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iPad Pro 12.9-Inch 2018 or MacBook Air 2018: Choosing the Best

iPad Pro 12.9-Inch 2018 or MacBook Air 2018 - Choosing the Best
iPad Pro 12.9-Inch 2018 or MacBook Air 2018: Choosing the Best

iPad Pro 12.9-Inch 2018 or MacBook Air 2018: A Quick Guide to Choosing the Best Apple Device

The choice between a tablet and a laptop has never been harder. This fall, Apple rolled out really great devices: iPad Pro 12.9-inch 3rd Generation (2018) and MacBook Air Retina 2018. The iPad Pro 12.9-inch, with 64GB of minimal storage and 4GB of RAM, bundled with a Smart Keyboard Folio cover and an Apple Pen, is nothing short of a laptop, including the price: you have to shell out $1,287! On the other hand, the entry-level MacBook Air Retina, with 128GB of storage, costs just $1,149. If you need more free SSD space or a faster CPU, then, naturally, the price of the MacBook Air Retina will be much higher, but the same goes for iPad Pro 12.9-inch, as well.

Let’s say your budget is $1,500 and you have a really hard time choosing between the two. We’ll try to help you by comparing the upsides and downsides of the devices.

On the plus side, the iPad Pro 12.9-inch features the most powerful mobile chip ever—A12X Bionic. As you can remember, the A12 chip is featured in iPhones XS, XS Max, and XR (Apple tablets usually get the modification with an X in their name). This year’s A12X is ripping all the competitors to shreds in the Geekbench tests. It scores 4987 on single-core and 17928 on multi-core mode. The result can be compared to those of the gaming PCs on Intel i7 from 2016. Those desktops may be two years old, but they are still plentiful, and modern gaming graphics work well on them.

The new iPad Pro with Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio offer take-anywhere power and versatility.
The new iPad Pro with Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio offer take-anywhere power and versatility.

If you watched the presentation of the iPad Pro 12.9-inch, you know that the tablet can run both the Photoshop CC and the AR app. If you’re an artist or creative person and need a portable device to accommodate your workflow, an iPad Pro 3 plus an Apple Pen are your must-haves. Artists and photographers sometimes need to see their projects in perspective. In this case, the iPad Pro 3 can be connected to a larger display with the DisplayPort through USB-C to USB-C cable.

As for me, I work more with texts, so I’d need a Smart Keyboard Folio as well, because printing with just one index finger is a nightmare. Ok, what do we have with the iPad Pro 12.9-inch’s Smart Keyboard Folio? It’s robust and heavy, making the iPad Pro 3 heavier than the previous tablet model which has a smart keyboard: 2.5 lbs. vs. 2.2 lbs. There are two grooves in the keyboard cover that allow you to position your iPad Pro 12.9-inch at two angles. When typing for long periods, both are uncomfortable, and can literally cause you a pain in the neck.. The keys are rather shallow, and while the magnets in the iPad’s back panel are strong enough to glue it to a fridge’s door, I’m still a bit anxious about the tablet’s safety.

Unfortunately, according to iFixit.com, the iPad Pro 12.9-inch scores 3 out of 10 in repairability. The only thing one can replace with relative ease is the modular USB-C port. The battery features two stretch-release tabs that have a thick layer of permanent adhesive, that can only be replaced in an authorized repair center. As always, the worst part is the screen: The LCD matrix and front panel glass are fused together. If you shatter the glass, you’ll have to replace both—this is your only and rather costly option. If any other hardware breaks, the tablet will be ruined altogether, because the inner parts sink in glue.

The bottom line: the iPad Pro 12.9-inch is a very expensive, state-of-the-art tablet that’s adequate as a makeshift laptop and costs a fortune to repair, if ever.

All-new MacBook Air features 13-inch Retina display, Touch ID, the latest processors, an even more portable design and all-day battery life.
All-new MacBook Air features 13-inch Retina display, Touch ID, the latest processors, an even more portable design and all-day battery life.

So, as a writer, I turn my attention to the MacBook Air Retina. It runs macOS Mojave, which is more versatile and has many apps with more features in their desktop version. Besides, you get a keyboard by default.

Powered with the Intel Amber Lake i5 CPU, this laptop also sports the Retina IPS screen with six million pixels. The fonts look sharper than ever. If you have some vision issues, you’ll appreciate the contrast.

Two physical cores with the clock speed of 1.60 GHz (3.60 GHz max speed) and 8GB of memory are more than enough for everyday tasks. If you work a lot with texts, graphics, images, and video, the MacBook Air Retina will be your indispensable working tool.

One serious argument against buying the MacBook Air Retina is its minimal storage of 128GB. You have to depend on a cloud service or an external hard drive. At least, with the two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports you can skip buying a hard drive with the proprietary port and use the one you already have. In spite of this, there are two features that really tipped the balance scales for me: the Touch ID and the T2 security chip.

Microsoft was the first to introduce the Touch ID fingerprint scanner to Windows laptops, but failed to evolve this feature. It’s used to unlock the laptop and gain access to Windows 10 OS. Apple was a runner-up, but easily took the lead! They just transported the Touch ID magic to macOS. You can unlock your laptop, enter your apps and clouds, and make payments with just a touch of your finger! To tell you the truth, I miss the Touch ID on recent iPhones; the face identification just doesn’t sit well with me.

The second feature that makes me pick a MacBook Air Retina over an iPad Pro 3 is the T2 security chip. It controls the boot process, multimedia drivers, and access, and can encrypt your data on the go. It is also independent from the Intel chip. With all these core-level flaws we’ve learned about recently, this was a wise solution to implement.

On the other hand, the T2 makes it impossible to fix the MacBook Air Retina in third party repair shops. One should have a proprietary diagnostic software to finish the repair, or the laptop won’t operate. On fixability, the MacBook Air Retina scores equal with the iPad Pro 12.9-inch. Ports, speakers, a battery, and even the keyboard are replaceable, but storage and RAM are not. Whether to put up with this fact or not is entirely your choice. However, I must admit that almost zero repairability is the drawback of all top devices nowadays. This is the price we pay for their slim design.

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2018 MacBook Air vs. 2018 Apple iPad Pro Comparison Smackdown [Video]

Video uploaded by MobileTechReview on November 16, 2018

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