How I’m replacing my MacBook with an iPad

For the last two months, I have attempted to swap out my Macbook for an iPad Mini, exclusively. Although I am about 95% able to do everything I used to traditionally do on my desktop products, I can comfortably say to anyone thinking of going down this route, it can be done.

While your needs may be different than mine, I’d like to point out what I have learned from swapping my OSX apps for iOS apps. I wanted to show my findings with the MacRumors community, and welcome suggestions and comments relating to your experiences and thoughts.

First off, I have tried the iPad 1 and 2, but find the form factors too large for portability (which is a second consideration from having a desktop replacement). I chose an original iPad Mini, white, 32GB. Retina does not necessarily appeal to me at this time, but perhaps in the future. On my desktop, it rests on a silver Sunpak tablestand. I have a wireless speaker from Sharper Image for great sound. I use the Lightning-to-USB cable to power low-powered items such as an additional light or a desktop fan. I also have the camera connection kit for uploading photos.

I have offloaded all of my files to several cloud utilities to save tons of space: (1) Google Drive for personal documents, (2) Copy for work-related documents, (3) Dropbox for any other temporary file storage needs (I also have used AirDrop to pass files between iOS users), (4) Vimeo for videos and (5) Flickr for photos to save drive space.

If I need to print, I wirelessly print (via HP ePrint app) to my 802.11g HP Photosmart C7180 for photos and regular print. I use an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard at my desk for physical typing.

I was also sure to transfer all of my contacts, calendar information, and browser bookmarks.

I like to keep all my files organized to one, single desktop.

• Standalone apps for easy access include—Calendar, Clock, Contacts, Notes, Camera, Messages, FaceTime, StockTracker, Calculator, Videos, Safari.

• Standalone apps in the doc include—Gmail (which I prefer over Apple’s Mail app), Accuweather for iPad, Photos, App Store, Music, and Settings.

There are nine folders for the rest of my apps, depending on their category of need—Web Apps , Apple , Productivity , Utilities , Games , Esperanto , Media , Photo/Video , and Weather☀️. I like using the little icons in the filename so when I open a folder, I just confirm for myself that I opened the right one (it’s a silly thing I like).

My folders include the following apps—

Chrome (since Gmail works better than Safari), Drudge Report, YouTube (better experience than through Safari), eBay, LinkedIn, Twitter, (ESPN) ScoreCenter, Skype, Dropbox, Copy, Google Drive, Google Earth (in case I’m REALLY lost), Media Burner (to watch YouTube vids offline), WebMD, AIM (for non-iOS chatters), Facebook, various banking apps, StarWalk, Waze, Google Maps (still better than Apple’s Maps IMO).

[This is an interesting folder for me, as I could put some of these apps elsewhere but since I just know they are Apple apps, or those I don’t use/can’t delete, they go here.]
Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iPhoto, GarageBand, iMovie, Maps, Airport Utility, Photo Booth, Trailers, iTunes U, iTunes Store, Podcasts, Find iPhone, Reminders (I tend to make reminders via email vs. here), Apple Store, WWDC, Mail

QuickOffice Pro/Office2 HD/GoodReader/GoodDocs (for editing more complex MS files that Apple’s apps can’t handle well), Note Taker HD (with a stylus), Evernote (for note snippets), PDF Reader/Adobe Reader/WEB to PDF/PowerPDF/Page2PDF (for various PDF-related tasks), QuickVoice (to record short meetings), Voice Record (to record long meetings), Go2Meeting/WebEx (for conference calls), (Dragon) Dictation (for narrating emails), SwiftKeys (for TextEdit-like notes), iConverter (PDF and Ringtone converter), iEditor (text and code editor, similar to TextWrangler).

LiveCam Pro (to monitor my home security cameras), AppShopper (love the deals), Compass, Clinometer HD, Bento (for storing passwords), Magic Relax (to help me sleep), Splashtop (I still need to access my Macbook for those 5% of things I can’t do on my iPad yet), Scanlife (to compare prices), Square Register (to accept Craigslist payments by credit card), System Tools/Fing/iNetTools (for system and network monitoring),TurboScan (for scanning pages), HP ePrint, easyFTP Pro (great FTP app), FileApp (for storing attachments that I can post to websites or elsewhere), , iZip (to ZIP/UnZIP files), iTransfer (experimenting with this file upload/download tool), iSafeBox (to password protect imporant files), iTerminal (an SSH tool).

Pandora/iHeart Radio (for radio), 3-0 Radio HD (to track weather spotters and cops), SoundHound, Audible, TouchTunes (my bar has a rocking jukebox), Remote, Kindle/iBooks/NewsStand (for reading), Netflix/Crackle (to see what I can later find on AppleTV), Animal Planet (to keep my dogs entertained when I’m out), Free MP3 (to convert YouTube videos to MP3s), Infuse (to control my movie files).

Flickr/Flickr Studio (for on- and off-line Flickr editing/browsing), Vimeo, Sketches (to replace Adobe Illustrator) and all sorts of various photo taking/editing apps, all with different tasks to replace Adobe Photoshop and supplement the iPad cams in various ways: FlashCamera, ColorSplash, (Panorama) 360, Etchings, Group Shot, Photo Eraser, PhotoStudio HD, Snapseed, MyPics, Slow Shutter, BeFunny, Glaze, PowerPhoto

• WeatherBug—great “spark” and severe weather alerts for approaching storms
• NOAA Hi-Def Radar—best weather radar app
• Fahrenheit—displays live temperatures for your area on the main folder
• Moon—I like to know when it’s safe to go out in the woods

(I’m into learning Esperanto, so this folder contains language-specific learning apps including Anki, Memrise, Flashcards Deluxe, DuoLingo and an EN-ES dictionary. My Games folder is too numerous to list, and everyone’s taste is different anyway.)

This was quite a book I wrote, but again I would love to hear your thoughts and hear of your experiences. I think with this setup, I can honestly say i don’t need the limitations of a desktop machine any longer.