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My Preference of iPad over Mac Mini

I came into the Apple world via an iPhone. From the iPhone, I expanded to iPads. While I enjoyed my iPhone and iPad, I had “old school” encouragement to get a Mac. For some reason, folks in my age group think computing isn’t computing until you have a desktop, either PC or Mac.

I resisted for quite some time, but as luck would have it (not luck, but hard work), I ended up with a bit of cash that had not been earmarked for bills, savings, or investments. So, I bought a Mac Mini. Along with the Mac Mini came a Studio Display. The Studio Display is fantastic. The Mac, well, it’s okay.Mac Mini and Studio Display

I say it’s okay for my purposes. For anyone else, it is fantastic! It has more power than I know what to do with. It’s compact and doesn’t take up any desk real estate since I have it attached to the side of my writer’s desk. My desktop real estate is limited.

Getting Used to a Mac Mini

My issue with using the Mac MIni is that I’m too used to iPads and mobile technology. Although it’s all in the Apple ecosystem, the Mac behaves differently than the iPad, and understandably so. The software programs (or apps) are the same but different. Getting used to the nuances of how an app behaves on a Mac vs iPad is time-consuming.

Say CheeseI’m learning new tech skills as I venture into making videos and playing with graphics. That in and of itself is a whole new world for me. When I return to the Mac/iPad world to download and modify the images and videos, I don’t want to spend too much time (and frustration) re-learning the idiosyncratic behaviors of the apps as they operate differently on the Mac. Maybe down the line, when I’m a more seasoned photographer/videographer/image editor, but for now, I think it’s best to tackle one group of new skills at a time so the iPad wins.

Mac’s Universal Control Feature

While the thought of the Universal Control features is enticing (that’s the feature where I can control both the Mac and 1 or 2 other mobile devices with one keyboard and mouse), it constantly fails. I find it frustrating to lose the mouse and keyboard while working on a document or project. Sometimes, it takes a minute or so for the mouse to re-appear. The now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t game is particularly frustrating when editing code. One false space, comma, or inadvertent carriage return can screw things up. Not to mention losing focus and insertion point.Frustration

I’ve tried unsuccessfully to solve the problem but couldn’t. As a work around, I shut off the Mac and use the iPad with the Studio Display monitor. I can do quite a bit using Stage Manager and the external display. It’s not the same as using the Mac with a properly functioning Universal Control, but it works.

Missing a Few Things

I do prefer the increased functionality of Word and Excel on the Mac. There are just some things Microsoft doesn’t allow on the iPad. I can make do as I had done in the past. However, if things get hairy, I can always plug in the Mac and handle what needs to be done until Universal Control craps out on me.

The one feature the Mac has that the iPads don’t have is the ability to reformat SD cards. I don’t have to reformat things often, but I have the Mac on standby when I need to. As you can see, I’m underutilizing the Mac. If only Universal Control were stable.

About the Author: Felicia (aka Low Tech Grandma) is a wife, mother, grandmother, writer and low-tech blogger.

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