MacBook Air to iPad Air

After upgrading from my older Mac Pro to a crazy powerful new 27" iMac, it was time to look at the rest of my computing workflow and see where I could streamline. After moving from the Mac Pro, I was still using a Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, and Phone. This was a lot of devices to manage and there were a lot of overlaps between them all. I decided to go the route of three devices total. One desktop computer, one tablet, and a phone. Having used and preferred laptops since I can remember there being good laptops, this was a pretty big step.

For the desktop, since it would be the work horse, I went with a maxed out 27" late 2013 iMac. At the time of this decision I was using a first generation iPad mini. I knew I would need to upgrade this since it would ultimately be replacing my maxed out 11" MacBook Air and would be my mobile computer going forward. For this job I enlisted the iPad Air with WiFi and 32GB of storage. The only reason I didn’t go with the 4G version is because I already have a 4G hotspot that I like and can be shared with multiple devices so there was no need to duplicate functions. And finally, my phone remained the same 32GB iPhone 5S.

Hardware Additions to the iPad Air

Key Pieces of Software

  • Evernote. I keep everything in evernote and having it sync across all three devices is fantastic.
  • Dropbox. This is basically my “filesystem” since there isn’t a conventional one on iOS.
  • Penultimate. An advantage of using an iPad over a MacBook is the ability to input handwriting.
  • Writeroom. A great text editor. This is where I capture most of my text, including this blog post.
  • iWork suite (Pages, Numbers, Keynote). Great for interfacing with documents from my desktop.
  • Games. More than I can list. A lot more than you might have on OS X. This could be bad or good. 🙂
  • Video Chat (FaceTime, Skype). Great for video chatting with any other client.
  • Remotix. Really awesome Remote Desktop client. For those times when you absolutely need to do something on a Desktop, or you simply need to access something on your Desktop.
  • Screens. Another really good Remote Desktop client. This has the ability to traverse firewalls and lets you access from anywhere you have a network connection.
  • Prompt. Really really good ssh command line tool.
  • Codeanywhere. Could be a really good solution for coding on the go for quick fixes.

There are a ton of other great iOS apps that I use both on the iPhone and the iPad, but I tried to just focus on some of the ones that make the experience of using an iPad in place of a MacBook just as good, if not better.

This new setup I have has been going strong for about 6 weeks. Not once have I thought I made a mistake. The iPad Air has been the iPad I have always wanted. Great size and weight, and tons of power. I think anyone that may be in a similar position as me, wondering if this can work for them, should give it a shot! It will take some getting used to, and maybe a little research to figure out how you access certain thing. If I tried to do this even a year ago, I think this post would be ending differently, but I think you will find iOS has matured quite a lot over the last couple years and it is quite capable. Best of all, it will only continue to get better and more advanced!

The Best Computer I Have Ever Owned!

MacBook AirJanuary 29, 2008. Apple announced the MacBook Air. It was nothing short of amazing! Thin, light, and beautiful. I got one shortly after release and loved it for about 2 weeks. The machine was absolutely perfect until you tried to do any real work on it. Because of its size, it had to sacrifice on power.

Jump ahead through 2009 and into 2010 where there were a few spec bumps and model changes, such as adding an 11" model. You now had a 13" and 11" model with new unibody styling. When you hit July 21, 2011 we saw the launch of the newest versions of the MacBook Air. On that date, it became time to consider an Air again because the game had changed!

This new MacBook Air is better than the first generation in every way. It is thinner, lighter, and the power of the machine has grown to abnormal heights considering its size. As you can see from the specs below of the machine I bought, you would be hard pressed to say this machine wasn’t a 17" tank of a “mobile desktop” notebook. However, this machine is anything but! It is a super sleek ultra portable that has more horsepower than the 2 year old, 15", top of the line MacBook Pro that it replaced.

With the dual-core i7 (giving you 4 threads), the 256GB SSD, and 4GB of memory, this thing absolutely screams!

If you have been thinking about an Air since the beginning, or even if you bought one of the early models and felt burned, trust me when I say, it’s time to take a second look. This thing will out perform your expectations in every way.

The mind blowing specs of my new machine
Screen size: 11.6", 1366 × 768 (16:9)
Weight: 2.38 lb.
Processor: 1.8 GHz (i7-2677M) dual-core Intel Core i7 with 4 MB shared L3 cache.
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor with 384MB of DDR3 SDRAM.
RAM: 4 GB of 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM.
Hard Drive: 256GB Solid State Drive.
Dimensions: 11.8 in wide × 7.56 in deep × 0.11 in to 0.68 in high.
Ports: 2× USB 2.0 Port | 1× 3.5 mm headphone jack | 1x Thunderbolt Port

Retail Price: $1,649 +tax

(Of course this review is based solely on the specific configuration I purchased; this in no way means every model in the line is equal to my glowing review)

MacBook Air: a few months later

Well It has been a couple months of constant use, and the hype is all gone over the MacBook Air, so what do I think of it now???

IT IS GREAT!!!

Specs for the machine I have:
CPU: 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
RAM: 2GB
HDD: 80GB

ok, ok, let me go through the Pros and Cons.

Pros:
– Extremely portable
– Great battery life
– Very light weight

Cons:
– Only 1 USB port

What it is for:
– Writing
– Email
– Web surfing
– Light business applications
– Travel
– Simple graphics editing

What it is NOT for:
– Video editing
– Advanced photo editing
– Virtual Machines

When it is all said and done, this is a great machine FOR ITS INTENDED USE. A lot of reviews were negative because the reviewers were morons and somehow thought this machine would perform like a $5000 17" MacBook Pro. When you look at this machine for what it is, a super portable and lightweight laptop, it does a great job. I use the machine as my main laptop at work. It is so nice to be able to just pick it up and take it anywhere on campus with no trouble. It’s a productivity booster if you figure you can have your laptop with you at all times. I really have not had any issues with this machine as my main machine, and that is saying a lot since I switched to this machine from a top of the line 17" MacBook Pro. I would say for being Apple’s first contender in this space, it is a HUGE success, despite some of the asinine reviews I have seen. “no optical drive :(” my response to that is , it’s 2008 get a clue.

I still think it’s amazing they were able to cram everything they did into this machine.

UPDATE: they just did a price cut on the SSD for the Air. Apple Store

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