Which is Better for College and Productivity: a MacBook Pro or an iPad Pro?

This is a part two of a summition priviously posted. My question is, being around the same price is a macbook, or iPad pro better for my rest of my two years in highschool, and college? I currently do use a iPad 4 and am looking to upgrade in some way but, I want to make the right decision. In addition I am use to using a pc, and use a pacmate 440 braille computer. Through i am a windows user and i like many of theor features including zoom, I like how everything is already built into the mac. I also have no plans to use a braille notetaker at the time. The technology and software on them are unbelievibly out dated, and can be quite annoying to hear they can not do special to do task, Instead i would use a braille display and i know braille displays can both connect to the iPad and computer. Through the last to years of highschool I will be attending a career program over teaching. I will learn how to teach student and shadow teachers. With all of these combind through i can easily make it through without it, i like to be abke to use a piece if technology like these for the program. What can an IPad pro do that a macbook pro can't and vice versa? Are iPad apps such as read to go available on the mac? I am very excited to see where my technologies will be able to take me and I thank you for your help,


Hi Owen.

Hi Owen.
First, iPads run the iOs operating system. If you use an iPad 4, then you shouldn't have much issue with an iPad pro. However, The mac in my opinion is the way to go. I know that you can do word processing, web browsing, etc with the iPad, but I like having an actual computer to do those kinds of things. It's faster for me to go into a web page with safari, and if need be,e copy the text into text edit or whatever and read it that way. I am not sure if read to go is available on the Mac. I personally have been a mac user for almost 6 years, prior to that I was a hard core windows user and wanted a better experience. I haven't looked back at my PC days since! Actually a mac is more than an iPad pro, running somewhere around $1500-2500, just giving you a ball park here, so whatever you choose you should be pretty well off. They both do things well for your needs, however, I'd recommend the MacBook pro.

MacBook Pro, But...

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hi Owen,

Full disclosure: I'm a Windows user.

If you're wanting to get away from Windows, I'd definitely recommend using a MacBook (either MacBook Air or MacBook Pro) over an iPad Pro. While Apple is trying hard to market the iPad Pro as a laptop replacement, I just don't think it's there yet for a number of reasons. As Justin said in the previous comment, there are some things which are just easier on a computer.

Is there a specific reason you need a MacBook Pro vs. a MacBook Air? The MacBook Air comes in 11-and 13-inch variants, and it's more affordable...more portable...and has better battery life.

With all that said, I honestly can't recommend the Mac for academic or business uses. One of the reasons I stayed away from the Mac as a college student is the accessibility and ease of formatting text documents. While you might not have seen too much of this in your school career thus far, in higher education one's research papers/other assignments usually are required to be formatted in a very specific way. While I've heard that text formatting is accessible with VoiceOver on the Mac, practical information on the extent of this access...as well as how exactly one formats documents as a blind person...is scarce. Hopefully, people who have used the Mac for academic-type purposes will reply with more complete insights.

I'm not trying to talk you out of buying a Mac for school if that's what you really want. Rather, I wanted to make sure that someone told you about the limitations of the Mac before you spent $1,000+ on one only to find out that you need something the Mac can't currently provide. I think the Mac is a great computer for the everyday user with no specific computer usage needs, and if it's what you want...go for it!

a computer is flexible, whereas an iPad is not

App Developer

I would recommend not using an iPad. While they have many useful apps, they are not the productivity powerhouses computers can be. There is no file system, so whatever app you use has to do the job of exporting your homework and documents to turn them in, and the touchscreen makes editing painful.
For computers, I see that you have two options. If you choose to go with a mac, I urge you to consider a MacBook air. These can be much cheaper than MacBook pros, and are both lighter and have longer lasting batteries. MacBook Pros have more processing power, but your studies do not seem to require much. I can assure you that an air will not slow the process of editing documents, surfing the web, or any other standard application. A Pro is more required if you are doing powerful simulations, processor-intensive algorithms, etc. most of which you can avoid easily.Another option is to use a windows computer. This would be cheaper than a mac and a lower learning curve for you.
Either way you go, iPad apps like read2go will not run on the laptop. However, daisy playing applications are available for both platforms. In fact, bookshare has free software for both platforms. By the way, I am currently using a mac in a university setting, so I can answer other specific questions you might have.

Which is better

Some great points have been made here. One of the things I will add is how do you primarily want to interface with the device?

If you use an iPad pro its going to primarily use touch screen for input and you have a keyboard to do the typing on. This means you can do all your gestures and feel around the screen for each of the apps before selecting them as you can on any I device.

If you use a Mac computer your primary method of input will be using the keyboard and keystrokes. The Macs do have a track pad that you can do the standard voice over gestures on to navigate with as well. Mac laptops are not going to have the touch screen interaction that the iPad pro is going to offer. It depends on how you want to interact with the device as well as the points that people made above.

Using an iPad in the past for class was decent, for me but rushing to upload notes to drop box and having a place to save was not easy. Ultimately I switched back to a computer where I can quickly save and know that my notes will be in that folder the next time I use my computer.

I would highly recommend using a Mac over an iPad, from my personal experiences trying both methods.

I used an iphone to take

I used an iphone to take notes in class, but the mac was easier to take my tests on and email the teacher right away. it just depends on what you are doing.

Something else to think about

Most professors too in my experience would be more excepting of a computer than a Ipad I think. That's just my thoughts.

More for less

For the price of a relatively inexpensive Mac, you get a lot more than you would if you purchased an iPad. Also, you mentioned in your other forum topic that you did not know how to use a Mac; would you be able and willing to learn?

Reply to more for less TJT2001

I would be more than happy to learn. Getting to learn about technology is quite fun to me, and for the program i am entering they use iPad, and iMacs so over summer and to come time I would like to learn a little and get experience, even if through the program i only use my iPad and pacmate.

Here are my thoughts

Here are my thoughts
I did use mac for college studies for several years. People here have already said that formatting documents is quite painful. The same case is on iPad. The thing that iPad doesn't give you (please correct me if I am wrong), is the text attributes. You'd often need to know the font, size, alignment and even colour for some documents. Ever received a reply to your e-mail saying "So I made my edits yellow!" Good. iPad doesn't tell you the bits what are yellow. Mac does, but mac also has only 2 options - text attributes on or off. SO if you'd only want to know if the word is yellow, you'd have to listen through the size, font, alignment and anything else it might offer.
This was one of the main causes what made me switch away from mac after 4,5 years of using a macbook.
Now, if it comes to the things you shouldn't do at college classroom, that is browsing twitter, web and using messaging apps, I think iPad is better here. Many of the new apps use keyboard keystrokes, so you can use it as fast as a computer, adding the ability to touch the screen.
My advice: Get a decent windows laptop - or a mac with windows on it, but don't forget your iPad 4, its a great piece of technology.