I found a good article today which explains many of the issues. My main issue with the conclusions is that I cannot be productive with a laptop. If you are just writing, an iPad with Apple’s wireless keyboard will do the job for you very well. The article misses my most important category of software apps: the Creative Cloud. My two most used apps [outside of Mail and Safari], are InDesign and Photoshop. I can easily see that I will also need the CC video editing tools in the near future for teaching online and promotions. I use the iWork suite instead of Office: Pages, Numbers, & Keynote.
For book design & production a desktop computer is still best
For our industry: publishing, they are still necessary. There are many reasons for this. It is possible to use a laptop if you have a way to plug it into a good calibrated monitor, and if you can get a full-sized keyboard with the numerical keypad [this is essential for applying styles in InDesign]. But the storage and monitor size issues make laptops a very expensive option.
The main problems are:
- InDesign doesn’t work on a laptop without plugging in a full-size keyboard and a full-size monitor. The keyboard is needed for style shortcuts, modifier keys on both sides, and the editing keys [home, end, page up, page down, and so on]. The monitor must be large enough to be able to edit a two-page spread as a size which can be comfortably read.
- There is no mouse that works for an iPad AFAIK [Apple’s external TrackPad does well for a desktop computer
- A TB hard drive is essential for storage, plus a good, large external hard drive for backup [you can trust a cloud solution if you like, I do not see them as reliable enough for publishing house]
- Peripherals do not play well with either a laptop or a tablet: scanner, external hard drive, and PostScript printer
- Need an excellent 21″ or better monitor which comes built-in on an iMac
Mavericks [OSX.9] really ties the iPad and desktop together well
So, the bottom line, if you are doing your own book production, the best choice, in my opinion is:
An iMac with 16 GB RAM & an iPad with a wireless keyboard