iPad's battery advantage vs. Macbook no longer exists

One of the advantages of the iPad Pro was the duration of the battery over the Macbook; 10 hours since the very first model. Normally, an Intel MacBook Air/pro lasted for real work 4-5 hours. This was one of the main advantages of using an iPad for travel productivity.

However, I see that the new iPad Pro with M1 has the very same duration of battery as the first iPad. With this perspective and the much discussed topics on the decision of using both devices now it seems like the Macbook M1 is much better decision. With the magic keyboard they are close to be on the same price level. When I read that the iPad Pro was getting M1, I though that the battery could last longer as it happened with the Macbook (I know that happened because they changed the chip).

At this moment, if you want to purchase a device the battery will last longer on a Macbook! This has never the scope! What do you think?

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Do you mean 10 hours? That’s about what I would expect, since the battery size almost certainly. The MacBook Air / Pro have much more room for battery than the iPad form factor allows.

I can’t imagine “battery life” being my primary determining factor for making such a decision though. If I want an iPad, and somebody hands me a MacBook, that’s not the same thing at all. And vice-versa. :slight_smile:


macOS allows for so much more than iPadOS and indeed the battery and portability (at least for a 13’ model) are now extremely close. Since the M1 I have already decided that my next machine on the go will be a 13’ MBP. I’m tired trying to get iPadOS to do the simple things a Mac can do (files management, text expansion, automation…), so I’m giving up on it. Not on the iPad – I love taking handwritten notes on it – but as a “serious” computer on the move.

So I agree, if you’re a power user, unless you have a very specific use case and/or a very deep love for iPadOS, I don’t really see the point now of using an iPad on the move Vs. a MacBook.


I agree to @anon85228692, I am getting myself ready to purchase the new MBP Apple announces this year, that replaces the 16”.
I tried for years to get iPad to work for me (as a developer), but the limitations of iPadOS is an overkill. I will still probably have an iPad, but I do not think I need to keep it top notch. Just a tablet that works for me.


I see the former battery advantages of iPad as a fluke of the Intel period. It was not intrinsic to the form factor. Reliable battery life is still somewhat intrinsic to the OS since macOS on M1 can still run workloads that burn down the battery and iPadOS won’t allow that outside of a few poorly coded games. Buying an iPad should now be about the form factor and iPadOS, so it makes sense that many of those who just wanted their iPad to be a laptop will abandon it.

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Right. It was “Apple Silicon is more power efficient than Intel” - not “the iPad is designed to have better battery life than MacBooks”.


I’m also moving in this general direction. I have the 13" MBP M1 and the 2018 iPad Pro 12.9. I like the iPad for speaking notes and reading. I may downsize to the 11" iPad for those purposes, for taking quick notes at business lunch meetings, and working on a plane. I don’t think I need the 12.9. But, I may stretch the 2018 one more year hoping the new iPad Pro screen comes to the 11" iPad. And, once I upgrade my iPhone X, I’m waiting on the iPhone 13, I may go with the Max size.

So, depending on what happens my plan is to:

  1. Purchase the 14" M1 MPB if it is released
  2. Purchase the iPad 11" with magic keyboard next year hoping it gets the new screen
  3. Upgrade to the iPhone 13 Max Pro

HOWEVER, IF there is a big upgrade to iPadOS at WWDC, I would reconsider downsizing the iPad Pro. A big feature change in iPadOS could convince me to use the 12.9 as an alternative laptop–especially for traveling.


I have the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro and I just bought the new iPad Pro. I’ve always thought of the MacBook as my work computer (I’m a software developer, it is so far impossible to do this work on an iPad) and the iPad as my leisure device. When I go on vacation, I bring the iPad and leave the MacBook at home. I read books and watch videos on the iPad. I also have an Apple Pencil for marking up PDFs or writing out notes by hand.

I know for a lot of people having 2 expensive computing devices is a luxury, but I do think that even though the Mac is the most powerful, the iPad is better for some use cases. But if I was going to choose one device, it would have to be the Mac.


I’ve been thinking about this, too. When I get home from work, I take my MacBook and iPad Pro out of my bag, and set them on the ledge in the kitchen. In the past, if I needed to do something quickly (send an email, look something up, etc.), I always grabbed the iPad off the ledge. Now that I’ve switched to the M1 MacBook Pro, I more often find myself grabbing the MacBook. It’s all about friction. In the past, the friction was waking up the MacBook and having a delay before you could even do anything with it. Now, the friction is with some workflows on iPadOS.


Yes, I agree with you that battery is not the key element to decide; but it came to my attention that this was a very good advantage of an iPad over a Macbook in the debate to decide which device to use. To my understanding this is the first time that the battery is much better on a Macbook. I would have expected that the M1 on the iPad Pro would improve the battery (not as much as in a Macbook since the processor in the iPad has been manufactured by Apple since the beginning).

Your plan is quite similar as mine. WWDC can change everything is iPad OS 15 gives a big step. In that case an iPad 12.9" could be the solution for mobile productivity. I cross fingers!

You’ve got it backwards. The fact that the iPad Pro processor has been Apple since day one is why the M1 didn’t deliver an increase in battery life. It’s been more battery-efficient from day one.


I’ve always found an iPad easier to use “on the move”, i.e. while walking around. I was never comfortable trying to type with my MB Pro balanced on the crook of my arm.

But I agree, those that prefer an iPad do have to learn the way they differ from traditional computers. And one of those difference is the option of a cellular connection.

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I indeed hope a 5G connected MacBook is in the stars. But if not, I’ll live with tethering my phone.

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Amazing. Your plan and rationale exactly mirrors my own with the exception of a MacBook Air rather than a Pro (I just don’t need the power of the pro for my uses). Nice to know I’m not alone in my rationale. :slight_smile:

“Great minds … “ :slight_smile:

I probably don’t need the pro but I’ll be worried that at some I may so I’d rather stretch the specs just be sure. :slight_smile:

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I do understand why this happened. My only point is to say that in the very much discussed debate that many people has on being productive on an iPad Pro or Macbook, the duration of the battery advantage no longer belongs to the iPad but to the Macbook :wink:

Exactly. Battery life of an iPad Pro vs a MacBook Pro is apples vs oranges. A 12.9 iPad Pro (1.5lb) plus 1.5 lbs of spare batteries will run much longer than a 3 lb MacBook Pro. They are different tools with different strengths.