New MacBook Air vs. iPad Air: Closer than you think

“This week Apple unveiled the newest iteration of the MacBook Air,” James Kendrick writes for ZDNet. “he ultrathin laptop didn’t get big changes, but the incremental updates have it coming closer to compete with the iPad Air than ever. Shoppers considering the iPad Air, especially for work purposes, may want to take a close look at the new MacBook Air.”

“The 11.6-inch MacBook Air is only slightly bigger than the iPad so it makes sense to compare that with the tablet. Both systems are very portable, making them good choices for the frequent traveller and mobile worker,” Kendrick writes. “The iPad Air is much lighter than the MacBook Air until you strap on a keyboard. The average case of this type is around a pound, so the tablet and case weigh in around 2 pounds. This is not that much lighter than the 2.38-pound MacBook Air which starts to even the portability of the two. Of course, some of us who use the iPad with keyboard often leave the keyboard behind, leaving us with a svelte 1-pound tablet.”

“The iPad Air with wi-fi and 128GB of storage (same as the MBA) is $799, only $100 cheaper than the entry-level MacBook Air. That’s close enough for prospective buyers to think about it before just going with the tablet. That extra $100 gets you a full laptop that’s not much bigger than the iPad Air, yet can do everything,” Kendrick writes. “Either of the two mobile devices from Apple can do just about everything most users will want. A one-pound tablet is compelling for many, though, as the 210 million iPads sold to date indicate. The MacBook Air is a capable device, especially for a laptop. Apple has complicated the buying process for prospective customers with its refresh of the MacBook Air. If only it would make LTE an option for it. That would really make choosing difficult.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Low-priced $899 MacBook Air taps Apple into massive $63 billion-per-year notebook market – April 30, 2014
Apple kills the Windows PC and no one seems to mind – April 30, 2014
3 ways Apple improved the MacBook Air today – April 29, 2014
Apple updates MacBook Air with faster processors and lower prices; now starting at $899 – April 29, 2014


  1. James Kendrick forgot to point out the key and most obvious difference. The iPad Air is a mobile device running a Mobile OS – iOS. The MacBook Air is a computer running a computer OS – OS X. OS X gives it a more accessible (and therefore more user-friendly) file system (via Finder) and allows for easier sharing of data between multiple applications that are open at the same time.

    Different tools for different jobs.

    1. “Different tools for different jobs.”

      A number of years ago I would have agreed with that statement. It’s not so much the case anymore. I think now it would be more accurate to say, “Similar tools for overlapping jobs.”

      iPads have become increasingly better at providing tools for productivity. MacBook Airs have become increasingly better as consumption devices. Both qualify as mobile devices. For many people, either one could serve as their primary device, which makes the choice more difficult if you can only purchase one.

      1. On the other hand, his point is valid – just because an iPad is coming closer to the MacBook Air in some functionalities, it’s still the case that there hundreds of thousands of iPad apps that can’t run on the MacBook, and aren’t duplicated there. They still have very different roles.

        1. Sure. I was never disputing the idea that a MacBook Air and an iPad can serve multiple roles and address different needs. I don’t think the author of the article was disputing that notion either.

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