Making the rounds last week were a few comparisons of Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 4 vs. Apple’s upcoming iPad Pro. Hello? Is it Oranges to Apples time again?
Let’s be honest. The Surface is a nifty machine but it’s not a tablet. It’s called a hybrid because Microsoft is desperate to find a way to compete in the nascent tablet arena because the company has almost no presence in the mobile device industry. Hybrid? No, not really. Surface is just a thick notebook with a touchscreen and no keyboard.
What we really want to know is how iPad Pro compares to Apple’s new and thinner than thin MacBook.
Which Would You Own?
My colleague Barbara Marie Brannan asked the question, Whatever Happened To The Mac? and asked readers which Apple device they would keep if they could only have one. Guess which device won?
Here’s a rundown of what I consider the major differences between an iPad Pro and Apple’s diminutive new MacBook.
The entry level price tags are substantially different; $799 for the 32GB version of the iPad Pro, and $1,299 for the basic MacBook. Big difference, right? So, let’s bring the iPad up to MacBook level by adding more storage and the Smart Keyboard cover. That puts the iPad Pro at $1,118 with keyboard and 128GB of storage and 4GB of RAM, while the MacBook has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
Advantage (storage): MacBook.
Advantage (RAM and CPU): MacBook.
What about speed? And screen resolution? Apple claims the iPad Pro is faster than the vast majority of notebooks. That may be true, but not faster than a Mac. Still, the iPad Pro’s screen resolution dwarfs the MacBook with more than 5-million pixels vs just over 3-million pixels on the Mac.
Screen Advantage: iPad Pro.
Speed Advantage: MacBook.
What about weight? The new MacBook weighs in at just a hair over 2-pounds, complete with keyboard. The iPad Pro is just over 1.5-pounds without keyboard. It’s a guesstimate, but I’ll bet the iPad Pro’s Smart Keyboard cover is around half a pound.
Weight Advantage: Tie.
Applications are the cornerstone of all of Apple’s devices, including the upcoming Apple TV, due later this year. How does the Mac compare to the iPad Pro when it comes to applications? It’s not much of a numbers contest. iPad Pro has tens of thousands more apps available for the device than Mac users. The difference here may be in capability. A Mac can run OS X, Windows, Linux, and most flavors of Unix. iPad Pro runs, well, iOS 9 and that’s it.
On the other hand, many Mac apps are far more powerful than anything available to iPad users. Think Photoshop, Illustrator, Logic Pro, Final Cut Pro and many thousands of other apps which do far more than typical iOS apps. So, it’s better to segregate the results.
Applications (number) Advantage: iPad Pro.
Applications (power) Advantage: MacBook.
Wireless connectivity is an important issue. The MacBook sports Wi-Fi. That. Is. All. The iPad Pro comes with Wi-Fi and a cellular data option.
Advantage: iPad Pro.
Obviously, I haven’t had an opportunity to try the iPad Pro’s new Smart Keyboard, but it uses similar Apple developed technology as the new MacBook, so let’s consider that one a tie. Also at a tie are connection ports. The Mac has a single, lonely USB Type-C port for charging and external devices, while the iPad Pro has a Lightning connector, and the new Smart Connector for keyboards. Since the Mac’s keyboard is built in, let’s consider it a draw.
When it comes to price, the iPad Pro wins, but barely, fully loaded for $1,118 vs. the MacBook entry level at $1,299.
Advantage (price): iPad Pro.
Unless I counted wrong, the whole shootout ends in a tie (based upon the criteria comparisons), but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The iPad Pro is a much better choice as it doubles as a drawing tablet, perfect for artists, and it’s more mobile and easier to use than a Mac (that attached keyboard can be cumbersome). On the other hand, the MacBook, despite the size, is a powerful device with capabilities that extend far beyond the iPad Pro (multiple operating systems, power apps, etc.).
If you could have only one device, which would you choose? New iPad Pro? Or, new MacBook?
On Winning and Losing
Have you wondered how Apple wins while it’s losing? Ron explains. Are you afflicted with Apple Fatigue. Kate explains. It takes a bona fide certified Boomer to compare Apple and children. It sounds creepy but Tera found a better way to touch your Mac. Finally, Dave asks, ‘When does thinner end?