Apple has announced a lot of new hardware this past year, including new additions to the iPad Pro and MacBook Air ranges.
Some of the most anticipated revamps have been to the iPad Pro series, which came in the form of the iPad Pro M2 this year.
The MacBook Air range has also been treated to an upgrade with the M2 chipset, putting these two devices on equal footing when it comes to their processor.
Before we start, it’s important to note that we haven’t yet been able to review the iPad Pro 2022, so we won’t be making any definitive comments on its performance. We have, however, been able to review the MacBook Air 2022, so we can make some educated guesses on which device is best for you.
We will also be only focusing on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro model and not the 11-inch model since that is a closer match to the MacBook Air in terms of size.
Release date and pricing
Both the iPad Pro and MacBook Air are available to buy from the Apple store and third-party retailers.
Looking at the 12.9-inch iPad Model, it comes in five different storage variations and comes with the option for cellular connectivity. We have broken down the price differences below.
- 128GB with Wi-Fi: £1249
- 128GB with cellular: £1429
- 256GB with Wi-Fi: £1369
- 256GB with cellular: £1549
- 512GB with Wi-Fi: £1599
- 512GB with cellular: £1779
- 1TB with Wi-Fi: £2049
- 1TB with cellular: £2229
- 2TB with Wi-Fi: £2499
- 2TB with cellular: £2679
The MacBook Air, meanwhile, comes with three different memory options and three different storage options. The price breakdown for the MacBook Air can also be found below.
- 8GB memory with 512GB storage: £1549
- 16GB memory with 512GB storage: £1749
- 24GB memory with 512GB storage: £1949
- 8GB memory with 1TB storage: £1749
- 16GB memory with 1TB storage: £1949
- 24GB memory with 1TB storage: £2149
- 8GB storage with 2TB memory: £2149
- 16GB memory with 2TB storage: £2349
- 24GB memory with 2TB storage: £2549
Both models also have add-ons that can make the overall price more experience, like engravings and more powerful power adaptors. Depending on the configuration you go with, the cheapest option is the iPad Pro. However, there is not a massive difference in price once you start delving into the higher configurations.
Design and display
Starting with the iPad Pro, it comes with a 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED backlit display. The resolution sits at 2732×2048, with Apple claiming that it can hit 600 hits of brightness during normal use, 1000 nits at maximum brightness and 1600 nits while playing HDR content.
It also packs in support for ProMotion, meaning that you will be treated to a 120Hz refresh rate during intensive tasks like editing or scrolling, with the refresh rate dropping down when it’s no longer needed to save battery.
It has support for the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil, and in terms of ports, features a USB-C Thunderbolt 4 as well as a Nano-SIM tray on the cellular models. The Wi-Fi model weighs in at only 682 grams, while the cellular variation is a little heavier at 684 grams.
The iPad itself comes in two colour options: Silver and Space Grey. It has rounded edges and a thin bezel, with few design changes when compared to its predecessor, the iPad Pro (2021). There are four speakers, an integrated microphone and the usual volume switches and a top lock button.
The rear camera module is square and consists of Wide and Ultra Wide cameras, with the former being 12MP at f/1,8 aperture, and the former being 10MP at f/2.4 aperture with a 125-degree field of view.
The MacBook Air, meanwhile, comes in four colours: Silver, Starlight, Space Grey and Midnight. We thought that it looked very similar to the MacBook Pro (2021) 14 and 16-inch models. This gives it a boxier looker and no wedge design, with our review noting that it felt very portable thanks to the low weight of 1.24kg.
It comes with two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support, as well as a MagSafe 3 charging port and a 3.5mm audio jack, which is not featured on the iPad Pro. The inclusion of MagSafe means that you can charge the laptop without using up either of the USB-C ports, although you will need to have a MagSafe charger handy.
The screen is 13.6-inches and uses an LED-backlit display, with a 2560×1664 resolution and up to 500 nits of brightness, according to Apple. We were disappointed that the MacBook Air didn’t feature ProMotion technology and instead stuck with a 60Hz refresh rate, meaning that on-screen motion may not feel as fluid as on the iPad Pro.
The screen features a notch since Apple thinned down the top screen bezel, which we didn’t mind too much. However, we did note that the notch would be more welcome if Apple decided to upgrade its 1080p front webcam.
Both the iPad Pro and MacBook Air come with the M2 chipset. The iPad Pro comes with an 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU and a 16-core Neural Engine. The MacBook Air comes in two variations, with the first being identical to the iPad Pro and the second having an 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU and a 16-core Neural Engine.
In our review of the MacBook Air, we found that the M2 chip is not leaps ahead of the M1, and we wouldn’t recommend anyone pay extra to go from an M1 machine to an M2 machine. However, it still offers a fantastic performance, with 4K editing in Adobe’s Premiere Pro being easily achievable.
Moreover, since the iPad model packs the same power as the base MacBook Air, we would think that the iPad Pro would have more than enough power for browsing, and would likely be fit for creative professionals that want to draw and edit on a tablet.
The iPad Pro does come with USB-C Thunderbolt 4 support, meaning that it can be easily connected to an external display and will transfer files very quickly. The MacBook Air instead opted for Thunderbolt 3 technology, which will still allow for fast transfers.
Since we haven’t been able to review the iPad Pro yet we can’t definitively claim which has more power, however, since they come with the same processor configuration we would expect them to perform similarly. The real difference will be in the interface since the iPad runs on iPad OS 16 and is a dedicated tablet, while the MacBook Air is a laptop that runs on macOS, and will have support for macOS Ventura.
Users that want a powerful tablet can also kit out the iPad Pro with a compatible keyboard, from Apple or a third-party retailer, and use it as a 2-in-1 device, which gives it a little more versatility than the MacBook Air.
You can check out a more detailed list of the spec differences between each device below.
Specs of the iPad Pro (2022) and MacBook Air (2022)
Until we get the iPad Pro M2 (2022) in for a review we can’t say for sure that one device is better than the other. However, after spending time with the MacBook Air M2 (2022) and reviewing the specs, it looks like these two devices are very similar, with only some minor changes in terms of software and features.
The main difference is the hardware design since the iPad is a tablet and the MacBook is a laptop. If you’re looking for a device to use at work or school that packs a lot of power, the MacBook Air is likely the best option, since it comes with an integrated keyboard and will be better suited to typing up essays and working with multiple windows open.
However, if you want a portable device that has more versatility and can be used to draw on or take pictures with, the iPad Pro is the way to go. It can be paired with a keyboard (sold separately) when required, and it boasts a large touchscreen and support for the Apple Pencil, making it ideal for any creatives out there.