High-end iPad vs low-end MacBook Air

Discussion in 'iPad' started by lozpop, Oct 27, 2010.


If Apple had launched the high-end iPad and the MBA 11" the same day:

  1. I would have bought the MacBook Air 11"

    40 vote(s)
  2. I would have bought the iPad

    75 vote(s)
  1. lozpop macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2006
    I opened a topic about the relative proximity between the high-end iPad and the new $999 MacBook Air.

    A lot of different opinions came up.

    So let's do a precise poll. Pay attention: this poll doesn't ask if the iPad and the low end MacBook Air are the same thing or which is better for your needs.

    This is a poll for iPad owners (or for who bought it and then sell it for any reason)
  2. Satori macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2006
    edit: * sorry missed it first time *

    (ipad for me, but don't we get an option for neither?)
  3. BobHail macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2009
    I would not have bought neither. Where´s that option in the poll?

    But if there had been or will be an iPad with OS X. Definitely will buy that!!!
  4. lozpop thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2006
    Sorry, but considering that we are in the iPad section, the question is for iPad owners.
  5. spinedoc77 macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    I've got a 64gb 3g ipad and I also have a 2nd generation macbook Air. Since I got my ipad I rarely even look at my Air, even though I love it I just have very little use for it. The only use is if I'm doing something very text entry intensive like writing a report, but at that point I'm usually in front of my desktop anyway.

    So when I'm out of the house/office the ipad comes with me 99.9% of the time. The only things I really miss are hardcore data entry and flash/true laptop/desktop internet experience. But these are very acceptable trade offs to have an instant on (no the Air is not truly instant on) and an all day battery life. I just cannot express how incredibly liberating it is to have instant on and all day battery.

    Last is the form factor, even though the new MBA's and even the older MBA's are extremely thin, they still have a clamshell design like most laptops and this just doesn't work for most situations when I'm on the go, you still have to flip the lid and find somewhere to set it down and you can't use it one handed. Now if they made the MBA with a reversible screen which folded down like a traditional tablet then I'd certainly consider one over an ipad, but who knows what kind of bulk that might add.
  6. Nausicaa macrumors 6502a

    Jan 11, 2007
    Hmm, that would be a much tougher choice than the one I find myself in now. I have an iPad and am satisfied with it. Love it in fact, but still kind of want an Air. But if I had the choice at POS, I would probably have gone for the Air. But, I think I still would have bought an iPad eventually since it has a lot of it's own strengths.

    I agree with SpineDoc though. The iPad is overall a much stronger portable device than the Air unless you really need Mac OSX.
  7. lozpop thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2006
    Battery and instant-on are key things for me too.

    But a lot of users wished that the new Apple product that would have been announced in January 2010, would have been a full OS X product.

    The iPad is just perfect for its purpose, but maybe somebody, when Jobs revealed that tiny 11.6" with full OS X — more portable than the 13" Air — thought that they would have preferred it to the original iPad.

    Obviously it depends on usage and needs. The iPad and the Air are clearly two different machines, but I see that the 11.6" Air is closer the iPad for type of usage, while the 13" Air is closer to the MacBook family.
  8. Nausicaa macrumors 6502a

    Jan 11, 2007
    I think when the App Store comes out on Lion, the line between these two devices will be even more fine. I expect we will see many of the same apps (RSS readers, news, etc.) coming out which use the trackpad and function much the same as the iPad versions.
  9. lozpop thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2006
    Yeah it seems in the future iOS and OS X will likely be even closer.

    .. A real filesystem in iOS? :D ... I don't think so... :(
  10. mrboult macrumors 6502


    Jul 29, 2008
    London, England

    The high end iPad is too much cash for me to spend on an unnecessary (but totally awesome) toy.

    The little Air is too much money for a netbook (although is't the best netbook around)

    I have a mbp and the cheapest iPad and in terms of cost/useful ratio I find that great.
  11. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Why neither? You keep saying you want an iPad with OSX -- but you don't want the 11" Air? That's as portable as OSX will get, considering OSX needs a keyboard and trackpad.

    iOS does have a file system, it's just hidden from the user. Just jailbreak an iDevice, it has the exact same file structures as Mac OSX.
  12. lozpop thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2006
    Yeah I know, but a background Finder app by Apple would be awesome and better managed.
  13. Amazing Iceman macrumors 68040

    Amazing Iceman

    Nov 8, 2008
    Florida, U.S.A.
    I already have a MBP. The MBA may be not powerful enough for me.
    Before buying the iPad I used to carry the MBP everywhere I went.
    Now I leave it home most of the time, being used as a desktop more than as a notebook.
    My IPad goes everywhere, and I do most of my work and web browsing on it while I'm not at home.
    I even use it make and receive phone calls using a free VoIP app and free my cell phone.

    When I'm using my MBP, I use the iPad to take notes, read eBooks, sin documencts, etc.

    So as you can see, a MBA wouldn't have been able to replace an iPad.

    Compare the iPad to the most complete Swiss Army Knife, and the MBP to a Toolbox loaded with tools.
  14. foiden macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2008
    I already have a Macbook Pro, a Macbook, and an Ipad. The main system of the three, I'd replace with the new MBA (in a heartbeat) is the Macbook. But that's mostly because the MBP kind of cannibalized the Macbook, though it's still being used as a repository of data, so it gets some use. But for power and capability, the new MBA is looking like a better designed, and way smaller Macbook. It's almost like my MB except you can barely see it from the side, and it has a more modern internal architecture for more efficient data speeds across it.

    My iPad is staying right here (until some later all-improved revision comes out). I don't think I can give up iOS now. I'm loving the touch-based operating system, and the way everything on it is based on such an interface.
  15. steviem macrumors 68020


    May 26, 2006
    New York, Baby!
    The reasons a MBA can't replace my iPad (albeit a lowly 16GB):

    -Would be awkward for reading books
    -Is super expensive
    -Doesn't have a backlit keyboard (yeah it's a soft keyboard on the iPad, but at least I can see them at night!)
    -I'm my most productive at my desk (I'm pretty weird about that) so something that runs OSX and is ultra portable is kind of overkill
  16. MrWillie macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2010
    Starlite Starbrite Trailer Court
    MBA is not a net book. Not even close. A small screen does not a netbook make. Net books were originally cheap computers running Linux from a cf card for third world nations. They have evolved somewhat with hard drives and dumbed down versions of Windows, because cheap SOB's were buying them. They also use cheap underpowered atom processors

    iPad a toy ? For some people maybe. Learn how to use it. Get the right apps. Develop your own custom in house appps.

    My answer that is not part of the poll: a 32 gig wifi iPad and a 13 inch MBA.
  17. BobHail macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2009
    Simple, I want a touchscreen tablet, just not with iOS, ´cause that´s a limited mobile OS. iPad having a limited mobile OS is huge dealbreaker for me.

    Mobile OS should be only used for under 4" devices.

    9-12" devices should have full OS.

    9-12" devices shouldn´t be laptops at all. They should be touchscreen tablets. So I think the 11,6" MBA is a bad idea too.

    If at least they would give the full internet experience for iPad (same experience as with MBP/MBA), I would consider buying an iPad, but for now it´s useless... (for me).

    I should be working at Apple, then they would do things right!
  18. mrboult macrumors 6502


    Jul 29, 2008
    London, England
    Yes the points you make are correct.

    I call the baby air a netbook because while better than any/most netbooks I question weather it could properly manage creating a movie project where the final result is an hour long (this often involves hours of footage being imported) even my mbp begins to struggle/slow in these circumstances. The point being, as notebooks go it is a little underpowered. Fine for most people sure but not for those who sometimes do some heavy duty tasks.

    I call the iPad a toy because it is not 100% nessecary considering many people here own it next to a laptop that they could in theory take instead (people like me who have laptop and iPhone as well). While I know it can be very capable if you have the right apps and I do get a lot of productive use from it. . . . Often the proccess can be a little painstaking. . . . emailing to yourself, saving to dropbox, opening dropbox, selecting 'open in' etc etc. The software can be very capable for productivity but often not ideal. It is mostly the form factor and the battery that cause people to use it as a productivity tool rather than the OS I think.

    Just my thoughts.
  19. TorontoLRT macrumors 6502

    Jun 4, 2010
    Toronto, Duh!
    I should be king of the universe, then they would do things right! In other words, dream on.
  20. Fanboyofnothing macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2010
    The Air, because it's not a gimped device. With my iPad I found myself constantly needing to use a real computer to do many tasks, even simple web browsing tasks (Flash isn't the devil Jobs wants us to believe it is). The Air is a much better solution.
  21. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    Check my sig...I'm carrying both a 64G iPad and a 13.3" MBA. I have a Verizon MiFi for all my wireless connectivity needs.

    I think the answer to your question really revolves around your usage needs. The iPad is a good general-purpose computing device as long as you are primarily focused on consumption of media...books, movies, websites, games, etc. While I do have a small bluetooth keyboard for it, even that is limiting when I'm trying to use it for extended content creation. And there are some kinds of content you can't create on it at all. Advanced image overlays and manipulation via industry-standard tools like Photoshop, for example. You can do a lot of lightweight, consumer-grade stuff with it. But the iPad is primarily a consumer-grade device so thats the intent.

    The MBA Netbooks are full computers, albeit with some tradeoffs in terms of screen size, memory and storage. But then there's a whole host of other tradeoffs to consider as well. Its not a one-handed eReader. Its not meant primarily for gaming...although early reports reflect that it does do a decent job playing games. But then compare the number of iPad games (and price of same) to those available for the MBA and I think you'll see the iPad still wins there. It also needs a lap or other horizontal surface to use the thing. You can use your iPad standing up, laying flat, on a train/plane without needing to use the table tray, etc. But if your needs are primarily content creation....no way would I recommend an iPad over a MBA.

    I've got both and my company has developed some custom apps that make having both worth the investment....we run demonstrations using MBP's or MBA's and the clients hold the iPad as we do so to illustrate some before/after imagery we produce in real-time (we do high end interior design work). When I'm not using it in business, I will sometimes use it as an eReader but I really think the Kindle is a superior experience there.

    So not a direct answer but I really think you should consider how you intend to use the device to answer this for yourself.

    I will say this much. I am NOT a fan of browsing most web sites with the iPad. Not only are you limited in what you can view natively (Flash sites), the whole pinch/zoom thing is irritating to me when navigating sites with small nav buttons....like the "Page Numbers" shown in the upper/lower right hand of this thread. That gets tedious. As does editing posts when you try and select the word right after a quote or other special BBS code. Really gets annoying in a hurry to me. YMMV
  22. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Well, I for one am I glad you don't work at Apple, or we'd still be stuck with clunky tablets trying to run thinned-down versions of desktop OS and cell phones with huge physical keyboards and tiny screens unusable for anything but making phone calls.

    As we know, Apple was working on a tablet project when Jobs had the genius to divert the hardware and software systems for a tablet into a cell phone. iOS isn't really a "mobile" OS, it was always an OS intended for tablet devices. It's just taking Apple some time to add all the features to it that makes up a "full" OS. If you recall the earlier days of desktop OSes, they were lacking in a lot of features that we now think of as standard on a desktop OS. You used to have to add a lot of utility software to a desktop OS in order to get a lot of housekeeping functions. With each generation of OS, more and more of those utilities kept getting incorporated into the OS itself. So give it a few more years and iPads will have a "full featured" OS. But so will the iPhone.

    As for 9-12" laptops, you may not have a need for it -- as it happens, I don't have a need for one, either. Like you, I want a tablet device, unencumbered by a keyboard. But that doesn't mean that other people don't have a need for a 9-12" laptop. Someone who travels or is on the go a lot, and needs to type extensively, would probably prefer a notebook over a tablet, because they always need a physical keyboard. If you need a keyboard, then having the keyboard and screen in a single integrated unit is easier to carry around than having them in two separate, different-sized units like the iPad + bluetooth keyboard. Now, you might say people like that should just carry a 13" notebook, but again, for some, the extra portability afforded by a smaller screen is worth it.

    I think eventually, tablets would evolve to a point where, as you say, 9-12" laptops aren't needed. But we aren't there yet, and in the meanwhile, I'm glad I have both a slightly under-featured tablet and a slightly cramped laptop to choose from, depending on my needs. And eventually, Apple's tablets and desktops/notebooks would run the same OS. But as Jobs demonstrated with Lion, that would happen not just because tablets gain desktop features, but also because tablet features get added to desktop OS as well. Jobs really does "think different," and that's why we are finally moving into a era for tablet computing, after god knows how many years of people waiting for them.
  23. rowspaxe macrumors 68000


    Jan 29, 2010
    if you are deciding between a laptop and an ipad--get a laptop. the fact you phrasing the decision this way means you haven't fully thought the tablet form factor. yes, there is that guy in the hp ad doing excel work on his hp slate, but it looks painful. most of the negative ipad reviews i read are from people who really want a notebook: ipad is gimped, no osx, no real software, no ups port, etc.

    ipad is a satellite device. its primarily for media consumption--ereading, pdf reading, internet (with certain limits due to ram). its awesome at those things. Ever try to read a technical pdf in bed or on a sofa with a laptop? ipad rules its limited niche.
  24. pizz macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2007
    Its starting to happen with OSX Lion. Eventually iOS and OSX will merge into one. And so will the hardware.
  25. lillianad macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2006
    That's why I'll hang on to my current iPad and 2008 MB for a little while longer. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed...

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