An LTE iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil will cost more than a MacBook

The gap between tablets and laptops has been rapidly shrinking for some time. Tablets are becoming more powerful and more productive every day. But actually replacing your laptop with a tablet? That's a leap that many have taken, and for the iPad user that's even more tempting with today's announcement of the iPad Pro. Thing is… doing so is expensive. Really expensive.

Let's compare the iPad Pro to the closest Apple computer: the MacBook. The top-end iPad Pro packs a spacious 128GB of storage, while Apple's MacBook starts at 256GB. Of course, iOS and its apps will need less space on the iPad than OS X and Mac apps need on the MacBook, so that storage disparity will be fine. Probably.

Throw in the Smart Keyboard cover to give your shiny new big iPad some tactile typing, the gotta-have-it Apple Pencil, and an LTE radio (sure, the MacBook doesn't have an LTE option, but it should if you ask us), and you come to a price tag that's higher than the baseline MacBook. Math time!

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 iPad Pro 128GB LTE:$1079
+Smart Keyboard:$169
+Apple Pencil:$99
Row 2 - Cell 0 Row 2 - Cell 1 $1347 vs. MacBook 256GB at $1299

That's not to say that this is or isn't worth it — it's entirely up to you whether or not you think that's worthy of your dollars. The MacBook and iPad Pro are two very different beasts. Where the iPad Pro offers a full touch experience with fingers and an advanced stylus, the MacBook is better suited to juggling multiple apps and heavy lifting computing.

A more fair comparison might be to the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. 12-inch tablet with Pro in the name vs. 12-inch tablet with Pro in the name, after all. Microsoft's flagship tablet starts at $799 like the iPad Pro, but that model has double the storage at 64GB. Bumping the storage to 128GB adds $100, and tossing in a $130 Type Cover (the Surface Pen is included, but is $50 if you want to buy another) brings the total bill to $930 (though if there were an LTE model it'd doubtless add about $120 to the bill). Granted, it's tough to compare the unreleased Apple A9X processor in the iPad Pro to the last-generation Intel Core i-series processors in the Surface line.

There are compromises to be made there too — Apple's stylus is clearly more advanced, and Apple's tablet is thinner, but you're paying far more for a comparable amount of storage. And that Surface Pro 3 has a built-in kickstand, a full-size USB port, and can be configured with an Intel Core i7 chip and 512GB of storage, sure, but its screen is far less pixel-dense (though still quite nice) and those Intel chips need actual vents and fans to keep them cool. And it runs Windows 10, which may or may not be an issue for you.

Again, your money. Spend it where you see fit.

Derek Kessler

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.