MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air vs. iPad Pro: Which Do You Really Need?

MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air vs. iPad Pro: Which Do You Really Need?

15th Nov 2021

Apple product lines are known for producing innovative devices that are pushing the limit.

With often almost identical specs between model groups, we have sorted out the basic differences between MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and iPad Pro.

  • MacBook Pro

    The MacBook Pro series was first introduced by Apple in 2006 and is considered the higher-end model for more challenging tasks. These Macintosh computers are built with the best and latest from Apple's unique technology.

    Apple offers the most powerful hardware in their 15 & 16 inch MacBook Pros and now also the 14 inch model designed for the most demanding applications such as animation, video editing, graphic design and application development.

    These units feature more powerful graphics, memory and larger storage and typically also have more ports than MacBook Airs.

    The 13 inch MacBook Pros are ideal for consumers desiring more powerful yet smaller and lighter laptop computers that can easily handle all productivity software used in business and education as well as 4k video editing.

    Operating System - The MacBook Pro uses macOS

    The Pro remains to be the most powerful machine due to better thermals (fan’s that keep the machine cooled when the processor does some heavy lifting). MacBook Pros come in 13, 14, 15 and 16 inch screen sizes

  • MacBook Air

The MacBook Air series was first introduced by Apple in 2008, known to be the thinnest laptop at the time. MacBook Airs have always been known for longer battery life. It’s been a popular choice for professionals and students that need a thin and lightweight computer, with overall great performance and a lesser price tag than the MacBook Pro.

Operating System - The MacBook Air uses macOS

The Air remains a popular choice. Apple has significantly boosted the processing power of this machine in recent years while still keeping it’s slim contours. The MacBook Airs are available in 13 inch screen sizes. The smaller 11 inch model was discontinued in 2016

  • iPad & iPad Pro

The iPad series has become an alternative/add on to laptops for professionals as well as students. These devices are known for their compact and light designs, making them easy to carry around when you're on the go. They can also support a wide range of iOS applications, giving you more flexibility on how you use the device. Graphic artists and students find the ability to sketch and annotate via the Apple pencil--a very useful function, making their job easier.

Operating System - The iPad Pro uses iPadOS (unlike the MacBooks that run macOS)

The iPad can provide a broader range of options in terms of entertainment compared to Mac computers. Many additional accessories are also available, like keyboards, etc.

Usage and Purpose

These three Apple devices can perform hundreds and thousands of tasks and assist you wherever you need them. Below are some of the typical uses of a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and iPad Pro and how each device performs:

  • For school

MacBooks are often good companions for students who need an easy way to manage their school work and projects. The MacBook is built with its user in mind, so it's designed to help you accomplish tasks quickly and efficiently. The laptop is also powerful enough to run all the necessary applications that you may need for school.

Some schools have also recently made use of iPads to help students better comprehend the information relayed to them by using a familiar tool. While they are considerably sturdy, they do not have the same capabilities for operating heavier applications.

  • For work

Apple's MacBook series is perfect for professionals who need a powerful enough device to run heavy software applications without losing flexibility. These devices are user-friendly with a wide range of accessibility but with less upkeep compared to other computers.

Meanwhile, iPads can also be a powerful device for professionals to help improve their productivity. Use your iPad to send quick emails, organize schedules, open video conferences, and act as a remote desktop during business trips and other events.

  • For business

MacBooks are low maintenance and work well for both large and small business scales. Following the Apple tradition, the quality of a MacBook is of the highest standards, making it a hit around the office.

For its part, the iPad can also function as a multitool for businesses to organize and create tasks with a few taps on the screen. These devices are also a fast way of obtaining digital signatures and necessary information onto the company's data drive.

  • For entertainment/leisure

The MacBook series is not gaming centric. They are designed for common use and professional activities. In the past, Apple has not focused on gaming laptops, as machines used for gaming will generate a lot of heat and need specialized processors. However, Apple is starting to add focus on gaming. You can install gaming applications from the Apple Store or download files from popular gaming websites (if the game supports macOS). 

All devices are excellent for media consumption due to their high resolution screens and high quality speakers.

The iPad Pro doubles as an entertainment device that allows you to stream videos and movies seamlessly and play games from the App Store and Apple Arcade. Today, many people rely on iPads as their entertainment source while they are on the go.

  • For daily activities/tasks

You can use all devices for daily activities and tasks such as checking your emails, setting reminders, and organizing your calendar. These tools can also be used to casually browse through apps and for other functions such as video calls, taking photos, and uploading and downloading files over the internet.

How to Pick Between the MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air vs. iPad Pro?

Since all devices are built by Apple with the same quality, standards and warranty, no matter what product you decide on, you will appreciate the craftsmanship of the device.

  • Price

Pricing for an Apple product is a critical factor when deciding on a device. The device that appeals to you most might be out of range. Consider buying refurbished Apple products or to change options that affect prices on new products, such as:

- RAM – This component is your device's memory and gives you a place to store short-term data from your applications. When you have more RAM, this gives you more multitasking capabilities meaning switching between apps even when you are working with large files, and heavy data should not be a problem.

- Storage– Storage space in your devices is an essential part of the package. You need the right amount of storage space to store files and handle heavy-duty applications that may come with big updates.

  • Functionality

Prioritize your device's functionality before deciding on which Apple product to buy. Checking the necessary specifications indicated on the tool is a good way of determining if it can handle running the applications you need.

  • Purpose/Usage

If you need a device to run small applications for casual use, you may not need the heavy specifications of a MacBook Pro. Taking time to think about this factor can save you more money in the process.

  • Resale Value

Apple devices still command a premium even after several years of use. So when you are ready to upgrade, you will most likely be able to still fetch a good amount of money back, provided that the unit has been kept up.

  • Service and Repair

Apple computers are workhorses. They are designed and built by Apple, not by a different manufacturer. We know of devices that are working fine after ten years of use or longer. Unless Apple puts a device to legacy status, the device will have replacement parts available. Note that Apple is not always the most reasonable place for device repair – and you may want to seek out authorized Apple shops for an estimate.

Innovative Upgrades for Your Device

Innovative Upgrades for Your Device

Apple products have a great reputation behind them, thanks to their high-quality functionality and support. With so many products available today, it can be a challenge to decide which one to buy. Don't be surprised that a properly maintained refurbished MacBook operates just as well as a brand-new. Choosing a refurbished MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or iPad Pros may be an excellent alternative to purchasing a brand new device. Contact Macs4U today to learn more about these products.