What it is: Apple offers a variety of mobile computing products that are starting to overlap between OS X and iOS.
Most people want a mobile computer. That’s why laptops outsell desktops. While many people can get along just fine with a smartphone, most people need a computer of some kind. For people who need a computer on the road, the big question is which one?
If your needs are simple and don’t rely on connecting to another computer such as a network or sharing files with a Windows PC, then an iPad Pro should be fine. By using Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, you’ll have a basic office suite to do all your work. However, if you need to run Windows, connect to a network, or share files with Windows PCs, then you might prefer one of the MacBook options:
- MacBook Air
- MacBook Pro
The MacBook starts at $1,299 and offers the latest features such as a redesigned keyboard, Retina display, and Force Touch trackpad. Try typing on this keyboard and see if you like it because this will be the future of MacBook keyboards. The big advantage of the MacBook is that it offers the latest features that will likely trickle down to the other MacBook models. The biggest disadvantage is that it’s relatively expensive compared to the other MacBook models and runs a much slower processor.
The MacBook Air is the least expensive laptop, starting at $899 with an 11-inch or a 13-inch screen. This lower price gives you less standard memory than a MacBook (4GB of RAM vs. 8GB of RAM) while also lacking a Retina display. The MAcBook Air uses the old style keyboard that you might prefer for touch typing, but lacks Force Touch in its trackpad. If your heart is really set on a MacBook Air, you might want to wait for an updated model, but chances are good the MacBook is going to replace the MacBook Air since they’re both so similar.
The MacBook Pro is meant to be a professional laptop starting at $1,299 with a Retina display and Force Touch trackpad, but with the older style keyboard like the MacBook Air. If you like the MacBook Air but need more power, then the MacBook Pro is the better option.
If cost is an issue, then get a MacBook Air. If you need processing power, then get a MacBook Pro. If cost isn’t an issue and you don’t need a fast processor because you won’t be running Windows as a virtual machine, writing programs in Xcode, or editing designs in AutoCAD, then a MacBook should be fine.
The lightest laptop is the MacBook at slightly more than 2 pounds. The MacBook Air is roughly 2.38 pounds while the MacBook Pro starts at 3.48 pounds. The iPad Pro only weighs 1.5 pounds.
Since the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro haven’t been updated in a while, you could probably wait until early next year for the new updates. For basic needs, the choice boils down to the MacBook or the iPad Pro. Whatever you decide, the more choices available gives you options but also risks confusing you, so take your time and examine your needs first before you decide which mobile computing option to buy.