 12" iPad pro, for what it's worth. Hate. It. Maybe the Logitech recommended above is better.
posted by spitbull at 4:06 PM on January 3, 2017

I used a 2010 Macbook Pro as my primary computer until I bought an ipad (the air 2) about a year ago. I literally haven't opened the Macbook for months. There are very few websites that don't work on ipads, since that would mean people couldn't access them on at least some phones - and mobile access is increasingly important. Actually, I don't even remember the last time I wanted to do something on the computer and couldn't do it on the ipad.

I have this Anker keyboard case and I'm reasonably happy with it, though there may be something better out there.
posted by insectosaurus at 4:26 PM on January 3, 2017

Buying a $700 tablet and then adding a $150 Apple keyboard to it seems crazy to me, when you can get a Macbook Air for $1000.
posted by gregr at 4:56 PM on January 3, 2017

If you use or will likely need to use specific software, you may find that there's no iPad version or even equivalent. That happened to me.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:35 AM on January 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

One other thing to be aware of is that if you're connecting and disconnecting the keyboard, iOS doesn't always deal with that especially well. You'll find that switching back to the software keyboard will leave you unable to access the numeric keyboard, for example. Or the buttons above the soft keyboard with suggestions will go white-on-white, making them hard to read.

Websites are getting better with iOS, but you'll probably end up calling tech support more often if you're on iOS than a laptop. Web developers still don't test much on iOS, so you'll "get" to be their QA, finding and reporting bugs.

All that said, I haven't powered up my Mac at home for 4 months. I do everything on my iPad Air 2 (not even a pro) with a plug-in Logitech keyboard. The next time I power up the computer, it will be to rip a handful of music CDs I've found while cleaning around the house. So it's definitely possible. But there are also times when my sweetie will say, "oh, just use the computer!" after I've been fighting with the payroll website for fifteen minutes trying to find out how much my last paycheck was.
posted by DaveP at 3:35 AM on January 4, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone -- lots of good info here. gregr, to answer your question: you make a good point, but an iPad (pro or not) fits in better with the way I tend to use technology at home. More specifically, I tend to do everything technology-related at home while in a more or less horizontal position, and a laptop isn't really conducive to that, since I actually have no lap at those times. Also -- hey, 150 bucks is 150 bucks.
posted by holborne at 9:26 AM on January 4, 2017

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