MacBook v iPad: For the writer, it's better to go for the full Macty

Posted on by Mike Evans

Earlier this year I went through a long decision making process on a new laptop. Was it to be the all-new and gorgeous 12in MacBook or the more sensible 13in MacBook Pro. On paper, the Pro wins hands down: Much faster processor, opportunity to load more memory, more storage, a traditional Mac keyboard and a full complement of ports.

The MacBook, though, with all its perceived disadvantages (slow mobile processor, single port, need for adapters, unusual clackety-clack keyboard and locked-down memory) was the winner. It wins because it is the ideal travel companion, light, fast enough (even for basic Lightroom work) and highly desirable.

I’ve made the point that the MacBook with its retina display and weight of under 1Kg is a strong competitor for the iPad Air. Add a keyboard to the iPad and it becomes thicker than the MacBook and almost as heavy.

But the story doesn’t end there. As a writer I need a keyboard and I also appreciate the multi-tasking interface of OS X. Even the latest split-view system on the iPad is no substitute for the ability to use windows, flicking from source to target in seconds. 

Dan Moren of MacWorld agrees with me:

Apple’s also made huge strides over the last few years with the capabilities of apps on iOS, including improvements like extensions and background app refresh, and now true simultaneous multitasking in the form of Split View. We’ve seen great productivity apps arise on iOS, like Launch Center Pro, Workflow, and Editorial which bring advanced capabilities like scripting and inter-app communication. 

But—and yes, that’s “but” number two—at the end of the day, the natural state of iOS is a locked-down system. I don’t believe there’s anything inherently wrong with that—it’s a perfectly valid choice that’s led to iOS being the most secure mobile operating system around. But that security comes with trade-offs, too. There’s never going to be the amount of flexibility on iOS that’s developed on the Mac over the years. 

He is right. Good at is, the iPad is a compromise for power users, especially for writers. When I am travelling I need a full-service computer, one that can cope particularly with uploading and processing camera RAW files. Yes, you can fudge all this with the iPad but it is no substitute for the full Macty.

Read Dan Moren’s full article here.