Replacing your Mac with an iPad: What apps and hardware you’ll need

“Can an iPad really replace a ‘proper’ computer? Can a ten-inch, 128GB tablet do the work of an eleven-inch 128GB MacBook Air? The answer is yes. Kinda,” Charlie Sorrel writes for Cult of Mac. “If your work involves having two windows sitting permanently open side-by-side, then the iPad might not be for you (although you might consider whether you need both windows open together).”

“For most other regular workaday work type work, though. the iPad is ideal,” Sorrel writes. “And here’s our guide to replacing your Mac with an iPad. Specifically a Retina iPad, but you might even manage with a mini.”

In the full article, Sorrel covers the following:

• Software
– Replacing Microsoft Office/iWork
– Replacing The Finder
– Replacing Photoshop
– How To Zip Files
– Replacing Other Utilities

• Hardware
– Replacing A Physical Keyboard
– Buying A Stand
– Handy To Have Hardware

Sorrel writes, “By definition, the iPad does some things better than the desktop, and some things worse. You’ll have to assess the tradeoffs to see whether an iPad will work for you, but be sure to do it with an open mind. Many people are wedded to their Macs just because they’re used to them, not because they actually need all that they offer.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: One thing we’d add, regarding physical keyboards for on-the-go use, is a choice we didn’t see in Sorrel’s full article, but it’s one we use (when we don’t just use the iOS on-screen keyboard) and it works well for us: Logitech’s Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad (US$99.99)

Related articles:
Logitech introduces ‘Ultrathin Keyboard mini’ for Apple’s iPad mini – February 5, 2013
11 must-have iPad accessories – April 19, 2012


  1. Well, it’s certain that I’m not ever going to use ProTools on my iPad. But I do use my iPad a lot for normal every day run-of-the-mill things. I love it! I had good news today when I saw that the Mac Pros may be coming soon. Yea! Yipee! I’ll take four please.

  2. Being a heavy iPad user AND a heavy MBP user, my experience is:

    1. For software development, not much to say. An iPad doesn’t cut it.

    2. Heavy text: So far, the big keyboard and mouse is still my favorite. Especially when doing a lot of cutting and pasting, it’s a lot more work on the iPad. Not impossible, though. An application not on the list, but I love is Smultron as text editor. It’s simple and straight forward. And works with iCloud, so you can edit the same text on your Mac and your iPad.

    3. Presentations: I love the iPad to make presentations. Still, Keynote for the Mac has some features still not supported on the iPad version. If you can live without them, the iPad for presentations is awesome. I like the experience better than the Mac.

    4. Music and Movies: The iPad provides me a better experience.

    5. Pictures: The iPad is better to watch. The Mac is better to work with them.

    6. Web browsing: They go hand to hand.

    7. Mail: While the iPad is not half bad about it, I still prefer my Mac. Perhaps because I’m a heavy email user, and typing is still more confortable with my Mac.

    8. Productivity: If, like me, you like using 2 screens, moving stuff from one to the other, and using one to view/test and the other to type/develop, then the Mac is by far more usable.

    9. Business applications: This one is tricky. I’m the chief architect from MindQube, a company developing cloud-based business software. The platform was design from day 1 to be used on touch devices. To me, managing my business is way more confortable from my iPad than from my Mac. So to me the “iPad is not for business” argument is pure nonesense. The iPad is an impressive business tool, when you have the right tools to use.

    To close the argument, I’m barely taking my MBP out anymore, to the point that I might consider a Mac Mini as future replacement, since the portability factor has been replaced by the iPad.

    Hope this helps a little to anybody thinking about replacing their computer for an iPad.

  3. you will probably always need a mac computer to write, compile and link code and then test it before moving it to an ipad. so any given person might not need the computer directly, but indirectly we all still need them as trucks to get the code developed and to market.

  4. What an idiotic discussion all the time. Only a fraction of users can replace a Mac with an iPad. Most of us will need both for very good reasons. I just ordered my 128 GB iPad, a perfect companion to my MacPro and my 15″ Retina MacBook Pro. Apple did it the right way – a lightweight iOS and a full featured OSX.

  5. for printing from an ipad you can use an app like print n share
    a lot of people dont know how or if you can print from an ipad, it took me a bit of research to figure out that you can!

  6. Peter Bright at ARS Technica called it correctly when he wrote,

    “The form factor is the problem …. I understand tablets and I understand the appeal in using them for content consumption, light e-mailing, light gaming, and Web browsing. I understand laptops and the appeal in using a full-blown computer in a portable package. Both of these make sense to me. The tablet sacrifices compatibility and flexibility (and possibly openness) but achieves long battery life, light weight, and reliability as a result.”


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