The recent MacBook Air price cut got me to thinking about whether Apple is undercharging for a new MacBook or overcharging for the iPad? How so? There’s a $100 price gap between the high end iPad Air and the new low end MacBook Air. Here’s how it works out.
The MacBook Air Bargain
First, let me compare the basics of each device, MacBook Air for $899 and iPad Air for $799– the $100 price gap.
You can get faster MacBook Air models with more storage, more RAM, larger screen and longer battery life.
Conversely, you can get an iPad Air with less storage– in $100 increments– but that’s about it. What you get is what you get and the only add-on is the cell phone model (which is not be compared here).
So, it’s MacBook Air at $899 vs. iPad Air at $799.
The low end MacBook Air comes with an 11-inch display (1368 x 768 pixels) and 4GB of RAM, 128 GB of flash storage, 9 hours of battery life, not to mention the keyboard and trackpad.
The high end iPad Air comes with higher touchscreen resolution at 2048 x 1536 and 1GB of RAM, 128 GB of flash storage, 10 hours of battery life, but no keyboard or trackpad.
Similarities vs. Differences
Both models have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but the iPad Air has two cameras; 1080p HD for video, and 720p HD for FaceTime, while the MacBook Air has only a 720p HD camera for FaceTime. Both the MacBook Air and iPad Air have dual speakers and microphones.
The MacBook Air weighs in at just over 2.3-pounds, while the iPad Air weighs less than half at 1-pound. The iPad features a headphone jack and a Lightning connector, while the MacBook Air has two USB 3 ports, and a Thunderbolt port, plus an SDXC card slot.
The extra weight in the MacBook Air is accounted for by the clamshell design, a larger display, and the keyboard.
When comparing specifications, both devices are comparable, but different. The MacBook Air has more RAM and a more powerful Intel processor than the iPad Air. But the latter has a Retina display, slightly longer battery life, and many more applications to choose from.
The Logitech Ultrathin keyboard cover for iPad Air is about $100, negating the price difference between the two devices, though nearly doubling the weight of the iPad.
To Mac Or Not To Mac?
The MacBook Air with OS X is a more powerful but traditional Mac notebook capable of running apps not found or available for the iPad. However, the iPad Air is lighter and more convenient to use, especially with AirPlay on Apple TV, browsing from the lap, or toting around in a briefcase or backpack.
Apple’s recent MacBook Air price drop further blurs the lines between the two devices, though one is low end, while the other is high end.
The real question Mac owners may ask is, ‘Can the iPad replace the MacBook Air?‘ The answer to that is simple. ‘It depends on what you want to do.’ An iPhone with a larger screen might negate the need for an iPad. But a more powerful iPad might negate the need for a Mac.