Can an iPad Replace a Laptop?

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iPad and MacBook
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It’s not a simple answer…

With Apple releasing two new iPad models this week, there is a lot of talk about iPads, and rightly so. But I wanted to address a question that a close friend asked.

Can an iPad replace a laptop?

I think that that is a brilliant question, especially as many people will be thinking about either upgrading their current iPad or buying a new one, with the new ones being out.

I’m a big fan of the iPad, I don’t have the latest model, but that doesn’t really matter as it provides immense value to my everyday life, especially when it comes to writing blog posts like this.

But would I use it as a replacement for my MacBook?

To answer that question, I want to start this article by sharing my experience with using my 11-inch iPad Pro from 2020 as my main device.

Why my iPad became my main device

I initially purchased my iPad Pro for university. The aim was to use it as my main device for research and note-taking.

I started with a base model iPad and 1st generation Apple Pencil during my early years at university, but when I went on to do my master’s degree, I decided to upgrade to an iPad Pro and a 2nd generation Apple Pencil.

The reason I am mentioning this is to prove that even the base model iPad can be a good buy, but obviously, it depends on what you are using it for.

In my case, both iPads worked extremely well for research, I was able to annotate research papers, books, and all sorts without having to worry about carrying paper around in my bag.

I used my iPad for all sorts of things, it was my library for books, it was my notebook, my organiser, the list is endless!

But back then, my iPad couldn’t replace my laptop, and the simple reason for that was that I studied computer science, which required a lot of practical work which back then was simply not fully possible on an iPad. To be honest, I’m not even sure whether it is now.

When I left education, the iPad Pro became my primary device, and in all fairness it still is. I use it for writing blog posts, I use it for editing videos with iMovie and LumaFusion. I also use it for reading, replying to emails and general web browsing.

I guess it all comes down to sizing factors, I think that the 11-inch iPad is a great all-rounder for taking handwritten notes, I believe that it’s great for browsing the internet, reading and so on.

It’s also great for taking with you when you’re on the move, whether that’s commuting to and from work or simply going to work at your local coffee shop.

But can it replace a laptop?

Now that I explained how my iPad became my primary device, let’s discuss whether I think it can replace a laptop or a computer.

To cut to the chase, I honestly think it can, but it depends on your individual needs and requirements.

If you primarily use your laptop for emails, office work or browsing the internet, I definitely think it can.

But if you plan to use it for more advanced things such as photo and video editing, you may find that a laptop or desktop is more adequate.

If you are a student, I think that an iPad is great for using as a secondary device to a laptop, but that will depend on your degree. I know students who have written most of their assignments on iPads or Android tablets.

But I think it’s important to bear in mind, that certain software your university may want you to use won’t be as good or won’t be available at all. Referencing and citation software is a great example of that, particularly if your university wants you to use something specific.

The Verdict

But based on me using my iPad Pro as my primary device for most things, I definitely think it can replace a laptop or a desktop, but I wouldn’t give up my MacBook Air for it.

Mainly because when I’m at home I like to work at my desk and I have a great multiple monitor setup which helps me be more productive.

I’m not a fan of working off a single screen, and there are times when I struggle to work with just two monitors. But, that’s a story for another day.

Even though I have a MacBook Air, it doesn’t tend to leave my house, it actually stays on my desk at most times. I was contemplating getting a Mac Mini for that reason, but I guess I wanted the flexibility of taking it with me whenever I needed to.

But, my iPad tends to be the device I take with me everywhere I go, and I think it works really well for that, especially due to the way Apple devices work together.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I think that the iPad (or any modern iPad) is capable of replacing a laptop, desktop, MacBook or Mac device. But it depends on your needs and requirements.

Personally, I wouldn’t replace my MacBook with the iPad entirely, but I have replaced my MacBook with the iPad as my primary device, especially when travelling.

For that reason, I highly recommend investing in a keyboard case, and if it has a trackpad, even better! For those interested, you can check out my full iPad Pro setup here.

Would you replace your laptop with an iPad? Let us know what you think in the comments!