5 Reasons the iPad Pro Still Can’t Replace the Macbook

“Many people are telling us that the iPad Pro has become their primary computing device,” said Apple CEO, Tim Cook at last Monday’s Apple Spring Event. One question Tim, who? When the 12.9-inch iPad Pro was released last year, Cook said, “They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones.” Sure, that might be true depending on what you use your computer for; however, even then, there are major gaps between the two devices that have me rolling my eyes at another iPad and waiting for an updated Macbook.

iOS vs OSX

Whether or not you like Microsoft’s Surface Pro or not, I think it’s got one thing right. Although I’m not a fan of Windows 10, I greatly appreciate how it translates to the Surface Pad, allowing you to truly do it all. Yet Apple has no plans of making OSX available for iPads, but that single shift would make me completely reconsider my viewpoint. Don’t get me wrong, I love iOS. And it's getting better all the time too. But on my Macbook, I can install software and download apps from the App Store, which means I have the best of both worlds. On the iPad, it feels severely limiting to have a platform identical to my iPhone. Which leads me into the next reason why the iPad Pro still can’t replace the Macbook.

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Full-Service Software

An easy example of this is Photoshop. Yet another example would be Microsoft 365, which Apple is promoting as an add-on for the new iPad Pro. Why buy the add-on if apps like Microsoft Word are free? Because not all of the features are available within the free apps. Did you find some awesome, free software online you want to download? Well that’s too bad, you’re using an iPad Pro. This may not be a deal breaker for everyone, but it’s something to seriously consider if you’re thinking about replacing your Macbook.


Comparable Keyboard

Apple’s Smart Keyboard accessory simply doesn’t compare to a standard keyboard, and for some, having a trackpad remains an important aspect. Of course, you could spend roughly $150 for a Logitech or Clamcase keyboard, which are arguably better than Apple’s. But when you add that price tag to what you’ve already spent on the iPad Pro (especially if you’re considering the larger edition), it doesn’t seem as reasonable an idea. Of course, if price is no object then buy it all, but when the budget forces you to choose, it’s important to consider how much value each dollar provides. Which lends to reason number three: Storage & Memory.  


Meet My Friends: Storage & Memory

The max amount of storage available when buying an iPad Pro is 256 GB. While Macbooks, depending on the model, have up to 1 Terabyte of internal storage. And that’s a big deal considering it takes 1000 GB to make 1 TB.

Memory capacity in a device affects the performance of installed software, among other things. A large memory capacity allows you to have more applications with larger files running without lag or warnings. If you’re going to use your iPad Pro as a computer, memory is important, because we often multitask in a number of ways. A Macbook can have up to 16 GB of memory, while the iPad Pro has 4 GB.


Price Points

Between the iPad Pro and Macbook, battery life is pretty close. And the Apple Pencil alone has made me sincerely wish the iPad Pro could replace my laptop. However, the larger iPad Pro with 256 GB plus Wi-Fi and LTE capability goes for $1229, while the smaller iPad Pro with the same specs costs $1029. Once you add the price of the Apple Pencil ($99) and the Smart Keyboard ($129), your totals come to $1457 and $1257 respectively. Meanwhile, a Macbook with 256 GB of storage and 8 GB of memory will cost you $1299, or a 13-inch Macbook Pro with the same stats will cost you $1499. This ties back into the idea of getting the most value for your dollar. If the previous four reasons were resolved, the nearly identical price tag would be perfectly fine, but with them taken into consideration, the limits of the iPad Pro makes it too expensive. 


If you are considering replacing your laptop with an iPad Pro, I recommend making a list of the activities you perform often or often enough that they’re important to you, and make sure your purchase won’t limit you in any way. That’s not to say the iPad Pro doesn’t have some benefits over the laptop, such as LTE capabilities and Apple Pencil support. But overall, the iPad Pro is not yet able to replace a laptop. Apple could surely change that in the future, but not today.



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Conner Carey holds a bachelor's in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing and resides in Fairfield, Iowa. When she's not writing, you can find her singing jazz or watching anime. Her personal blog can be found at connerleecarey.com; you can also follow her on twitter @connerleecarey.