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iPad 3 or Laptop - Differences, Peripherals and Accessories

Ardjuna Seghers by

iPad 3 versus laptop

Special report: iPad 3 / New iPad : What You Need To Know

Hands on: iPad 3 Review

Apple, via the right honourable Tim Cook (who is the new Steve Jobs in that he’s the new voice of Apple) claims that its new iPad creates “A world where PC is no longer at the center of your digital world”. Quite aside from being rather insulting to Apple’s own MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac, is it true? Can you replace your Windows or Mac OSX machine with a tablet – or more specifically, this tablet?

New iPad or Laptop

Let’s leave desktop PCs out of the equation altogether. They have their uses, mainly for intensive workloads and gaming – basically those who need a lot of power or storage or flexibility. But for the majority, and certainly Apple’s target market, a laptop is a far more likely purchase.

We’ll begin with what they have in common. They’re both portable, they both let you browse the web, check your mail, play casual games and watch videos. They both let you create spreadsheets, type out documents and video chat.

iPad 3 versus laptop

So what’s different? The iPad 3 will last far longer on a charge, weighs less than even the smallest laptops and offers an infinitely superior screen with more pixels and better viewing angles than any laptop out there. It gives you touch navigation, and because of this and its beautifully simple interface is far more intuitive to use. It’s also guaranteed to run any app you buy for it, and run it well. There’s only one hardware platform, after all, so it’s easy for software developers to optimise.

However, this doesn’t automatically make the new iPad the better choice. A laptop, for example, gives you an almost infinite software library: no matter how many apps come out for the iOS App Store, they’re unlikely to ever match the sheer volume and diversity of PC software. A laptop also gives you your choice of operating systems: whether it’s Linux, Windows, Mac OS or even Android that takes your fancy, with a little know-how and tinkering you can take your pick, and then configure said OS to look just the way you want it, especially on Windows.

Then, of course, there are the accessories and peripherals. No matter how many docks, cases, wireless keyboards, lens attachments and other doodas come out for Apple’s latest tablet, the PC will always have more. More diversity, more quality, more technology. Can you hook a Kinect up to an iPad? Well, yes actually (with an adapter) but it won’t work. The same goes for most printers, mice, keyboards, gamepads, webcams, external sound cards – the list goes on.

Go to comments


March 9, 2012, 1:59 pm

If the criterion is to replace a PC doesnt the iPad also lose for Enthusiasts?

I'm glad you mentioned the Prime; It can be used as a laptop and you can hook-up a mouse if you want.

It also has Polaris Office; not sure if the iPad has something that allows you to create and consume MS Office docs?

Convergence is happening, the Prime is a prime example, but despite their gradiose marketing claims Apple seems to be lagging behind.

Luan Bach

March 9, 2012, 4:49 pm

I don't get this post-PC message, you still need to have a PC for the iPad.


March 10, 2012, 4:24 am

Depends on your line of work. I already use an iPad 2 as a laptop replacement. The only additions I've needed are a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard and Dropbox aware productivity apps (there are plenty) and LogMeIn Ignition.

Instant on, light, ultra-portable, huge range of excellent software for pennies and a pleasure to use. Simply the best tool I have for capturing and presenting my ideas wherever I happen to be.

I still use a PC - but only for access to corporate systems via a VPN and for the odd game of Battlefield 3 - so I'm no Apple fanboy.


March 10, 2012, 4:28 am

@Luan - as of iOS 5.xx - iPads do not need to sync with a PC or Mac at all, unless you want them to.

All iOS updates are over the air now - and your music, apps, videos, etc can all be synced directly to Apple's cloud service, if you'd prefer.

Admittedly, some research is needed to cut through the anti-Apple sentiment and mis-information that is bounded around so much in certain circles!

If you're smart,

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