I am also a college student and I see people with iPads and Macbooks. I personally have both but I always use my Macbook because it is great for typing papers, taking notes in class, doing homework online and browsing the internet.
You can do that on the iPad but it is faster and easier on the Macbook. Plus it is a lot easier for typing 8 page papers:)
For word, powerpoint, excel on the iPad. You would have to download Apple's versions of that or you can probably find an Office app. But I have downloaded those apps on my ipad and it is just a hassle to type papers. Especially when I am trying to create a power point because I can have many windows open at a time, one on the internet and another on the power point. You dont have the option to have many programs running on your screen at the same time like you would on the Mac.
Don't make the mistake of thinking an iPad is a replacement for a computer. It isn't. It's a useful adjunct to a computer, nothing more. In college you need to use MS Office for your classes. There is no software for an iPad that can come close to the real thing. Everything you might do on an iPad for school can be done better on a real computer.
There are no more MacBooks, so you might look at the 13" MacBook Pros or even the 15" if you can afford it.
My opinion - as great a tablet as the iPad is, it is NOT a replacement for many, many computer uses. Especially lengthy word processing, spreadsheet work, and I would not want to put a powerpoint presentation together on it as I'd want all my supporting apps for that (graphics apps, and such). Not to mention the screen would be very uncomfortably cramped for that kind of work.
Honestly, as someone who spends 7-9 hours a day at a computer analysing data, summarizing results in powerpoint slide decks, and writing manuscripts to publish those results, I would not want to do any of those tasks for more than 15 minutes on any tablet.
There are still many, many functions for which you really need a true computer. Next year I am thinking of replacing my 4 year old MacBook Pro, and I am thinking of getting a 27" iMac and a (new) iPad - the iPad is great for on the go email, web surfing, note taking and such, but I really could not use it for lengthy sessions or major work. It just is wholly unsuited for that.
iPad is more of a 'player' than a creator. If your main goal is to create something like a presentation or detailed graphics, ect. then the Macbook Pro is your best tool. You can create 'lite' versions of things in the iPad but it's more for surfing the web, reading e-mail, playing games, things like that. The iPad is not meant to replace a computer, it's for filling in the gaps for those times when you don't need to pull out the big guns.
I agree with all who said an ipad is definitely not a replacement for a computer, especially for a college student. (Our sons agree - one graduated in the Spring and one is a junior, and they agree strongly that if they could only have one, it would have to be a computer.
If you want to stick with macs why don't you consider buying refurbished at the Apple refurb store? You get brand new warranties and the ipad has a new outer shell. MBPro, Air, and Ipad also come with brand new batteries. You can buy a macbook pro for a little over $1,000.00, and eventually buy a refurbed ipad, too. Or consider a refurbed Air. It's light (just under three lbs. vs. 1.33 lbs. ipad and over four lbs. for macbook pro) so it's very portable, and will serve your needs for MS Office as a student. If you decide to got refurb, check the refurb store often as products come on and off as they are sold and added.
Hope this helps.
Message was edited by: appleuser1322