Mac Mini 2018 + iPad Pro 12,9" vs MBP 2018 15"

HerbertDerb

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 10, 2017
187
141
I will explain my situation.
I have had an long lasting hard-on to buy an expensive Sennheiser HDV820 Amp/dac combo + HD800S headphones.

Now with this, i wanted to buy an nice leather armchair and Macbook Pro. To just drink my whiskey and enjoy my music with an comfort of MacOS.
First thing first, while using the computer to enjoy music, it's also going to be going through some sort of multitasking, occasional Photoshop + mixing. I think that Macbook Air would bottleneck the stuff that i do.

-My first option was 15" MBP. 16gb ram, 512gb ssd. It would cost me around 3400€. Through Apple.fi.

- Second option would be 15" MBP, 16gb ram, but with an 256gb of storage.
* Samsung X5 512gb External SSD
(Totaling 3013€)

Now, after seeing and hearing that Mac Mini and iPad pro together would be possible. It did got me excited a bit. So here comes the third option:

-Mac Mini (6-core i7 model, 16gb ram, 512gb ssd)
*12,9" Ipad Pro 12,9"
* Magic Trackpad 2
* Smart Keyboard for 12.9" ipad
*Luna Display adapter
Totals up to 3486€

Pros of this setup:
- I can connect my amp/dac straight to the Mac Mini and not have to worry about the USB cable
- It gives me the option to just trow my iPad Pro to my backpack when ever i need to, and not have to worry about carrying my laptop with me. (Don't need the horsepower of MacOS when traveling)
- Mac Mini is somewhat upgradable (Ram)
- Mac Mini doesn't have Kernel panic issues
- Don't have to worry about keyboard failing overtime
- Don't have to worry about cooling issues

However.... There are some questions and caveats:

How friendly is MacOs to touchscreen input?
Will Apple remove the app from the istore
How friendly is this setup and how is the lag.
Is it easier to work from native laptop screen vs. through iPad Pro screen

And which is generally regarded better in terms of screen quality. iPad Pro vs MBP 2018?
To my understanding, both have P3 and True Tone.

If anyone can answer my questions and help me out on this one. I would greatly appreciate it.
 
Last edited:

Frosties

macrumors 6502a
Jun 12, 2009
980
116
Sweden
Youtube test have shown that the macmini 6-core does well but under very heavy lovad will throttle down to base clock, still is a work horse that can fit you very good. The thing is if you will use programs that require much of set computing to the graphics card as the mini only is fit with intel graphics but from your text I read that is not the case for you.

With the iPad Pro you can compensate for this and use both together for a good fit and workload. I think mini + iPad Pro can fit you well.

OS X has no touchscreen support.
 

tromboneaholic

Suspended
Jun 9, 2004
3,710
2,925
Clearwater, FL
I would say using the iPad as a second monitor can be useful, but I wouldn't want to use it as my primary display and input method. MacOS is not optimized for touch - at all. Luna Display is the only solution that I think is currently working, and there is no guarantee that future updates to iOS or macOS won't break that. Duet Display used to offer the same functionality, but it's currently not working under macOS Mojave due to OS updates breaking the app. You'll also need a monitor to set the Mini up the first time, and install the Luna Display app.

So you would really want a monitor, keyboard, and mouse/trackpad for the Mini, and consider the iPad as a secondary display.

Having said that, with the full version of Photoshop coming to the iPad Pro with Pencil support, have you considered an iPad alone might be the perfect device for listening to music and working on Photoshop?
 

HerbertDerb

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 10, 2017
187
141
I would say using the iPad as a second monitor can be useful, but I wouldn't want to use it as my primary display and input method. MacOS is not optimized for touch - at all. Luna Display is the only solution that I think is currently working, and there is no guarantee that future updates to iOS or macOS won't break that. Duet Display used to offer the same functionality, but it's currently not working under macOS Mojave due to OS updates breaking the app. You'll also need a monitor to set the Mini up the first time, and install the Luna Display app.

So you would really want a monitor, keyboard, and mouse/trackpad for the Mini, and consider the iPad as a secondary display.

Having said that, with the full version of Photoshop coming to the iPad Pro with Pencil support, have you considered an iPad alone might be the perfect device for listening to music and working on Photoshop?
Actually yes i have considered the iPad Pro as an my main device. However, there are some caveats with it.

Firstly, I would have to use dongle to connect my DAC to it. And with that, iOS Programs usually doesn't support flac-quality sound all that well. Something like Tidal's mobile app really doesn't support HiFi sound at all.

And secondly, i also do some stock day-trading. The apps that i use for that aren't suited for iOS/Android at all. And how well does the ipad screen support multiple windows open at once etc.

But i do agree (after thinking it over-night) that there are some concerns using this setup
a) How long will Apple support this
b) MacOS isn't suited for touchscreen
c) Latency, Latency and Latency

However there are possitives:
a) No T2 issues
b) I can use my wireless Apple Magic trackpad and wireless keyboard. So there is no fear of trackpad/keyboard failing. (Especially the keyboard)
c) Mac Mini is upgradable

TBH easiest choise is to go with something like surface pro.... But after using Windows for 15 years. Getting pretty sick of it.
 

tromboneaholic

Suspended
Jun 9, 2004
3,710
2,925
Clearwater, FL
Actually yes i have considered the iPad Pro as an my main device. However, there are some caveats with it.

Firstly, I would have to use dongle to connect my DAC to it. And with that, iOS Programs usually doesn't support flac-quality sound all that well. Something like Tidal's mobile app really doesn't support HiFi sound at all.

And secondly, i also do some stock day-trading. The apps that i use for that aren't suited for iOS/Android at all. And how well does the ipad screen support multiple windows open at once etc.

But i do agree (after thinking it over-night) that there are some concerns using this setup
a) How long will Apple support this
b) MacOS isn't suited for touchscreen
c) Latency, Latency and Latency

However there are possitives:
a) No T2 issues
b) I can use my wireless Apple Magic trackpad and wireless keyboard. So there is no fear of trackpad/keyboard failing. (Especially the keyboard)
c) Mac Mini is upgradable

TBH easiest choise is to go with something like surface pro.... But after using Windows for 15 years. Getting pretty sick of it.
Not something you asked about, but Apple wireless keyboard works great with the iPad. I have used a spare keyboard with my iPad in the past, but generally don't do enough typing on the iPad to justify dragging the keyboard out of the drawer.

Also, don't rule out connecting the iPad to the Mac just because it's not a great input device for macOS. The iPad Pro could be a nice secondary monitor for Photoshop on a Mac, where you have your tools and pallets on one screen and the image you're working on full screen on the other.

I use it like this for video editing on a MacBook Pro when I'm on the road and want dual monitors.