Apple’s MacBook Pro vs. iPad Pro: Which should you buy?

“You might want to sit down for this: The iPad Pro is more powerful than the MacBook Pro,” Phillip Tracy writes for Laptop Mag. “No, seriously — it’s not even close on some benchmarks.”

“The tablet thrashed the competition on each of our tests, outperforming our favorite premium 13-inch laptops by a wide margin,” Tracy writes. “This asks the question: Why buy a laptop if you can run demanding programs on a tablet?”

Laptop Mag‘s winners in each category:

• Design: iPad Pro
• Ports: MacBook Pro
• Display: iPad Pro
• Keyboard: MacBook Pro
• Performance: iPad Pro
• Battery Life: iPad Pro
• Software: Draw
• Pricing and configs: iPad Pro

Apple's iPad Family 12.9-inch iPad Pro (left), 11-inch iPad Pro (center), and 9.7-inch iPad (right)
Apple’s iPad Family 12.9-inch iPad Pro (left), 11-inch iPad Pro (center), and 9.7-inch iPad (right)

“The iPad Pro runs the best version of iOS yet. iOS 12 brings improved notifications, new gestures and fancier markup tools to its mobile operating system. But despite migrating over desktop features, iOS 12 remains just that, a mobile OS,” Tracy writes. “The Files app is not as comprehensive as Finder on Mac, app-switching while multitasking isn’t trivial and you can’t watch 4K YouTube videos. These are small issues, but they add up. A bigger problem, however, is that apps like Final Cut Pro — a favorite among video editors — are not available on the iPad (though Photoshop is coming soon). On the flip side, iOS 12 is easy to navigate and has a simpler, more refined interface than macOS. If you’ve ever owned an iPhone, you know that the biggest benefit of iOS over macOS is its rich, vast library of mobile apps.”

“Given the limitations of iOS, the iPad Pro remains a great secondary device and a good primary machine for consuming content, but it’s not necessarily the best for creating it,” Tracy writes. “For that reason, we recommend that creators and those who need to run demanding programs buy the MacBook Pro, which supports expandable storage, sports a large trackpad and is easier to use on your lap.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Shockingly, the magazine named Laptop chooses the laptop. This despite the fact that the iPad Pro bests the MacBook Pro 5-2 (with one tie) in Laptop‘s very own categories and verdicts. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.

iPad Pro can replace the vast majority of people’s MacBooks because people never had an alternative to a MacBook to accomplish what they use a personal computer for: Web browsing, email, light word processing, music-video-photo storage and playback, and maybe some messaging (but they do most or all of that on their iPhones or iPhone wannabes).

Note: Obviously, we are not talking about our readership which skews heavily toward techies who use their Macs for far more than the vast majority of current personal computer users.

For the vast majority of people even a crappy low-end Windows laptop is vast overkill for what they do. Therefore, the headroom for iPad remains virtually limitless, especially as Apple’s A-Series chips, iOS and iPad apps become ever more powerful. — MacDailyNews, November 11, 2015

We find that there are many older users longing to make iPad work like a laptop, because that’s what they know… The answer isn’t to try to make the iPad into a MacBook. The answer is to provide all the tools possible in iOS for developers to make robust apps that can take advantage of the multi-touch paradigm. — MacDailyNews, May 16, 2017

Already in love with Apple’s new compact 12.9-inch iPad Pro – November 7, 2018
What Apple’s iPad Pro enables matters more than what it replaces – November 7, 2018
The Independent reviews Apple’s new iPad Pro: ‘The most powerful, most beautiful tablet you can find anywhere’ – November 6, 2018
The Verge reviews the new iPad Pro: Apple’s approach to iOS is holding back powerful hardware in serious ways – November 5, 2018
Laptop Mag reviews Apple’s new 12.9-inch iPad Pro: ‘The most powerful mobile device ever made’ – November 5, 2018
John Gruber reviews Apple’s new iPad Pro: ‘A better value than any MacBook Apple has ever made’ – November 5, 2018
New iPad Pro benchmarks blow away Windows PCs – November 5, 2018
Apple iPad Pro’s A12X chip has no real rivals; it delivers performance unseen on Android tablets – November 1, 2018
Apple Smart Keyboard Folio will make your new iPad Pro a work station – October 30, 2018
Adobe is bringing full Photoshop to Apple’s iPad next year – October 15, 2018


  1. If you truly believe you only need an iPad, you probably don’t need the iPad Pro which is terribly expensive for an iPad. Get a less expensive one.

    If you have needs that your needs are in the realm of a MacBook Pro, then get a MacBook Pro. The iPad will not likely meed your needs.

    1. Why buy a laptop if you can run demanding programs on a tablet?

      That is the question. If you can’t run the full-functioned, demanding programs on a tablet, you have to buy a laptop.

      1. Exactly.
        If all you can afford is an iPad Pro, get an Air.
        If the MacBook Pro is overkill or too heavy, get an Air.

        And while you’re at it, buy an iPad for a kid or grandparent.
        They make great gifts….

  2. For all its faults though, there truly is something magic that happens when you pick up an iPad and start using it. It’s beautiful no doubt.

    It’s just that when you really get into it, you find that you are just as sandboxed as the apps are.

  3. My iPad Pro 11″ is arriving tomorrow and I’m going to use it as a companion device to my 15″ MacBook Pro. In fact, my goal is to leave the MBP at home and only take the iPad Pro on the road.

    The larger screen size in a compact form factor, the new form design and longer useful performance life are probably attracting a lot of sales from people who will never run Photoshop or other high end application.

  4. I still need my truck. My truck is an iMac. I need it all. As much as I love my iPhone and iPad, my iMac is my favorite device (phone being absolutely essential though). Watch is a luxury item- so far.

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