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New iPad Pro or refurb MacBook Pro? Help me decide.  

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MMuto
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November 5, 2018 9:29 EDT AM  

My 2008 MacBook Pro still works. But I can't update it enough to run the software I need.

I've been kicking around replacing the old laptop with a new iPad Pro as a second machine, something to take to coffee shops and write or edit. I like the idea of the pencil for notetaking, which I do a lot of. I'm a fiction writer, a content editor, and every so often I'll do a freelance tech writing assignment.

iPad Pro Pros: So lightweight! Ability to jot down notes. One less device to replace and manage, so the possibility of time and cash saver in the long haul? The free version of Word works well. No buying a second license!

iPad Cons: It's expensive once I include a connected keyboard (TextExpander plays nicer, among other apps), and the No. 2 Pencil (HA!). Yes, yes, I know. That's not what Apple calls it. Total price $1327.

Refurb 13-inch MacBook Pro Pros: More fully-fleshed out apps (Scrivener is just one), Hazel, Keyboard Maestro, OmniFocus. Cheaper overall than the iPad Pro. Total cost for a 13-inch retina display refurb with 8GB and a 256 SSD $1269.

Refurb 13-inch MacBook Pro Cons: I'd have to cough up money to buy a second license of Word or subscribe to 365. It's heavier. It's another device to replace and maintain. It's already a year and change behind the update curve. There are two iPads in the family: I got a mini in Jan 2016, and there's a slightly older iPad Air 2. I could trade in the older iPad Air ($120 trade-in value).

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Which would you choose and why? Many thanks in advance.

This topic was modified 12 months ago 2 times by MMuto

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Alex Santos
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November 5, 2018 10:25 EDT AM  

My two cents, the MacBook pro. I think it is still a more flexible device than an iPad but I think others should weigh in.


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Dave Hamilton
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November 5, 2018 6:49 EDT PM  

Adding here, you may not need an Word license if you’re happy with LibreOffice. I’ve become both a convert and a fan with the version they released this year.


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Graham McKay
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November 5, 2018 8:26 EDT PM  

With regards that MS Word app licencing for iPad.... if your device screen size is more than 10.1 inches you need to have "a qualifying Office 365 subscription" to be able to do any editing.


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MMuto
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November 6, 2018 8:34 EDT AM  

Just read this. Thanks! Currently, my funds only go so far. With so many apps going to a subscription model, I have to pick and choose wisely. If there's a cheaper alternative to Word for i0S that also plays nice with Word on the Mac, that's what I'll have to do if I choose the iPad.


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MMuto
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November 6, 2018 8:35 EDT AM  

Thanks, Dave! I'll check into it this morning.


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MMuto
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November 6, 2018 9:49 EDT AM  

 I love research. No, I really do.

LibreOffice is slick. Really slick. Unfortunately, the deal-breaker for me is the lack of Track Changes as it is in Word. The way LO works with changes would be a nightmare for me while revising a novel or working with an editor. Insert sad face.

So I looked into Word again. Turns out that I totally forgot that with MS Office 2016, I get three downloads. If I get a MacBook, I'm covered. I never installed 2016 on the old laptop for whatever reason. Doh! But it turns out that's a good thing now.

But what about the iPad Pro? Well, there's a few choices. MS Office 365 comes in at $99 a year. With all the other subscriptions I have and the major decline of income over the past year and a half, I thought I'd keep searching.

Google Docs and Pages look like the most viable alternative. I've never been a fan of GDocs except for book tour signups or collaborative tips and tricks, but I may just run it and Pages on an existing iPad Air for a few days and see what happens.

Sidenote: I'm a note-taker and have notes jotted down in notebooks all over my desk. Yes, I still like using a pencil or pen and plain paper. Ideas stick better when I write them as opposed to typing them. Of course, they don't stick if I can't remember which notebook or where the notebook has wondered off to. That's one of the things that appealed to me about the iPad Pro - that pencil and the ability to write notes. However, replacing the laptop with an iPad is proving a bit more cumbersome than I first thought it'd be, Not impossible, just means a little more thought and consideration before I shell out over $1200-$1300.

For keeping things simple, Apple sure makes it difficult to minimize the number of devices in a household. LOL! Is there really such a thing as an Apple minimalist? I need to find my Zen number.

This post was modified 12 months ago by MMuto

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dbedford
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November 6, 2018 1:47 EDT PM  

If you work for an employer who deploys a number of Microsoft products (Software) you may be able to get MS Office 2019 for Mac from Microstructure for around £12 /$12 as you can in the UK. And it now comes in Dark Mode 😍


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MMuto
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November 6, 2018 2:04 EDT PM  

Brilliant! Thank you, dbedford!


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dbedford
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November 6, 2018 2:17 EDT PM  

Microsoft. -  iPhone autocorrect!!!


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MMuto
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November 13, 2018 2:55 EDT PM  

It's HERE!

Thanks to all who pitched in with advice. I decided on a MacBook Pro. I found a space gray 2017 13-inch MacBook Pro w/ 8GB, 256GB SSD, Retina Display on the Apple refurb store. It's pristine! Honestly, it doesn't even look like the box was ever opened.

As a second machine, and for writing in coffee shops, or while on vacation, it's perfect. I didn't have to compromise any app functionality, Microsoft allowed me to install on a second machine without issue, and all is well. The price came out to be $65 more than a new 12.9 iPad Pro with pencil and keyboard, but cheaper when I figured in the apps.

Again, thanks for the input. You helped me make the right decision.


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Dave Hamilton
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November 19, 2018 11:33 EDT AM  
Posted by: MMuto

It's HERE!

Thanks to all who pitched in with advice. I decided on a MacBook Pro. I found a space gray 2017 13-inch MacBook Pro w/ 8GB, 256GB SSD, Retina Display on the Apple refurb store. It's pristine! Honestly, it doesn't even look like the box was ever opened.

Nice, @mmuto! How is the 8GB RAM on that machine? Is it enough for what you're doing? I'm tempted to go 8GB with a new machine for my son, but I'm concerned that he'll run into slowdowns and sluggishness if he has less than 16GB... but I'm probably over-thinking this! 😉


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MMuto
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November 19, 2018 4:48 EDT PM  

For me, it's perfectly fine. I don't do any photo editing or gaming on it. It isn't running an external monitor.

It handles having OmniFocus, Mail, Scrivener, Dragon Dictate, Keyboard Maestro, TE, and a few other apps open all at the same time, plus browsing. Dragon hasn't managed to slow it down at all. Nada. Even without an external mic, it hasn't missed a beat. Even with other apps open, multiple tabs on Safari. I do run MS macros, hazel, KBM. Lots of apps. No problem. Solid little machine - so far. Keyboard, trackpad, great screen, lightweight.

I don't regret getting the 8GB, but I already knew that the iMac would be where I did any photo editing.

The ONLY slowdown I've noticed is tiny, and probably because I'm comparing it to the speed of an iMac with 24GB in it.

Not sure what size you are looking for, but there were a few 2017 13-inch machines on the refurb store and even some nice 15-inch MacBook Pros, all nicely equipped.


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Dave Hamilton
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November 19, 2018 11:52 EDT PM  

Thanks, @mmuto. This is super-helpful!


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MMuto
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November 20, 2018 8:48 EDT AM  

Glad I could help. One more note: I tend to run browsers with ad blockers and other various settings in Safari. Even with my main machine and all its power, sometimes sites just slow things down a bit too much for my tastes. Plus, scrolling is such a pain with all the video ads on pages these days.

Lucas's mileage may vary.


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