Apple's iPadTo buy or not to buy an iPad? The bargain-hunting website took a contrarian position on the question, publishing Ten Reasons Not to Buy an iPad for Students. It's a fairly predictable list, but I'll buy into two of their points: The iPad is pricey, and it's potentially distracting.

I've asked CEOs and celebrities, and they readily admit Apple's (AAPL) popular tablet can quickly become a high-end toy for kids. You buy one for yourself, rationalizing that it'll help you to be more current and productive, and the next thing you know, it's primarily being used by someone under age 10 in the back of your SUV.

That's not to say the iPad doesn't have a role -- probably a growing one -- in academic life. I stopped Huffington Post Tech intern Cooper Smith, a Harvard student, in his tracks and asked, "Hey, do you think an iPad is necessary?" He didn't flinch, answering succinctly, "Of course." He said they're everywhere on the Harvard campus, though he pointed out that they're not ideal for classroom note-taking.

Cooper is a computer science major at one of the nation's most elite universities, but tablet technology is also proving effective in engaging disenfranchised students. From Duke University to middle schools, progressive educators are creating iPad classrooms. Apple prides itself providing tools that have changed the educational landscape. If you can get your kids to use it for something other than games, the iPad's educational resources are stunning.

Donnicia Rabatin of Northern V.A., feels iPads are a plus, and plans to get them for her children, ages 8 and 11, this Christmas. Communicating with grandparents is a big draw: Her parents live in Florida, and video chat is truly a game-changer for long-distance relationships. She and her husband expect to control the passwords and restrict access to inappropriate content. They're also hoping the kids will take to math game apps.

Based on what I've witnessed in my own home and from speaking with many iPad users, it's clear the device doesn't replace anything. You still carry a cell phone, and you'll still need a laptop. But it can find a nice niche in your life -- as a calendar, to-do list manager, magazine or just a nice way to answer email on the couch.

There, are of course, iPad alternatives -- Kindle, Nook, Galaxy Tab, Thrive, etc. -- but I'd actually like to thank Apple for simplifying my shopping decisions. At this point, I don't even consider other options -- I'm all Apple, all the time. In fact, I'm heading to one of their retail locations today to inquire about Apple Workshops to make better use of the gadgets we already own. This, I'm told, is their best offer of all.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Advice for Recent College Grads

Prepare yourself for the "real world".

View Course »

Getting out of debt

Everyone hates debt. Get out of it.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

I have an Ipad and I enjoy it for what it is, but it isn't something that would be that useful in college.

You can't take notes on it, typing on a screen sucks... even if you use on of the apps that lets you write with your finger like bamboo it really isn't good for notes, a pen and paper are much easier.

You can't open excel or word documents with it, you need a laptop for that.

You can't access flash content on the internet.

And here is the dirty little secret that will really chap your hide, some website wont work on it unless you pay.... college students want to watch hulu videos? well you can watch more on a laptop because hulu wants to charge you to see some that you can watch for free on a laptop... want to read a newspaper? you can read papers like the NYpost for free on a laptop, but on an Ipad you can't, no work around it just says "welcome ipad user download the app and subscribe if you wish to view content" and there are a lot of other site that do the same... it is a bit like the content owners have decided "Ah you were stupid enough to buy an oversized iphone for a lot of money so you will be dumb enough to buy our content that the rest of the world still gets for free."

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my ipad as an easy to use touch screen calculator, or as a way to read my pdfs in color while I'm taking a dump... but really this is nothing more than a toy.... not something you have to have for college just something you might want to play with.

July 28 2011 at 9:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I never go to the bathroom without mine. But that pretty much sums up it's usefulness.

July 26 2011 at 3:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They just don't replace computers, sorry....

July 26 2011 at 2:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
The Texas Cowboy

I have been using a desktop computer for years, I also own a laptop for when I travel, I seen the ipads & to me that seem like a novelity item, I guess it has its uses but I don't see how they can replace the computer or laptop, there is so much more that we can do with a desktop & laptop computer, just this week my daughter called & said she needed to replace her Son's computer & she was undecided whether to get him a laptop or an ipad, I told her that it was my concidered opinion that he would get more use from a laptop then an ipad, so she also talked to my son-n-law (who owns a laptop, desktop, ipad & a cell phone that does nearly everything in the world) & he told her that her son would be better off getting a laptop then an ipad & so on that info she bought him a laptop, he is Autistic & would understand a laptop better then a ipad......just my dimes worth.....

July 26 2011 at 1:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I got an iPad and now it just collects dust on my desk. I don't see how on earth it is a "necessity" for a college student like myself.

I plan on getting rid of it before someone drops it and then I have a $600 busted paperweight.

July 26 2011 at 12:18 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply