For many consumers these days, a Mac of any type can be a really difficult purchase to make. Some individuals find the price too difficult to look past. This makes some people feel that there are no alternatives toward getting a Mac, with some refurbished models still considered quite high. However, there is a great alternative to purchasing a Mac – get an iPad. Today, we will go over the steps to make an iPad the best Mac alternative that it can possibly be. From products to applications, you can find yourself with a “Mac-Pad” in no time.
To begin, you must obviously have an iPad to turn an iPad into a MacBook. At the moment, iPad 2 devices cost $499 for the entry model. This is close to being on-par with the average Windows PC that is available, while still being a little more than the average entry level netbooks on the market nowadays. This will give you a WiFi version. For 3G, you will have to cough up $629 for this model. Now, what if $499 is too much of a cost for you? No worries, you still have some options.
A great option to look into is Apple’s refurbished service. Many consumers cringe at the sight of the word, refurbished, but it is really not as bad as you may think. Refurbished, for those who don’t know, simply is when a gadget is returned to Apple and prepared for resell. This can range on the best side as a consumer wanting a different color iPad, and on the worst side, it being an iPad with a glitch that was fixed like new by Apple.
It’s important to remember that you aren’t really sacrificing anything with such a purchase. For $419 currently for a regular $499 iPad with WiFi and 16GB, you are saving some money. In addition, Apple has the previous model, the iPad, that garners even more deals. In addition, it’s important to remember that the iPad 3 is expected to at least be announced in the coming month. With reports of the possibility that Apple will keep the iPad 2 on the market at a lower price, you can find yourself with a better deal if you wait a bit longer.
The Cases: ZaggMate and ZaggFolio
The most important aspect of using your iPad as a Mac is to have the right casing. At the moment, the best company providing the most authentic iPad keyboard casing is Zagg. They have two models, the ZaggMate for the iPad 1 and the ZaggFolio for the iPad 2. Both models use Bluetooth to connect your iPad with the keyboard. The iPad itself is supported on a built-in stand, offering a laptop-feel angle. The case also has iPad specific keys and access to iPad controls like silence and volume rocker. If the $99 price tag is a little much for you, Apple also offers bluetooth keyboards for $49.99. These are the same keyboards used for iMacs, offering the exact feel as a desktop. However, you must purchase a case separately, which in the end will equal out the price.
In addition to the hardware, you must also have the software for your iPad to match. The exact software you would need differs. Here is a nice list of almost every application on my Mac right now that has an iPad equivalent. I found a match for just about each application.
This is the obvious replacement of my Skype for Mac. All of the key features are still present with the iPad version. All you have to do is sign in with your Skype account and you can get a call started in no time. Individuals with the iPad 2 will be able to have a video conference with the iPad version of this application as well. You can hold calls with both other Skype for iPad users and Skype for Mac users (and Windows). If you want to make it into a mobile phone, a feature your laptop can’t do out of the box, then you can pay a bit more and enable landline calling with Skype. This is a Skype for Mac feature as well.
I’m a bit surprised at how many people don’t know about iMovie for iOS, but it does exist. iMovie for iOS offers many of the same features that is on the Mac. All you have to do is drag and drop media into the timeline, tap and drag to extend or shorten clips. With an addition of photos and music, you can create a great project right on your iPad. Want to narrate a funny event? No problem, just tap to record audio, and then add it into your project. Once done, you can export your high definition project to YouTube and various other social networking websites.
Pages for iPad allows you to create beautiful documents for print and sharing on your iPad. Apple offer you with various beautiful templates to create a unique document. You can add text, change color, and even add some photos to brighten up the document. Interrupted while making your creation? No problem, iCloud will save everything you were doing and will allow you to continue when you can. You can also create charts within the application, allowing you to show the data in your paper in a much better way. Once done, you can export you document to various word processing programs, even including Word, or you can make it available online for viewing. At $9.99, this is a much economical option compared to Microsoft Office for Mac.
Keynote is Pages for iPad’s friendly cousin. Where Pages excels in documents, Keynote impresses with slideshows and power points. You can create amazing presentations right from your iPad with Keynote for iPad. Just like with Pages, Keynote allows you to use various templates, add images and text, and even add other types of media into your project. You can have your project on an automatic loop or have it manually change slides. Your presentation can be exported afterwards to Powerpoint, as a PDF, and more. If you want a desktop quality presentation on your iPad, Keynote is for you.
The subject that differs the iPad from a laptop is the subject of Internet. The iPad has the option out of the box to either have a WiFi or 3G option. A majority of modern laptops only have the option of WiFi. Unless you have a data card, this is usually the only option you are presented with when on your laptop.
Some Advantages and Drawbacks
There are many advantages and disadvantages to having an iPad as a Mac alternative. Let’s begin with the drawbacks. One drawback is that if you do get the WiFi only version, which is more affordable in the short term, you don’t have the option to use a data card later on. This hinders use when away from a network. Individuals who do choose to go the 3G route may have the freedom of 3G, however Verizon charges are quite hefty and AT&T doesn’t offer many options for heavy data users like myself. Lastly, you don’t have much growth potential with an iPad. For example, if you want to add more programs, you have to be mindful of your current storage. Also, you can’t just plug in your USB drive and have it working in iPad.
These disadvantages make it ideal for the basic users, not so much for an advanced user. However, the advantages are that you save money in the short term and sometimes in the long term. If you want to forgo spending close to a grand on a laptop, this is a great alternative. In addition, some Internet companies that are out there can be a little more expensive than the 3G options for iPad, allowing you to cut the Internet bill. These advantages lead to this being a great money saving option.