Your laptop lost its luster long ago, and you’re ready to upgrade to a current model. But do you really need a new computer? Before you invest in a new PC or Mac, consider whether an iPad will do. With a few simple modifications, you may be able to use it as a notebook replacement. Making this simple swap can save you hundreds of dollars, and give you even greater mobility when it comes to where and how you get online.
Here’s what you’ll need to replace your laptop with an iPad:
- A Bluetooth keyboard. Typing can be tedious when you’re doing it one finger-tap at a time onscreen. Apple offers a wireless Bluetooth keyboard that runs on two AA batteries. The keyboard is compatible with all Apple computers and the iPad — if you’ve already bought one for an existing Mac, you should be good to go. Alternatively, you can buy the iPad Keyboard Dock, which provides a stand for the iPad and offers custom iPad-specific buttons, such as the Home button.
- Cloud document-storage software. The iPad’s storage capacity — which ranges from 16GB to 64GB, depending on the model — doesn’t come close to the MacBook Pro’s (750GB, plus the option to add external hard drives and SSD cards). This is not an insurmountable problem: iPad users can store documents and media in the cloud using software tools such as Google Docs, Dropbox, and Apple’s new iCloud system. These services free up your iPad’s storage space and give you access to all of your data wherever you have an internet connection.
- Business-related apps. If you’re planning to use an iPad to write, edit, create spreadsheets, or build PowerPoint presentations, the iWork app is invaluable. Evernote, an app that allows you to aggregate notes, media, and to-do lists on your tablet, can also help you keep track of everything. Depending on the type of work you do, there are dozens of additional apps that could help you do your job better: Check out Business Insider’s iPad app round-up for inspiration.
- A Bluetooth mouse. Apple hasn’t officially enabled the iPad to connect to a Bluetooth mouse, but if you’re willing to take the chance of voiding your warranty by jailbreaking your iPad, you can download an app called BTstack that makes your Bluetooth mouse discoverable on the iPad. Just be sure that the reward is worth the risk; if you’re unable to restore the iPad to factory settings, you’ll have to pay for AppleCare support if something goes wrong even if you’d normally still be under warranty.