MacBook Pro and iPad or MacBook and iPad pro

Simple question…trying to decide between a MacBook Pro and iPad or the MacBook and iPad Pro. Typical use case for iPad is pdf annotation for pdf files, academic reference annotation, reading books in bed so going for smaller iPad size (have original iPad 12.9 which still works amazing for pdf full page document annotation with Apple Pencil). With regards to MacBook 8gb vs 16gb worth upgrade? Otherwise have a few ssds so going smaller hard drive. Really trying to figure out if any appreciable benefit for faster iPad or faster MacBook for the money.

Of note, have and love the original iPad Pro 12.9, but my iPad mini no longer supports updates so my kid got my old ipad 3rd gen so need something more “bedroom” friendly to read with.

Edit: MacBook refers to MacBook Air (m1) and MacBook Pro is the m1.
Also I have a specced out iMac 27” which still runs great and is my desktop/big screen/video/photo editing spot. My 2013 MBP is end of life.

One issue here is whether you’re comparing the current, low end M1 iPad Pro or the (notional) M1X iPad Pro.

I think the upgrade to 16gb is worth it for most users. Even if you don’t need the memory on regular basis it will improve performance via caching. My preference for laptops is to have all the data on the internal drive if possible. Don’t like carrying and having to plug in external drives for routine work.


Didn’t know there is an M1x iPad Pro available?

Also, what MacBook are you referring to in the second option?

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I would say that unless you’re a professional artist, the iPad Air is more than enough. The refresh rate is higher on the Pro, so it is better for painting/drawing, but this will not make a difference to reading and annotating. I have a similar need with an iPad and my next upgrade will be the next version of the Air.

With regards to an M1 MacBook, I went with the 16GB and I have never received any out of memory errors. I have a friend who has a 8GB MBP and he does recieve these errors regularly, and he has a similar workflow to me (academic writing and coding).


What is meant by a “Macbook” here, in the second option? A Macbook Air?

MacBook Air m1 and MacBook Pro m1

No, not available and isn’t a thing.

I big part of answering this is what will you be using these for?

But, with an iPad Pro M1 and the M1 MacBook Air there may be a lot of overlap and with the screen on the iPad Pro being much better than the Air it could be you would want to use it more than the Air.

If you are using the iPad for consumption and annotation with the Pencil, I’d lean to the iPad Air which will cover the needs well (unless you are doing photo editing on the iPad, then the better iPad Pro screen would be worth considering). But, having the better screen on the Pro and fans, should you need them that may be the a good route.

The M1 MacBooks cover a lot of the same range and are similar, so if you are doing work where you need a better screen (brighter) and a bit more power through the boost that cooling gives lean to the MBP.

From what you have written, there doesn’t seem much need for the Pro of either devices, I think.
The MacBook Pro doesn’t offer much advantage over the Air (IIRC) unless you are pushing it for extended periods.
The iPad Air is really good apparently and should handle the tasks you listed just fine.

8 vs 16 GB is contentious. I still argue that most people will find 8 GB just fine. Maybe a memory warning will pop up, but that’s not the end of the world and maybe they’ll disappear as software gets updated (or maybe not, maybe it’ll get worse, no one knows). There’s lots of talk of memory pressure, but I’m personally not convinced that’s a thing worth worrying about these days (for most people). I’m recommending my sister-in-law gets 8 GB as she doesn’t do much on her computer.
Having said that, I did end up going for 16 GB for my MBA to give myself some peace of mind.
I also bought 1 TB SSD as I also dislike my portable devices relying on an SSD, though if I get an M1 iMac that may get a smaller SSD to save cost.

Just a thought. I bought the iPad Air 4 last year then the M1 Mac Mini (16GB/256GB) this January. For similar use cases to what you’re describing, the combo works really well! Depends on your portability needs I guess.

I suspect @ChrisUpchurch Meant the MacBook Pro M1 or M1x/M2 which is rumoured to come “soon”

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Yep. Brain fart on my part.

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So I just traded in my Intel MacBook Pro for an M1 MacBook Air. I also have a 12.9 iPad Pro that I just upgraded. I had a 10.5-inch Pro that I upgraded to an Air (I got impatient in March). I missed the 120 hertz screen because I use Procreate and other design apps heavily. Once the new iPad Pros were announced I gave my Air to my parents and got the new Pro. Because I use the iPad for art, I decided to get that and downgrade to the MacBook Air (but this thing is a beast!). I really wanted a new iMac, but now that I am fully back at work and in the world again, my workflow desperately calls for portability over strapping a computer to a desk.

With all of that said, it really depends on your needs. For your description of tasks, I think the Air would be a perfect fit, especially since you can use the magic keyboard and Pencil 2 with it.