Apple’s iPad Pro has largely been marketed as a replacement for laptops and a heaven for creative designers on the go. Similarly, their Macbook has been projected as a super portable laptop that is capable of doing everything you need whilst looking uber sexy. So we decided to bring both devices under one roof and pit them against each other in a gladiator match to see which product comes out supreme. This article aims to see if the iPad Pro can actually replace a laptop in terms of being as productive as a laptop.
Form Factor & Typing
When the average user talks about being productive, it usually involves lots and lots of typing. We’ll make this one short, the keyboard + tablet setup is vastly inferior to the old school laptop setup of the Macbook. The Smart Keyboard’s keys are not backlit and the fabric cover makes the keys feel less responsive. There is no trackpad or wrist rest and the actual keys are too close to the screen. This makes the gizmo feel awkward and unstable when on your lap. The tablet can only stay upright at one angle making it quite cumbersome too. Furthermore, the Apple Pencil quickly becomes a hassle if you’re not carrying a bag as there is no place to store it. While the Macbook’s keys are quite shallow, the traditional setup and ability to change the angle of the screen make it significantly more comfortable to use.
Operating System & Productive Potential
Which OS is ideal for your productive needs depends entirely upon you. While OSX on the Macbook is a proper desktop solution, iOS is the mobile counterpart that you will find on iPhones and iPads. This comparison is trickier than it may seem mainly because of the diverse app selection on iOS. You can do your word processing and internet surfing with ease on either device but when it comes to more complex tasks such as editing photos and videos, the Macbook shines because of its refined and reliable software.
Laptops have traditionally been viewed as productive tools whereas tablets have mainly been perceived as media consumption gadgets. While the keyboard, Apple Pencil and split screen mode add genuine utility to the iPad, you won’t be able to do any real multitasking due to the split screen mode still being limited to a few apps. OSX on the other hand is a desktop class operating system and comes with all the features that millions use every day for actual work. It was built from the ground up for work and productivity whereas on iOS work and productivity are secondary. To truly become a workhorse, the operating system on the iPad Pro needs a serious redesign.
The final nail on the coffin in this segment for the iPad is its single lightning port. There are lots of accessories which connect over lightning but the standard is not widely adopted elsewhere in the market. The Macbook has a single USB Type C port which is quickly replacing the current Micro USB, USB – A and USB – B standards and is universal. This one USB C port can be used to connect to a hub which gives you access to basically every form of I/O there is. The iPhone/iPad exclusive lightning port just can not compare to such a versatile standard.
The iPad is the king of media consumption and that holds true for this comparison as well. The speaker setup and large screen on the iPad make it a content consumer’s dream. The speakers sound unbelievable for a tablet and trump those built into the Macbook. The added bonus of a touch screen makes interacting with content easier and less clunky (when the smart keyboard is removed). What makes the content consuming experience even better on the iPad is the rich app selection in the App Store which the Macbook just can not compete with.
Bang For Your Buck
The 2015 Macbook retails for Tk/-1,24,000 and the iPad Pro 12.9 inch retails for Tk/-1,12,000. However, for the iPad to actually compare to the Macbook, you have to factor in the cost of the smart keyboard which costs an additional Tk/-21,500 which makes your total purchase a staggering Tk/- 1,33,500. The Apple Pencil is not really a necessary accessory for the everyday user but it costs Tk/-12,500 if you want it. From a work oriented person’s viewpoint, the Macbook may seem like a better deal due to the tried and tested form factor and OS. On the flip side, individuals looking to engage mostly in media consumption, casual gaming and word processing will find the iPad Pro the better buy.
Our initial aim was to pit the device that Apple claims can replace a laptop against one of their own laptops to see how they stack up against each other. To us, the answer is crystal clear. While the iPad Pro offers a very rich and high quality experience, its operating system lets it down. Aside from the occasional email or word document, the iPad Pro does not feel like the right device for serious work especially given the limitations on true multitasking. It is a powerful device which deserves a version of OSX instead of iOS. The iPad Pro outshines the Macbook in many key areas but as a laptop, it just does not reach the mark. Whether or not the tablet is the right gadget for you depends on what you expect from the device. If you want arguably the best tablet in the world, the Apple iPad Pro is your answer but if you want a laptop, the Macbook is clearly the better option.