With the launch of the new iPhone 14 and Apple Watch models behind us, we suspect Apple isn’t done yet, and either will be Launching a wave of new technology in October. We’ll even get an iPad Pro soon, as the last iPad Pro family was announced this time last year, and potential updates on MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) and the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021).
Of course, the new iPads and new MacBooks beg the familiar question: Which is better? Let’s compare the two and dissect which one might be suitable for different users. For the sake of simplicity, we will directly compare what is currently available iPad Pro 11 (2021) and the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
The iPad Pro 11 (2021) model starts at around $850 (£749 or AU$1,360) and the MacBook Pro 13-inch starts at around $1,480 (£1,299 or AU$2,360).
That’s obviously a big difference in price, and if you’re on a budget, you might be tempted to opt for the iPad Pro and be done with it. And while it may always be the cheaper option when compared to a MacBook, due to its smaller size and difference in capabilities, there are also many reasons why you might want to spend more on a MacBook Pro.
In some ways, moving to the 13-inch MacBook Pro could save you money in the long run, as the more powerful component (most notably the M2 chip at its core) means it’s more future-proof than the current M1 iPad Pro, so you won’t have to upgrade for long.
It’s also worth considering that iPads can require some additional purchases to make them work for certain tasks, a lesson learned the hard way by anyone who rushed out to buy an iPad and then had to buy an extra set — like the Magic Keyboard — that made it generic. Spending has crept very close to the price of a standard MacBook.
MacBooks will come with everything you need to be able to use them efficiently, and perhaps the only thing you may need on top of your original purchase is a mouse. But with the iPad Pro 11, you’ll need a keyboard or keyboard folio as well as a mouse, a case, and maybe an Apple Pencil if you’re a creative professional who loves to draw or a student who wants to use the iPad in lectures to take notes.
In the end, they are both very portable devices. If you are considering which device might be best for you, portability is a deciding factor in whether or not to buy a new Apple device.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro is extremely thin and relatively lightweight at 1.4kg, so you won’t be lugging around a bulky machine. The MacBook has everything you need in one place, so it’s relatively easy to carry around with you. However, it is still slightly heavier than the iPad Pro which weighs 0.47kg.
But remember that your iPad can add weight with some accessories that you need to take to work or separate to make it usable. Of course, not all iPad accessories absolutely weigh, but portability is about more than just the weight of the device — it’s also the ease with which you can hold the device. It will always be easier to put your MacBook in your bag and move on than to carry around your iPad, keyboard, mouse, and maybe a pen.
As we said, there is a huge variety of MacBooks and iPads that you can get your hands on, so it can be difficult to choose the right one for you. Preference plays a huge role when it comes to screen size, for example, and the one that’s best for your needs will depend a lot on the kind of tasks you’ll be performing. Also keep in mind that the larger the screen, the larger the device in general, which affects its portability.
MacBooks and iPads both come with amazing displays in their own right, so you won’t be starving for a decent display when choosing between the two.
The Macbook Pro we’ve been looking at here has a sleek, crisp 13.3-inch display with great color saturation. The iPad Pro has a nearly 11-inch Liquid Retina display, which is noticeably smaller than the MacBook but not microscopic by comparison.
The primary difference between both devices is the touch screen – or lack thereof. iPads have touch screens that make them perfect for students who like to handwrite their notes with a pen, or for people who just use them to scroll through their social media sites or watch some movies or digital artists. The iPad’s tactile interaction makes it a popular device, and if you’re thinking of taking it to class (as I did), setting it up before lessons can go a lot smoother. I was able to take my iPad in its bag all day without being too burdened, watch lectures or a little Netflix in the library and take up minimal space.
With a MacBook, you have a larger screen and can split windows more easily than with an iPad. They don’t have touchscreen capabilities like the iPad, though, so you’ll be typing your notes. However, they do have a nifty Touch Bar that runs across the top of the keyboard and lets you perform specific functions with the flick of a finger.
Both devices have fairly standard battery life for what they are, and the iPad’s battery life is obviously shorter with its smaller battery. In our review of the MacBook Pro, we got 15 and a half hours from the compact computer.
When you compare devices and look at them through the lens of battery life, choosing the device with the greatest battery life may not always be the best way to decide. We all want the best in everything we buy, but sometimes you have to be honest about what you actually need from your future tablet or laptop. Apple products are expensive, and if your intention for your device leans more towards the iPad but you’re concerned that the MacBook has a better battery, you’ll end up compromising a lot on one small factor.
Basically, bigger isn’t always better.
The iPad Pro will drain a little faster when connected to peripherals such as keyboards or a mouse, so you might want to consider this if you plan to sit in class with it. But iPads generally have chargers that weigh very little, and you’ll likely be able to pop your charger anywhere you’re at, whether that’s at the office, school, or a coffee shop. MacBooks are the opposite, their chargers can be quite heavy, and they’re usually a pain to carry around. You’ll have longer battery life with the MacBook for sure, but that depends on your usage — if you’re running demanding software, it can fall significantly short.
For heavy workloads, the MacBook Pro is your best bet here, but for a few emails and hours of viewing pleasure, the iPad Pro is for you.
Which one do you choose?
MacBooks and iPads are great in their own right, which is why it can often be difficult to decide which one might be right for you or which one is better. They excel in their own categories, so it’s hard to pick the absolute best.
If you are looking for a device where you can do a few bits of homework on it, answer emails and do some light administrative tasks, then the iPad is the device for you. You’ll be able to do all of this at a high level on a smaller, less expensive device and you’ll be able to use it as a projector to take with you and catch up on your shows. If you’re hoping to jump-start that new creative venture, run a solid program for work or university, and plan to do a lot of writing, you’ll be better off with the MacBook Pro.
Check out our best IPAD And macbook Pages if you want to know which device is right for you.