With the release of the MacBook M2 Pro on January 18th, 2023, many have been left wondering how this new and improved MacBook Pro chip compares to the rest of Apple’s product line. Take the iPad Pro, for example.
Equipped with an M2 chip instead of the new M2 Pro, the latest iPad Pro still competes with the MacBook M2 Pro in many regards. Let’s pit the two against one another, comparing and contrasting the iPad Pro vs MacBook M2 Pro to find out for certain which Apple product is best for each individual.
iPad Pro vs MacBook M2 Pro: Side-by-Side Comparison
|MacBook M2 Pro
|October 18th, 2022
|January 24th, 2023
|Available Screen Size(s)
|11 inches; 12.9 inches
|14 inches; 16 inches
|11-inch model: 9.74 in. x 7.02 in. x 0.23 in.
12.9-inch model: 11.04 in. x 8.46 in. x 0.25 in.
|14-inch model: 12.31 in. x 8.71 in. x 0.6 in.
16-inch model: 14.01 in. x 9.77 in. 0.66 in.
|11-inch model: 1.04 lbs
12.9-inch model: 1.51 lbs
|14-inch model: 3.5 lbs
16-inch model: 4.7 lbs
|None (8-16 GB RAM)
|128GB – 2TB
|256GB – 8TB
|Liquid Retina XDR display
|Liquid Retina XDR display
|External Display Support
|Up to 6K resolution
|Up to 8K resolution
|Number of Ports
|1 USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port
|3 USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports
|6 speakers (with Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio)
iPad Pro vs MacBook M2 Pro: What’s the Difference?
Now that we’ve gotten these basic specs out of the way, it’s well worth diving deeper into a few key differences between the iPad Pro and MacBook M2 Pro. From their varying price to their diverging sizes to their distinct functions and beyond, the professional-grade iPad and the professional-grade MacBook have just as much that sets them apart as unites them. Allow us to elaborate below.
- 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion, True Tone, and P3 wide color
- M2 chip with 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU
- 12MP Wide camera, 10MP Ultra Wide back camera, and LiDAR Scanner for immersive AR
- Wi-Fi 6E connectivity
- 256 GB memory storage capacity
The starting price of the iPad Pro and the starting price of the MacBook M2 Pro should be enough to firmly establish the fact that these are two very different products. (Even in spite of their various similarities noted above.)
The iPad Pro starts at just $799 for the 11-inch base build and goes up from there, reaching a top price of $2,399 for a fully equipped 12.9-inch iPad Pro with 2TB of storage plus cellular. The MacBook M2 Pro, by comparison, begins at $1,999 for the most basic 14-inch build and reaches prices of $2,699 or higher for the most decked-out 16-inch models.
Naturally, this brings us to our second consideration: size. The iPad Pro’s screen size comes in two options: 11 inches and 12.9 inches. The MacBook M2 Pro, comparatively, comes in two screen sizes as well: 14 inches and 16 inches.
This obviously makes the MacBook M2 Pro’s screen larger, but it doesn’t stop there. The MacBook M2 Pro is also bigger in physical size, being longer, wider, and thicker than the iPad Pro. Not to mention, the MacBook M2 Pro weighs anywhere from 3.5 to 4.7 pounds, whereas the iPad Pro tops out at 1.51 pounds at most.
This leads to our next key difference, which is function. Looking at the two Apple products, it’s plain to see that one has a keyboard and the other doesn’t. While the iPad Pro can support external keyboard attachments and Bluetooth keyboards and trackpads alike, the MacBook M2 Pro has these things built right in.
What’s more, one is a touch screen and the other isn’t. This touchscreen functionality is part of the iPad Pro’s entire appeal, whereas the MacBook has never even so much as suggested implementing touchscreen functionality to its build.
The internal makeup of the iPad Pro vs MacBook M2 Pro is another point of deviation for the two Apple products. The iPad Pro sports an M2 chip, which is a computer chip that is significantly less powerful than that of the M2 Pro.
Beyond this, the iPad Pro has less memory, less storage, less memory bandwidth, and less battery than the MacBook M2 Pro. Its CPU and its GPU also fall short of the ones in the M2 Pro, with the latter being almost double the size of the former. (The iPad Pro tops out at a 10-core GPU, while the M2 Pro offers up to 19 cores for its GPU.)
Because both of these products are designed with portability in mind, it’s worth talking about the kind of connectivity supported by each. This includes both wired and wireless connectivity. Interestingly enough, both the iPad Pro and MacBook M2 Pro have support for Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3.
Both also use USB-C ports. However, the iPad has just one port, while the MacBook M2 Pro has 3 USB-C ports, an HDMI port, and space for an SDXC card, too. Without a doubt, the iPad Pro falls short of the M2 Pro’s connectivity features.
Audio and Picture Quality
- Liquid Retina display with 1,000 nits brightness
- M2 Pro or M2 Max processor
- Up to 32GB of unified memory
- Touch ID and Magic Keyboard
Lastly, but nevertheless importantly, is the difference in audio and picture quality between the iPad Pro vs MacBook M2 Pro. Believe it or not, both boast a similar screen quality: a Liquid Retina XDR display with a beautiful, HDR-enabled peak brightness of 1600 nits.
However, the similarities stop there. The iPad Pro has just four speakers. The M2 Pro has six, plus Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio. The iPad Pro supports one external display with a resolution of up to 6K. The MacBook M2 Pro, by comparison, supports up to two with a resolution of up to 8K.
The History of the iPad Pro
First introduced back in 2015, the iPad Pro stands as a much-needed middle ground between Apple’s tablet computers and their laptop computers. Existing in that highly coveted in-between space where products can function well for both work and play, the iPad Pro amps up the performance of a base model iPad to put it on the same level of computing power as a number of lower-range Apple laptops.
Currently, in its fifth generation, the iPad Pro has seen a new upgrade almost every year since its 2015 launch. At the start, the iPad Pro immediately grabbed the attention of the masses for the way it introduced the new Apple Pencil as well as a faster CPU, better RAM, and increased storage.
However, some qualms with battery life and screen size kept this first-generation iPad Pro from truly soaring as future generations would. A second-generation model dropped in June of 2017, improving these faults and adding great new features such as improved high-dynamic range, greater storage, and a better internal chip.
The third generation iPad Pro from 2018 was the moment the high-powered tablet truly came into its own. With the removal of the Home button, increased storage of up to 1 TB, the addition of a USB-C port, and support for both a Magic Keyboard and a trackpad, the iPad Pro had finally become what it always showed promise of becoming.
The fourth, fifth, and sixth generation iPad Pros — released in 2020, 2021, and 2022, respectively — each represented minor but nevertheless important steps up for the product. Today, it boasts an M2 chip, ProRes Video Recording, and lots of RAM and storage.
How the MacBook M2 Pro Competes
The MacBook M2 Pro is quite a different product in comparison to the iPad Pro. First introduced back in January of 2006, the MacBook Pro has been a key component of the Apple product lineup for more than 15 years at this point.
Over the course of this more than a decade and a half, the MacBook Pro and all its various generations have been synonymous with the most powerful laptop computer under the Apple umbrella. It boasts more computing power, more ports, more storage, and more capabilities than the smaller, more affordable MacBook Air.
Of course, the MacBook Pro also offers users more professional functions and features than the iPad family of products ever could. This is not necessarily a critique of the iPad or the iPad Pro, but rather a comment on the kinds of tasks the MacBook Pro was created to accomplish.
The MacBook Pro serves as the Apple laptop with the most storage, the most power, the best graphics, the strongest chips, and so on. You won’t find a number of the MacBook Pro’s impressive internal hardware specs on any other type of MacBook, let alone an iPhone or an iPad.
No matter if it’s a 13-inch Pro, a 14-inch Pro, or a 16-inch Pro, the product nevertheless makes good use of the “pro” moniker in its title. This has never been more true than with the MacBook M2 Pro and M2 Max chips announced and released in January of 2023.
Even if these new chips eventually make it to the iPad Pro, it likely won’t be for a while. Just look at the iPad Pro’s current chip technology, the M2. The 14- and 16-inch models have never used the chip because it isn’t up to the Pro standard. Only the 13-inch model adopted the M2.
iPad Pro vs MacBook M2 Pro: Pros and Cons
|Pros of iPad Pro
|Cons of iPad Pro
|More portable than the MacBook M2 Pro
|No built-in keyboard
|Cheaper than the MacBook M2 Pro
|Less battery life than a MacBook
|Touch screen with Apple Pencil support
|Less impressive computing power than a laptop
|More powerful than the base model iPad
|Short on storage, even with 1TB models
|Pros of MacBook M2 Pro
|Cons of MacBook M2 Pro
|Some of the most powerful Apple silicon technology to date
|Many internal specs pale in comparison to the M2 Max chip
|Amazing 22-hour battery
|Impressive internal computing specs
|Base model storage is far too little
|Lots of customization options
|Much less portable than an iPad
5 Must-Know Facts About Apple’s Chip Technology
- For many years, Apple relied on Intel chip technology in all its products. However, in 2020, Apple slowly implemented its own silicon chips across its full line of products.
- Apple’s chip technology is known for its exceptional machine-learning ability. This is thanks to the way the chips are built, equipped with Machine Learning Accelerators and special Neural Engines.
- The very first MacBook models to be built with Apple’s debut chip, the M1 processor, had their debut on November 10th of 2020.
- Apple’s latest and greatest computer chips are the M2 Pro and M2 Max, implemented into the fifth-generation MacBook Pros in January of 2023. Expect to see these chips show up in other Apple products in due time.
- iPhones use special Apple silicon chips under the “A” line. The most recent of these is the A16 Bionic, currently only included in the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max.
iPad Pro vs MacBook M2 Pro: Which One Is Better For You?
When it comes down to it, there’s just no denying the MacBook M2 Pro’s superiority over the iPad Pro. However, that’s not exactly what the iPad Pro vs MacBook M2 Pro debate is all about. After all, someone who wants a tablet will not be satisfied with the M2 Pro.
Same for someone who wants a laptop with the iPad Pro. At the end of the day, both of these products soar high above the rest of the competition in their respective fields. As individual products, both are great for their intended uses. As rivals, the MacBook M2 Pro wins out.