Does an iPad bring any value over an iPhone?

Hardware & Accessories

Those iPads are looking mighty tempting, but even though the techtubers say that they can be a laptop replacement for some people, they still have a long way to go. I do see the benefit of a bigger battery and quad speakers, but blind people keep saying it's more or less just a big iphone if you use Voiceover. Plus, I was further discouraged when I found out that my midi controller is inexplicably non-class compliant, so I would have to get a Mac Mini and use the full fat Logic Pro instead. Another part of what's pushed me to considering an iPad as a laptop is the sour experience I had with Mac OS; the broken Braille support and instability of Voiceover was not an enjoyable expenditure of my dollars, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the integration. I'd rather not buy any Mac unless Apple improves Voiceover.

The question I have is this? As someone who relies heavily on keystrokes and needs mobile computing for school, does an iPad bring any additional value to a totally blind Voiceover user, or would I be better off getting the fanciest iPhone and pairing it with a Bluetooth keyboard to save some money? I have a Windows laptop, so it's not like I'm hurting, but it is an upgrade idea for when my current machine inevitably dies.



Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Saturday, July 31, 2021

Well the new iPod will have the M1 chip but the software iOS 15 is not worth the money. It will be like getting a sport car and you will only go to 40 speed due to the software. The engine is willing but the software is not. What you want to do with the iPod? The iPhone with a bluetooth works well for some people that use the phone for more than just the phone. If you planning to get the phone wait until the new comes and get the pro max. I heard the battery suppose to be better than previous.

Submitted by zeirus-fr on Saturday, July 31, 2021

It would be better to use your windows.
But if you have a lot of money?!
I am silent!

Submitted by Joe on Saturday, July 31, 2021

Club AppleVis Member

The iPad with the Magic Keyboard ultimately is like a decent laptop. I think it depends what you want to do with it! Is the only things you're going to do a surf the web check email plus then you would also like to have that in a graded apple ecosystem such as messages and phone calls on another device? There's no question that integration is super nice the apple ecosystem is amazing in that I can text from either device. I've gone back-and-forth though throughout the years on if the iPad is really worth it. I think my answer is yes it's nice having a device separate from your phone! For example I can watch YouTube on do not disturb and still take a phone call on my iPhone if needed! My phone is kind of an extension of my work/personal life where the iPad is strictly entertainment and that's something to be valued. Now you could just buy another iPhone SE and put it in airplane mode and accomplish the same, but I do think the Magic Keyboard offers some value. The fact that I can have a good typing device and experience connected to one device rather than having a Bluetooth keyboard and the phone is nice! These are just my thoughts others may feel differently, but different strokes for different folks as they say.

Submitted by Jakob Rosin on Saturday, July 31, 2021

I used to use iPhone, iPad and a Mac all together back when we needed to go places. Now, it's just Mac and iPhone. I'll explain below:

  • iPHone: The usual iPhoney stuff, from texting, to social media, reading, web, ETC.
  • iPad pro with smart keyboard: Text processor, media device, web browser, notetaker, video conference device, email.
  • Mac: Everything as iPad, but with more complicated tasks like Dj-ing and music making, audio editing added.

For me, an iPad is a perfect tool to grab with me for going to a conference in another city for a few days, for a vacation where I'd need to do light work or write stuff down. Full keyboard support in iPad OS helps a lot as well. It's just lighter, more compact in several ways than a MacBook would be. I also find that the bigger touch screen allows me to get to stuff faster, as the screen can display more information at the same time.

Shure, I can hook a bluetooth keyboard up to my phone, but during a long day, I want to keep using my phone, and not waste it's tiny battery on taking notes or reading / answering to email.

Submitted by Jenna Pepper on Sunday, August 1, 2021

Thanks for the info, everyone. It sounds like there's some utility to an iPad but not quite enough to go run out and buy one. I'll give iPadOS a few more years to develop. Fingers crossed my laptop doesn't cook itself to death or something before then.

Submitted by Yvonnezed on Sunday, August 1, 2021

As I said, my iPad is my primary machine, so my opinion's coming from there.

First, no, an iPad isn't just a giant iPhone. You can treat it that way, but you'll never get as efficient at using it if you do. Also, if your primary use of an iOS device is going to be with a keyboard, an iPad is a better idea, since a lot of applications have keyboard shortcuts that work with an iPad and not an iPhone. No idea why, but there you go. Also, multi-tasking is extremely handy when you need to see two things at once. Things like taking notes while reading, or looking at documentation while coding are two things that jump to mind that I've done recently.

As for whether you could replace a laptop with an iPad, I don't know. I know nothing about what you need to do and how ready you might be to change your workflows to something that plays to an iPads strength. I don't know. One of these days I need to write a proper blog post about how I use an iPad. All I'll say is that I've used computers for more than 30 years, and I think the iPad's the one I've been happiest with.

Submitted by Maldalain on Sunday, August 1, 2021

I am full time user of the iPad Pro. The torture of professional or even semi-professional work fits the iPad, iPhone’s batteries won’t last for a year with constant email checking, editing documents and uploading/downloading large files. I have an iPad 4 Cellular that I bought in 2013, the battery is still enough for a full day of heavy work!
I like the portability of the iPad, for me it is a media device, writing and note taking machine and entertainment is just unbeatable. I have tried iPadOS 15 on my iPad Pro and it is great with file management and multitasking.
I am academic and freelance translator and interpreter, the 104 apps on my iPad are all there to serve my needs.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Sunday, August 1, 2021

For me, the iPad is purchased by two types of people. Those who do not require high utility, prefer media consumption over document or media creation and are looking for something a little more portable than a laptop and don't mind having something that breaks into two pieces.

the other type of person who has an iPad is someone who can afford it and fits it into their work flow. Personally, having a few more shortcuts, the ability to alt tab through applications and bigger speakers is not worth several hundred pounds over the phone I already have.

If you've got the money, get it, but if you want to save, or are on a limited budget, don't bother. Even a simple iPhone,, such as the SE 2, is a highly capable device and even more so when paired with a keyboard.

Now, this is all based on general usage. The big question for me, when I was looking at iPads is, why the hell is a blind guy paying out for a massive screen he can't see. There seems to be two sides to this, I think a large screen device is more problematic to navigate especially as I tend to just flick through items. There is too much info on the screen. Others say it is better because of this. Considering you can get most apps on an iPhone I think I can probably use that faster than getting through an abundance of data on the iPad.

Finally, I like my iPhone because I can put it in a pocket. iPads I've had in the past have gone in with my MacBook Air which seems counter productive. The magic keyboard with an iPad is a bit smaller, but it is thicker and heavy. For us, unless you have low vision and the bigger screen works for media, I'd say save the money, get an iPhone SE and some good headphones.

Apple are excellent in leaving gaps between products so that we feel forced to buy into them. I'm of a similar opinion with the Apple Watch. I can do 90% of what I need on my iPhone without it being an awkward interaction on my wrist, but if that final 10 % is worth it to you, it's worth the investment. The iPad, aside from the bigger screen, in my opinion, is still not varied enough to say that I can't do 95% if not more, of the same thing I'd do on there as I do on my iPhone. The big screen is for the sighted, I think, so no point until it becomes more like Mac OS which it is doing, though frustratingly slowly.

And this is the thing. Sure, if you flick through items on an iPad, it's a terrible experience. That's why I said an iPad has to be learned. You have to take the time to teach yourself to think more spacially. I'm totally blind myself, and I actually really like the extra screen space.

But then, I know I'm in the minority, so there you go.

Submitted by Siobhan on Sunday, August 1, 2021

Let's call a spade a spade here, the iphone's speakers are dismal compared to almost anything. sure they let you have the ear piece for the speaker which is, ok, but why not use the dummy left slot? The one set to the left of the lightning port? The iPad, I'm going way back to the two, had decent sounding speakers. So i agree i liked the spacially different aspects. I can only imagine how much longer doing something on the bigger screen would be. I'd still go with a laptop, I'm looking at ones now. Going back to the speakers for a split second, the Air is just about perfect except the speakers are just a tad worse then the pros. but do I want my legs burning with the fan when i'm doing literally nothing? Nope. Whatever you choose, good luck.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Monday, August 2, 2021

Firstly, yeah, I accept that there are several ways of using a larger screen and I'm lazy, I've not learned. I've just taken my iPhone experience onto the iPad, which is amazing I can do that, but there are little aspects I never bothered to explore.

Anyway, there will be a new mini coming out, or so tis said, before the end of the year which might end up being a better proposition for us. It will be cheaper due to smaller screen size, but should have similar speakers to the air. In fact, it's billed to be a mini air but the interesting thing here is that it might have a smart connector for a Diddy little keyboard.. Though not quite sure how that might work but the sound should be better, it should have Touch ID which I believe is the favourite of us, will be cheaper, more portable and as capable as its bigger sisters, though I'm guessing they will start splitting between the pro on the M1 and the other standard iPads in iPad os 15.

I will no doubt buy the new mini, love it, use it, forget about it, find it and then sell it again. I'm just a sucker for apple products and I always warn others against the siren song of new tech. if it aint broke don't fix it.

Submitted by Bobcat on Saturday, August 7, 2021

There are many music apps that only run on iPad and not iPhone OS. I haven't tried any as I don't have an iPad. I've always been curious to see if any of them would work with voiceover. I wonder if garage band is easier to use with an iPad because of the larger screen. I wish we could make our own tactile screen protectors for different apps that could be removed and exchanged easily. That could really help with apps that have a lot of Controls and information on the screen

If you want to turn green with envy; check out the sound test room on YouTube. He demos so many music apps that I wish I could use because they are so brilliant. But most of them run on the iPad only.

Submitted by Voracious P. Brain on Tuesday, August 10, 2021

I think the OP took off some time ago, but just for grins... Bought an IPad mini 5 thinking I might be able to do most of my laptop work on it, but it hasn't worked out for me personally--and it is a personal thing. The IPad's side-by-side interface, which puts things like the message list or settings panels on the left with content on the right, is something I just can't get used to. I find it very frustrating, compared with the drill-down of my little SE. Like I said, that's a personal thing. Also, I had to disable the lock screen in order to even try using it for writing, because the screen locks while I'm thinking of the next sentence. I'd like to use it to spare the battery on my phone--for Bard books, for instance, but the convenience of just using the phone wins out. The IPad just hasn't been used, and I ended up getting an MBA for writing. I find a laptop more portable than an ipad mini plus keyboard. I don't think having the whole trio is necessary, and the ipad is the one to skip in that case. If I were trying to avoid buying a laptop, the ffull-size IPad that can have a full-size keyboard case would be more usable. I did get a scrunched up IPad Mini keyboard case, but the non-standard typing experience was a non-starter for someone who switches among computers a lot.

I've been quietly listening to everybody's input on the topic. I've decided that I'm going to wait for now. I'm playing around with GarageBand on my phone. If it proves to be useful in my workflow, I might buy an ipad. Possibly a Mac mini and then use Logic remote on it or something... Well, once I save up for that anyway. Apples are expensive. I'll roll with my windows laptop for now.

Submitted by Cobbler on Wednesday, August 11, 2021

I bought an iPad Air and Bridge keyboard last year in expectation of being able to transfer across maybe 80% of what I currently do on my Mac.

It didn't come close, and that was solely down to the horrendous text editing experience for VoiceOver users.

Using a hardware keyboard to navigate through text fields or to select text is pure pain for anything more than the shortest of emails or documents.

If you expect the experience to be remotely similar to on a Mac, think again. If you expect a consistent and reliable experience, think again.

Navigating and selecting by paragraph simply does not work.

Navigating and selecting by line is just about do-able, but the inconsistency of where the cursor will be placed makes for a painful experience.

Navigating and selecting by word or character works. But, boy do you not want to have to rely on this for longer blocks of text.

These appear to be longstanding issues which Apple shows no intent or desire to fix.

This all added up to no good reason to keep that iPad, so I didn't. That's several hundred dollars I won't be seeing again.

Submitted by Yvonnezed on Wednesday, August 11, 2021

I've never really had any problem editing text on an iPad, to be honest, but then, maybe I'm not a very sophisticated text editor or something. I honestly can't ever remember ever bothering to select a whole paragraph at a time, whatever I was editing in, and I've just gotten into the habit, I think, of going to the start of the line when I'm moving up and down with a keyboard.

Whatever. I think I'm the only person in the Voiceover world who loves their iPad, ☺️.

I absolutely love mine, with all the caveats everyone is talking about. BTW, text selection by paragraph works great with Scrivener, you do not have to move to the start of the next or previous line.

The dummy left slot is a microphone, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't wanna remove that, because if you did, stereo recording wouldn't be possible, however another idea was making it smaller, which would reduce the amount of space it takes then there might be possible space for a speaker.