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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

iPads: The New Classroom Accessory

The average weight of a laptop is approximately 5.5 pounds — not far from the average weight of a college textbook. So, carrying around what may seem like a lightweight piece of technology can actually take a toll on your shoulders and back.

However, electronics are such an essential part of the classroom experience that it often feels wrong not to carry your laptop around with you, especially with the new nifty note-taking functions.

Recently, though, some students got sick of lugging their MacBooks and PCs around and found an alternative. Many students are beginning to forgo laptops for iPads.

The first iPad came out in 2010 and weighed less than 2 pounds. It was Wi-Fi accessible, had a 10-hour battery life and cost half the price of a new laptop under the same brand.

Last year, second-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major Rachel Nakagawa got an iPad and said she has found it to be a useful study tool because it is great for notes and she can get her textbooks online.

“My laptop is old and I don’t like carrying it around,” Nakagawa said. “I like the convenience; I can just grab it and go.”

In the years since the iPad’s first unveiling, Apple has rolled out two new versions of the iPad; the latest being the New iPad, also referred to as the iPad 3.

The New iPad has an updated iOS mobile operating system called iOS 5.1. It can function as a hotspot and has a retina display which packs 1536 x 2048 pixels within the 9.7 inch screen. It also features oleophobic scratch-proof glass which is very easy to clean and comes in sleek black or chic white. With all of these new snazzy features, who wouldn’t want one?

Xavier Ontiveros, a fourth-year sociology major who works at the Tech Hub within the Memorial Union Bookstore, explained more about the iPads and how they are in high demand among UC Davis students.

“There was an influx of orders during Summer Session II. A lot of the foreign exchange students bought them and we actually sold out at least twice,” Ontiveros said. “They’re still popular with students mainly because Apple knows how to appeal to students. I think we’ll get more orders from students once financial aid is disbursed.”

Brandi Stafford, a fourth-year microbiology major, owns an iPad 2 that she received as a Christmas present from her parents.

“My iPad is pretty convenient and I do think it helps me in my studies. A lot of my friends think it’s cool and they always want to play with it,” Stafford said.

Janet Lee, a third-year communication and psychology major, has her eye on the iPad and plans to buy one soon. She said her MacBook Pro is a bit heavy for her to constantly carry around to class and she would rather have something lighter to bring along in her backpack.

“I like how I can quickly check my email and look at PDFs and write on notes without lugging my whole laptop around,” Lee said. “It’s lighter and easily accessible.”

Despite the appealing qualities of the iPad, it still cannot replace a laptop. Nakagawa said that despite convenience, things like long essays still require a computer due to the iPad’s smaller memory and keyboard, making this purchase somewhat expensive.

However, the iPad follows the UC Davis mission to go green, allowing students to forgo printing out papers from professors and instead access them on a thin little touchscreen tablet. Nakagawa said that the amount of money you save on paper and ink may make what seems like an expensive purchase worth the money.

“You waste less paper and [the iPad] might buy itself back,” Nakagawa said. “I used to use a printer but don’t have to anymore.”

Nakagawa did note that there are disadvantages to this device because not all textbooks are available on it, and it can prove to be tricky to use or rely on for things such as notes.

“Taking notes on it can be hard and it could die, so I have to make sure it is charged,” she said.

As of now, students who are interested in purchasing an iPad can drop by the Tech Hub to test it out. While it is a bit pricey, it proves to be an excellent study tool, well worth the money according to students that have made the change. Many have discovered that the iPad is becoming a much-coveted accessory for students of every age and major.

“We haven’t gotten any orders from new students yet,” Ontiveros said. “I have a feeling we might soon.”

MICHELLE RUAN can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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