As the school year gets closer and closer at the end of each and every summer the one thing you can guarantee that companies will be trying to sell students new technology to use. If you watch TV or walk into Wal-Mart or Best Buy all you will see are advertisements for the newest tablet or notebook that just came out with discounted prices to appeal to these new college students. Among all the advertisements and discounts, which device is best for you going into college? The iPad dominates the tablet market and has the most abundant app store there is but is it really the best device to buy today and is it worth it? The iPad is capable of many things that college students need in order to succeed. The iPad is the best device on the market for the jobs of college because it enables students be productive through apps, and keep track of everything going on. However, the iPad is very expensive compared to many tablets on the market and it does limit some things that other tablets and certainly laptops do not such as Flash, Microsoft Office abilities, and printing.
In colleges today almost everything is done online and so one must have some sort of laptop or tablet device in order to access all the documents and workshops that are necessary to earn a grade. The iPad makes it very easy to stay productive and get things done even when you are on the go. Apple’s version of Microsoft Office called iWorks enables students to write papers and make presentations or spreadsheets quickly and easily. The tablets lightweight and thin design make it ideal for doing work just about anywhere as Jeremy Seiner addressed in his article, “iPad: The Students’ Perfect Machine?“ when he said “Pages allows you to type up reports and create posters. Whether you want to get a jump start on your paper while at a local cafe on your iPad, or if you forgot to print out your paper after a long sleepless night of writing it the day before, Pages will have it and save the day”. This means that even if you have to ride passenger during a long trip you can get that paper done in the car before you ever get there.
The iPad also makes it very easy to keep in contact with professors and advisors. For an incoming freshman this can be key as they try to figure out how everything works and what they are supposed to be doing. Whether they are asking a teacher how to access the first homework assignment or waiting to hear from the advisor for which classes they should be taking to graduate on time, the iPad’s native email app makes it simple to access, organize, and even read large emails with websites and pictures. The iPad doesn’t just make things better for freshman however, Upperclassmen still need to keep everything organized so that they always know what is due, when its due and when they have meetings. The iPad makes it very easy to keep everything organized in one small easy to access device. The notes app enables you to quickly jot down ideas or anything else you may need to tell yourself later. The reminders app gives you an easy to use check list so that you can list all of this weeks assignments, make a grocery list, or simply make a chores list to keep your dorm or apartment nice which Jeremy Seiner again mentions when he states “Both the iPad and iPhone come with a built-in Reminders app. This might seem like a simple concept but to a college student it’s a lifesaver. Jot down your homework in the Reminders app on your iPad and through iCloud they are automatically synced to your iPhone and MacBook. So whenever you need to check on what work you have to do tonight, open up Calendars and check your todos. They’ll all be right there and you’ll never miss an assignment again”. The calendar app is obviously very important. It allows students to have a full sized calendar, that can be looked at day to day, week to week, or month to month, that they can post meeting times and class times so that they never forget to be where they need to be. The iPad is very useful and comes with many apps to help students get things done or even just keep track of what needs to be done.
Even with all these great advantages the iPad is obviously going to have its flaws. The first and most obvious of these flaws has got to be the price range. The iPad starts out at a staggering $500 and can get as expensive as $900. This is a lot of money for a college student and their family on a tight budget. Many other tablets and laptops can be bought at much lower prices that have many of the same capabilities. Kevin Purcell describes one example of how expensive they can be in his article “Why I’m Not Buying the iPad Mini or the iPad 4th Gen,“ “I don’t like the idea of getting in a virtual line on the web to pre-order the 32GB LTE iPad 4th generation for $729.” Even after selling my current iPad, the cost to upgrade is $350”. This may be out of reach for many average students. The other flaw that Dave Parrack addresses in his article “4 Reasons To Buy An Android Tablet Over An iPad [Opinion],“ “From customization options to multitasking, freedom is one of the main advantages of going with an Android tablet over an iPad. With Android you’re encouraged to make choices for yourself, with iOS you’re confined to the strict choices Apple deems fit to offer”. With the iPad there isn’t a whole lot you can do to change things up or even access things like pages that have flash or really have access to Microsoft Office if you prefer it to iWorks. On Android devices you are able to do things such as customize colors or have your photo album visible right on your home screen and you can also have app short cuts right on the home screen. As great as the tablet is and even though it has an app for just about anything, it does limit what you can do to a large extent. However, the iPad still has the most fluid and easy to use software in IOS as well as the largest app store in the world.
Overall, Apple is making leaps and bounds in education as Jeremy Seiner again mentions, “Technology has always gone hand-in-hand with education, and Apple has been a fervent supporter of the role of technology in the future of education”, and the iPad is becoming one of the greatest tools for students including myself. They already have invested large amounts of money into enabling professors/teachers to design there own textbooks on iBooks that can have video and all kinds of unique and interesting workable images. It enables you to get everything done on a lightweight device that can go anywhere and do almost anything. It allows students to keep everything organized from emails and to-do lists to meetings and syllabi, everything is kept neat and in place within a few taps of the screen. Even though the iPad is pretty expensive and also limits some of the freedoms that other tablets and any laptop allows for I still believe that it is the best device on the market for students to get things in college and as Apple continues to focus on education and getting the iPad into schools, it will only get better.