iPad Pro vs MacBook Pro - In depth comparison for work

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Adelphos33, Mar 22, 2017.

  1. Adelphos33 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 13, 2012
    I had two events recently where I would need a mobile computing device. I used my 2015 Macbook Pro for one and my 12.9" iPad Pro with Keyboard for the other. Both times, my usual workflow included note-taking with Microsoft Word as well as accessing some docs via Safari, checking mail via Outlook, iMessaging, and doing other random things. I primarily used the iPad in Split Screen mode. Here is what I found:

    • MacBook was slightly easier to find files, move them around, send them
    • Having access to multiple windows (not just two) came in handy on the Macbook
    • However, once you get set up with split screen, having Word side-by-side with Safari, Mail, or other apps is pretty natural on the iPad Pro. Was just as "productive" with this split screen set up. The iPad keyboard is performing well one year later
    • The IPad 12.9" screen is just beautiful
    • MacBook has become more "device-like" with each iOS version. I am surprised how much I use iMessage when sitting on my MacBook. I also occasionally take calls from my Macbook as well. This actually makes the iPad a bit less unique as I used to associate texting and phone calls with devices like iPads as opposed to computers.
    • Both the iPad 12.9" and the MacBook pro can be pretty heavy when carrying in a bag. I don't have much experience with a 9.7" Pro, but it could be a good alternative. I also need to test the new Macbook Pro and the Retina Macbooks in a bag as well.

    In short, both machines performed very well for the tasks allotted. For this use case, I could see going iPad only - however, I also have to do things like remote login to my Windows machine, so I need to own a laptop.

    What surprised me a bit more is how many iOS functions MacOS is borrowing for the iPad (and iPhone), and how that is improving the Macbook experience.
  2. DougFNJ macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2008
    Great write up. I find each devices has their strengths and weaknesses with various usage scenarios. I have the 13" MacBook Retina and the 9.7" iPad Pro. I work in sales.

    Macbook Pros: When working with Microsoft Office programs, navigation is the old friend. It is much easier for me to create, migrate from and to other formats, then I save copies in Dropbox and find my iPad great to open and handle quick edits on the fly. My MacBook handles more power, folder navigation is simple, ports are installed, larger screen plus I can hook into additional monitors, it handles my every day computing. I can also back up my iPhone and iPad directly to my Mac and restore much quicker than the cloud, and I manage my media content in iTunes and sync everything over with my MacBook vs having to do it through download if I wanted to do it individually without syncing through a port on my MacBook. More Pro Level applications. You gave solid examples, especially the similarities with IOS integrations bridging the gap between the 2 closer than before.

    MacBook Cons: Not as quick, easy, and accessible on the fly as opening the cover on the iPad and getting to work. Larger heavier clamshell design, not very convenient to open a book, magazine, or any app while laying in bed or hanging on the couch. Not as easy to pick up and pass around or share the screen with when showing examples of things, I much prefer it sitting on a desk and using it as the computer it is. Cannot touch or draw on screen. Annotations using the touchpad are not as clean.

    iPad Pros: Portability is first and foremost. More powerful than iPads I have had before it. Pencil and Keyboard are great tools, and I don't feel as lost without having my MacBook on me as I did before I got this device. This device has taken my organizational skills to a new level, paper is in the past. The camera allows me to take a photo of a paper, annotate and highlight, save, and send in seconds. The note taking and saving with Goodnotes has removed the need for paper and pen in 99% of my day. The versatility of going out using the Keyboard Cover when I want and using the regular cover when I am consuming. iPad used to be for primarily consumption, the Pro has made this a creation device too. The screen is easy to read, the multitasking still needs work, but is so far from where it was before.

    iPad Cons: Takes a little longer to do some tasks than the MacBook due to the file system, particularly while working in an app. Not as powerful as my MacBook, the apps are still not up to the standard. Microsoft Office is getting close, but it is still not there. The Keyboard while great is a little cramped compared to the full size Keyboard on my MacBook, that of course is not the same case with the 12.9" but we give and take. The limitations of external device input, I cannot backup my iPhone or other devices to this one, I can do some things with the USB dongle, but not the amount I can on my MacBook.

    Each device is perfect for my daily activity in their own ways. Although I can go a few days without one and having the other, having both is perfection. They are also easy to carry around both in my bag.

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