Apple: iPad Pro (2020) versus MacBook Air (2020): Performance & features

More than ever, the Apple iPad Pro and MacBook Air are competing as hardware and software progress. Appleiphonest brings them together to highlight the biggest differences to see which is the best purchase.

12.9-inch iPad Pro (right) and MacBook Air (left)

Distinctive features and characteristics

The MacBook Air 2020 has the same design as the 2018 model. It maintains the two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the left of the device and a headset on the right. It features a 13.3-inch True Tone Retina display and a 720p FaceTime camera. It has a large glass trackpad and the updated magic keyboard.

IPad Pro 11 and 12.9 inches

The Apple iPad Pro features a single USB-C port, a beautiful Liquid Retina display available in 11 and 12.9 inch sizes, a 7MP TrueDepth camera system, a 12MP wide-angle camera, a 10MP ultra wide camera, a LiDAR scanner and an incredible Bionic A12Z processor. this in the full review.

The iPad has the latest version of iPadOS, Apple’s forked version for iOS, designed for tablets and has really changed in recent years. With the most recent major updates, we were able to perform multiple tasks at the same time, run image images, run split screen applications, use an external monitor, use a real cursor, save to external storage, etc.

The MacBook Air also took advantage of the additional features of macOS. As a more mature operating system, there is less talent with each update. The MacBook Air can do almost everything the iPad has been able to do for years.


The iPad Pro 2020 is equipped with the new A12Z Bionic processor. We compared this to the 10th generation Intel Core i3 processor on the basic MacBook Air 2020.

Geekbench 5.1 results for iPad Pro and MacBook Air
Geekbench 5.1 results for iPad Pro and MacBook Air

When we run the latest Geekbench 5.1 benchmark in the pair, it’s clear that the iPad Pro is powerful. The iPad Pro achieved an 1117 and a 4653 in single-core and multi-core tests, respectively. This is comparable to the 1074 and 2412 earned by the MacBook Air i3.

Even if you spend $ 250 more to purchase the quad-core i7 processor, the iPad Pro still wins. The MacBook Air i7 has been enhanced, but only for a 1294 core and a 3514 core.

Test results for video export
Test results for video export

For real-world testing, we export a six-minute 4K movie from iMovie to any device. The MacBook Air i3 lasted six minutes and two seconds, the MacBook Air i7 took five and a half minutes and the iPad Pro took just three and a half minutes.

When it comes to processor or graphics intensive tasks like video editing, photo editing, iPad Pro is the best device to have, if you can handle it on iPadOS.

Closer than you think

If we do our best to combine these two elements – things come together in terms of specifications and performance.

MacBook Air 2020
MacBook Air 2020

We need to equip the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the magic keyboard (we’ll keep it in the first part, instead of looking for cheaper options from third parties). This leads to a total of around $ 1,350 for a similar-sized screen with a trackpad, keyboard and two USB-C ports.

On the MacBook Air side, we need to improve performance to get closer to the power of the iPad Pro. That means opting for the quad-core i7 processor, which costs $ 250, in addition to the basic i3, for $ 999.

This puts two machines separated by about $ 100.

Which to choose …

Only performance shows that iPad Pro is graphically faster and more powerful, both in terms of benchmarks and in real-time video export tests. It has a touch screen, can be equipped with the same magic keyboard as the MacBook Air, can have a trackpad, works with the Apple pencil and can be switched from a laptop-like machine to a pure tablet in a flash. eyes. eye.

Stuck in its shell shape, the MacBook Air is slower than the iPad Pro, even if you pay hundreds to upgrade the processor on it. There is no touch screen, Apple Pencil is not supported – although third-party scratchpads can be used, no rear view camera and the webcam is not as good as the iPad Pro TrueDepth 7MP camera system.

IPad Pro camera module
IPad Pro camera module

But hardware is never everything. The software that drives them can either make or stop the experiment. In recent years, iPadOS has become powerful with support for better multitasking, sliders, external storage and more. But it is still the iPadOS. There are software and tasks that you cannot perform on a tablet.

When choosing between the two, think carefully about the reasons why you plan to use the device. Ask yourself if there are tasks you can’t do on an iPad or if there are tasks you can’t do on the Mac. If what you do is possible on both, iPad Pro seems like the most complete choice.

Offers for iPad and MacBook Air 2020 professionals

The new 2020 hardware is currently on sale at the best retailers. Check out our 11-inch iPad Pro 2020 price guide, 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2020 price guide and MacBook Air 2020 price guide for the lowest prices and the best offer.

New offers for iPad Pro 11 inch 2020

12.9-inch iPad Pro 2020 economy

Discount MacBook Air 2020