Mobile Technology

iPad Pro vs. 2015 MacBook

Gizmag compares the features and specs of the iPad Pro (left) and Apple's "new MacBook)"
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the iPad Pro (left) and Apple's "new MacBook)"
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Gizmag compares the features and specs of the iPad Pro (left) and Apple's "new MacBook)"
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Gizmag compares the features and specs of the iPad Pro (left) and Apple's "new MacBook)"
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Build (casing)
Colors
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Colors
Display (size)
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Display (size)
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Display (resolution)
Input options
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Input options
Touch ID
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Touch ID
Ports
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Ports
Battery
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Battery
Camera
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Camera
Processor
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Processor
Graphics
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Graphics
LTE
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LTE
Software
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Dimensions
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Starting price
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Starting price

Apple is positioning its new iPad Pro as a lightweight productivity machine ... so where does that leave this year's ultra-light, almost-tablet-like MacBook? Is a stylus or a fixed keyboard the way of the future? We pit these two Apple gadgets against each other in the categories that matter most.

Size

Dimensions
Dimensions

The gigantic iPad Pro is the bigger of the two devices, at least when the laptop is closed.

The MacBook is 90 percent thicker but remember this measurement doesn't include the iPad Pro's keyboard, hardly a fair fight.

Weight

Weight
Weight

It's a close call in terms of the weight of these devices, despite the MacBook having that full keyboard added on. As a tablet, the iPad Pro comes out to 23 percent lighter than the full laptop MacBook.

Build

Build (casing)
Build (casing)

No surprises here: both the iPad Pro and the 2015 MacBook have aluminum unibody designs that Apple is known for. Despite being larger, the iPad Pro follows the design of its predecessors, though the new MacBook is a bit more of a departure from the MacBook Air.

Colors

Colors
Colors

Both devices ship in the same three color options.

Display (size)

Display (size)
Display (size)

The iPad Pro's display is 23 percent bigger than the new MacBook's display. The laptop has a flatter and wider 16:10 aspect ratio compared with the iPad's boxier 4:3.

Display (resolution)

Display (resolution)
Display (resolution)

The iPad Pro is packed with pixels: over 5.5 million of them, to be exact. The 2015 MacBook's isn't quite as sharp, but since you won't be holding it at a tablet viewing distance, it's probably as sharp as you'd need it to be (the farther away you view a screen, the fewer pixels you need for it to look crisp).

Input options

Input options
Input options

The iPad Pro's primary input its its touchscreen, but it also accepts smart keyboards and styluses (you can get official Apple versions of each). The MacBook's screen has no touch capabilities, so you need to make use of the keyboard, trackpad (which is terrific) and whatever accessories you decide to add.

Touch ID

Touch ID
Touch ID

Apple's Touch ID system is exclusive to iOS for the time being, and has yet to make it to its laptops and desktops. Who knows, maybe you'll be able to use fingerprint recognition technology on next year's MacBook, but it's not available yet.

Storage

Storage
Storage

Though both are (at least partially) work-focused machines, the MacBook has the much more work-friendly storage options.

Ports

Ports
Ports

Apple takes a minimalistic approach with both devices: the iPad Pro has a familiar Lightning connector and a 3.5mm headphone jack, while the 2015 MacBook makes do with a single USB-C port and a headphone port. The USB-C port can handle data transfer, video out and charging duties via the appropriate adapters.

Battery

Battery
Battery

Apple gives similar estimates for both devices. We found the MacBook's battery to hold up well during our testing.

Camera

Camera
Camera

The iPad Pro will make even less sense for photography than an iPad Air 2 would, but it does have the same cameras onboard.

Processor

Processor
Processor

Apple never reveals too much about its mobile CPUs, but even if it did it would be hard to compare these substantially different processors, though benchmarks will help to shed some light on that.

RAM

RAM
RAM

We don't know for sure until the device appears, but educated guesses (and some inadvertent leaks) point to there being 4 GB of RAM inside. The MacBook doubles that to 8 GB, but as it's running a desktop OS, it has a more demanding multitasking environment to manage.

Graphics

Graphics
Graphics

Again it's difficult to compare the different graphics capabilities of these devices directly against each other, but it looks like the A9X chip inside the iPad Pro is the more capable (it has to be to power all those pixels). The 2015 MacBook is fitted with an integrated Intel HD 5300 GPU.

LTE

LTE
LTE

As we've already mentioned, you can pick up a SIM-enabled iPad Pro if you want to stay connected away from Wi-Fi. You do have to buy the 128 GB model, however.

There's no cellular option on the MacBook as it's Wi-Fi all the way (though you could always use your smartphone as a hotspot).

Software

Software
Software

The software running on these two devices accounts for one of the most crucial differences between them. It's iOS 9 vs. Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan – mobile vs. desktop – and everything that means for the kinds of apps you can, Siri (iOS only), multitasking (more advanced on the MacBook, simpler on the iPad) and file access (complete access on the MacBook, none on the iPad).

Power users will still lean towards the MacBook (or, perhaps more likely, a more powerful model of MacBook), but Apple is pushing the iPad Pro as a modern productivity tool (note the new Split View multitasking mode for example).

Release

Release
Release

The MacBook has been available to buy since April. Those of you who fancy an iPad Pro will have to wait until November (and we still don't have any pre-order info).

Starting price

Starting price
Starting price

The iPad Pro – tablet only – rings up for US$799 (32 GB), $949 (128 GB) or $1,079 (128 GB + cellular connectivity). But while the iPad's Pencil stylus ($99) and Smart Keyboard ($169) are technically optional extras, they may be essential – especially the keyboard.That's a hefty outlay but the entry-level MacBook costs an extra $232 over it (after all, it is a full computer system, with more storage).

For more, you can check out Gizmag's full review of the new MacBook (and stay tuned for more on the iPad Pro).

2 comments
ManishBhatia
Did you really just compare an oversized iPod to a laptop? Really? Really???? One has the entire ecosystem of desktop software and once has the walled garden of the App Store (which apparently needs a little weeding out as well) One has the full touchpad, mouse and keyboard interface and the other one has....a pencil? Ever try to work on a spreadsheet with a stylus? Even the one measly port of the Macbook has the options of ripping to an attached CD burner via the single adapter from Apple (or cheaper ones on Amazon) How the heck can you even compare something to a laptop without a friggin' mouse to interact, scroll, click, select and on and on? You know a tablet that does come close to replicating this? Any decent Android tablet - External memory addition, Bluetooth mouse, touch screen, full file system access, USB and HDMI port options, abitlity to dowload apps like XBMC straight from the store and on and on and on... In fact I am using a wonderful Android tablet to type on this right now with a Bluetooth Keyboard. Full HD screen at a gorgeous 1920x1200 re3solution. 10 hours of battery life. Standard charging cable. A 128 GB micro SD card tucked in there. And it has LTE. You know how much? $350 Actually, $250 with a 2 yr addition to my Mobile Share plan. The LG G Pad X 10.1 from AT&T. Might want to check out the ultra light and ultra high performer out. Good things come in packages not named Apple. ESPECIALLY for competent tablets.
robertswww
Nice review for those considering which Apple product is right for them. I am interested to see which port, USB-C or Lightning, will become the de facto standard on future Apple products. Even though the MacBook runs OS X with the full suite of desktop applications available, I think the iPad Pro is going to have more appeal to digital artists who like the option of having a stylus for doing detailed, intricate lines and brushstrokes, with the feel of using a pencil.
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