The release of the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the changes in iOS 11 signals one thing: the death of the MacBook Air.
The WWDC keynote earlier this month announced a subtle change in the 13-inch MacBook Air – a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 chip to replace the 1.6GHz and an 8GB RAM in place of the 4GB RAM. The 11-inch MacBook Air didn’t receive this slight bump, which means Apple is pitching the 10.5-inch iPad Pro to replace the smaller Air. But is it really ready and capable to replace your trusty ultraportable?
In terms of performance, the iPad Pro has everything we ever loved about the MacBook Air – ultra-portability, performance, all-day battery life – in a package equally inexpensive. A 256GB iPad Pro with 4GB Ram and a Smart Keyboard will cost you about $908, just a little over the retired 11-inch model’s $899 price tag. But with the iPad Pro, you get the all-new Retina screen with ProMotion technology, which automatically adjusts the refresh rate to 120Hz (up from 60Hz on former models) for smooth scrolling and better responsiveness, and the new A10X Fusion processor which, in terms of raw power, rivals that of the high-end MacBook Pros.
The decision comes down to the OS. If iOS 11 – with its new dock, Files app, and the multitasking feature – can cater to your needs, then the iPad Pro is a more than reasonable choice over the MacBook Air. But iOS isn’t going to replace the MacOS, so if iOS 11 isn’t going to cut it for you, better save up to get the 12-inch MacBook or get the Surface tablet.