On the lookout for a lightweight laptop for the back-to-school season? You may end up deciding between Apple’s MacBook Air and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, each of which packs a whole lot of processing energy into a smooth design. In addition, they share some similarities on the subject of specs: each has a display screen that is around 13 inches in measurement, and each computer system runs on Apple’s M1 processor.
However, there are necessary variations between the 2 that you need to take into account earlier than making a choice — the most important being the software program that powers every laptop. They every have particular strengths and weaknesses, however, the MacBook Air usually excels in a lot of the circumstances that matter most to college students.
This is a more in-depth have a look at how they evaluate and which is finest for schoolwork.
Apple iPad Professional vs. MacBook Air: Which is finest?
Whereas they each have their benefits, the MacBook Air remains to be the higher possibility for many college students. It might not have a lot of cutting-edge expertise because of the iPad Pro, but it surely affords superior typing expertise, extra storage within the base mannequin, an additional USB-C port, and most significantly: a software program that is extra perfect for multitasking. These benefits make it a more sensible choice for common work and productiveness. The MacBook Air can also be noticeably cheaper than what you may count on to pay for an iPad Professional with Apple’s Magic Keyboard, or perhaps a fairly priced, third-party keyboard case.
That being mentioned, the iPad Pro does have an edge over the MacBook Air in a number of areas, simply not those which are usually most necessary for varsity work. The iPad Professional has a significantly better selfie digital camera that may maintain you in the body throughout video calls, a high-quality rear digital camera for capturing pictures and movies, a stunning touchscreen, and a Face ID. It is also rather more versatile since it is a pill first and a laptop computer alternative second.
Specs and dimensions
|Apple iPad Professional||MacBook Air|
|Show||12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR touchscreen||13.3-inch non-touch LED|
|Show decision||2,732 x 2,048, As much as 120Hz refresh charge||2,560 x 1,600|
|Processor||Apple M1 with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU||Apple M1 with Eight-core CPU, 7 or 8-core GPU|
|Weight||1.5 kilos (Wi-Fi solely, no keyboard)||2.Eight kilos|
|Rear Cameras||12MP vast, 10MP ultra-wide||N/A|
|Entrance Cameras||12MP ultra-wide with Middle Stage||720p FaceTime|
|Reminiscence||8GB or 16GB of RAM||8GB or 16GB of RAM|
|Storage||128GB ~ 2TB||256GB ~ 2TB|
|Ports||1 Thunderbsingle-coreetic connector||2 Thunderbolt/USB 4|
|Sensors||LiDAR, Face ID||Contact ID|
|Battery Life||Estimated as much as 10 hours||Estimated as much as 15 hours|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, non-obligatory 5G||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0|
Design and portability
Each MacBook Air and iPad Pro are designed with portability in thoughts. The MacBook Air is 2.Eight kilos, making it one of the many lightest laptops round, whereas the iPad Professional weighs simply 1.5 kilos.
Nonetheless, it is necessary to keep in mind that the iPad Professional’s weight solely refers back to the pill itself without the keyboard. And in case you’re planning to make use of the iPad Professional for varsity, you most likely wish to pair it with one of the best keyboards you should purchase.
Apple hasn’t mentioned how a lot its $349 Magic Keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Professional weighs. However, a buyer weighed the keyboard with what seems to be a meals scale and shared the ends in a MacRumors forum final yr, indicating that the case weighs 1.57 kilos. That makes the iPad Professional mixed with the Magic Keyboard Three kilos, which is simply barely heavier than the MacBook Air.
In fact, there are many different choices in addition to Apple’s dear keyboard. However, our favorite iPad keyboard case, the $200 Logitech Combo Touch, weighs about 1.7 kilos, which might nonetheless make the iPad Professional heavier than the MacBook Air.
Should you’ve used a MacBook Air up to now, the latest mannequin will really feel very acquainted. It has an identical wedge-shaped design that distinguishes it from the MacBook Professional and is obtainable in house grey, gold, and silver. This conventional clamshell laptop computer by and thru, not like the iPad Pro and plenty of Home windows rivals which provide touchscreens and 2-in-1 designs.
The iPad Professional usually has an extra trendy and versatile design. It has slimmer borders framing the show, making the display screen seem bigger, and it may function each a pill and a laptop-like machine when paired with a keyboard. That would make the iPad Pro higher for leisure since you should use it as a standalone bill, however, the MacBook Air nonetheless usually affords a greater mixture of portability and productiveness.
The software program and productiveness
The software program is a crucial distinction between the iPad Professional and MacBook Air. The iPad Pro runs on iPadOS, whereas the MacBook Air is powered by macOS. The previous is a cellular working system designed particularly for the iPad that is based mostly on Apple’s iPhone software program, whereas macOS is Apple’s desktop working system.
General, macOS remains to be superior to iPadOS on the subject of work and productiveness. Because it was designed for laptops from the beginning, it has a conventional windowed interface that makes it simple to change between apps, net browser tabs, and extra desktops. Should you’ve used a Mac up to now, or perhaps a Home windows laptop computer, the expertise will largely really feel very related.
The iPad has come to a great distance lately on the subject of work-related options, but it surely nonetheless has limitations. Apple’s iPad software program lets you use apps in cut-up display screen mode and pin an app in a sidebar alongside the primary app you are working in.
There’s additionally a correct file supervisor for accessing paperwork saved in your iPad and in cloud-based apps, and the latest iPad Professional now helps Thunderbolt Four for improved compatibility with peripherals. To not point out, Apple added mouse and touchpad assist for the iPad again in 2020.
Nonetheless, there is a studying curve that comes with switching to the iPad Professional as your major laptop. Apple’s multitasking gestures require some getting used to and nonetheless do not feel fairly as pure as the usual mouse and keyboard expertise. Opening a number of apps directly is actually solely simple on an iPad once you’re utilizing apps that are particularly pinned to the dock on the backside of the display screen.
On a laptop computer, you may merely click on any program you wish to open whether or not it is on the dock or not whereas utilizing one other app and have it open in a special window. It is also simpler to resize and transfer home windows to your liking on a MacBook versus an iPad. To take advantage of your iPad as a piece machine, you even have to recollect Apple’s particular multitasking gestures, similar to swiping left or proper with 4 or 5 fingers to cycle between apps.
One other main distinction to contemplate is that packages designed for the iPad will not all the time work the identical method that they do on a Mac machine. Sure, there are many productive and inventive apps accessible on the iPad, however, a number of the hottest ones are lacking some options on the iPad.
Take Microsoft Phrase, for instance. Though the iPad version helps many options, you will be lacking out on some capabilities like including and updating citations, which is barely accessible on Phrase for Mac and Home windows. That may be notably necessary for writing analysis papers. The model of Adobe Photoshop for the iPad has additionally lagged behind its desktop companion up to now, plus it has a special interface.
Creatives might profit from the iPad Professional’s Apple Pencil assist on the subject of sketching or touching up pictures. However general, the MacBook Air has extra consistency on the subject of apps and an extra acquainted working system that makes it a lot simpler to make use of a number of packages directly.
The MacBook Air’s keyboard additionally feels extra sturdy than these discovered on most keyboard instances. Plus, it comes with a second USB-C port in an effort to use an adjunct and cost your machine at an identical time.
The underside line right here is that the MacBook Air remains to be higher at most productivity-oriented duties. But when you will select the iPad Professional, make sure that the packages and apps you want for schoolwork provide all the options it is advisable to get your assignments accomplished.
Efficiency and battery life
The iPad Pro and MacBook Air each have rather a lot to supply on the subject of efficiency, which is why it may be tough to determine between the 2. They each run on Apple’s M1 processor and include 8GB of reminiscence (RAM) on the base degree. Nonetheless, the iPad Professional has an additional core in its graphics processing unit (GPU) in comparison with the bottom degree MacBook Air.
In accordance with benchmark checks, the iPad Professional outshines the MacBook Air on the subject of graphics processing energy, however, they carry out equally throughout common computing duties.
The iPad Pro earned greater scores than the MacBook Air within the 3DMark Wild Life Stress Excessive benchmark, a take a look at that evaluates how a tool performs below lengthy durations of heavy load. Anecdotally, I’ve additionally seen that the iPad Professional exports massive picture recordsdata from Adobe Lightroom quicker than the MacBook Air by a number of seconds.
The MacBook Air and iPad Professional each achieved related scores in Geekbench 5’s processor (CPU) take a look at, which assess common computing efficiency.
We ran these checks utilizing an M1-powered MacBook Air with 8GB of RAM and an 11-inch M1-powered iPad Professional, which runs on an identical processor because of the 12.9-inch mannequin.
|Geekbench 5 CPU||3DMark Wild Life Stress Excessive|
|MacBook Air||1,731 (single-core), 7,644 (multi-core)||4,437 (finest), 1,490 (lowest), 33.6% stability|
|iPad Professional||1,722 (single core), 7337 (multi-core)||5,045 (finest), 3,964 (lowest), 78.6% stability|
Each unit provides spectacular battery life, however, the MacBook Air reigns supreme on this entrance. Apple estimates that the MacBook Air ought to final for 15 hours on a single cost, whereas the iPad Pro ought to final for 10 hours. In my expertise, I’ve discovered that the MacBook Air comes shut to those claims, delivering greater than 12 hours of use.
Show and digital camera
Not solely does the iPad Professional have a sharper touchscreen with slimmer bezels, however, the 12.9-inch model comes with a mini LED panel that brings considerably improved brightness and distinction. There are greater than 10,000 mini LEDs within the 12.9-inch iPad Professional’s display screen, leading to an enormous enhance in distinction and general picture high quality. The MacBook Air, by comparability, has an ordinary Retina show that is sharp sufficient to enjoyably watch films and think about pictures, however is not essentially noteworthy.
Laptops aren’t recognized for having good cameras, which is a part of what makes the iPad Professional stand out as a piece machine. The iPad Professional has a 12-megapixel (MP) rear digital camera, 10MP important digital camera, and a LiDAR scanner for depth sensing, giving it images capabilities that are much like what you may count on from the iPhone 12 lineup.
The MacBook Air, after all, does not have a rear digital camera as a result of true laptops cannot take pictures that are not selfies. However, Apple has all-time positioned the iPad Pro as an extra versatile laptop relatively than simply an ordinary laptop computer alternative.
The front-facing digital camera additionally options some further smarts in comparison with the MacBook Air. Most notably, it has a function known as the Middle Stage that retains the topic in the body throughout video calls, a pleasant perk for individuals who continuously FaceTime or Zoom family members again dwelling from their dorm room. The MacBook Air lacks this function, however nonetheless advantages from improved picture high quality that comes from Apple’s picture sign processor within the M1.
The underside line
The MacBook Air‘s extra productivity-friendly software program, sturdier keyboard, lengthy battery life, and portability make it your best option for these in search of a school laptop. The iPad Pro has the MacBook Air beat on the subject of the show and digital camera high quality, and it has a way more versatile design that enables it to function as a laptop computer or pill. However, the areas wherein the MacBook Air excels over the iPad Professional are rather more necessary for college kids.
Plus, you will spend rather a lot of cash to show the iPad Pro right into a viable MacBook Air competitor. The most cost-effective configuration for the 12.9-inch mannequin comes with 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM and begins at $1,099. Add on Apple’s Magic Keyboard, and also you’re spending not less than $1,448. With Apple’s pupil low cost, you’d nonetheless find yourself paying $1,328. A MacBook Air with twice the storage prices simply $899 for college kids and $999 with Apple’s common pricing.