Macbook Pro vs iPad Pro

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m extremely excited about the iPad Pro and what it brings to the table. It features a super-powerful A9X system on a chip, 4GB of RAM, and improved memory architecture. It’s a beast of a machine, no doubt.

But is the iPad Pro beastly enough to go toe-to-toe with an 2.3 Ghz Intel i7 equipped MacBook Pro with 16GB of RAM? Surely that’s crazy talk, no? Watch my video to find out…

The result speaks for itself. The iPad Pro easily keeps up with the MacBook Pro in a 4K export test using the same 4K source footage and iMovie.

Granted, this is a two-year-old Late 2013 MacBook Pro, but still! When I bought this machine, it was pretty impressive in its own right. I skipped the discrete graphics for battery and fan noise reasons, but the Iris Pro integrated graphics it sports isn’t exactly a slouch.

The iPad Pro just went toe-to-toe with what was, just two years ago, a moderately powerful Mac. Just think about what things will be like in 2-3 years. People have doubted my ability to get real work done on the iPad Pro, but if that turns out to be true, it certainly won’t be due to lack of power.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any concerning bottlenecks in the iPad Pro’s workflow, because there are. For example, importing the source footage needed for the export test took several minutes longer on my iPad Pro due to the USB 2.0 Lightning to SD Card adapter. Thankfully, it looks like a USB 3.0 variant for the iPad Pro may be on the horizon.

It would also be nice if Apple gave us more pro apps, like Final Cut Pro X and Logic. Even if it just beefed up the capabilities of apps like iMovie and GarageBand, that would do a lot of good, too.

Needless to say, I’m absolutely giddy about what the iPad Pro brings to the table. I know a lot of people have been using the iPad as their main machine for a while now, but as someone who does videos and podcasts, I never truly believed in the back of my head that I could get real work done on an iPad…until now.

  • Unknow Unknow

    So then get MacBook Pro,it just an iPad It won’t run OS X

    • Ángel Javier Esquivel

      But, with those speeds when exporting 4k data on iOS, it’s still useful when you don’t have a full-flexed mac

      • But just like it was stated in the article, it still doesn’t handle the entire process as well as a Mac. Importing is slow. It’s just not as productive as a Mac plain and simple. They don’t even optimize iOS for the iPad pro. It’s iOS all the way including mobile websites and watered down apple office apps.

      • TechnoBuff

        Which still goes back to the fact that this is just another IPAD…….
        Thus going down the same path as all other iPad variants once the new product hype wears off

        Whether Apple likes it or not, they are only faced with two options with the fate of iPad as a whole. Either change the OS which will likely cannibalize the Macbook Pro or watch the IPad die a slow and painful death with IOS.

      • Tommy Gumbs

        Finally a person with common sense.

      • Bart

        LOL, it outsells any of the wanna be ‘tablets’ by orders of magnitude though. Including ‘surface’ or any of the high end Roids. Dream on.

      • TechnoBuff

        That flawed mindset was how Microsoft declined over last decade, which can happen to any company.

        Certainly it outsells but its not increasing thus there lies your lack of understanding of the present dynamics

        The facts are there… iPad sales is constantly declining and this IPad Pro(IN ITS PRESENT FORM) will not make much difference after the hype is over.
        By the way, i didn’t create the dream of declining sales Dream on…

      • Bart

        Oh, trust me, I know that Windows is not selling. LOL

      • TechnoBuff

        LOL, you really have no clue what you are talking about.

        Any serious person out there knows 80% of laptops/desktops out there are Windows based irrespective of PC declining sales and that is not changing anytime soon with Windows 10.

        I am device agnostic and owns both platforms( windows and mac)including IOS thus my views aren’t jaundiced by fanboyism.

      • Bart

        Actually, Windows is declining every quarter. They are still the go-to cheap, generic computer. They have completely lost the high end users (not gamers). Apple pulls in 97% of the high end at this point.

      • TechnoBuff

        Shows your lack of understanding.

        PC sales is declining, irrespective of that, overall PC sales still dwarfs Mac sales by a huge margin.

        80% of desktops/PC out there is still PC/Windows based and this is due to a combination of reasons.

        No matter how PC sales decline, Mac and OSX will not be taking PC/Windows place as the dominant OS.

        You need to get your analogies and comparisons in the right perspective.

      • Bart

        First you lie, then you go pedantic. PC is in decline, Mac is growing and literally owns the high end. There are more PeeCees than macs? Really? LOL!

        For a lot of trivial stuff, Mac is overkill. The rip off of Mac will do, or get an iPad, etc.

      • TechnoBuff

        This is my answer to your ignorance.

      • Bart

        You are an idiot and a troll. Nice combo. Grow a brain so you can at least understand the question next time. PC is dying.

      • TechnoBuff

        LOL A troll with facts…. how ignorant you are Enjoy

      • kickinghorse99

        Watch me switch to Surface Pro 4 🙂

      • Rowan09

        If that’s the case why isn’t the hybrid market taking off?

      • TechnoBuff

        It is taking off but at a slow pace. Surface is increasing in sales year after years even though it started on the wrong note.

        If Microsoft controls its hardware like Apple does its own experience, the hybrid market would have been different than what it is now.

        There are too many hybrids implementation out there which makes a mess of the experience.

      • Bart

        No, it’s not, because Windows is in decline. Every quarter, for YEARS ALREADY.

        Quit apologizing, no one wants a surface, and MSFT has zero relevance in mobile outside of their iPad apps.

        Microsoft has no choice but to go against their tradition of software only. Their resellers/assemblers are pathetic. It’s not working, and not likely to start anytime soon.

      • TechnoBuff

        Check out my response to you above. That is the only answer i have for people like you.
        Keep on believing the spin from Apple based blogs

      • Bart

        You can’t even understand the point you are such a micro-tard. It was only ever a bad rip off. It’s declining steadily, no end in sight. That is a definite trend, regardless of your clueless denials.

      • TechnoBuff


      • Bart

        LOL is right–Windows is a joke.

      • TechnoBuff

        When you have facts instead of conjectures, please respond appropriately

      • Rowan09

        Microsoft does control its hardware since the Surface was released. How do you know the sales of the Surface is increasing when sales data isn’t available? Regardless the hybrid market is a small one and a marginal increase is due to pricing, etc. There have been for years now hybrid devices, I had a Sony UX- micro pc. If by hybrid it just means a touchscreen device with a full OS then it’s been around for awhile now. I agree though that Apple should at least with the iPad Pro make a modified OS if not running OSX on it.

      • besrate hogsa

        Apple will be forced to do something about it in the coming years.
        Microsoft is not going anywhere

        and they seem ready to take apple ……….

  • The thing about the iPad Pro that makes me think it’s not going to replace your laptop, is the simple fact that you can’t connect a device like an iOS device to backup or restore, if it’s going to replace your laptop it should be able to do tasks you could only do on a computer. Not just that, but iOS doesn’t allow to download files, and apps like Photoshop are really poor in comparison. Sure, you can edit and export video, but how do you make the intro and outro? The power is there, just think iOS doesn’t keep up with it.

    • Bart

      Wrong on all counts. First, iOS devices backup and restore wirelessly. IT makes no sense to make the iPad into a laptop, especially on this count.

      LOL, iOS most certainly allows you to download certain files.

      There are all sorts of online storage options as well. Apple has iCloud drive, and there is not a SINGLE SERVICE that can afford to neglect to offer support for iPad.

      They can ignore SURFACE, they can’t ignore iPad.

      • What I meant was some type of file explorer. Of course they can ignore the “SURFACE”, it uses the same programs as any other laptop..

      • Bart

        Some do, some don’t actually. I didn’t say they can ignore Windows. I do remember when MSFT had everyone ignoring everything but windows though. No more. A lot of geeks still upset by this. Wall Street hasn’t noticed yet, it seems.

      • Regarding “some type of file explorer”:

        There’s the iCloud Drive app which is kind of a file explorer. If you want a good file explorer app though you should download Documents by Readdle which does pretty much everything you’d want from a file explorer app.

    • Al

      “Not just that, but iOS doesn’t allow to download files”

      I think you are referring to Safari, and not iOS as a whole. Using the App Store there are ways to expand on the limitation of Safari, there are apps that will allow you to download files.

      It’s not a matter of can a laptop replace a iPad Pro… It’s whether are not you are open to do it. Plenty of people are selling the iPad short since it’s the same operating system of the iPhone. But iOS can be a well suitable OS if at least given a chance.

      • But iOS can be a well suitable OS if at least given a chance.

        It also depends on the work you want to do.

        As a developer the most I can do with iOS is write small programs in Pythonista and do some web development in Coda but I’m no where near as productive when compared to doing the same tasks on my Mac or Windows PC.

        I’m guessing I am not the target audience of the iPad Pro. It’ll never be possible for me to do any real development work until Apple opens up iOS.

  • TechnoBuff

    No matter how speedy the ipad pro is, The processor will be its only redeeming feature.

    The lack of iPad Pro optimized apps will be an issue to make this an enterprise worthy product and it is all down to the OS and moreso how much people are willing to pay for apps in a world where most apps hover between 0.99-$5.

    Lack of try before you buy will also be an issue. Personally the iPad Pro will be JUST another ipad(which it really is) and face same decline.

    Any fanboyism over the product is merely due to the fact that it is a new product, no more no less.

    FCP or any creative intensive app/program will not find their way to the Ipad pro in their present form, which also makes the idea of it possibly replacing your laptop(PC/MAC) a joke.

  • Ashy Larry

    Jeff, it seems that the same few posters are angry that you’re using your iPad Pro for tasks you normally use your MacBook Pro for. lol, this seems personal.

    • Adrayven

      Amusing. LOL

      • Ashy Larry

        Seriously, look at the comments on every iPad Pro article. Lol.

      • rockdude094

        They are just raged about the fact that the iPad pro, being an iPad, is capable of competing with laptops. On the other hand it’s cost just the same as a macbook, which tends to elevate the rage factor. Id say its just a different form of advancing technology… get over it guys its not a rival to the mac

  • raulortiz318

    All the back and forth over whether the iPad Pro can replace a laptop is just silly.

    Can it replace a laptop for a good majority of users? Absolutely yes! It has a better gaming ecosystem than the Mac, there are new fresh apps all the time, and it does things a Mac laptop could never do.

    Can it replace a laptop for everyone? Absolutely not, because there are certain fields that require a certain amount of power, legacy programs and work flows that are just not available right now, or may never be, on iPad.

    And to me that’s how it should be. Choose what works best for you as an individual. Your choice will not be the same as someone else. This is the whole point of choice.

    I’m glad there isn’t a combined iOS/OSX device as well, because the hardware and experience would definitely be compromised on both sides. I see people talking about iOS when you’re just using the screen, and then it moves to OS X when u connect the keyboard. Right there you are adding more mental friction on a user as the interface and use methods change constantly. It makes no sense to do that.

    Choose what you like. This isn’t one size fits all, nor should it ever be.

    • Ashy Larry


    • Bart

      The only reason that Microsoft is trying DESPERATELY to tie windows to a ‘tablet’ (and the reason they have beaten this dead horse way past it’s time) is because they can never afford to neglect the monopoly.

      From DOS to Surface, it’s all about their rip off of the Mac.

      Apple is sticking it to them though. Apple has destroyed the cost of software. A few will pay for photoshop. Not many. Most will get an iPad and an app to do whatever parts of it they want, and for MUCH LESS MONEY.

    • iPhoneWINS

      it can only replace casual computing until IOS gets full desk top versions of business software and a mouse

    • Well said. For the vast majority of people who just use social networking and watch Netflix an iPad Pro could replace a laptop (the iPad has always been a great content consumption device). However for any technical work you need a real computer.

      As an aspiring developer there is simply no way I could get any work done on an iPad without connecting remotely to another computer. This is where competitors such as the Surface Pro come into their own considering you have a full desktop OS (of course this is also a negative if you don’t need it since it adds weight, noise – from the fans – and reduces battery life.)

      Perhaps in the future I’ll come back to this comment and laugh at it, however at the moment the app ecosystem for the iPad Pro isn’t strong enough and iOS also limits the potential of the device since it’s not as open as a desktop OS such as OS X or Windows.

      • TechnoBuff

        Well stated.

  • iPhoneWINS

    apple will eventually introduce aa “new” produce called the MacPad and it will indeed be OS X with touched mouse abilities running on tablet device … but that will not be anytime soon

    • TechnoBuff

      It does not have to be OSX but it will have a form of mouse/touch and file explorer capabilities including ability to install legacy apps.

      Apple is merely watching the market on Ipad Pro to see how it shapes up, iPad Pro/IPad sales performance within the next two years will determine.

    • Bart

      No, but they will, likely within a year, have a new computer that costs less than a relic PC, trounces it from a performance standpoint, and still gives them 30%+ margins. The only thing it would “lack” would be the ability to run Windows (no big loss).

  • rockdude094

    Two words: software optimization

  • Bomchikawawa

    I’m sorry but is exporting really something that important? As far as I’m aware that only has to do with the hard drive capabilities, nothing to do with calculation speed or even necessarily the amount of ram on board. Isn’t this just a basic transfer of data from the ssd in the iPad to what ever other storage medium you’re using? How does this prove to be usefull in terms of productivity?

  • Being Two

    MacBook Pro had no SSD – even at that it gave the iPad a run for its money.