That’s an easier question, right? If you buy from Apple, it’s the MacBook Air, but if you hit Amazon or Best Buy or Apple refurbished lot, you can save a few hundred dollars and get the price under $1,000.
Or– this is important– depending upon what you need to do with your Mac, you could opt for an entry-level iPad at $329, toss in a $10 bargain basement Bluetooth keyboard, and for barely $350, you got yourself what looks like a Mac, walks like a Mac, works like a Mac, but is called an iPad.
Well, what if you need to do some powerful works on your Mac. You know, like Microsoft Office? There is Office for iPad, too. What about powerful video editing? No, Final Cut Pro has yet to make the transition to iPadOS, but iMovie is there. GarageBand, too. For many, the iPad’s camera is far better than any camera they have ever owned– for video or photos– and the handheld device is more hand-friendly than a Mac notebook.
Even better, iPadOS is not iOS. That means a more notebook-class experience on even the entry-level iPad. Apple is not afraid to give customers a Mac-like experience that starts at $329.
Beyond a handful of visual changes, the platform’s biggest improvements come in the form of desktop-class web browsing in Safari, key changes to Apple’s multitasking tools, a new approach to file downloads and more.
We’re still not at the point where iPadOS turns iPads into full-blown computer replacements for most people, but the update is a big step down that path.
Any comparison of iPad vs. Mac notebook needs a dose of reality; a reality that checks off a list of your requirements. If light and mobile are priorities, a $329 iPad with a cheap but decent Bluetooth keyboard might work. If you prefer a solid notebook experience but with extra horsepower, an iPad Pro with a clamshell keyboard that mimics a Mac mimics a Mac’s price tag.
What all this boils down to is the time-honored differentiator. Different strokes for different folks.
Even the new iPhone 11 Pro Max’s three cameras will not yield photo or video results as good as a $5,000 DSLR or $10,000 video camera, but most of us would not be able to recognize the differences. If you know what you need, and know what you want, and an iPad fits, do the deed and save some cash.