Is it worth buying an iPad in 2021 & do you really need one
The iPad as a single device for fun and productivity: Can the iPad replace a laptop or a MacBook?
USB-C opened up a whole new world to iPad users. You can connect a wired mouse, wired keyboard, an external hard drive, a Micro SD card reader, and more.
I tried hard to make the iPad my only computer. This setup was less awkward than expected. The mouse and keyboard worked beautifully. I was able to jump through menus, type, browse, and just get things done.
It’s not a surprise Apple’s Macs are moving to ARM processors – they fly through every task. Loading websites and jumping from one app to the other is just as fast as on the latest iPhone, which itself is much faster than any older base model MacBook, running Intel. I can attest to that, since my laptop is the 12-inch MacBook (M3). However, I experienced some issues with deleted files, and weird bugs when connecting the iPad to an external monitor, so I had to revert back to my MacBook.
Do you need the Apple Pencil?
I do creative writing on the side, where I often need to get something down on a page ASAP before it’s vanished from my mind forever. A stylus is clearly the best tool for this purpose. Apple’s option is rather pricey, so check out our Best Apple Pencil alternatives article to find a suitable option which won’t leave a hole in your wallet. All in all, even though at first I was skeptical of its capabilities, the stylus gets a big thumbs-up.
Gaming on iPad
The iPad isn’t advertised as a gaming console because it isn’t one. However, Apple continues to equip the iPads with some really powerful processors – now the M1, which make it capable of holding its own against more niche machines like a Nintendo Switch.
For the record, it won’t replace your gaming PC or laptop – there’s no support for triple A titles. However, there are some great options for casual gamers on Apple Arcade, as well as the good old AppStore, which offers some of the most popular mobile games like Call of Duty, Asphalt 9, and more. As a matter of fact, you get 3 months of free Apple Arcade with your new Apple device, so you might as well give it a go. Moreover, you can connect a wireless controller to your iPad via Bluetooth, which will further elevate your gaming experience.
The iPad in combination with a Mac or an iPhone — The Apple ecosystem
The truth is, Apple’s ecosystem works incredibly well. In fact, ‘the ecosystem’ is a big factor for many when they make a purchase decision. AirDrop is pretty awesome, but you shouldn’t buy an iPad just because of that. If you’ll actually be doing some work, and need to transfer files across your Apple devices, then – yes. Not having to plug in a cable for file transfer ever again might be a game changer.
Who’s the iPad for: When you need an iPad
So, if you find yourself ‘craving’ an iPad, just for the bigger screen and better speakers for your movies, or you think it’ll dramatically increase your productivity just because it has a bigger display – you don’t need the iPad. You want it, which assumes you might be able to splurge for it. In that case, of course – get one.
Who's the iPad for: When you want an iPad
Really, very few people truly need an iPad. Needing something makes it a necessity. The iPad is hardly a necessity, unless your job strictly demands using one, in which case your employer should provide one. If that’s not the case, the four types of people we could think of are:
On the other hand, unless your data plan includes unlimited high speed 4G/5G, we don’t see the iPad being a power-user device on cellular. Downloading media will quickly drain your precious data (same for uploading). Forget about streaming any kind of video or movie, unless you want to be left without data very soon.
iPads are also equipped with decent enough microphones! You could record a podcast on your iPad, and even edit it on-the-go with GarageBand, which is free to download.