An interesting debate has emerged with the rise of the iPad: “MacBook Air vs iPad Pro”. This subject has never become more topical since the latest MacBook Air with M1 chip (which is the best MacBook bar none) from Apple sees the Mac revolutionized with more pace and stamina than ever before.
Though iPadOS 14 and the Magic Keyboard render the iPad Pro more like a laptop than ever before (and the A12Z processor is also very speedy), the classic MacBook Air has been redefined by Apple in ways that no one anticipated. So, we agreed to compare these devices against each other and see which one’s the best for you.
Some might suggest, of course, that this is like comparing apples and pineapples. The MacBook Air is a complete notebook, while the iPad Pro is a tablet that can supplement a laptop (provided you pay some more cash).
Which is the best one for you? Let’s find out.
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: Specs
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: Display and design
The MacBook Air has only been available in a 13-inch format ever since its redesign in 2018. Apple’s M1 MacBook Air, which utilizes the same external chassis as the previous edition, is no different from that. It has the same resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 (227 PPI), the same aspect ratio of 16:10, and the same small (but not ultra-slim) bezel. True Tone is also present in the Retina display, which automatically changes the white balance to accommodate the ambient light.
The display of the iPad Pro is a bit different. There are two iPad Pro models to pick from: 11 inches and 12.9 inches, with the former providing a resolution of 2,388 x 1,668 and the latter having a resolution of 2,732 x 2,048. Both have a pixel density of 264 PPI, which can, while having identical screen sizes, render them a little clearer than the MacBook Air.
True Tone also comes with the iPad Pro, which has an advantage in that the progressive refresh rate goes up to 120Hz all the way, giving it wonderfully seamless scrolling and animations. At 60Hz, the MacBook Air is already shut down.
The display of the iPad Pro is a bit different. There are two iPad Pro models to pick from: 11 inches and 12.9 inches, with the former providing a resolution of 2,388 x 1,668 and the latter having a resolution of 2,732 x 2,048. Both have a pixel density of 264 PPI, which can render them a little clearer than the MacBook Air while having identical screen sizes.
True Tone also arrives with the iPad Pro, which has an advantage in that the progressive refresh rate goes up to 120Hz all the way, giving it wonderfully seamless scrolling and animations. The MacBook Air is still stuck at 60 Hz.
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: Performance
Let’s begin with the iPad Pro. Apple’s tablet processors have long been miles ahead of the best products of its competitors, and the A12X Bionic ripped through the market in the 2018 iPad Pro. Interestingly, in the newest iPhones, the 2020 iPad Pro has an A12Z Bionic processor rather than a new-generation A13X to balance the A13.
The only real difference between the two chips is in GPU performance, where the A12Z gets a significant enhancement over the A12X. The main difference between the two devices is the camera setup. In comparison to the single camera on the 2018 edition, the 2020 iPad Pro comes with a dual-camera setup. For Augmented Reality (AR) uses, it even has a LiDAR detector. It seems a little gimmicky for now, but as AR becomes more important, it does have some interesting potential down the line.
The M1 MacBook Air, on the other side, makes a monstrous efficiency jump. With only two cores and four threads in the base model, the earlier MacBook Air from earlier this year was trapped. There is an eight-core Processor, a seven-core GPU, and Apple’s sixteen-core neural engine in the M1 MacBook Air.
How does it translate to quality? In addition to beating out the previous model, the M1 MacBook Air effectively beats out most other mobile processors, especially in single-threaded output. That implies that the MacBook Air is essentially a viable choice for complicated tasks, whether you’re an aspiring content maker or photographer. It’s a lot more capable than the iPad Pro.
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: Software and applications
In the latest MacBook Air, Apple Silicon, and macOS Big Sur processors merge to enable the power to operate iPhone and iPad applications on top of macOS apps.
The macOS apps currently consist of native Universal apps that are written to run on the M1 chip and the converted Intel-based apps that run through Rosetta 2. It should be noted. In more complex pro-level systems, including Adobe Premiere Pro, the latter could have certain performance problems.
And although iPhone and iPad applications will run on the MacBook Air, they will not always be written for the Mac. That means you’re having applications designed for a computer or tablet with a touchscreen, so you’re going to need a touchpad to connect with them. Often, certain video streaming applications do not operate full-screen, which sounds like an oversight created by app manufacturers that should be patched quickly.
As with the iPad Pro, it can properly and natively operate iPadOS applications, and we haven’t noticed any indicators of operating macOS apps. Universal software, though, should present an incentive in the future for that.
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: Portability
Both of these devices are made for portability. The MacBook Air is the thinnest and lightest laptop from Apple, although the iPad Pro’s tablet status makes it simple to throw in a backpack and carry wherever you go. The MacBook Air weighs just 2.8 pounds and measures 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches. As you’d expect from an Apple laptop, the all-aluminum structure makes it lightweight while also keeping it solid and durable.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is, in terms of scale, the nearest model to the MacBook Air. The Wi-Fi edition weighs 1.41 pounds, while the Wi-Fi and cellular variant are 1.42 pounds, half the MacBook Air’s weight. It measures 11.04 x 8.46 x 0.23 inches, bringing the measurements similar to the MacBook Air dimensions.
However, the 11-inch model is a reasonably compact, weighing just 1.04 pounds and measuring 9.74 x 7.02 x 0.23 inches. If a small size is important to you, it’s the one to go for.
Apple says that due to its built-in 49.9-watt-hour battery, the MacBook Air’s battery can last up to 15 hours of wireless web surfing, up to 18 hours of Apple TV streaming, and up to 30 days of standby time.
It doesn’t last as long as the iPad Pro, but it’s not far away. Apple claims both versions will give you up to 10 hours of online surfing and video streaming via Wi-Fi, or nine hours of cellular network web browsing. Compared to the 12.9-inch model’s 36.71-Watt-hour battery, the 11-inch model has a 28.65-watt-hour battery.
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: Battery life
The MacBook Air outlasts the iPad Pro by a great deal. The MacBook Air recorded an epic time of 14 hours and 41 minutes during a battery test with web browsing at 150 nits of luminosity, while the iPad Pro reached zero at 10 hours and 16 minutes.
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: Cameras
We like the idea that, due to image signal processing, the MacBook Air has a much-improved webcam, but it’s only a 720p, 0.7MP webcam.
On the other hand, the iPad Pro has a front-facing 7MP camera and a pair of (12MP Wide + 10MP Ultra Wide) rear cameras, which are actually fantastic.
MacBook Air vs iPad Pro: Configurations and price
The MacBook Air’s configurations are not as stable as they were last time around, but that is to be anticipated with the M1 chip being the only alternative. The M1 MacBook Air base model contains the M1 chip, 8GB of consolidated memory, and a 256GB SSD. The 8GB variant can be loaded with 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB SSDs as alternatives for consumers. You may also upgrade to 16GB of RAM, beginning with a 512GB SSD, which is the base package. You will update it to 1TB or 2TB.
For I/O, users are just as constrained as they were in the past. You get two USB-C slots, a Magic Keyboard, a Force Touch trackpad, and a Touch ID Sensor. The MacBook Air also supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.0. The webcam is the same dismal 720p resolution to which we have always become accustomed.
Configurations are also less versatile on the iPad Pro, where only internal storage is decided by users. The base model begins with fewer capacity (in both sizes), only 128 GB. It is possible to raise this to 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB. The 11-inch Wi-Fi and 128GB capacity entry-level variant costs $799; top it out with 1TB of storage and cellular access, and you’ll need to spend $1,449.
If you choose the 12-inch variant, the entry-level edition begins at $999, whereas the top-end model costs $1,649. That places the price premium at $200 for the change from 11 inches to 12.9 inches.
What about the snazzy latest iPad Pro Magic Keyboard cover? It can offer you a laptop that is similar to the MacBook Air much more closely, but be warned – it’s incredibly pricey. The 11-inch variant costs $299, while an eye-watering $349 is the larger model. You are looking at spending a minimum of $1,098 for the hybrid, which is $99 higher than the entry-level MacBook Air, also for the 11-inch iPad Pro.
The MacBook Air’s power makes it the clear winner
The MacBook Air is not as compact as the iPad Pro, but it’s still slim and light, and lugging around is by no way inconvenient, but the M1 chip makes it worth the MacBook Air. For video recording, picture editing, opening Chrome windows, and so many more, it is now easier. Plus, although app integration can be buggy now, it provides a lot of future promise.
Rumors of an iPad Pro update are already on the horizon. That means the iPad Pro beats the M1 MacBook Air in terms of price, efficiency, and durability.