Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) vs MacBook Pro 13 (2022): Which one to buy?

Apple revealed the MacBook Pro 13 (2022) during the main keynote of WWDC22. This controversial addition to the Mac line pack the M2 chip in a classic chassis. It skips the redesign we saw on the MacBook Pro (2021) — which you can buy as refurbished units for a cheaper price. Despite its dated body, the MacBook Pro 13 is still a powerful notebook for power users working on the go. Should you buy it, though? This is the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) vs MacBook Pro 13 (2022) — the battle between two Pro, yet very different, Apple devices.

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Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) vs Apple MacBook Pro 13 (2022): Specifications

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) Apple MacBook Pro 13 (2022)
  • 11.04 x 8.46 x 0.25 inches
  • 1.5lbs
  • 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 inches
  • 3lbs
  • 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR multi-touch display
  • 2732 x 2048
  • Up to 1600 nits peak brightness
  • True Tone technology
  • ProMotion 120Hz technology
  • Support for Apple Pencil 2
  • 13.3-inch Retina display
  • 2560 x 1600
  • Up to 500 nits peak brightness
  • True Tone technology
  • Two Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • Headphone jack
  • 128GB
  • 256GB
  • 512GB
  • 1TB
  • 2TB
  • 40.88Whr battery
  • Up to 10 hours of video playback
  • 20W charger
  • 58.2Whr battery
  • Up to 20 hours of video playback
  • 67W charger
  • Stereo speakers with wide stereo sound and spatial audio support when playing Dolby Atmos content
  • Pro rear camera system: 12MP Wide and 10MP Ultra Wide cameras
  • TrueDepth camera system: 12MP Ultra Wide camera with Face ID support
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 5G (Cellular model)

Design: Awe-ful vs Awful builds

Design is indeed a subjective matter. Nonetheless, we can often make observations and break down elements objectively. In this case, one device fills you with awe, while the other is awfully outdated. Apple is still recycling the same body it has been using on the MacBook Pro 13 for years — which explains why the iPad Pro looks significantly more modern.

m2 MacBook Pro 13-inch

To be fair, though, one device is a tablet, while the other is a notebook. So the iPad Pro expectedly looks cleaner than the MacBook. It’s thinner, has a more futuristic build, and weighs significantly less. It’s a neat slab of glass with thin bezels and rounded corners — a window to step into the digital world.

Display: Thinner, brighter, clearer — the iPad is a Pro at what it does

Shading with the Apple Pencil on the 2021 iPad Pro.

Speaking of thin bezels, the iPad Pro has a display that almost completely defeats that of the MacBookPro 13. The only downside of the tablet is that it’s slightly smaller in size. Otherwise, it has a higher resolution, ProMotion 120Hz refresh rates, 1600 nits of brightness, and more. So if you’re looking for the better screen between the two, definitely aim at the iPad Pro.

The MacBook Pro’s display is decent — despite it not being the best out there. If you don’t plan on creating or editing sophisticated and colorful illustrations or videos, then it should be enough for your average needs. Additionally, the iPad Pro has a multi-touch screen with Apple Pencil 2 support. So if you’re a doodler or heavy note-taker, the iPad Pro might make more sense than the MacBook Pro 13.

Performance: iPadOS breaks the iPad’s streak

m1 chip overview

Performance is where the MacBook Pro 13 shines over the iPad Pro. We can’t compare a MacBook Pro with a dedicated cooling system to a thin tablet. Not only that — the MacBook Pro packs the 2022’s M2 chip, an upgrade from 2020’s M1 chip. However, perhaps the biggest disadvantage of the iPad Pro is iPadOS. Despite iPadOS 16 introducing the Stage Manager feature, it still is too lacking when compared to macOS. The latter is a desktop operating system that easily defeats the overhyped mobile OS.

Apple M2 specifications graphic

Additionally, the iPad lacks a keyboard and trackpad. Yes, you could buy them separately, but good ones aren’t the cheapest. In the tablet’s defense, you get with the iPad a Pro camera system on the rear with support for 3D mapping — thanks to LiDAR. You also get Face ID support, thanks to the TrueDepth front camera. Nonetheless, the iPad Pro loses to the MacBook Pro 13 this round, as it also has a worse battery life and fewer ports.

Bottom Line: Cosmetics or Practicality? You decide

A close-up of the camera bump on the 2021 Apple iPad Pro

In the iPad Pro vs MacBook Pro 13 battle there is no winner. These are two different devices that belong in entirely different categories. They each cater to unique needs that the other product can’t necessarily cover. If you’re looking for better portability, the minimalistic design, touch support, then the iPad Pro is a solid device in this department. After all, not everyone needs the power of macOS. If your work revolves around web apps, an iPad with a separate keyboard will work just fine.

If you’re looking for a more solid, future-proof computer for more intensive needs, then the MacBook Pro 13 is the one to choose. This computer has fans to keep the processor cool, so it’ll take longer to throttle the performance. That’s not to mention that it supports up to 24GB of RAM — rather than only 16GB. Its battery will also last you almost double the time when in use, so it’s more practical than the iPad.

Both of these devices are available in the same two colors — Silver and Space Gray. You can grab an entry-level iPad Pro for $1,099 or pay an additional $100 for a MacBook Pro 13. Ultimately, only you can tell which device works better for you. We’ve only broken down the specs of each of them to help you decide accordingly.

    Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021)

    The 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2021) packs the Apple M1 chip, includes optional 5G support, and houses the TrueDepth camera system in its thin bezels.

    Apple MacBook Pro 13 (2022)

    The 2022 MacBook Pro 13-inch offers a classic design, reintroduces the Touch Bar, and packs the M2 chip.

Which Pro Apple device will you be buying, and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

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