Can your iPad replace your notebook computer? This is probably the most asked question since the iPad made its debut in April of 2010. Now in its third generation, Apple continues to impress with the new iPad. The new iPad has a high-res 9.7” Retina display with a 2048 x 1536 native resolution that surpasses Full HD 1080p. The screen has multi-touch gesture support, a glossy fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating and is backlit with LED lights for deep black levels and vibrant colors. However, what it doesn’t have is a tactile keyboard, which arguably limits the productivity of its users, especially when it comes to typing.
One of the main physical differences between an iPad and a notebook is a tactile keyboard. While the onscreen virtual keyboard on the new iPad is responsive and easy to use, its layout is not ideal for typing lengthy emails, papers or documents. Since there’s no USB port, you’ll have to either rely on Bluetooth technology or a compatible dock to connect a physical keyboard to.
An obvious choice would be the Apple Wireless Keyboard. This ergonomic keyboard from Apple utilizes Bluetooth technology to connect to your iPad from up to 30 feet. Its compact design takes up 24 percent less space than other full size desktop keyboards, although you are giving up a numeric keypad for it. The Apple Wireless Keyboard has a low-profile anodized aluminum enclosure with chiclet-style keys. A number of function keys, such as volume, play, pause and screen brightness allow you to adjust your iPad without having to go into settings. It also automatically powers off after being idle for a certain amount of time to save battery life, or you can turn it off manually by using the on/off switch.
If you decide to go with the Apple Wireless Keyboard, it’s a good idea to get a case for it, unless you don’t mind its buttons being constantly smashed while you move about. The Incase Designs Corp Origami Workstation provides complete protection for your Apple Wireless Keyboard from the inevitable thrashing it will receive from inside your travel bag. What’s more, this Incase Origami Workstation can fold quickly and easily into a stand that offers both horizontal and vertical iPad positions for flexible viewing options. Since you’ll probably have your iPad in a protective case of its own, the Incase Origami Workstation will work with most iPad cases so you won’t have to remove it just to use it.
If you would rather have an all-in-one case, try the Blurex D-lux Leather Case with Keyboard. Made with durable leather, the Blurex D-lux Leather Case has a secure magnetic closure. There are custom cutouts for direct access to all of your iPad’s ports, such as the headphone jack, volume rocker and dock port. When placed in this case, your iPad can be adjusted into landscape mode (similar to a laptop) for secure, comfortable typing. Speaking of comfortable typing, the included keyboard features real laptop-style keys as well as dedicated keys for Select, Copy, Cut, Paste, Search and more.
Another viable all-in-one case is the Kensington KeyFolio Bluetooth Keyboard Case. This protective case fits snugly around your iPad, iPad 2 or the new iPad. There is also a Bluetooth keyboard with spill-proof keys. The keys are made of rubber, which helps prevent them from scratching the iPad display when the case is closed. The durable case protects the edges of your tablet from wear and scratches as well as a camera opening for FaceTime. There is an adjustable stand that offers multiple viewing angles for landscape mode so you can watch movies, run apps, play games and surf the Web with ease.
If you want a more traditional laptop look for your iPad, the ClamCase for iPad2 & new iPad may be a better fit. Made of hard-shell polycarbonate, the ClamCase protects your iPad on all sides from dents and dings while also making it look like a traditional notebook computer. It also has shock absorbing anti-scratch pads that cushion your iPad while it is in the case. The movement of the ClamCase’s hinge is precise and smooth across 360 degrees. Of course, there is an included Bluetooth tactile keyboard with a full QWERTY layout and chiclet-style keys. There are also several special function keys on the keyboard designed specifically for the iPad, which are copy, paste, control music and more. An added convenience is the instant wake capability. The ClamCase offers added efficiency and sleek protection for your iPad without making you compromise the portability of your tablet.
Once you’ve settled on your choice of a compatible tactile keyboard and case, you’re ready to take on the bane of the tablet’s existence, Microsoft Office files. Developed by Apple, iWork is a trio of apps (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) that make it easy for you to create well-written documents, organized spreadsheets and stellar presentations. Pages lets you write up word documents using the onscreen virtual keyboard, the voice dictation or with your tactile keyboard. Numbers brings spreadsheets to your iPad so you can plan, organize and analyze your data without having to go to a computer. Keynote makes it easy to create, deliver and share impressive presentations on your iPad, which makes it great for meetings and conferences.
All three apps are designed to work seamlessly with your iPad and can even be saved to iCloud, making it easier for you to retrieve them on a computer without having to sync it with your iPad. All three apps can also save your work in Microsoft Office file types, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint saves. This way, your documents can be opened in their respective Microsoft Office programs and remain accessible for both Mac and PC users.
When it comes to accessing shared files, the iPad gives the traditional notebook computer a run for its money. When you want to share files from one notebook to another, you would have to either email them to yourself, use a USB flash drive or join a shared network (which is a pain to set up). With the iPad, you’ll be able to share files automatically after the initial setup (click here to read our article on how to set up iCloud) not only to your Mac computer, but your iPhone as well. This cloud-saving feature comes in handy when you need to work on a word document on several different devices, especially when you’re on a tight schedule or on the go.
While your iPad may look like a notebook computer on the outside when using one of the keyboards and cases mentioned above, it still functions like a tablet. The iOS operating system makes it difficult. Using a remote desktop control app, you’ll be able to view and control your desktop or notebook computer from your iPad.
A simple, easy-to-use remote desktop control app is LogMeIn. Available in the Apple App Store, you can download it to your iPad (also available for your iPhone) for free. You will also have to download LogMeIn to the computer you would like to control as well, which is also available for free on LogMeIn’s official website.
To get started, you will need to download the free LogMeIn app to your iPad. Then you need to create an account in the app. Next, you need to log in at LogMeIn.com from the computer you want to remotely access. After you’ve successfully logged in, you can then install the LogMeIn software, which is also free, to your computer. After you’ve installed the software, you’re now ready to access your computer via your iPad.
After following the easy instructions of the initial setup, you’ll be able to remotely control your desktop computer as long as it’s turned on and connected to the Internet. You can access your files, media and more directly from your iPad. Since you’re remotely accessing your computer, your iPad screen will show the desktop of your computer and not the 4-by-4 rows of icons of iOS. Of course, you can exit the app and return back to iOS whenever you like, but it’s nice to be able to access your computer when you need to.
LogMeIn features some interesting remote control features such as intuitive and flexible control modes, multi-monitor support, special key combinations and the ability to start a sleeping computer with Wake-On-LAN. LogMeIn also supports Bluetooth keyboard functionality so you’ll be able to full screen visibility while typing.
While the free version is great, there are also premium features only available in LogMeIn Pro, such as HD video streaming, access and downloading files from your computer to your iPad via File Manager and accessing My Cloud Bank, LogMeIn’s cloud storage solution. LogMeIn Pro can be purchased in 1-month, 3-month and 1-year options. If you need these extra features, it’s definitely a sound investment. However, for most people, the free version of LogMeIn app should suffice.
Leave us a response in the comment section below on whether or not your iPad (or any tablet) has replaced your notebook computer. Also, if you have any future iPad articles you would like to see, don’t hesitate to let us know below!