Monday, February 14, 2011

MacBook Air vs. iPad Follow-up

I received some responses and questions from my last post about the MacBook Air 11.6". I got mine in late November of last year, and took it as a sign when I got a request from Apple (this morning) to take a survey about my purchase. I probably need to follow-up on some stuff I'd posted previously here (clickorz) and here (clickorz).

When I'd compared the MacBook Air to the iPad previously I gave four reasons why I didn't see my iPad getting dusty any time soon. The first revolved around the iOS App Store being better at the time. That was three months ago, and I'm already having to eat those words. The Mac OS App Store is far better than anticipated with many of the Apps I use on my iPad getting ported over.

My other reasons for liking the iPad still stand, but mostly from the perspective of casual computing or leisure. When I need to get work done on the go, my MacBook Air is what I've been reaching for lately. I even purchased a small Wacom Bamboo Tablet for doing visual stuff.

Most people aren't going to blow the money on both a MacBook Air and an iPad. Only silly people do that. (-_-) Which one should you buy? Here's what I use those devices for, when and where.


Checking my email, instant messaging, Facebook, and browsing the web. As an email browser, the iPad is virtually unmatched. The new Sparrow 1.0 App (Clickorz) might change my mind though. Available now in the Mac App Store.

Browsing my Photo Library in general. Also, if I were to grab my camera and wanted to have a way to view and edit my photos on the go, I'd take my iPad (and the camera connection kit). Yep. iPad.

Playing Games. Civ Revolutions, Strategery, HighbornHD, RageHD, Chaos Rings, Space Station HD, Dungeon HD, N.O.V.A. and Real Racing HD are my favorites.

I use Looptastic HD to make background music to write to, my Things App to keep track of my Projects and PlainText to generate raw text for those projects. I use iMockups, Sketchbook Pro, and a host of image editing apps to generate visual content.

Instapaper and Flipboard are what I use to consume textual content from the web. Those two Apps alone make the iPad worth every penny I paid for it. iBooks is still my favorite eReader even after demoing the Nook.

I also use my iPad to run both my SS RPG Tables. I tried using my MacBook Air last Saturday and it just isn't as good a companion at the game table. My iPad also goes with me to the Deadlands game I play in, so I can reference the game materials using iBooks.

My iPad is used primarily for leisure and a little bit for work. Being able to combine it with a ziplock bag and watch Law and Order in the tub is a nice bonus.

MacBook Air 11.6:

Basically performs the same functions as my desktop. It'll run Photoshop and Dreamweaver CS4, Sketchbook Pro, Artboard, World of Warcraft (from an external HD), iChat, Mail, Pages, iPhoto, etc. I don't think it could emulate Windows 7 (and my dev software) using Parallels without getting choked out, but the new MacBook Air line allegedly coming in June might.

My MacBook air is used primarily for work, and to fish in World of Warcraft when I'm stuck in a hotel room somewhere.


Of course, you'll have to draw your own. Regardless, I'd recommend waiting if you can get by with your old mobile gearz, whatever they may be. Here's the gossip:

Like I said before, the rumor is that Apple is going to update the MacBook Air in June with Sandy Bridge processors, a potentially large jump in performance.

There are folks in the know who say the iPad is going to get updated not once, but twice this year. I suspect that the iPad 2 will have 1 GB of RAM which would definitely make it worth waiting for. Especially if you plan on using your iPad to open and view large (200 page+) documents crafted in Pages, PDFs, etc.

Again, If you're thinking about making the jump to either a MacBook Air or an iPad, and you can hold out with your old gear, I'd wait. Yeah, me too. I hate waiting.


  1. MacBook Air in June for me. 13" for my old eyes.

  2. Great reviews and posts...Maybe G Ma needs a laptop also...