Why would you get an iPad?

Club AppleVis Member

I have no usable vision and already use and iPhone 6s. My family wants to buy me an iPad but I am wondering how would it benefit me differently. All suggestions are welcome.


More screen real-estate

I love my Ipad Pro 9.7, but I have a little usible vision. The greatest benefits I can see are allowing for more space to be used which makes things a bit faster at times. For instance the settings screen works with colums - main settings folders like general, battery, Bluetooth etc on the left and their child folders like accessibility on the right. Having two apps open side-by-side is helpful at times too. Other than that though, I'd say save the money and use it to buy an upgraded phone, honestly.

Social settings

I find the iPad is more socially acceptable to use in a classroom, while giving a talk, etc, since no one thinks you're reading your text messages. (And, yes, that's what everyone thinks when you play with your phone.) Other than that, if you have no vision, it's not that different from a phone.

I have no usable vision

I have no usable vision either and actually I hate how settings works its very easy I find to get lost on the screen, personally I think if your totally blind the iPad is just an overgrown screen and again for me personally I would never recommend someone who is blind to get an iPad, as yes its usable but your just creating a headache for yourself larger screen, not so easy to carry around as a phone, and the hole multi column thing also extends to other areas like male as well.
I have to be tech support for mum with her iPad and I dislike it.

I don't think an Ipad is worth it if your blind

I'm totally blind and find the large screen on an ipad dificult to use. There's so much more blank space that it's dificult to find things. If your family wants to buy you electronics I'd see if they would be willing to buy an iphone 8 if you want a newer faster phone.

Swift Playground

Club AppleVis Member

Thank you for all the comments. They are much appreciated.

Initially I thought I would use an iPad for the Swift Playground in order to learn the Swift language. But I discovered that it is geared towards kids and teaches you how to code. . That is why I was looking for other benefits.

Agree with Other Posters

I am also totally blind and simply couldn't recommend an iPad to anyone who has no useable vision. Personally, I would opt to get the highest upgraded iPhone my wallet could afford. Having said all of that, if a totally blind person actually wants an iPad, there is nothing wrong with that, either. It's just a personal preference of mine. One poster made a social reference I hadn't considered before. But, since I don't find myself a politically correct person, I don't care what others thing so I would still choose to spend my money on the hottest iPhone out there, instead.

why I like it

I love my ipad mini 4. If the Ipad or ipad pro is too big for your needs, get the ipad mini 4. I agree with more screen space, and that makes it easier at times. I have a hard time typing in portrait mode or doing anything else for that matter in it. But, here's a little something to consider. I like the screen space, but I also like that it's small, so that I don't have to search all over this big screen as I would on a regular size ipad. But, if you get apps like Notes, or Messenger, at the top on my ipad, I have a button that says switch to full-screen mode. I love that, especially in Messenger, where the screen is split. In my opinion, your family should get you an ipad mini 4. Plus, it's small and compact. A lot of times, I'll stuff it in my purse so I have it when I stay over at someone's house, or if I'm going to Cleveland, during the trip, or if I need to look at a menu, as long as I'm on wi-fi, I can! And I also think the ipad can handle webpages better. But if you don't need a screen that as wide as the lid to a washer for work, or school, and you want bigger screen space but the regular ipad is too much, get a mini 4. Only reason I'm saying only the 4 is because it's the latest 1, so Apple will keep it updated longer. And trust me, you need those updates for Ios. and your apps for security reasons.

Braille Screen Input

I agree with a lot of people in this thread. The iPad seems impractical for someone who is totally blind. The only benefit I can think of is the larger screen which would make typing onscreen Braille much easier.

iPhone not swift at all

I would LOVE to learn the Swift programming language, if only it were available on my iPhone!! I have heard that the newer iPads have better sound than my 8 plus, and the extra space for onscreen braille input would also be nice, but, to me, the iPhone is more easily navigated, more portable, and meets all of my needs, plus it is also a phone. The iPad is not. As for what other people think if they see me working a phone rather than a pad, I could not care less. I'll stick with my 8 plus until an upgrade is absolutely necessary. I want to keep my fingerprint ID for better security.

I'd rather use my iPad than a phone for work

Readers of this site may know that I am a huge advocate for the iPad as an only computer. I've been iOS only for the past 2 years, never looked back and no longer wish to use a traditional computer again. Let me count the ways:

  1. I value the screen size for doing actual work. I hate, literally hate, using my iPhone for serious work because switching applications constantly drains me and I prefer split view when writing and editing text.
  2. My iPad is the cellular version and this has saved me on many occasions. I can upload documents, run the shortcuts I need for my work all on the go. Yes, iPhones can do this as well but see point 1.
  3. iPad applications are just better in every single way than iPhone layouts because they take advantage of the screen, include toolbars and such and make working in iOS more efficient, at least for me.
  4. Interacting with iOS is so much better, even on my original 12.9 iPad pro. I often comment here that I hate swipers and this is because I never understand people who refuse to learn their applications and never will. You have a slab of glass that fits to your requirements, why so many refuse to touch and interact with it is beyond me.
  5. Braille screen input is so much better. I'm writing this comment in Drafts, just because Applevis can't handle blank lines in braille for some reason with the iPad on my lap.

As I wrote in the conclusion to my essay, "Working On The iPad Two Years Later - A Retrospective": “Working on the iPad makes me feel more empowered than ever. The iPad has allowed me to produce high quality content, as well as give me the opportunity to enjoy everything that our modern connected world has to offer. The iPad is for me, a computer for everything, and what more could one ask for of a computer in the first place.”

RE: I'd rather use my iPad than a phone for work

Hello James. Although I haven't seen the need in my personal life for the investment of an iPad, I just wanted to say thanks for your perspective for an iPad. I don't think I realized just how valuable the tool really can be, whether partially sighted or totally blind. Thanks for sharing.

Glad I could be of assistance

Thank you for the kind reply. For me, as someone who moved over from a mac pro 2008 to the iPad pro 12.9, I can say it was both a difficult and transformative process. I also took the time documenting my transition because I feel as blind users, we're not given enough information about people's usage habits. Blogs only go so far because we're seeing snapshots of an individual, editted to suit the listening audience. My 5 essays over these couple of years charted the trials of actually getting honest work done on an iPad and the automation tools to assist in that work. I meant everything I said in that conclusion, iOS has given me more of an equal footing than anything that came before it and I have enjoyed the process of learning new things. Again, thank you for the reply.

I was going to agree with

I was going to agree with most of the posts here and say that I don't see a real benefit to an iPad for someone with no vision. I'm teaching a guy who has probably not used a computer for a long time if ever, and his son bought him a 128gb iPad Pro, which I think is way overkill for what the guy would ever need. Since I don't like the huge screened interface, I often it lost and makes it frustrating trying to teach to a newbie. However, for a power user you bring up something different to think about. I am also, for the moment at least, all iOS as my iPhone is my only device. Have you posted the stuff you've written about working with your iPad Pro anywhere? You've definitely peaked my curiosity!

My perspective

I have the smaller iPad Pro which I bought two years ago. I agree with every word that James has written, plus I love the four speakers which make for great quality audio in my opinion. But here's the paradox: I find I'm using my iPad less and less. Rather, my go to solution now is my iPhone with the brailliant BI14 display, plus my Apple Watch series 4 of course. I can't account for this change in my behaviour. Perhaps the most obvious reason is that unlike James I don't have an iPad cellular. I don't want to pay for a second line on my account, which is how my carrier would classify it - or should I say a third line, given that I do have the Apple Watch with cellular functionality? Next, I clearly consider split screen view far less important than does James, even though I am in a high end professional environment which requires me to do serious work on the go. Those who say Braille Screen Input is easier on iPad I don't think are right. Certainly it's different, but I would say it's neither easier nor more difficult. The apps' making use of the larger screen to include toolbars etc. is good once you get used to it, but clearly in my case this is not an incentive to use my iPad for wordprocessing in preference to my iPhone. In addition, how much of a difference is there really between the use that apps make of the screen of the iPad and the use they could make of the screen on one of the newer, and larger, iPhones? I don't know the answer to this as I only have an iPhone 8, but it's a question worth asking from the perspective of someone considering an iPad purchase. Four speakers to listen to audio is great, but how much does that matter if serious audio listening is done either through airpods or when connected to a wired or bluetooth speaker?

OUt of all the comments in response to this post, perhaps mine is the strangest because I am simply speculating about why it is that I use my iPad so little now that I am thinking of selling it or giving it away. I did not make a conscious decision to make less use of it and your post has made me think specifically about it for perhaps the first time; but what you can take from it is that as the iPad is an expensive item for your folks to buy for you, have a think about whether any of the factors I've discussed above will mean that after the novelty has worn off you don't use it that much. if that sounds like you, don't get one.

classroom manners

@Patrick I teach apprentices and university students and I promise you that the full range of devices now appears in classrooms. You see PCs, Macs, iPads, iPhones and a range of other smart devices. Certainly where I teach, nobody draws any conclusion (positive or negative) about what you might be doing depending on the device you're using. After all, you could still use your iPad to go on Facebook when you should be taking notes on breach of contract if you are so minded. Whatn I was still at law school each seat in the lecture theatre was equipped with a computer console so you could interact. The lecturer had the facility to display the output form a particular person's console on the OHP so as tha tperson could share, for instance, how he had drafted paragraph 5 of the particulars of claim. On more than one occasion he picked on a student who was reading BBC Sport Online rather than doing what he was meant to. That was back in the day when phones couldn't do that much, of course, but now there's a general acceptance that students will use technology and nobody makes assumptions based on the nature of the kit the student has.

For Those Who Have Difficulty with the Two-Column View

A tip for those who have difficulty with the two-column view on the iPads: Use the "Containers" option in the rotor to jump to the different sections of the screen. For example, if you are on the left column and want to be on the right column, find "Containers" in the rotor and flick down. Using this method has allowed me to efficiently use the two-column view. One can technically just touch whatever side of the screen one wants to switch to, but I have found it to be less than accurate most of the time. Using the rotor offers consistency.

Interesting observations from Bingo

It's interesting that you're using your iPad less because the exact opposite is true for me. I do admit that I have customised workflows or shortcuts as they are now for doing text manipulation and things of that sort. I suppose coming from a programming background, all be it 20 years ago gave me the enthusiasm to make the iPad work.

My use of split view is related to the fact that I drag and drop text between applications quite often, especially clean text which is a text clean up program. I also tend to keep Safari and Twitter in split view, Twitter taking up 25 per cent screen so that links open from within tweets in Safari.

Your discussion about whether or not iPhone apps could ever compete, I'm not convinced. Screen size matters with text heavy applications and the ability for the bigger iPads to include action rows and such make my kind of work essential as I will often run Drafts actions on selections while running a shortcut on the right-hand side for other processing.

It's all a matter of what you are prepared to do to make an iPad work. I did it because I really enjoyed the process, plus it got me doing a little scripting/programming again which is beneficial for me.

I have An iPad, and Love It

Dear Manny,

I think, whether you have vision or not, the iPad is a great device to have laying around at your disposal. If you do any work at all that involves your iPhone, the iPad will be a breath of fresh air. I got one from my local Commission for the Blind for school, and it has been a savior in terms of my efficiency in the classroom. I arrived slightly late to class and need to get a Google Classroom assignment open? Hey Siri, open classroom. And i can use a combo of swiping and the rotor to get to the assignment, without having to wait for a laptop to start up or having to try to use my old Apex for G-suite.

On iPads, as previous posters have said, you have more screen real-estate, so you can type in Braille for efficiently, use explore by touch better, and type on the standard QWERTY keyboard better. You also have ample room to do a wide variety of four-finger gestures, and you don’t feel cramped when moving around the UI.

Also, regardless of which model your family gets you, you’ll have better speakers than your 6s has, and those speakers are clearer and have less distortion. (This is true, trust me; iPhone 6s+ speakers are distorted at volumes my iPad Air 2 can blast with ease.)

That’s all for now. Hope i helped :)


My ipad is like my computer

About 5 years ago i had decided that i would like a small computer for travelling. After seeing my friend use an ipad with a bluetooth keyboard, i decided to take the plunge, telling myself hat i would only use it occasionally. Within about a week, i had ditched the laptop and haven’t used one since. My ipad mini is about the size of a small jotter or book. I am now on my second ipad mini after the firsts earphone jack stopped working. The jack has gone on this one too, but i have discovered the wonder of bluetooth headphones which i have reviewed on this site.

I too have no vision at all. I rarely use the screen on my phone or my ipad, instead opting for a blue tooth keyboard which is fine. My phone is grand for texting, but i find it is more comfortable to type on the ipad for computer related things such as minute taking or long emails.

I would strongly recommend getting a bluetooth keyboard as this makes the experience more like a laptop than an ipad. There are a number of bluetooth keyboards reviewed on this site too.

Good luck with your decision and i would strongly recommend you getting an ipad of some description :)

It's interesting that you like the blutooth keyboards

I started out with those with the second generation iPad but once braille screen input came in I don't really care that much. I suppose it's a question of what suits your needs but I always like manipulating my text via the glass. I like interacting with my applications via touch - something about it makes the experience better. My mobility in fact is terrible outdoors but I love iOS and can manage in it rather well considering. It's very interesting how different blind users think.

Loving my iPad !

Hello! I have an iPad Pro 9.7 and I absolutely love it! I have no usable vision but I still find the iPad a pleasure to use! I have an Apple Pencil that I use to navigate and to do hand writing with on the screen. I love to use the diary app on my iPad and I can write my letters as big as I’d like on that big screen. I still like to write even though I cannot see it I really love to use the writing skill. I also love my iPad for media like listening to YouTube videos or music as well as my Bible and my TV app! The four speakers make the audio such a pleasure! Also as funny as this may sound… I like to draw and I like to send my family some of my little drawings sometimes LOL! I do not use it nearly as much as my iPhone but when I do it is always a pleasure! I hope this helps!


Club AppleVis Member

Hello Mattie,
Now you have me piqued about the iPad. How good is the handwriting recognition? I was wondering if I could use handwriting to write poetry. Do you think that is too much to ask for?


Hello Mani!

I believe you would do quite well doing poetry on the iPad! Hand writing is much better than it was when it was first introduced. Back then, it had a lot of problems but now it’s much better! Sometimes you may have to re-write a letter if the system does not understand your motion. However overall it is pretty good! Also I know some people may prefer to use hand writing with a finger but for me it is much easier to use the Apple Pencil. I am happy to help if you have anymore questions! Thanks!

Ipad and Music Creation

To Bobcat in Particular: You really struck a nerve with me. I have an iPad and an iRig keyboard. I have several music apps including Mitosynth, ns1 and Synth One from Audiokit Pro. The latter they just made voiceover friendly of sorts. I had a hand in making NS1 voiceover friendly. Audiokit Synth one is totally free. Mitosynth is a paid app, but well worth the price. I think that music creation apps are a little crowded for the iPhone, or at least older ones like my SE.


Questions for Bobcat and Lou

Well now this is interesting. What sorts of music apps can you get for the Ipad. I have Garage Band of course, and I love how you can seamlessly use the touch instruments to glide up and down using certain instruments. I'm actually curious, I have an Akai Mini keyboard as well as a Cassio 61 key. If I got a lightning to USB converter for my Ipad, could I use those as midi interfaces? Also, is there any way to use my Ipad as a midi controller on my PC that you know of? I do a lot with Reaper on the PC, which is my primary interface for composing music and audio theatre.


Well, I use an external keyboard to control the iPad. I have the iRig 37 key keyboard. It really isn't a strong controller, but does the job I wanted it to do, namely see just how well it works. I've used it to play bass lines along with my Nord synth. In terms of the onscreen keyboard, I'm not a fan. That said, you can do some nice glides with some of the patches I've played with. It would certainly be worthwhile to get the cable. The synths I'm most comfortable with on the iPad are NS1, which I helped make voiceover compatible and reviewed on this site awhile back. Mitosynth is a much more full-featured app, but is fairly straightforward to use. Synth One from AudioKit Pro has just recently been made voiceover friendly, but I'm finding it inconsistent to use. Some of that could be the operator, in all fairness.


Thinking of going iPhone only

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

This is the kind of topic that will draw lots of opinions. Here's mine. LOL.

I have an iPhone SE that I want to replace with the latest iPhone soon.

I also have an iPad 4 from2012. I imagined I'd upgrade to a current iPad, but I'm not impressed from the October event. I don't see anything I would want to do with a new iPad that I couldn't do with a new iPhone. I thought I'd use an iPad for Scrivener, but don't see why I can't use that app on my iPhone.

I also have a mid-2012 MacBook Pro. I used to program, but not any more, and that was really the main reason to have a physical computer. I do a lot with my MacBook, but can migrate most tasks to my iPhone. I think apps like KNFB Reader and Seeing AI will work better for me than my flatbed scanner and OCR. I do sound recordings with Audacity, but I'm not a power user, usually just recording voice memos. The iPhone can handle that task.

I have an aging Windows 7 laptop that will die soon and I will not replace it. I use it solely for marking up MS Word documents with track changes. I will have to look into the free MS Word app on iOS and see how track changes works on my new iPhone when I get it.

I have a system running Linux I use as a web server. I'll keep this one around. No way to serve web pages off an iPhone that I know of - yet.

So, basically, it seems like a new iPhone will, for the most part, replace my existing iPhone plus an iPad, a MacBook, and an old Windows system.