Replacing Your Laptop With An iPad: The Ultimate Guide

Would you like to replace your laptop with your iPad?  You may have been reading a lot about the iPad and the iPad 2.  You may have also read that it’s mainly a consumption device and not really something you can use as a laptop replacement.  Well, here is how you actually can replace your laptop with your iPad.

Get Rid Of Your Laptop And Replace It With An iPad

Ok so you got your iPad or your new iPad 2.  You may have purchased it so that you could use it for business or for school.  Once you started using it, you wondered if it would ever be a good replacement for your laptop.  It’s a great question because the iPad is light, very portable, has long battery life, and it is perfect for doing most of the things you need to do.

But somewhere between making that leap over to using the iPad and getting rid of your laptop you may have realized that there are limitations.  Not everyone can actually do this but if you want to benefit from the small size, lighter weight, and longer battery of the iPad, then here is how you can get rid of your laptop and replace it with your iPad or your iPad 2.

Accessories

KeyboardFirst of all, you will want to get yourself set up with some accessories if you are going to fully replace your laptop with your iPad.  If you are comfortable with the on-screen typing of the iPad then don’t worry about a physical keyboard, but, inevitably you might run into a situation where a “real” keyboard makes sense.  The Apple keyboard dock is a great accessory to have as it holds up the iPad with it’s stand.  Some people don’t prefer this, however, and instead they actually prefer to get the Apple Wireless Keyboard because it does not have a dock attached and because it is definitely more portable.

Either way, if you plan to replace your laptop with just an iPad then getting a good keyboard should be a consideration.  There is no way to connect a bluetooth mouse to the iPad without some form of jailbreaking trickery so for now you will have to get comfortable using your finger as a mouse.

Apple AV AdapterYou will also want to get two more accessories to replace your laptop with an iPad.  The first one is the Apple VGA Adapter (click here to buy it).  This allows you to share what is on your iPad’s screen such as a Keynote presentation or show a video up on a large screen such as a TV or via a projector.  The TV and/or projector must support a VGA connection for this adapter to work.  However, if you have an HDMI-capable projector or TV, then you will want to get the brand new Digital AV Adapter (click here to buy it).  This accessory also offers video mirroring when used with the iPad 2.  That means you can actually see your entire iPad Home Screen up on your TV or via a projector.  This can be a huge use in business, school or at home (by using Facetime and showing it up on your TV).

You will also need an iPad Case, iPad Folio, or iPad Bag to protect your investment.  If you are going to have accessories then you might want to check out some of these great iPad Bags.

Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations (iPad Office Suite)

Replacing your laptop with an iPad means that you will need to find a solution for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.  This should not be a big problem since there are some great iPad apps that will help you make the transition from laptop to iPad.  Probably the most popular are Apple’s own iWork apps.

For word processing you have a variety of choices.  Choose wisely here because one of the questions you want to ask yourself is if you will need to edit and work with MS Documents.  Most people do, so the best Office Suite you can get for your iPad is Documents To Go® Premium – Office Suite – DataViz, Inc. ($16.99).  It offers a ton of great integrations, features, and ability to work with all kinds of file types.  If you don’t really care about working with MS office docs, and you want a clean, simple word processor then you can pick up a copy of Apple’s Pages.  This is a great solution and it’s one of the top selling word processors for the iPad.  Want to get really simple?  Then check out the award-winning iA Writer ($0.99).  This is less than $1 and it’s a very minimal word processor for those that like to keep things very basic.

For spreadsheets you can go with Documents To Go Premium or you can get Numbers ($9.99).  Numbers is the recommended app here as it has some great templates and it really re-defines how spreadsheets look and behave.

Next you will want to get an iPad presentation app.  The two best solutions are Documents To Go Premium (for working with Powerpoint) and Keynote ($9.99).  Keynote is probably the best solution unless you really need to work in Powerpoint.  Just be aware that you will run into some issues if you want to use the desktop version of Keynote and then try to import it into the iPad.  There are a few compatibility issues so the best advice is to create your iPad keynote shows right within the Keynote app but you certainly are not restrained to only doing it that way.

Email

You are going to want email and on your laptop you may have been using MS Outlook.  There are multiple options for you here.  If you are using one of the following Email services, then  the iPad already has built-in support for your Email:

  • Exchange
  • Mobile Me
  • Yahoo Mail
  • Gmail
  • AOL

You can also add POP3 and/or IMAP email from other services within the Mail settings right on the iPad.  There are other Email apps but since you are trying to replace your laptop with your iPad it’s probably best to keep it simple at first and use the default mail app before venturing out and getting confused.

Calendars

This is the one where things get a little sticky.  The iPad comes with a default calendar app. But the majority of people are not 100% thrilled with it and while it does a great job, it does lack a few things.  One of the things you will most likely want to do is sync your iPad calendar with another calendar that you use.  Perhaps it’s your Gmail calendar or your work Exchange calendar. Here are some articles to help you sync your iPad calendar with all your other calendars:

Contacts

If you are going to go all the way and replace your laptop with an iPad then you will also want all your contacts handy.  The iPad has a built-in Contacts app that works great.  But you can also sync your contacts with Exchange, Yahoo, or Gmail.  Here is how to do just that:

Taking Notes In Meetings

iPad Notes AppA large part of the process of replacing your laptop with an iPad is taking notes.  A lot of the time people are either in meetings or in situations where they want to jot down some notes for various reasons.  On your laptop there are plenty of applications to take notes with but on the iPad, the default Notes app is not the best.  For taking notes you will definitely want check out Notes Plus ($5.99). This is probably one of the best notes apps (although everyone has their favorites).  It does handwriting, note taking, shape drawing, and sound recording.  It’s all there.

Staying On Task

You probably have some sort of task management software on your laptop.  It allows you to write a todo list, keep track of getting things done and is often referred to as your “brain”.  Well, if you are going to replace your laptop with an iPad then you want the best task management software you can get.  There are hundreds of these types of apps but to start off with you should check out 2Do: Tasks Done in Style ($6.99).  It really does not get better than this.  This is a 4-star task management and todo list app that will make it a lot easier to wean off the laptop in no time flat.

Storing Files

You knew this was coming.  On your laptop you have a roomy hard drive.  On the iPad you have very little space comparatively.  In addition to size, the iPad’s iOS was not ever meant to be a true file system.  Thus you will want a storage solution.  To get the most benefit, it is recommended to go with cloud storage and use that big ol’ internet to store all your information.

There are two solutions you should check out.  Head over to Dropbox.com and sign up for a free 2GB cloud storage account.  They offer an iPad app, iPhone app and access to all your files from several apps and via the Web.

The next solution is called SugarSync.  There is a big difference with SugarSync and that is the ability to have hot syncing folders.  This means you can choose folders on your home or work computer, iPhone, and/or iPad, and they will all stay in sync no matter what.  SugarSync also gives you 30GB of storage for $4.99/month.  Check out SugarSync.com for more information.

Calculator

I am not sure why, but the iPad does not come with a calculator.  The iPhone has a great one and so does  your laptop.  So, if you are going to be replacing your laptop with an iPad then why not grab a calculator app.  It comes in handy more than you know.  Check out the app called Calculator ($0.99).  Appropriately named this is the perfect little calculator and it does exactly what it’s supposed to do.  Once you need a more advanced one, there are literally hundreds to choose from.

PDF Management

Replacing your laptop with an iPad means you will want to manage PDF’s.  The iPad can read PDF’s and save them to iBooks but you will need it to do more.  So we have an article you will want to read.  This discusses three of the best iPad PDF markup apps that are currently out there.

Signing Documents

Last but not least if you are looking to replace your laptop with an iPad, then you might be wondering how you can work with specialized documents such as forms, legal documents, and any other document that requires signatures or other types of input.  This is a bonus, because you can’t actually do this on a laptop without some pretty expensive software packages.  As an incentive to make the switch to the iPad, give this app a look and you might be surprised at what it can do.  The app is called Sign Docs ($4.99), and it is one of the best digital signature and business document managers out there.

You can see another app for Signing Documents, click here.

Remote Desktop

Since there will be things you simply cannot do on an iPad that you could on a laptop, either due to a software limitation (wordpress) or hardware then there is something that you can do in order to remedy this.  Install a remote desktop app and connect to a computer (at work or home) that can do the things you need.  Thus, you are still replacing your laptop with an iPad but you also have access to things that the iPad can’t do.

There are a few remote desktop apps which really stand out but for the price and features you get, Jump Desktop really is the one I recommend and personally use all of the time.  It’s easy. It bypasses firewalls. And it works reliably even over 3G!  The app is $19.99 but if you need to connect to your desktop in order to ditch that laptop then this is the route to go.  You can check out Jump Desktop right here.

Games

The laptop came with some games so why not play a few on  your iPad?  Replacing your laptop with an iPad would not be any fun without some ways to pass the time.  Instead of investing a ton of money into finding the perfect game for your iPad, we have a few suggestions:

Music

Of course your laptop has the ability to play music and you probably have iTunes or some other media player installed. You might also jump online and listen to Pandora.  Well the iPad comes with the iPod app but for a smooth transition from laptop to iPad, grab the free Pandora Radio app.  This connects you right up to Pandora and loads up your playlists for hours of entertainment.

So that is how you can replace your laptop with an iPad.  Now I realize there are probably a ton of folks out there that could not do this for various reasons that are beyond the scope of this article but for the general laptop user that want to make the transition then this guide should get you well on your way.

Have you replaced your laptop with your iPad?  What do you miss the most and what did you do about it?

TCGeeks located at 4th Floors New York , New York, NY . Reviewed by 18232 customers rated: 4.8 / 5