Looking for a portable computer for your MBA studies? You could be tempted by Apple's MacBook Air and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, both of which provide plenty of computing power in a stylish package.
They also have some similarities in terms of specifications: both have a 13-inch screen and operate on Apple's M1 CPU.
However, there are significant distinctions between the two that you should analyse before deciding, the most significant of which is the software that runs each machine. Let's take a look at their strengths and flaws.
Which is better for you, the iPad Pro or the MacBook Air?
While both have their advantages, for most students, the MacBook Air is the preferable choice. It may not have as much cutting-edge technology as the iPad Pro, but it does feature a better typing experience, greater storage on the base model, an extra USB-C port, and, most notably, multitasking software.
Because of these benefits, it is a superior option for general work and productivity. The MacBook Air is also far less expensive than an iPad Pro with Apple's Magic Keyboard or even a decently priced third-party keyboard cover.
However, the iPad Pro outperforms the MacBook Air in several categories, but not in the ones that are most critical for schoolwork. The iPad Pro boasts a significantly better selfie camera that keeps you in focus during video chats; a high-quality back camera for capturing photographs and movies; a bright display; and a Face ID.
It's also easier to use because it's designed to be a tablet first and a laptop replacement second. Plus, you can scribble on it with an Apple pencil, the second generation, which cannot be experienced on the MacBook Air.
The Apple Pencil, second generation, magnetically connects to the side and charges. Making notes with an Apple pencil on an iPad is something all the students look forward to while buying an iPad pro. Plus, it offers a really big screen of 12.9 inches, which is almost similar to the MacBook Air.
Specification comparison of iPad Pro and MacBook Air:
- The iPad Pro has a 12.9-inch liquid retina display with an XDR touch screen, and the MacBook Air has a 13.3-inch non-touch LED.
- The iPad Pro has a 12MP front camera with a centre stage, the MacBook Air has a 720P camera, and the iPad Pro has a 12MP rear camera too.
- The RAM of both can be configured from 8 GB to 16 GB.
- And the storage of the iPad Pro can be configured from 128 GB to 2 TB and for the MacBook Air, from 256 GB to 2 TB.
- The MacBook Air has a Touch ID sensor, while the iPad Pro has Face ID and a new LiDAR sensor.
Design and dimensions:
- The MacBook Air weighs 2.8 pounds and the iPad Pro weighs 1.4 pounds (without a keyboard). And if you’re considering it to be combined with a keyboard, Apple offers two options; the first is the Magic Keyboard, which has a trackpad and weighs 1.6 pounds, and if you combine it, it gets a little heavier than the MacBook Air. The second option is the smart keyboard.
- If you’ve used a MacBook Air in the past, the new MacBook Air would probably feel the same. And it’s available in three colours: space grey, gold, and silver. And the iPad Pro is available in two colours: space grey and silver.
- The iPad Pro boasts a more trendy and adaptable design. It has narrower display boundaries that make the screen look larger, and when linked with a keyboard, it can function as both a tablet and a laptop-like device.
- Because the iPad Pro can be used as a standalone tablet, it may be better for entertainment, but the MacBook Air still offers a better balance of portability and productivity.
macOS and iPadOS:
- The biggest difference between the iPad Pro and the MacBook Air is the software. iPadOS runs on the iPad Pro, whereas macOS runs on the MacBook Air. The former is a mobile operating system based on Apple's iPhone software created exclusively for the iPad, whereas macOS is Apple's desktop operating system.
- When it comes to work and productivity, macOS still outperforms iPadOS. Because it was built from the roots up for laptops, it includes a standard windowed interface that makes switching between programmes, web browser tabs, and extra desktops a joy.
- The new iPad Pro features Thunderbolt 4 for increased peripheral compatibility. Not to mention in 2020, Apple brought mouse and touchpad compatibility to the iPad.
- When it comes to sketching or editing images, the iPad Pro's Apple Pencil compatibility may be useful to creatives.
- However, the MacBook Air offers greater app consistency and a more familiar operating system, making it much simpler to utilise many apps at the same time.
- The keyboard on the MacBook Air is also more durable than those found in most keyboard cases. It also has a second USB-C connector, allowing you to charge your device while using an accessory.
- When it comes to performance, both the iPad Pro and the MacBook Air have a lot to offer, which makes choosing between the two a challenge.
- Both are powered by Apple's M1 CPU and come standard with 8GB of RAM. In comparison to the entry-level MacBook Air, the iPad Pro includes one additional core in its graphics processing unit (GPU).
- According to benchmark testing, the iPad Pro outperforms the MacBook Air in graphics processing power, although they perform comparably in common computing tasks.
- Both gadgets have excellent battery life, but the MacBook Air is the clear winner. The MacBook Air is expected to last 15 hours on a single charge, while the iPad Pro is expected to last 10 hours.
MacBook Air keyboard vs. Magic Keyboard: Which Is Better?
The new MacBook Air has a better scissor-switch keyboard, which is far more pleasant to type on than the previous MacBook Air's butterfly keyboard.
Not only does the arrangement provide greater travel (1mm vs. 0.5mm), but it also feels snappier overall. A big 4.75 x 3.2-inch touchpad is also included with the MacBook Air.
The optional Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro has the same scissor mechanism and 1mm of travel as the MacBook Air and gives a similar typing experience.
The Magic Keyboard's floating cantilever design magnetically holds the iPad Pro, allowing you to alter the display angle up to 130 degrees.
The MacBook Air is the best pick for people looking for a college computer because of its more productivity-friendly software, stronger keyboard, extended battery life, and mobility.
When it comes to display and camera quality, the iPad Pro beats the MacBook Air, and it has a far more adaptable design that can be used as a laptop or tablet. However, for students, the areas where the MacBook Air outperforms the iPad Pro are even more significant.
But IPad Pro has one advantage over the MacBook Air, which is the Apple pencil. Your apple pencil can be one of the most useful gadgets for students. Your bag will just turn into 1.4 pounds. Plus, you can do a lot of other activities in your free time.