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comparison of specifications and tasks

With the announcement of the new iPad Pro and MacBook Air (2020), one of the questions that generate more doubts among Apple users returns. The new generation of these computers share some common points, but at the same time they are more different than ever. Choosing a MacBook Air or an iPad Pro in 2020 requires focusing on the tasks for which we will use it. That’s why, beyond the specifications, we need to look at its capabilities.

iPad Pro or MacBook Air (2020): technical specifications and differences

MacBook Air (2020)

comparison of specifications and tasks
comparison of specifications and tasks

iPad Pro (2020)

Screen

13.3 inches; resolution 2560 x 1600 at 227 dpi; True Tone

11 inch, 2388 x 1668 at 264 dpi; 12.9 inch, 2732 x 2048 at 264 dpi; ProMotion, P3 color range and True Tone

Weight and dimensions

1,29kg; 1,61 x 30,41 x 21,24cm

473 grams, 0.59 x 24.76 x 17.85cm ; 643 grams, 0.59 x 28.06 x 21.49cm

Base storage

256GB SSD

128GB SSD

Processor and RAM

Intel Core i3, configured i5 and i7

A12Z Bionic with neural engine and M12 co-processor

Graphics

Intel Iris Plus Graphics

8-core GPU

Authentication

Touch ID; Apple Watch

Face ID

Cameras

FaceTime HD 720p

12MP wide angle camera and ƒ1.8; 10MP ultra wide angle camera and ƒ2.4 and numerous technologies; FaceTime 7MP camera and ƒ2.2

Augmented reality

No

Yes, using cameras, ARKit and LiDAR sensor

Connectivity

USB-C x2; Wi-Fi 802.11abgn; bluetooth 5

USB-C x1; Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax; MIMO; bluetooth 5; 4G optional

Audio microphone

Stereo speakers x2; microphones x3

Speakers x4; studio microphones x5

Trackpad keyboard

Backlit with scissor mechanism; Force Touch trackpad

Optional Magic Keyboard, backlit with scissor mechanism; Force Touch trackpad

Stylus support

No

Yes, Apple Pencil 2

Operating system

macOS 10.15.4 Catalina

iPadOS 13.4

Price

From 1.199 euros

From 879 euros, Magic Keyboard from 339 euros (1,208 euros)

Common tasks between both teams

With the arrival of the MacBook Air and iPad Pro (2020), the decision is harder than ever. Especially now that the iPad Pro allows to incorporate the Magic Keyboard with scissor mechanism and trackpad. The addition of this accessory opens up new paths for productivity on the iPad.

This is thanks to iPadOS 13.4 and the addition of mouse support to the entire operating system. A mouse similar to a desktop computer , but very different in its behavior. With this new support, which also makes compatible other mice other than the one included in the Magic Keyboard, the tasks that both computers can perform in common increase.

The processing of long and elaborate texts, creation and edition of spreadsheets of certain complexity, high quality video edition with precision, 3D modeling and use of web services in desktop version are some of those examples.

When to choose a MacBook Air or iPad Pro

The decision to purchase a MacBook Air versus an iPad Pro, both from 2020, lies in the need to use specific apps or services on macOS. Apps that are not found in their exact version or with a reliable adaptation in iPadOS . It may also be because adapting workflows to other apps or services on iPadOS is considered too costly.

The priority of this device is also given by its screen size, of 13.3 inches and lower pixel density than the iPad Pro, but sufficient. More screen space, coupled with the flexibility of using multiple windows is also a key element for many users.

The base storage is double that of the iPad Pro, with 256GB. This translates into fewer headaches when managing files locally, although these limits are increasingly reduced thanks to the cloud in its various forms. The Windows virtualization is an option that is only available on MacBook Air. If you use software based on this platform with some regularity, without equivalent in iPadOS, this Mac is your best option.

On AppleNew iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard and MacBook Air: all the details

The iPad Pro, on the other hand, also has features or unique tasks that MacBook Air doesn’t:

  • Two sizes, weight, reduced dimensions and 4G connectivity for users who prioritize extreme mobility.
  • Higher quality and resolution screen, with technologies such as P3 color gamut and ProMotion. Essential for users who need color accuracy.
  • Thanks to the A12Z Bionic processor, all tasks that require more processing and graphics benefit from the Intel chip in MacBook Air. One example is games.
  • The Apple Pencil opens the door to a range of tasks unique to the iPad Pro (or any current iPad). Taking notes by hand is one of them, although the greatest potential lies in precise drawing tasks.
  • Document scanning can be done from the iPad Pro itself thanks to its back camera system. Essential for many professionals who handle physical and digital documentation.
  • Augmented reality is also beginning to be a differential aspect of the iPad, even more relevant in this 2020 model. Its camera system complemented with LiDAR makes it a reference in the consumer market.

With the increase of common tasks, the choice between one team and another at the end lies in the adaptation or not of our workflows and the new tasks offered by the iPad Pro

At the same price, we have two similar teams for some tasks but with fundamental differences. If we match screen size and capabilities, the MacBook Air still costs 1,199 euros compared to the 1,209 euros plus the 399 euros of the keyboard with trackpad, 1,608 euros in total . In the end, we are comparing two computing paradigms that have never been so close. The MacBook Air represents the traditional computer , with workflows inherited and perfected over decades. If your profile and uses fit this computer, it’s your ideal candidate.

At AppleA iPad with iPadOS 13.4 and a Magic Mouse works in our first contact

The iPad Pro, by contrast, takes some tasks in common and adds new ones that are impossible or more complex to perform on a MacBook Air. With this generation, there are more shared and distinct jobs on a Mac than ever before. If your workflows can be adapted or are already designed for an iPhone or iPad, this iPad Pro is your best device.

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