Apple now offers two "Air" products: iPad Air and MacBook Air. The MacBook Air series received a Haswell upgrade, while the brand new iPad Air now runs with a custom Apple A7 chipset. With a similar super thin, ultra light and durable finish, both can be a great deal. However, do users really need both or is one better over another? The answer mostly depends on what a user is looking for. Which is which for a certain type of user?
Buyers can get the iPad Air starting at $499 for a 16 GB model. The price increases to $100 for higher storage up to $799 (128 GB). Consumers can add $130 if they want one with cellular capability. A person will have to pay $929 for an iPad Air with 128 GB plus Wi-FI and cellular network.
The 11-inch MacBook Air, on the other hand, begins at $999 for a model running on 1.3 GHz Core i5 with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. The most expensive MacBook Air, with 1.7 GHz, 8 GB and 512 GB, is at $1,749.
The iPad Air sports a 4:3 9.7-inch 2,048 x 1,536 Retina display offering 264 ppi. Currently, this is the largest iOS display the tech giant is shipping. However, it does not offer as much density as the iPhone 5 line of the iPad Mini Retina. The panel uses in-plane switching (IPS) technology for great viewing angles. It also comes with LED backlight.
The 11-inch MacBook Air ships with 16:9 11.6-inch 1,366 x 768 standard display offering 135 ppi. The MacBook Air has yet to receive the Retina Display. The laptop features LED although not IPS technology yet. Whereas the 11-inch MaBook Air offers a larger display, consumers should stick to the iPad Air if they want a better and higher quality screen. Unless the MacBook Air receives another update, those particular with their screen quality will find the iPad Air better.
Performance and Battery Life
The iPad Air runs with an Apple A7 chipset. Features include custom 64-bit ARM v8-based Cyclone CPU, Apple M7 motion co-processor and a PowerVR Series 6 "Rogue" GPU. Apple claims the device can last up to 10 hours even with video playback or wireless Web use.
The 11-inch MacBook Air runs with an Intel Core i5 "Haswell" processor and integrated Intel HD Graphics 5000. Apple claims the device can last up to 8 hours with iTunes video playback, 9 hours of wireless Web use and 30 days on standby mode.
The iPad Air runs with an impressive processor. The processor can even compete at par with other desktop chips. However, consumers should not forget that it still runs on a mobile processor. The MacBook Air ships with a full on desktop processor, though the focus of the chipset is more on portability instead of power. Although Apple conducted battery optimisations on the MacBook, the iPad Air offers an hour or two more of battery life.
The iPad mini runs with iOS 7. It provides a single-user, full-screen platform that does not have user-visible file system. It also does not provide access to system-level functionality. Nonetheless, it is convenient to use and requires only a few maintenance procedures. A standard tech user can work well with the OS.
The 11-inch MacBook Air works with Apple's laptop and desktop operating system. It offers a multi-user, multi-window platform combining the capabilities of a conventional UNIX 3 ecosystem with a full on graphical user interface. It also incorporates an iOS-based launcher layer.
What Kind of User Should Get What Device
The iPad Air works well with people who do not access conventional computers all the time. It is also suitable for people who feel traditional computers are off-putting or daunting. The MacBook Air is hands down more powerful overall compared to the iPad Air. Users can accomplish more using the laptop than the slate. Nonetheless, some working conditions or lifestyles call for more portable devices like the iPad Air.
Travelling or sitting down with a lot of people offering presentations may be better with the iPad Air if they do not require as much detail or charts. Users who wish to have a portable device to check their email, send messages, go over a few documents without the added weight can be satisfied with the iPad Air.
The MacBook Air works well with users looking to have a traditional computer experience. It can offer multiple-user access, advanced keyboard shortcuts, terminal and the works. Users can find everything they need from modern GUI to Unix Box to performance, power and portability on the MacBook Air. Other tools include Xcode, Pro Tools, Photoshop and similar platforms.
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