Ask the Tekspert: Can I use an iPad instead of a PC?

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Can I use an iPad instead of a traditional PC?

More and more people are thinking of making the switch from a traditional desktop or laptop computer to an iPad for all their computing needs. While some people will find it easy to make this switch, I don’t think it is the best choice for most users—yet.  Here’s why:

  • If you’re using an iPad as your sole computing device and need to print, you might run into some hurdles. That’s because while some newer printers on the market will print wirelessly from the iPad (Apple calls these printers AirPrint-enabled), chances are your current home printer isn’t one of them. Therefore, if you want to print, you would need to invest money in a new printer as well as the iPad itself.
  • If you use traditional “business” applications like those included in Microsoft’s Office Suite (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc), you might feel stymied by the fact that you can’t run these on the iPad. It isn’t that you couldn’t use an iPad to do all the work you currently do with these programs, but you would need to organize and store your files in a different way, since the iPad does not have a traditional file structure (hard drive, folders, etc). Luckily, plenty of cloud storage options are available for the iPad (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc). It’s not hard to learn how to use these —but if you don’t already know, you will have to learn.
  • The iPad makes much more sense for people who use the PC primarily to surf the web, email, and stream video or music. Even so, new technology comes with a learning curve. If you’re the kind of person who loses patience as soon as you can’t figure out how to do something or run into a technical issue, now is not the time to ditch your computer and rely on an iPad.

The iPad is an amazing device. It’s also a big paradigm shift. As more and more people start to use it, I expect that software and hardware makers will be anxious to provide solutions for users who need to produce information as well as consume it. Eventually, it will probably be the go-to “computer” for many users. But we’re not there yet. For now, if you have the means, I would highly recommend buying an iPad to use in addition to your current computer, not instead of it.

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One response to “Ask the Tekspert: Can I use an iPad instead of a PC?

  1. I teach seniors how to use smartphones and iPads. (Www. You have dramatically underestimated the iPad’s capibilities. A couple of examples:

    Try CloudOn for Microsoft Office’s Word, PowerPoint and Excel. The same file structure.

    Old printers can be used with numerous apps if they have a Mac.

    Always remember, the apps make the machine. And, new apps come out every day to solve the problems. The iPad get more useful with age.

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