iPads v Netbooks

iPads v Netbooks

I am regularly asked whether schools should invest in Netbooks or iPads.

It’s a difficult question to address because my job dictates that I should keep my eye on advanced new technologies and disseminate that information to schools. iPads/tablets will eventually replace laptops completely but the question that remains is “Are Schools ready for the change”?

My feeling is that change happens, and it is, in my opinion better to be upto date than behind the curve.  That said here are some arguments to support both options.For the time being, I would demonstrate both devices and talk about cloud storage. I’d advocate a mixed economy of technology, so that teachers have the opportunity to be continuous with their current work whilst having access to modern devices which allow them to update their skills and devise new ways of teaching and learning.   That said, here are some arguments to support both options.


  • Cheap, simple: ”[The Netbook] fills a unique need for casual computer users who need a cheap, simple, portable computer [that] can perform any computer-related task. So…while the iPad is interesting, some don’t see it filling a need for cheap, simple computers, which can do everything.”
  • Full keyboard: Netbooks goes to class with me. It have a full keyboard and Microsoft Office.” And another reader: “A keyboard is the fundamental difference.
  • USB and connectors: As a musician, USB, FireWire, and driver support means I can do work (i.e. recording, mixing, writing) on the road with a Netbook in ways that the iPad doesn’t allow without additional connectors.
  • Flash: Many websites still use flash. Sites like Espresso and Education City are built entirely in Flash.  Netbooks have flash built into the browser. Apple refused to integrate Flash support into it’s devices, citing it as a security thread, and despite several attempts Adobe have now dropped all support for Apple devices.


  • Maps: ”The Google Maps app, with GPS and [a] large screen, is fantastic. All I have to say to people who didn’t try it: just check it out.”
  • Virtual keyboard is fine: ”Once I got the iPad cover to have it tilt at a 45-degree angle, I actually noticed I typed faster on the iPad than my Netbook.” And another reader: “Interestingly, by trusting the predictive spell-checking, I can type faster on the iPad than (the) Netbook.”
  • Better travel companion/entertainment: ”The iPad fits in perfectly as a lightweight, mobile platform for e-mail and Web access, as well as remote access to my servers while I’m on the move in a package the same size as the Day-Timer (that) I used to carry. It’s also much more pleasant to use when traveling for entertainment and document review than my laptop, and more functional than my iPhone. This is the perfect in-between device for me.”
  • Like the controlled-app environment: ”I like the idea of the controlled apps–and there are so many of them to select. My main loves are the touch interface and the power-up speed.” And another reader said: “That ‘closed’ App Store has more apps and games than any mobile platform…How is that closed?”
  • Flash is deprecated technology: HTML 5 will negate the need for flash, as it works on all platforms and is easier to edit and reuse. So we are likely to see a diminishing role for Flash.  ipad apps do much more than Flash websites anyway, and there is a wider choice of educational apps.
  • Try it; you’ll like it: “I think many of the people who favor the Netbook have not used the iPad…for any length of time. With numerous desktops and laptops in our house and at work, I bought an iPad…You don’t have to be computer-illiterate to appreciate a well-designed, user-friendly device…The iPad is different from a Netbook. Neither are appropriate for real computer work, but for using the Internet, mail, games, and/or light computing, the iPad is the better choice.”
Useful Sources
CNET:  http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20004510-64.html     May 9th 2010
CMVLIVE  : http://cmvlive.com/technology/gadgets/should-you-buy-an-ipad-or-netbook
Phil Gregory
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Phil Gregory

Phil Gregory is a Web Marketing Consultant. Specialising in SEO, PPC and Social Media.

Previously he worked in Education as an ICT Trainer delivering I.C.T / Audio/Visual solutions for Education and Business. Connect with Phil on Social
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One Response to iPads v Netbooks in Schools

  1. Ian McNeill says:

    “Adobe have now dropped all support for Apple devices”

    HTML 5 will take over in a couple of years from now and the job of Flash developer will be no more.

    check out these site about HTML5



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