Monday, November 30, 2015

Can the MacBook Pro Replace Your iPad?

Fraser Spears wrote a pretty funny article Can the MacBook Pro Replace Your iPad?. It's a review of a MacBook Pro in the tone of many of iPad Pro reviews I've seen. A sample:

Firstly, consider the hardware. The huge issue with the MacBook Pro is its form factor. The fact that the keyboard and screen are limited to being held in an L-shaped configuration seriously limits its flexibility. It is basically impossible to use a MacBook pro while standing up and downright dangerous to use when walking around. Your computing is limited to times when you are able to find somewhere to sit down.

I've played with an iPad Pro and it is really nice. I love looking at the big the screen and the on-screen keyboard is definitely an improvement. But I don't love holding the big screen. It's a bit awkward to hold one-handed and it's a bit heavy to hold for a while.

My sister wanted to replace her iPad 2 and spent a couple of hours in the Apple Store last week debating between the Pro and the Air 2. She didn't need cellular and 64GB was plenty; of course that would have meant a 128GB Pro. Watching her play with each I noticed she typically held the iPad in one hand and typed with the other; but with the Pro, she let it tilt so the other corner leaned against the table. She didn't realize she was doing it until I pointed it out. While the Pencil is amazing to use, I think it's really for artists. The keyboard cover does seem a thing to get. Everyone types and no one likes typing on a glass screen, and why invest $59 or $79 in a cover or case only to get the keyboard one later. With the Air there's no keyboard option and I find a cover (as opposed to a case) has been good enough. A Pro also means getting a new bag to carry it in. So including AppleCare+ the price difference is a significant $480.

  • 128GB iPad Pro, keyboard cover, AppleCare: $949 + $169 + $99 = $1217
  • 64GB iPad Air 2, smart cover, AppleCare: $599 + $39 + $99 = $737

I suspect the next generation of iPad Pro will be more interesting. A 64GB model would bring down the price $100. Like all things Apple I suspect it will get thinner and lighter. If they add ForceTouch to the keyboard it could be really interesting (so I'd be happy with a cover rather than the keyboard one). At $1007 ($849 + $59 + $99) it seems a more reasonable splurge, being just $270 more than the Air. A thousand dollars is still a lot for an additional device but it's also a good deal less than a MacBook.

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