This is the first time Apple has an iPad which is close to the Mac and Mac which is nearly an iPad: iPad’s Pro and the new MacBook. The iPad Pro running Apple iOS 9 A9X processor. The new MacBook running OS X on Intel M. El Capitan both can be the ideal aircraft and cafes, classrooms and meetings, home and office. But which one is right for you?
The MacBook starts at $1299 for a 1.1 GHz processor and goes up to $1749 for a 1.3 GHz processor. Storage stays constant at 256 GB and there’s only a Wi-Fi option.
While the MacBook is technically more expensive, adding all the accessories brings the fully loaded iPad Pro right up to the entry level MacBook price point.
Screen sizes and display densities.The iPad Pro has a 4:3 aspect ratio, 12.9-inch, 2732×2048 Retina display at 264ppi. That’s the largest iOS display Apple has ever shipped. Though it’s not quite as dense as the iPad mini, much less the iPhone 6s Plus, the larger size means you’ll likely hold it slightly further away, making it effectively equal. The panel is LED backlit and boasts in-plane switching (IPS) technology for improved viewing angles. It’s also laminated with a new anti-glare coating and sports a new variable refresh rate, making it one of Apple’s most advanced displays ever.The MacBook has a 16:10 aspect ratio, 12-inch, 2304×1440 Retina display at 226ppi. It’s got larger apertures in each pixel and an LED backlight designed for maximum energy efficiency.
Physically, the iPad Pro doesn’t just have a bigger screen than the MacBook, it has many more pixels and a slightly higher density.
Processor power and battery life. The iPad Pro has Apple’s newest A9X system-on-a-chip (SoC), which includes both the custom 64-bit ARMv8-based Twister CPU a multicore Imagination PowerVR GPU. It’s also got an M9 motion-coprocessor and Apple lists it as having up to 10 hours of wireless web use or video playback.The MacBook has a dual-core Intel Core M (Broadwell Y) processor with integrated Intel HD Graphics 5300. Apple lists it as having up to 10 hours of wireless web use and 9 hours of video playback.
On some benchmarks, the iPad Pro might beat the MacBook, but overall it’s going to be a fair if back-and-forth fight.
Input methods. The iPad Pro has a multitouch display that’s used for direct manipulation. You can tap, swipe, pinch, and otherwise gesture your way though the entire operating system and all of its apps. For text input, it has a virtual, predictive keyboard. There’s also an optional Apple Pencil that can handle pressure sensitivity and even tilt, and a Smart Connector for direct keyboard integration.
The MacBook has a Force Touch trackpad with support for Force Click and gestures, allowing for more subtle and powerful interactions. It also has a built-in full-size keyboard with new butterfly switches.
You can add a keyboard to the iPad Pro and get close to a MacBook experience. You can’t add a capacitive display to the MacBook.
Ports and expansion. The iPad Pro has a Lightning connector. With it, you can use adapters (sold separately) to interface with non-powered USB devices, principally cameras and SD cards, principally to retrieve photos. It can also connect to VGA and HDMI displays, and iPad-specific accessories for video, music, and more.
The MacBook has a USB-C connector. With it, you can use USB-C peripherals, or adapters for USB-A, VGA, and HDMI, to connect to almost any standard computer peripheral.
Although it has the fewest ports and expansion options of any Mac ever, the MacBook still has greater access to peripherals than the iPad Pro.
Operating systems. The iPad Pro ships with iOS 9, Apple’s mobile operating system. It’s single user but now supports picture-in-picture, slide over, and split view multi-app multitasking. It also has an iCloud Drive app and better support for storage providers, making it easier to work with files. Beyond that, it has all the features, new and old, available to any iOS device.
iOS 9 review
The MacBook runs Apple’s latest laptop and desktop operating system, OS X El Capitan. It’s a multi-user, multi-window operating system the combines all the power of a traditional UNIX environment with a full-on graphical user interface, and even an iOS-like launcher layer. It’s not as accessible to the mainstream, but it’s more functional for those familiar with computers.
OS X El Capitan review
Software and services
The iPad Pro has access to the iOS App Store which boasts over one million apps, over half of which are optimized to run on its bigger screen. It includes apps in all categories, from games to productivity, communications to entertainment. Most of them are free or extremely cheap. The iPad Pro can also run HTML5 web apps, but can’t download or run apps from internet locations or any app store other than Apple’s. It increasingly contains modern takes on classic apps like Microsoft Office, Adobe Lightroom, GarageBand, iMove, Coda, and Pixelmator, as well as unique apps all its own, like Procreate and Adobe Comp.
The MacBook has the Mac App Store, which works similarly to the iOS App Store and provides secure access to all kinds of games, productivity, communications, and entertainment apps. Macs can also run HTML5 web apps, as well as apps downloaded from the web or other app stores. This includes desktop-class apps unavailable to iOS, like Xcode, Final Cut Pro X, Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud, and many more.