Apple announced in early June that it created a dedicated operating system for the iPad. And that’s a powerful statement. To many experts, this means the company wants you to start thinking of and using the iPad as a full-fledged laptop computer. Short of being able to connect to a mouse, there’s no other reason you can’t use one that way. But hey, lots of people still prefer using a traditional laptop for a number of reasons: There’s no keyboard to connect separately, the screen’s always protected when the laptop’s closed, and it just feels right to them. But now, the iPad Pro versus MacBook consideration is more than ever a very direct Apple-to-Apple comparison.
This is a straight-up tablet versus laptop competition. But how will you use it? If you’re at a desk, you’re probably wanting either a laptop or a keyboard-connected tablet that’s propped up. If you’re just using it for watching movies in bed, a tablet is the clear choice. For portability, you cannot beat either.
The MacBook has a 12-inch LED-backlit Retina display with IPS technology—and a 2304-by-1440 resolution at 226 pixels per inch with support for millions of colors. It’s brilliant. The iPad Pro is offered in two Liquid Retina display sizes: the 11-inch (2388-by-1668-pixel resolution at 264 pixels per inch) and the 12.9-inch (2732-by-2048-pixel resolution at 264 pixels per inch). Even more brilliant—they’re touch screens.
The MacBook weighs 2.03 pounds. The smaller iPad weighs half of that, at 1.03 pounds, while its larger sibling barely tips the scales at 1.39 pounds.
The MacBook comes in two offerings: One has a 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core m3, with Turbo Boost up to 3.0GHz, with 4MB L3 cache; the other has a 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, with Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz, with 4MB L3 cache. Both can be upgraded. The iPad Pros do not have the same type of processor. That said, Apple reportedly claims the iPad Pros are faster than 92 percent of all laptops sold in 2018. Independent testers claim the iPad Pro speed comes close to the 15-inch MacBook Pro. So the iPad Pro is zippier.
Both machines have a plethora of apps available. Again, this can come down to form factor in that some crucial business apps seem to be made more for a laptop. But with the upcoming iPad OS, that point will likely become moot.
Because the iPad Pro has a touch screen, you can use the Apple Pen with it for direct drawing, scribbling, note-taking, document-signing, making mark-ups in your own handwriting, and more. With the upcoming iPad OS, using it will be truly more of a computer-like experience—especially when you connect a keyboard. You can split screens and run more than one task simultaneously. It’s also fully capable of using powerful programs like intricate photo- and video-editing software without any slowdowns. Plus, it acts as a document scanner, camera, and augmented reality device. It’s awesome for game-playing, as well. And you can now plug in a thumb drive to use as external storage. But you still cannot use a mouse like you do with a computer. And without that mouse, trying to do the likes of word processing feels a little forced. It’s easy to get the feeling that iPad Pro is the future of computing. It’s also natural to feel like that future hasn’t just reached us yet.
MacBook starts at $1,299 and $1,599, depending on the processor. iPad Pro starts at $799 for the smaller model, and $999 for the large.
I'm a veteran, Southern California-based writer primarily versed in golf and personal technology. Studying Computer Sciences in college, and then working as a programme
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