Apple is proud of their new drool-worthy iPad Pro line and priced both models accordingly. Higher prices seem to be the new norm at Apple if you want professional level performance, the latest specifications, and the lust-worthy features.
What if you just want to get something done? Is an iPad Pro better than the Mac? The answer, as always, is “it depends.” Getting anything done is about workflow and while there is some crossover between Mac and iPad, depending on your particular work requirements, there are limitations to both.
Let me use Microsoft’s Surface notebook tablet hybrids as the example.
Surface PCs run Windows and that gives users plenty of powerful options from Office to Adobe Creative Suite; the former available on iPad and Mac, the latter available only on the Mac (for now). Since Surface PCs also come with a touchscreen they can be used as a tablet but not iPad style.
Nearly every Surface PC or touchscreen notebook tablet hybrid device is used the best way; as a typical Windows PC. The touchscreen might be used as a presentation device, and some users like the content consumption of a tablet-like device or use it for design work, but the vast majority use the Windows PC notebook tablet hybrid the way God intended. As an inexpensive notebook PC.
iPad is different.
First, thanks to the iOS ecosystem, there are more applications available for iPad than Windows or Mac. Combined. Most are not as powerful or capable but many may be more useful; whether in content consumption mode or for lighter workloads.
Second, and unlike touchscreen notebook tablet hybrids, iPad does not have what both Mac and Windows PCs have that make them more capable with specific software. Keyboard and mouse (or, trackpad) support.
A mouse is more precise onscreen than a trackpad which is more precise than a finger on a touchscreen.
Mac and Windows PC users have keyboard shortcuts which segregate the average user from the power user. iPad has some keyboard shortcuts but the typical onscreen navigation remains fingertip, and, depending upon your work requirements and workflow, that limitation means finger, hand, wrist, arm, and shoulder fatigue which does not compare favorably to typical keyboard entry fare.
Try creating and editing a spreadsheet on Excel or Numbers on an iPad. It’s painful. Figuratively and, after awhile, literally. An iPad at $329 is a powerful device but it’s not a MacBook Air even if there is $870 difference in price. Most iPads are used as content consumption devices. iPad Pro may have capabilities beyond the typical iPad (USB-C, 4K video output, faster processor and graphics, etc) but even with Smart Keyboard Folio it does not and cannot handle the workflow typical of a Mac.
How we use Mac or PC or iPad or iPhone is all about workflow and as powerful and capable as iPad Pro can be in benchmarks, workflow is what counts. iPad Pro is not a Mac.