Both the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro are powerful, and therefore it can be challenging to make a decision.
When we got to see the iPad for the first time, it was pretty revolutionary back in the day. But soon after, most people considered the iPad as a giant iPhone. There were no differences between the two devices except for the size. But now, in 2021, things have changed.
We have a more powerful iPad that can do way more than its predecessors. And I’m not talking just about browsing the web or sending emails. The iPad is now way more versatile than that.
But on the other hand, we have another powerful machine that’s not bad either. Especially now with its M1 Pro and M1 Max chips that seem to be a game-changer in this industry. I’m talking about the MacBook Pro.
So naturally, if you are on the verge of buying one of these devices, you may be confused and not know which one to go for.
And although you can expect both devices to perform the usual tasks, some things can only be done on either the iPad or the MacBook.
So I know what you’re going through, and therefore I’ve made this article to give you a guideline in this buying process.
The General Stuff
So, we all know that the iPad has a virtual keyboard. So if you’re taking a lot of notes, you need to be aware that you will need an additional keyboard along with the iPad, which is an additional cost.
Now, if you already have a wireless keyboard, you’re good, but if you don’t have one yet, you definitely should go for the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro since this one will stay attached to your iPad.
With the MacBook, you don’t have this problem. But here is where the MacBook lacks. By adding a keyboard to your iPad, you have both a note-taking device and a tablet in one. But, on the other hand, the MacBook can’t be transformed into a tablet, which can be limiting for some, especially if you’re a designer or an artist.
Use for multiple purposes
The iPad is known for its ease of use and versatility. This last one means that you can switch it from tablet to note-taking device just with the attachment of a keyboard. But is the iPad also versatile when it comes to its software?
The answer is, unfortunately, no. Yes, we get the ipadOS software which is easy to use and has a beautiful layout, but it also lacks some points.
Think of the lack of Final Cut Pro X, for example. Like the calculator, Apple still refuses to program a Final Cut Pro X version for the ipadOS landscape.
And speaking of programming, the iPad will not give you the real possibility to write code on it. Yes, there might be apps that allow you to use a text editor or teach you how to write code, but that’s it.
Meaning that if you’re a video editor or a programmer, then you should go for the MacBook Pro. And now more than ever since, Apple just launched the MacBook Pro with its M1 Max and M1 Pro chip.
The ease in switching between multiple programs
It is no secret that today’s machines can run multiple programs at once without breaking a sweat as long as you’re not rendering an 8K video on the background, of course.
But what about the ability to switch between multiple programs? I mean, we all want to be as productive as possible, right? (even though doing numerous things at once is not considered as being productive, but that might be a topic for another article)
When it comes to the MacBook Pro, you can open and switch between many applications, which means that you can watch a video. At the same time, editing another video, responding to emails, editing pictures, programming the next unicorn, etc. (you might need a bigger screen for this type of workflow, though).
You can split your screen in half with the iPad and have two applications side by side. You can also switch to an entirely new app while keeping this side-by-side view active. But it doesn’t give you that helicopter view that you get with the MacBook. So yes, it has some handy gestures that will become second nature over time, but still, it’s just not as good as the MacBook Pro.
Don’t get me wrong, though. The iPad does support a picture in picture view, but since its most prominent display is just 12.9 inches, you may be limited when it comes to watching; let’s say a tutorial and follow the steps simultaneously.
Connection to an external display
Speaking of displays, the iPad Pro is not that great if you want to connect it to an external display. You will get a picture on the external monitor, but it’s just its mirror screen.
On the other hand, the MacBook Pro allows you to connect it to multiple displays without losing resolution. Therefore you can extend its display real estate en take your productivity to the next level.
Using a Pencil
Okay, you may already have known this one, but when it comes to using a pencil, the iPad is the only Apple device that allows you to do so. Meaning, if you are a designer, someone who likes to draw or take notes by hand, then the iPad is hands-down the device you should go for.
But what if you are a designer and you want to go for the MacBook Pro? Are you doomed to buy the iPad? The answer is no. If you’re a designer but still want to purchase the MacBook Pro, then you can add a drawing tablet such as the Wacom. Just be aware that some Wacom types can even be more expensive than an iPad Pro!
You can’t use the iPad for Programming
Have I already said that you can’t program on the iPad? Well, here you have one more time anyway. If you’re a programmer, don’t buy the iPad (except if you want to use it to outline your application).
Just like Final Cut Pro X, the iPad doesn’t support Xcode. Although you can create iPad Applications with Xcode, IDE is not available in the iPad App Store.
But this also goes for other Text Editors such as VScode, Unity game engine, Atom, etc. You just can’t write code on the iPad. So the only way you might be doing something with code on your iPad is when you are learning it. You might then download an App that’s meant to teach you how to code on your iPad.
All in all, both machines do have their qualities and are unique in their way. But at the end of the day, I would hands down still go for the MacBook Pro. The reason for that is because the iPad is still not an alternative for a laptop. Granted, designers do have a great time with the iPad and the Apple Pencil, but it is still limiting in so many ways.
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