7 Reasons to Buy an iPad Over a PC

Apple, Inc.

It's becoming harder and 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.  And it demolished them.  The iPad has become a more capable device each year, and with the iPad Pro, Apple is taking direct aim at the PC.   Are we now really seeing the post-PC world we were promised?

Maybe.

The iPad Pro is a very powerful tablet, and with iOS 10, Apple is opening up the operating system and allowing third-party apps access to features like Siri.

 But first, those apps have to take advantage of that newfound freedom.   

As the iPad continues to grow in processing power and versatility, are we ready to ditch the PC?  We'll look at a few areas where the iPad has a leg up on the PC world.  

Security

You might be surprised to see security top a list of reasons to go iPad over PC, but the iPad is actually quite secure when compared to a PC. It is almost impossible for an iPad to be infected by a virus. Viruses work by jumping from one app to the next, but the iPad's architecture puts a wall around each app which prevents one piece of software from overwriting a portion of another application.

It is also very difficult to get malware onto the iPad. Malware on a PC can do anything from recording all of the keys you hit on your keyboard to allowing your entire PC to be taken over remotely. It often makes its way onto a PC by tricking the user into installing it.

This is the advantage of the App Store. With Apple checking every piece of software, it is much more difficult for malware to find its way onto the App Store, and when it does, it is often removed very quickly.

The iPad also offers a number of ways to secure your data an the device itself. The Find My iPad feature allows you to track your iPad if it is lost or stolen, lock it remotely and even wipe all of the data from it 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 is made much easier on the iPad.

Performance

The iPad Pro's processor is the rough equivalent of an "i5", which is the mid-range processor offered by Intel. This makes the iPad much faster than those bargain basement laptops you see on sale at Best Buy and the equal to most PCs you will find on sale in any store. It is certainly possible to find a PC that tops an iPad in pure performance, but you may need to also top $1000 on the price tag.

And even then, you probably won't beat the iPad in real world performance.

There's a big difference in having a processor that does great on benchmark tests and having a device that is snappy in the real world, as the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 found out when it went head-to-head against the iPhone 6S in a real world showdown. While the two are relatively close in benchmark tests, the iPhone actually performed about twice as fast in real world tests of opening apps and performing tasks.

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

Value

The iPad and a PC are actually quite similar in terms of the price tag you'll see at the store. You can get into one for as cheap as $270, but you are probably going to pay between $400 to $600 for something powerful enough to do more than browse the web and with a life expectancy of more than a year or two.

But price doesn't stop with the initial purchase. One big 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 up 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.

The iPad comes with Apple's iWork suite (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) and their iLife suite (GarageBand and iMovie). While Microsoft Office is definitely more powerful than iWork, Apple's office suite is actually quite up to the task for most people. And if you wanted to find the equivalent of iMovie for the PC, you will probably pay at least $30 and probably much more.

One expense many people find on the Windows side is virus protection, which can also add to the cost. Windows comes with Windows Defender, which is fairly solid protection for free. However, many people go with added protection from Norton, McAfee, and others.

Versatility

Not only does the iPad pack in some software you won't find in comparable PCs, it also has some added features you won't find. In addition to the Touch ID fingerprint sensor previously mentioned, the newest iPads have fairly good cameras. 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 is a nice benefit over your standard laptop.

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 sit with you on the couch.

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.

Simplicity

Sometimes, not enough is made of the simplicity of the iPad. Certainly, it is easy to pick up and learn, but it actually goes much beyond the ease of use. One of the biggest reasons why a PC's performance degrades over time and it begins to crash more often is user error. This can include 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 have these problems. While an iPad has an chance to become slower or experience strange bugs over time, these are generally cleared up by a simple reboot. The iPad doesn't allow apps to self-load at startup, so there is no slow degradation of performance, and because there is no 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 with a touchscreen. 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.

The iPad's parental restrictions allow you to 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 is the multitude of kid-friendly apps that really sets the iPad apart. There are tons of great educational apps like Endless Alphabet and Khan Academy combined with a number of fun games that are perfect for kids aged 2, 6, 12 or older. And as mentioned previously, these apps and games tend to be much cheaper on the iPad than on a PC.

Gaming

The iPad isn't going to be mistaken for an Xbox One or a PS4. And if you are willing to shell out well over $1000, a PC can be the ultimate game machine. But if you are 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.