We examine the reasons for and against the iPad Pro and if it can replace your Mac. Here is a comparison of the iPad Pro vs Macbook Pro.
When Tim Cook announced the 12.9 inch iPad Pro last year, he said that it would be the primary computing device that people would use apart from their phones. In fact, with the launch of the 12.9 iPad Pro, the lines of difference between the tablet and the Mac have become somewhat blurred.
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But that doesn’t mean there are key differences between the two devices. If you are in the market for a tablet or notebook and you’ve narrowed it down to an iPad Pro and a Macbook, which device should you buy? I’ll break down all the important details for you so you can make an informed decision.
iPad Pro vs Macbook Pro –Size & Display
The iPad Pro comes in two sizes, 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch. For the purpose of this review, I’m going to be focusing my attention on the 12.9 model. The MacBook Pro also comes in two sizes, 13-inch and 15-inch. For the purpose of this review, I’m going to be focusing my attention on the 13-inch model. Both devices are ultra portable and are totally convenient to carry around and use anywhere you want to – a coffee shop; a classroom; on a plane or at the park.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro comes with a 2732×2048 Retina display at 264ppi. The Macbook comes with a 2560×1600 Retina display at 227ppi. This makes the display of the iPad Pro slightly bigger than the Macbook. It also has more pixels and a slightly higher density than the Macbook. But this also means that working with the iPad in your hand is not a comfortable experience. You’ll tend to keep holding the device a little further from you all the time.
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Winner: I’d give a tiny advantage to the Macbook Pro – for a bigger display and ease of viewing.
iPad Pro vs Macbook Pro – Processor and battery life
The iPad Pro sports the A9X chip (SoC) and an M9 motion-coprocessor. Apple promises up to 10 hours of wireless web use or video playback on the tablet. The MacBook has a 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor which also offers up to 10 hours of battery life.
Winner: In this case, both the iPad pro and the Macbook appear to be equally matched with no significant advantage for one over the other.
iPad Pro vs Macbook Pro – Storage & Memory
The maximum storage available on an iPad Pro is 256 GB. On a Macbook you can get as much as 1 Terabyte of internal storage. And that’s a big deal if you intend to be using your device like a pro.
When it comes to memory capacity, there’s no doubt that a large memory capacity allows you to run more applications without lags. If you plan on using your device to run a lot of applications or do a lot of multitasking, memory matters. The Macbook Pro offers 8GB of onboard memory configurable up to 16 GB while the iPad Pro has 4 GB.
Winner: The Macbook
iPad Pro vs Macbook Pro – Inputs
The iPad Pro has a multi-touch display that allows you to tap, swipe, pinch, and gesture to interact with the screen and the apps. There’s also a virtual, predictive keyboard for typing text. Optionally, you can buy the Apple Pencil to draw and interact with the screen and buy the Smart Keyboard for a physical keyboard experience. That said, Apple’s Smart Keyboard still doesn’t come close to that of a standard keyboard. Having a trackpad would have helped greatly. But then you would have to consider buying the Logitech keyboard, which is a shade better and less expensive than Apple’s Smart Keyboard.
Related Reading : Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro Review
The MacBook Pro has a Force Touch trackpad with support for Force Click and gestures. It also has a built-in full-size backlit keyboard offering an intuitive typing experience. However, the Macbook lacks a capacitive display.
Winner: On the inputs front, the Macbook gets the advantage with more intuitive controls.
iPad Pro vs Macbook Pro – Ports
The iPad Pro has a Lightning connector. You can purchase adapters to connect to cameras and SD cards. The connector can connect to VGA and HDMI displays to enjoy videos, music, and such.
The MacBook Pro has a couple of USB-C connectors. You can use USB-C peripherals or adapters for USB-A, VGA, and HDMI, to connect to most standard peripherals.
Winner: The Mac has very few ports and expansion options but it still offers better connectivity to peripherals than the iPad Pro.
iPad Pro vs Macbook Pro – OS
The iPad Pro ships with the mobile operating system iOS 10. And therein lies the greatest failure of the device. On a Windows tablet like the Surface Pad, Microsoft offers a complete Windows 10 experience. I can install full software from Photoshop to Office 2016 and use them seamlessly on the tablet. On the iPad Pro, it feels severely limiting to have a mobile platform limited to accessing apps from the App Store.
The Macbook runs macOS Sierra. On my Macbook, I can install all the software I need and download apps from the App Store. That lets me enjoy the best of both worlds. If there’s a free third party app for Mac, I can download and use it extensively on my Macbook Pro but I’ll just have to forget about that option on my iPad Pro.
Winner: The undisputed winner in this situation is the Macbook Pro.
iPad Pro vs Macbook Pro – Price
The iPad Pro starts at $799 for the 12.9-inch 32GB model with Wi-Fi and goes all the way up to $999 for the 256GB model. If you want the Apple Pencil that’s an additional $99 and the Smart Keyboard ups the bill by an extra $169. That brings the totals to $1067 and $1267 respectively.
The iPad Pro with Wi-Fi and LTE starts $1029 for the 128GB model and $1129 for the 256 GB variant. If you add the price of the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard, it comes to $1297 and $1397 respectively.
Meanwhile, a Macbook Pro with 256 GB of storage and 8 GB of memory will cost you $1499.
Although the Macbook Pro is about a $100 more expensive than the high-end iPad Pro, the limitations in the memory, OS, and keyboard functionality more than make up for the price increase.
So Which Device Should You Buy? The iPad Pro or the Macbook Pro?
If you are looking for a device for browsing, watching videos, and catching up on all the entertainment, the iPad Pro is a great choice. In fact, you can simply go for the more powerful 9.7-inch iPad.
If you are buying an iPad Pro or a Macbook for the first time or if you are planning to replace your laptop with an iPad Pro and need it for productivity and work related activities, here’s my suggestion.
Make a list of all the activities you intend to perform on the device. Check to see if you can do those activities intuitively on the iPad Pro. If the answer is yes and you think that the LTE capabilities and Apple Pencil support are the killer features that will support your work, go ahead and buy the iPad Pro.
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All things said and done, the iPad Pro simply does not match up to a Mac. The feature that I believe is truly holding back the iPad Pro from becoming a laptop replacement is the software. The iPad Pro would be a Mac replacement when it can combine the power of the Mac OSX ecosystem with the portability of the iPad.
Maybe someday, that will happen, but until then, the Mac still remains irreplaceable.
Check out the Macbook Pro on Amazon!