M1 iPad Pro vs M1 MacBook Pro, which is the ultimate Apple
ultra-portable Pro for you?
The modern MacBook Pro is like an un-wedged air, full-on
unibody clamshell, with an ultra-thin display, Perma hinged
to the keyboard, under which are still stuffed, just all
the computer guts.
It’s the laptop that’s defined Pro laptops for a decade and still looks it.
Unlike the MacBook Pro, the iPad Pro just got its big redesign
a couple and a half years ago.
The home button bleeped, bezels, fantasy snapped.
The computer is still entirely behind the display,
and that means that it can fly solo as a tablet or
just magnetically attached to a keyboard for more traditional fun.
So if you prefer the traditional computer clamshell with a heavy base, locked to a super-light lid, you’ll prefer the MacBook Pro vs M1 iPad Pro.
But if a traditional computer is just the last thing you want, then what you want is the M1 iPad Pro vs M1 MacBook Pro.
And if you do need to type occasionally, the iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard.
The M1 MacBook Pro has a 13.3 inch LCD panel. You can get a 16-inch version as well, but that currently still has Intel inside.
The display is retina density though, which in general means an average person from an average viewing angle, shouldn’t be able to discern individual pixels and digital cinema P-3 gamut, which means the color space is wide enough for richer reds and deeper greens.
It also has True Tone, so whites don’t look too blue or too yellow,
but nice and paperwhite.
The iPad Pro comes in 11 and 12.9-inch versions, but I’m focusing
on the 12.9-inch version for this because it’s the closest in size.
If you’re interested in the 11 inches, just save some inches,
contrast ratio, and hundreds of dollars off the top and you’ll be all set.
That 12.9 inch iPad Pro though is way, way brighter though,
thanks to its newfangled mini-LED display, also P3 and True
Tune, and it works with multi-touch and the Apple Pencil,
something the MacBook Pro just does not do.
And if you’re thinking that this means, when it comes
to displays, that the iPad Pro just kicks the current
MacBook Pro’s ass,
well, hell’s yeah.
If display tech or HDR content is your thing, you’re gonna
wanna make the 12.9 inch iPad Pro, your thing.
Where the MacBook Pro strikes back and hard is battery life.
Apple’s kept the iPad Pro at 10 hours of battery life, basically
forever, but the MacBook Pro now, with its new Silicon and
its voluminous capacity can get up to 20 hours for optimized workloads.
So if you want to effectively potentially double
the battery life, then you’re gonna want the MacBook Pro.
The 13 inch M1 MacBook Pro
just doesn’t have that masterpiece,
that is a 16 inch MacBook
Pro speakers or mics.
But the iPad Pro, the iPad Pro comes close.
It has four speakers, so you can turn it any which way
you like and get a full spatial audio soundstage.
no matter which way it’s turned, and thanks to the sensors
in the iPad Pro, that goes double if you’re wearing AirPods Pro
or the AirPods Max as well, it is a personal cinematic experience.
The same goes for the mics.
The M1 MacBook Pro has a good mic system, but the iPad Pro
has what Apple’s calling studio-quality mics, the equivalent of
plugging in a USB mic.
The MacBook Pro also still has a tiny 720P potato of
a camera, but with the M1 image signal processor equivalent
to the ISP in the iPhone 12.
So that potato is just fully baked, like fully loaded.
The iPad Pro though has a much better camera,
108 P, with the same ISP, portrait mode, and portrait lighting,
and then your Center Stage feature that pans and scans
and zooms in and out to keep you and several
friends of yours, if need be, center stage in video calls.
The only downside is that it
is still tragically mounted
on the side of the iPad when
you use it in the landscape.
And yes, that is the sound
of the MacBook Pro laughing,
just a little.
So basically, if the on-device audio video is of the utmost
importance to you, you’re gonna want the iPad Pro, unless
you positively need a headphone jack, without a dongle,
only then should you go with the M1 MacBook Pro.
The M1 MacBook Pro has two full power, full-speed USB 4 ports,
which means USB-C with a side of Thunderbolt 3 just built right into it.
So not only can you plug almost anything in, you can power and run
it as fast as thunder.
The iPad Pro has the same USB 4 port, thanks to the same Thunderbolt controller on the M1.
And yes, I would love, iPad Pro with two ports
and I’m waiting on the MacBook Pro with four ports,
but for now, one on the iPad or two on the MacBook,
plus whatever docs or dongles you plug into them
are the only options.
So if you need, critically need, more than one on-device
Thunderbolt port, you’re gonna need the MacBook Pro.
Beyond the FaceTime camera up front,
the MacBook Pro has nothing
and more nothing on the back.
The iPad Pro though has an iPhone 11, 12 the junior level
camera system with a wide-angle, an ultra-wide-angle,
the ability to shoot 4K video, and all that smart HDR 3
image signal processing behind it,
it’s even got LIDAR like the iPhone’s Pro, just no Dolby Vision.
And yes, that does make me better. So if you need cameras
beyond your phone or a dedicated shooter for things like
document scanning or augmented reality, you’re gonna
need to go with the iPad Pro.
Both the new M1 MacBook Pro and the new keyboard for
the iPad Pro is Magic.
That’s Apple’s brand name for the all-new, all better,
return of the blessed Scissors Switch keyboard
for existing Max and the new iPad Dock.
On the M1 MacBook Pro the Magic Keyboard
is of course built right in, and it has a few things
the iPad version does not.
Like an escape key, a Touch ID enabled power key,
and new-fangled media keys for things like Spotlight
Search and do not disturb.
The iPad Pro version attaches magnetically
and has no escape key, no media keys,
but does have a dedicated emoji key.
It’s also sold separately for $350.
The MacBook Pro trackpad is much, much bigger,
which some people don’t like because of accidental touch events,
but others love it because of all the room for touch gestures.
The iPad Pro track pad isn’t as big and is mechanical rather
than haptic and virtual like the one on the Mac, but the iPad Pro
has that huge, totally touchable display anyway, so it’s not a big deal.
Also, the iPad Pro has an optional Apple Pencil
that attaches magnetically to the casing, charges inductively
and lets you do pretty much any drawing or handwriting
you want to right on the display.
So if you want a traditional computer experience,
with a big trackpad and a precise cursor
because it needs to be, go with the MacBook Pro.
But if you’re fine with more of an optional occasional keyboard,
that extends the touch-first nature of the iPad, only when and
if you need it to, then by all means go with the iPad Pro and
the Magic Keyboard.
Both the M1 MacBook Pro and the M1 iPad Pro
come with, surprise, surprise M1, Apple’s latest
generation system on a chip.
It’s based on the same architecture as the A14 and
the iPhone 12, and essentially replaces what would have
been an A14X in the iPad Pro.
And more importantly, what previously would have been
an Intel U series in the MacBook Pro.
They both have options for eight gigabytes and 16 gigabytes
which is the typical low-end for the Mac these days,
but also just way, way more than any iPad
has ever had access to before.
You can get the MacBook Pro with 256 or 512 gigabytes
or one or two terabytes of storage, and the iPad Pro with
the same, but also a smaller, 128-gigabyte option.
Both have Wi-Fi 6, but only the iPad Pro
offers the option for 5G data built-in.
Both frequency range one for low band and mid-band,
and frequency range two for high band or MM wave.
So, Apple’s two portable Pros are remarkably similar on the inside,
but if you need cellular built-in, you’re gonna need the iPad Pro.
The MacBook Pro has Touch ID, which is Apple’s biometric
fingerprint identity scanner.
The iPad Pro has Face ID, which is Apple’s biometric
facial geometry scanner. Touch ID requires touch
and doesn’t work with gloves, or if your finger is wet,
but it can register up to five fingers.
Face ID requires a look and doesn’t work with masks
or IRL blocking sunglasses, but can also be used for
things like Animoji and Memoji in augmented reality.
And yes, yes, I wish Face ID wasn’t often on Max as well.
The MacBook Pro runs Mac OS Big Sur which is a fully mature,
fully traditional, mouse and pointer graphical user interface-based operating system.
It can run all the native M1 versions of Mac apps
and can translate the older Intel versions to run under Rosetta 2.
The M1 apps run much much faster and better,
the Rosetta 2 apps run pretty much the same
as they do on Intel, better even if they lean heavily
on Apple’s Metal graphics engine.
The MacBook Pro can also run virtual machines
which is critical to a lot of people’s workflows,
and even iPad and iPhone apps, though it’s up to the individual
developers to allow it and to optimize for it.
The iPad Pro currently runs iPad iOS 14, based on iOS 14,
Apple’s more modern multi-touch operating system.
And it can run all of the hundreds of thousands
of iPad iOS apps in the IPad App Store,
which in some ways is far wider, but in others isn’t quite yet as deep.
Like it’s still struggling with Photoshop and doesn’t have the type
of production software used by major studios or in science labs.
Now that the iPad Pro has more RAM, that could change and could change soon, but never base a buying decision on what might happen in the future, only on what you are certain about right now.
So if you want that traditional computer experience
and you need to run specific Mac-only software,
you’re gonna want and need a MacBook Pro.
But if you prefer the direct manipulation of the iPad,
all the iPad apps and the ability to use software design
not just for a typing computer, but a tablet computer as well,
you’re gonna prefer the iPad Pro.
The M1 MacBook Pro starts at 1299 for the eight gigabytes of RAM,
256 gigabytes of SSD version and goes up to 2299 for the 16 gigabytes
of RAM and the two terabytes of SSD version.
The 12.9 inch M1 iPad Pro starts at 1099 for eight gigabytes of
RAM, 128 gigabytes of SSD, and goes up to 2399
for 16 gigabytes of RAM two terabytes of SSD with 5G.
And you can add 350 bucks for the Magic Keyboard
and 130 bucks for the Apple Pencil, if you want those as well.
Now, before you decide, do you already have an iPad or a Mac?
Is there an iMac on your desk, because then maybe you’re better off
with an iPad Pro in your hands. Or if you have an iPad Mini
or even an iPhone Pro Max, maybe a MacBook Pro is that you get more and different things done better.
End the day you can get more kick for your buck
with the iPad Pro, but only if it’s exactly the kind of kick
you need to get done.
Thats the end of M1 iPad Pro vs M1 MacBook Pro.