Since the announcement of the new MacBooks, I've gotten a bunch of folks on Twitter asking me whether this is the machine that will replace my poor drowned MacBook Air, and move me from the 12.9-inch iPad Pro to its 9.7-inch cousin.
I won't lie: It's tempting. I love Mac laptops, and as much as I enjoy working on my iPad Pro, there are still things that frustrate me about using iOS.
But after a long internal debate between me, my inner "BUY ALL THE THINGS" demon, and my wallet, I'm sticking with the iPad Pro. For now.
Too convenient to switch
Right now, I have an excellent, Retina-quality machine that lets me do the vast majority of my work, draw and sketch in my free time, build derby practices, edit video, and more. I've got a great keyboard for it in the Logitech Create, even if it's a little heavier than I prefer. I already own all the adapters to connect it to projectors, cameras, and microphones — and I have the new 24-watt USB-C charger and cord, too.
Were I to purchase a new MacBook, I wouldn't carry the 12.9-inch iPad Pro alongside it; I'd likely move to the 9.7-inch iPad for my Apple Pencil needs. That means getting a new keyboard cover and dealing with the incredibly-slow default 12-watt USB charger, since the USB-C charger doesn't super-charge the 9.7-inch model. I'd also have to buy a new assortment of tiny, white adapters — this time, for a USB-C port, rather than a Lightning one.
It's not the end of the world, but it's an extra cost. And given that I already spent a good chunk of my budget this month on a new car, and I've spent the last six months collecting accessories for the iPad, it seems foolish to immediately go out and do the same for the MacBook.
I'm also a tad skeptical of how switching would impact my productivity: I've gotten into a great groove with the iPad Pro, and I know its software limitations and speed concerns. The MacBook is a whole new animal — and even with that Intel Skylake Core M processor, I'm not convinced I'm going to be getting much more out of it than I could with my iPad.
According to these Geekbench scores from Christina Warren over at Mashable, the high-end $1599 1.2GHz MacBook scores slightly lower on single-core than our same tests of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2894 vs. 3200 for iPad), and slightly higher on multi-core (5845 vs. 5500). If I'm going to drop another $1599 on a new computer, I want it to complement my current line of devices — not replace it.
Waiting for the elusive Pro
I see the MacBook as being a kindred spirit to the iPad Pro: They're both 12-inch, one-port devices that sacrifice traditional power features for portability and alternative computing. If you're a writer or someone who needs a lightweight computer to live in Mac OS, you're going to want a MacBook. If you want a touchscreen and stylus support, the iPad Pro is more appealing.
As such, getting one to live next to the other feels silly: They both fulfill essentially the same role, just from different angles. If I'm going to get a new Mac laptop — and, much as I enjoy iOS, I'm still going to want a Mac option at my disposal — it needs to be more than just a non-touchscreen iPad. I want something that fits in-between my iPad Pro usage and my desktop iMac — a powerful computer that's worth me leaving my big Pro behind.
So I'm going to pass up the new MacBooks, as beautiful as they are. Instead, I'll be here with my iPad Pro, waiting patiently for new MacBook Pros. I haven't had a laptop over 12 inches in six years: A new 13-inch model would be an intriguing proposition, indeed.
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