Decisions, decisions

I’m in the market for a new device and would greatly appreciate insight from the forum.

I have two good quality external hard drives which are at least seven yrs old. I had backed up my old laptop with Time Machine and would like to access my photos on at least one external hard drive.

Anyway, I’ve had my heart set on a new IPad Pro.

The reason I switched to the iPad initially was mostly due to price. (Someone in one of the phone companies tech support had deliberately given me a virus! The next day my laptop would not even turn on.)

Right now I have an iPad mini which is a couple of yrs old and an iPad Air 3 which I love.

One reason I was not looking into a laptop was the software is so much more expensive and I do love lots and lots of apps. Can a MacBook Air run the iOS software as well as on the iPad itself? I’m sure I’d like some computer only software e.g. Hazel.

Were I to purchase a IPad Pro, I’d need a new Apple :green_apple: pencil and would like a keyboard with a trackpad. It seems it will cost more than a laptop!

How much hard disk space and RAM (?) would you recommend? Would I need more hard disk space on a laptop as opposed to an iPad?

Getting the laptop sounds intriguing! Any other relevant info, I’d love to hear! Any other expenses that I may not be cognizant of?

You don’t mention what types of software you need or the types of tasks you need to perform. A lot of the decision can depend on those factors. You mention wanting lots of apps. Do you really need that many? I find that I can reduce the number by fully exploring apps I already have.

While a lot of my activity can be handled by my iPad, there are times when I really prefer to have a general purpose computer. The iPad’s multitasking is weak and the screen space too limiting. I’ve tried using an external keyboard with the iPad but still find it easier to write on my iMac. My current setup that is working quite well includes a new 24” iMac, a 2015 MacBook Air, an iPad Pro 11”, and an iPhone XR. Each serves their mission well. The iPad is the most used device by far.

I do not like using external drives with laptops except for backups. I want all my data on the device as my travels sometimes leaves me with poor connectivity. Both my Air and iMac have 1tb SSDs. My iPad Pro is 256gb. None of them are more than 40% full.

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You’re so right, Glen. Thank you!

I don’t need anywhere near the number of apps I have. What’s more just exploring the ones I do have could conceivably keep me very entertained and functional for quite some time. I’ll enjoy doing that!

I am very much interested in photography. I use ProCreate a great deal for both digital scrapbooking and art in general.

I love to write and, seemingly and hopefully, I’m emerging for an extended spell of writers block. I’d like to put more time, effort into doing so more seriously. A little structure would help. I tend to use Scrivener.

A lot of tasks would be far easier on a computer. Split view and side view I get aggravated with. Hopefully the update would make that easier.

I use my iPads and my iPhone for everything under the sun. Writing letters, texting my nephew, reading, practicing Spanish, a few games, watching movies…

I’m with you. I only think in terms of back up when it comes to external hard drives.

So iPad apps do run ok on a Mac?

I’m glad to know that 256 GB is plenty of space. Getting a regular computer would be a lot of fun! Thanks again!

If you are a Scrivener power user, be aware that many features miss from the iOS version, crucially snapshots.

Yes, iPad apps run fine on M1 but the developer must have allowed their distribution through the App Store. They can opt out, Netflix being a famous example. So you cannot be guaranteed that all apps will be available on M1 (but most of them are).

As for photography, once again that depends on your platform. If you need Lightroom Classic, for example, that means Mac only. If you can navigate with Lightroom (CC) then platforms are roughly equivalent, if you except file management of course.


iPhone and iPad apps run in M1, but oftentimes the experience is not great. Developers need to do extra work to make it a good Mac experience.

It sounds like all of the apps you want to use have good Mac versions. If you have to choose 1, definitely pick the M1 Mac. It is the most powerful and versatile computer I have ever owned.


Thanks for all the info!

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Sounds phenomenal! I appreciate your enthusiastic vote of confidence!