Comparison of the 13-inch MacBook Pro to the MacBook Air and iPad Pro


In the past two months, Apple has updated the 13-inch MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, all of which share similarities in performance and functionality.
Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

In our last video, we explored the three new Apple machines for a detailed performance comparison in order to MacRumors readers preview what device might be the best buy for their needs.

In this comparison

We compare basic Apple devices, with specifications and prices below:

  • .9 12.9-inch iPad Pro‌ with magic keyboard ($ 1350) – A12Z Bionic chip, 6 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage.
  • Macbook Pro ($ 1,299) – 1.4 GHz quad-core 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645, 8 GB RAM at 2133 MHz, 256 GB SSD.
  • Macbook Air (999 $) – 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core i3 processor at 1.1 GHz, Intel Iris Plus Graphics, 8 GB of memory at 3733 MHz, 256 GB of SSD.

Note that the ‌iPad Pro‌ is priced at $ 999, but the Magic Keyboard is a necessary purchase to put it on par with Apple laptops as it adds a full keyboard and trackpad. The magic keyboard costs $ 350.

The “iPad Pro” is also available in a smaller 11-inch model that we didn’t use for this comparison, and the price on this model starts at $ 799 for the tablet and $ 299 for the keyboard.


The BookMacBook Air‌ and ‌MacBook Pro‌ are similar in design (and we have a full comparison here), with a monocoque aluminum case, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, 13-inch Retina displays, magic keyboards with switch keys scissors, Force Touch touchpads, T2 security chips and Touch ID.

The acMacBook Pro‌ has a brighter screen and a touch bar, while the acMacBook Air‌ has one more hour of battery life and supports up to a 6K screen.

Both machines are almost the same size, although the “MacBook Air” has a tapered design and weighs 2.8 pounds compared to the 3.1 pounds of the “MacBook Pro”.

The “iPad Pro”, of course, is radically different, as it is a tablet with a touch screen that turns into a laptop with the addition of the magic keyboard. The magic keyboard also has scissor switch keys and a trackpad, though it’s smaller and doesn’t use Force Touch.

The adiPad Pro‌ uses Face ID instead of ‌Touch ID‌ and when paired with the Magic Keyboard, it weighs 3 pounds, so it’s about the same weight as the acMacBook Pro‌. It is much more versatile than the acMacBook Air‌ or the acMacBook Pro‌ because it can be used without the magic keyboard, reducing the weight to just over a pound.

Benchmark comparisons

We used Geekbench 5 on all three machines to test overall performance, and unsurprisingly, Apple’s “iPad Pro” is the fastest of the bunch. Apple’s modern A-series chips have beaten many similar Intel processors, and while Apple is working on Arm-based Macs, we still have about a year before they are ready to launch.

The ‌iPad Pro‌ had a single-core score of 1116 and a multi-core score of 4686, which was slightly higher than the single-core BookMacBook Pro‌ score of 859 and the multi-core score of 3621.

The ‌iPad Pro‌ and ‌MacBook Pro‌ both outperformed the cheaper ‌MacBook Air‌ with its Core i3 processor in terms of multi-core performance, but the acMacBook Air‌ won over the ‌MacBook Pro‌ in single-core performance. The “MacBook Air” obtained a single-core score of 1076 and a multi-core score of 2350.

It should be noted that the 13-inch 13MacBook Pro‌ uses older 8th generation chips that have not been updated, while the “MacBook Air” has the latest Intel 10th generation chips. There are “MacBook Pro” models that use the new chips, but only in models starting at $ 1,799, which is a little more expensive.

The adiPad Pro‌ has Apple’s A12Z chip, which is similar to the A12X chip used in iPad Pro 2018, although an additional GPU core has been activated in the new model to boost performance a bit.

Tests in real conditions

We also did real-world testing to see how these benchmarks translate into real performance, because the performance of a device when used for everyday tasks is more important than how it performs. compared.

Transferring a 1.3 GB video file took five seconds on the acMacBook Air‌ and ‌MacBook Pro‌, and 50 seconds on the ‌iPad Pro‌ simply because file management on the ‌iPad Pro‌ is not as robust as file management on Apple Macs.

It took 4 minutes 10 seconds to export a five-minute 4K video to Final Cut Pro on the “MacBook Pro”. On the “MacBook Air”, it took 5 minutes and 30 seconds, which is not surprising given that it has a slower processor and GPU.

There is no Final Cut Pro software on the iPad Pro, so there is no direct comparison to do, but exporting a five-minute 4K video to Luma Fusion only took three minutes, which is faster than the ‌MacBook Pro‌ and the ‌MacBook Air‌.

Software and functionality considerations

The adiPad Pro‌ is more powerful than the acMacBook Air‌ and the ‌MacBook Pro‌ (as far as the base models are concerned), but that doesn’t matter when the ‌iPad Pro‌ just can’t do what some people need .

As mentioned above, for example, there is no Final Cut Pro on the ‌iPad Pro‌ for video editing purposes, and the same is true for Logic Pro. There is no Xcode on ‌iPad Pro‌ for application developers, and although the ‌iPad Pro‌ supports multitasking, it is limited to two open applications that are used side by side at the same time.

The video quality on the ‌iPad Pro‌ is much, much better because Apple hasn’t upgraded the 720p camera on MacBooks in years, which is good for Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and other video interactions, although it’s a bit complicated to use the front camera with the Magic Keyboard attached because it is located at the top of the ‌iPad Pro‌.

The ‌iPad Pro‌ has a major advantage when it comes to activities like taking notes, reading textbooks, making flash cards, and more, thanks to the integration of Apple Pencil and the ability to use it in landscape or portrait mode.

The Apple Pencil is ideal for taking handwritten notes with diagrams and sketches, and reading textbooks is easier in portrait mode than on a larger screen.

Creative work can be done on any machine, but again, the ‌iPad Pro‌ has an advantage for artists thanks to ‌Apple Pencil‌ support. Video and audio editing is more limited on “iPad Pro” for those who are used to software like Final Cut Pro or Logic X, but there are comparable applications.

Photo editing and graphic design can be done on an ‌iPad‌ using apps like Photoshop and Lightroom, so there are many alternative workflows for people who need to perform creative tasks at using the tools on the iPad.

When it comes to writing documents, browsing the web and similar tasks, the Magic Keyboard elevates the ‌iPad Pro‌ to the level of ‌MacBook Air‌ and ‌MacBook Pro‌ and is vital for those who want a computer-like machine much more versatile laptop.

Bottom Line

If adiPad Pro‌’s shortcomings in software and multitasking do not affect your workflow, it is the most capable of the three, since it converts from laptop-style machine to tablet, supports PpleApple Pencil‌ and has the fastest performance.

The “MacBook Air” is the best value of the three because of its price of $ 999. It is the perfect machine for everyday tasks like document creation, writing and web browsing, and it can also handle video editing, photo editing and similar tasks (although it is not either not the machine to get if you plan to export all of the great videos on time or do some super system intensive work).

The BookMacBook Pro‌ is a more robust machine, better suited for tasks that require more CPU and GPU power, but to really take advantage of the capabilities of the acMacBook Pro‌, you will probably have to go to the machine at $ 1799 rather than relying on it. Entrance. level model with its old processor.

What do you think of these three machines? Have you a? Which one did you choose and why? Let us know in the comments.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here