Combination of Mac and ipad - what to buy?

I am in need of buying a new Mac, and a bit further down line I also need to get a new iPad Pro.

I need a laptop because of some music production software that is noe yet full featured on the iPad, and I need an iPad to read sheet music.

So, I`m considering if a M1 Macbook air + a refurbished iPad pro 12,9" could be a nice solution. But the 14" mbp is also very tempting!

Since my current 15" mpb lasted 8 years before dying on me, I want to buy a computer that can last a long time, and therefore are pondering what specs to go for in my new computer. Is 16 GB ram and 1 TB storage overkill, or a wise purchase to futureproof my machine?

Thankful for all responses!

I got an M1 Air with those specs and don’t consider it overkill for music production.
I’m sure you’d be fine with 8GB RAM now, but in 2-6 years’ time who knows?
And music production can use up lots of storage space, so I find 1TB is perfect for me as I really dislike using external storage on a portable computer.

As long as you can plug in your instruments etc, I’d say the air is fine unless you are happy to spend lots more money to get the nicer screen. You can’t really go wrong with whatever you choose.

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I think it depends on your use case. You are not going to fall short any time soon with 16GB or 1TB, these are wise future-proof investments, but it could be overkill. I am running a late 2018 i7 MBP and it works fine with Logic for small projects (up to 10 tracks with lots of effects).

I agree with @GraemeS and @pantulis “it depends on your use case”. I was an I.T. director and managed all kinds of computers & network devices. And I never had more than 8GB of ram in any of my MacBooks. Today I’m retired and use an iPad Pro for most of my computing, including video editing, and have an 8GB/256GB M1 MBA.

None of the M1 MacBooks are upgradable. If there is a possibility you might need 16GB of ram, buy it now. You can add external storage later if necessary “depending on your use case”.

I think you are spot on right with the 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD config.

For almost all folks, especially where you are planning a dual device lifestyle (MacBook and iPad), the MacBook Air M1 is still a killer machine, but I understand the pul towards the new 14".

My personal MacBook Pro is a 2016 i5, and at this point I’m thankful that I got 16GB of RAM at the time, as it is still very capable and will continue to serve in my family for years to come. This is complimented by an iPad Pro 12.9" 2021, that I would love to unlock more of the performance of at some point (specifically with better external monitor support), oddly iPad is the best spec’d computer that I currently own!

Buy the best you can afford. You likely wouldn’t lament a little overkill but it would be harder to recover from not having enough RAM. It’s not as if you can install more RAM.

I can tell you that the MBA is a marvel of a machine. I love everything about it. It is super fast, holds a charge for three days (I’d surmise), charges up in no time. The graphics are lovely. The keyboard is sensational. I can’t even type but when I get on a roll my fingers just glide along the keyboard.

IMHO, it is quite a bargain. Maybe just go ahead for the M1 MBA and later on pick up a iPad Pro.

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Thanks a lot for all your respones! It seems the mba is probably fine for my needs, but I think the nerd in me will splurge a bit and go for the new 14" mbp. :sunglasses:


A bit late to the topic but: I have an 11" iPad Pro + Magic Keyboard and had an M1 Air. I loved the Air (it’s now my daughter’s), but for a lot of just-pick-it-up-and-use-it-for-something uses, I found that there isn’t that much of a differentiator between the Air and the iPad Pro. I now have a 14" MBP and for when I need a Mac, it’s a better Mac than the Air and substantially different than the iPad.

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This. My Air was great, but it was too similar to my iPad Pro, which is essential for my work. I opted for the 14-inch for more power to use the Mac to the fullest extent of my needs. But every situation is different, and the Air is a fantastic machine.

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I don’t know if you have made a decision, but if you haven’t I would ask more about music specific uses: are you doing audio or virtual instrument recording? What plug-in are you using? Genre of music you are producing?

16gb may be plenty for singer songwriter, may not work for heavy orchestral mock ups.

When it comes to the choice between an iPad Pro and a MacBook Air, I went with the MacBook Air. The M1 is something I wanted to get for a while. I did it this morning.

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WTG! You are going to love this machine! It is a lightning fast speed demon, needs a charge every three days. I LOVE everything about it!

I thought first of getting an iPad Pro. Then I noticed that will all the extras I’d need, the M1 Air would be cheaper. SOLD!


I need a laptop to write sheet music in Sibelius since their iOS-app is missing some key functions. And I’m using MainStage live in my work as a musician in bands and theatre/musical gigs. I’m also doing basic audio recording and editing in Logic which could be handled on an iPad. But I think I will work more efficiently on a Mac.

Still leaning towards the 14’’ MPB though, so that will probably be what I end up buying.

Yeah, sounds like the MBP might be a better solution. The iPad is great, but it is lacking some things that you need. I know you mentioned Sibelius, but have you tried Dorico on the iPad? It is pretty full featured - and free with some limitations. I no longer use Sibelius so I can’t compare, but you could take a look and see if Dorico on iPad works for what you need. I really like using it to sketch out things at the piano when away from my Mac.

The reason I was asking more about your recording work is trying to see if any of your must have plugs are not yet ready for the M1 chip. If you are using basic Logic plugs, you are all set. Remember that if even one of your audio plugins (including virtual instruments) needs to run in Rosetta, Logic will have to run in Rosetta as well. This may not be an issue because Rosetta is so good, but something to be aware of.

Audio editing on the iPad is not great. Logic isn’t on the iPad (yet?) so you would have to go to something like Cubasis or Ferrite… Which may not be what you are looking for. I find the Mac a lot more efficient when working in a DAW for music. For Podcast editing, Ferrite gets high marks. I don’t do much of that, so I can’t say.

Good luck -