7 Reasons to Buy an iPad Over a PC

Today's tablets are more powerful than their small size suggests

It's becoming harder to decide between an iPad and a laptop or a desktop PC. The original iPad was a mobile device aimed directly at the netbook. Apple's tablet has become more capable each year, and with the iPad Pro, Apple is taking direct aim at the PC.

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet, and starting with iOS 10, Apple opened up the operating system and allowed non-native apps access to features like Siri. As the iPad continues to grow in processing power and versatility, are we ready to ditch the PC? Maybe.

Here are a few areas where the iPad has a leg up on the PC world.

iPad Pro with and without a keyboard
 Apple, Inc.

Security

The iPad is actually quite secure when compared to a PC. It's almost impossible for a virus to infect an iPad because viruses work by jumping from one app to the next. The architecture of iPadOS puts a wall around each app, which prevents one piece of software from overwriting a portion of another.

It's also difficult to get malware onto the iPad. On a PC, malware can do things like record all of the keys you press and let someone remotely control your computer. It often makes its way in by tricking the user into installing it. Apple, however, maintains full control over the App Store, which is the only way to add software to the tablet (unless you've chosen to jailbreak your device). With the company checking every piece of software people submit for the iPad, it's much more difficult for malware to find its way onto the App Store, and when it does, it doesn't stay there long.

The iPad also offers several tools to secure your data and the device itself. The Find My iPad feature allows you to track your device if you misplace it. You can also lock it and wipe its data remotely. And as Apple opens up the Touch ID fingerprint sensor to more uses, you can secure your data with your fingerprint. While possible on a PC, this biometric lock is much easier and more available on the iPad.

Performance

Various models of iPad Pro have used Apple's A9X, A10X, and A12X chips. These processors are comparable to Intel's i5 and i7s, and in many cases, they're even better. You can get better hardware in an iPad Pro than you'll find in an entry-level laptop, and comparable builds to standard-issue ones. PCs are available that can outperform an iPad Pro, but you'll end up paying way more for them.

Android and iOS both have relatively small footprints when compared to Windows and Mac OS. They'll often seem faster even if their processor isn't quite as fast.

Value

The iPad and a PC are similar in terms of the prices you'll see at the store, but you're probably going to pay more for something powerful enough to do more than browse the web and with a life expectancy of more than a year or two.

The price doesn't stop with the initial purchase, however. One thing that can drive costs up for a laptop or desktop is the software. A PC doesn't do a lot out of the box. It can browse the web, but if you want to play games, type a term paper, or balance your budget with a spreadsheet, you will probably need to buy some software. And it isn't cheap. Most software on the PC will range between $10 and $50 or more, with the ever-popular Microsoft Office costing $99 a year — although the major office apps are free as Windows Store apps.

Apple Pages with iPad on-screen keyboard.

The iPad comes with Apple's iWork suite (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) and the iLife suite (GarageBand and iMovie). While Microsoft Office is more powerful than iWork, Apple's office suite is up to the task for most people. And if you want to find the equivalent of iMovie for the PC, you'll have to buy it separately.

One expense many people find on the Windows side is virus protection, which can also add to the cost. PCs come with Windows Defender, which is fairly solid protection for free. However, if you want to go with added protection with another bit of software from Norton or McAfee, you'll have to pay extra to pick it up.

Versatility

Not only does the iPad pack in some software you won't find in comparable PCs, but it also has some added features you won't find. Along with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, the newest iPads have good cameras built into them. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a 12 MP camera that can compete with most smartphones. The bigger Pro and the iPad Air 2 both have an 8 MP back-facing camera, which can still take pretty good pictures. You can also purchase an iPad with 4G LTE capabilities, which means you can even use it in places that Wi-fi isn't available.

The iPad is also more mobile than a laptop, which is one of its main selling points. This mobility isn't just about carrying it with you when you travel. The biggest selling point is how easy it is to carry around your house or office.

You can get some of the same versatility with a Windows-based tablet, but when compared to a laptop or desktop PC, the iPad certainly has an advantage.

Reliability and Simplicity

One of the biggest reasons a PC's performance degrades over time and it begins to crash more often is user error, including installing software that loads when you power up the PC, not doing a proper shutdown when powered off, and many other common mistakes that can eventually plague a PC.

The iPad doesn't experience these problems. While it has a chance to become slower or experience strange bugs over time, you can generally clear these up with a simple reboot. The iPad doesn't allow apps to self-load at startup, so they won't suffer a slow degradation of performance. Because they don't have an on-off switch, a user can't power down an iPad without it running through a proper shutdown sequence.

This simplicity helps keep the iPad bug free and in good working order.

Child-Friendly

Touchscreens are definitely more child-friendly than a keyboard, but you can always buy a laptop or desktop that has one. The increased mobility of the iPad is also a great advantage, especially with smaller children. But it is the ease of putting restrictions on the iPad and the number of great iPad apps for kids that really set it apart.

Create Password for iPad Parental Restrictions

The iPad's parental restrictions let you control the type of apps, games, music, and movies your child is allowed to download and watch. These controls come with the familiar PG/PG-13/R ratings and the equivalent for games and apps. You can also easily disable the App Store and default apps like the Safari browser. Within minutes of setting up the iPad, you can disable unfettered access to the web, which is great if you want your kid to have access to a powerful device like the iPad but want to keep them away from all of the not-so-kid-friendly messages, photos and video on the web.

But it's the multitude of kid-friendly apps that really sets the iPad apart. Plenty of great educational apps are available, like Endless Alphabet and Khan Academy. You can also download games that are perfect for kids aged 2, 6, 12 or older.

Gaming

Graphics-wise, you aren't going to confuse an iPad with an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4. And if you're willing to shell out well over $1000, a PC can be the ultimate game machine. But if you're in the category of people who love to play games but wouldn't consider yourself a "hardcore" gamer, the iPad is the ultimate portable gaming system. It has far more powerful graphics than your standard $400-$600 PC, with graphics roughly the same as an Xbox 360.

There are also a ton of great games on the iPad. Again, you aren't going to find Call of Duty or World of Warcraft, but at the same time, you won't be shelling out $60 a pop for your gaming habit. Even the biggest games tend to top out at $10 and often cost less than $5. And, if you don't want to spend time browsing the App Store for quality titles, you can subscribe to the Apple Arcade platform the company added to iOS 13, which gives you access to over 100 curated titles for a single, monthly fee.