Several times a month someone stops by the shop at RB’s Computer Service looking for help to get their iPad to work like their laptop. It seems simple enough, just get a keyboard and mouse that works with their iPad, plus some apps like Microsoft 365® for iPad to run their favorite programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and they’re good to go. In one sense, this is pretty much all it takes to perform Word, Excel, and PowerPoint functions on an iPad. However, if you need to present a PowerPoint presentation using your iPad on your client’s office monitor or flat-screen TV, it is not going to present like it would using your laptop. At RB’s Computer Service, we love helping our customers embrace and implement extensions of their computer networks. While you can get your iPad to do most if not all the functions you would perform on your laptop, your iPad will not work like your laptop. Your “user experience” expectations need to be dialed down if you go all in with your iPad. According to Apple Insider, an online tech blog, “Apple says the iPad can replace a traditional desktop or laptop for productivity, but that can be a big leap (Darryl Boxberger, Apple Insider AI, How to replace your computer with an iPad, June 24, 2022, https://appleinsider.com/inside/ipad-pro/tips/how-to-replace-your-computer-with-an-ipad) In this blog, I’ll highlight three areas your iPad can’t replace your laptop.
The Issue of Using an iPad for Presentations on External Displays
If you need to make a PowerPoint presentation using your iPad on your client’s office monitor or flat-screen TV, it is not going to present like it would using your laptop. With an iPad, you can only use an external display to 'mirror' (duplicate) the iPad's own screen, which “means you can't use the external display to extend the iPad display, as you can with a Mac or PC. (Cliff Joseph- Contributing Writer, ZDNET, Is the iPad ready to replace your laptop or desktop?, June 21, 2022, https://www.zdnet.com/article/is-the-ipad-ready-to-replace-your-laptop-or-desktop/).” As Cliff Joseph with ZDNET.com points out, the iPad Pro for example has a screen resolution of 2732 by 2048 pixels (roughly 2.5K), which means that the image on a 4K display has 1.5K worth of big black bars sitting on either side of the iPad's home screen. The same problem also affects older QHD (2560x1440) displays in the office, as the iPad's 4:3 aspect ratio doesn't fit well onto conventional 16:9 or 21:9 displays. Another aggravating twist is that while video does extend to full size on an external monitor, a PowerPoint presentation will remain “fixed at the native resolution of the iPad's own display (Cliff Joseph- Contributing Writer, ZDNET, Is the iPad ready to replace your laptop or desktop?, June 21, 2022, https://www.zdnet.com/article/is-the-ipad-ready-to-replace-your-laptop-or-desktop/).”
Many Mainstream Apps Don’t Sync On iPads Like on a Laptop
In recent years, OneDrive, the cloud backup and file-sharing platform for Microsoft 365®, has been very popular with RB’s Computer Service customers. OneDrive enables a user working on say, a word doc or excel spreadsheet, to sync with it to save it, back it up, and share it in real-time. iPads don’t reliably sync with OneDrive. According to PCWorld, although you can “connect OneDrive or other sources to Apple’s Files app, you can’t automatically download folders for offline viewing, and sync operations have been extremely finicky (Jared Newman, PCWorld, Why the iPad still can’t replace my laptop, October 27, 2022, https://www.pcworld.com/article/1362761/why-the-ipad-still-cant-replace-my-laptop.html).” Another limitation is you can’t use other mainstream apps like Dropbox like you would on your laptop. For example, after you receive a bunch of images from Dropbox, you then need to upload them to Airtable. That is easy enough, but on the iPad, the Dropbox app won’t let you download your images. Your only “option is to delete the app, view the files through Dropbox’s website, save the folder, open Airtable, choose the Files app as your upload source, and finally select the file (Jared Newman, PCWorld, Why the iPad still can’t replace my laptop, October 27, 2022, https://www.pcworld.com/article/1362761/why-the-ipad-still-cant-replace-my-laptop.html).” In layman’s terms, you can do a function if you do it the Apple way, whereas with your laptop you can do the function any way you want to.
iPad is Cumbersome for Multitasking
The iPad works great if you’re doing something on a single app. However, if efficiency is an expectation you have for using your iPad in place of your laptop, it sort of evaporates when you need to use another app or data source like you would on your laptop. Having said that, the iPad is becoming a more capable computer replacement with each passing update. Apple is making significant strides with its iPad display capabilities and processing power. Plus, many app makers are taking advantage of the large display, powerful processor, and improved desktop-like” capabilities. Some apps even have extra features not available on any desktop version (Darryl Boxberger, Apple Insider AI, How to replace your computer with an iPad, June 24, 2022, https://appleinsider.com/inside/ipad-pro/tips/how-to-replace-your-computer-with-an-ipad).
Your iPad can be effectively used as a “lightweight” laptop but using it like a laptop computer proves a little more troublesome. You can use your iPad for a number of laptop functions, but you just need to dial down your user experience expectations (Darryl Boxberger, Apple Insider AI, How to replace your computer with an iPad, June 24, 2022, https://appleinsider.com/inside/ipad-pro/tips/how-to-replace-your-computer-with-an-ipad). Perhaps the best way to determine if you can use your iPad like your laptop is to test out how you would like to use it before you need to use it. At RB’s Computer Service, we love helping our customers embrace and implement extensions of their computer networks. If you need help, contact us today via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 763-441-3884. We offer Managed IT Service Agreements to ensure your computers and computer networks work seamlessly and do what you need them to do. In addition, RB’s Computer Service provides ransomware strategies and sells the best commercial-grade firewall routers, best laptop computers, best desktop computers, business computers, computer parts, and computer monitors. We also provide computer repair, iPhone and smartphone repair, and tablet repairs to customers and clients throughout central Minnesota and St. Cloud.