Buying MacBook Air Over Apple iPad 2: 10 Reasons Why

News Analysis: Apple's MacBook Air might not deliver tablet functionality. But it's a better overall choice than the iPad for business road warriors as well as consumers, especially with Mac OS X "Lion" looming.

Debate rages on over the possibility of consumers opting for tablets over lightweight computers. Some say that the mobility of tablets, along with their unique functionality, is making them ideal choices for people around the globe. Those on the other side of the debate say that lightweight notebooks, while admittedly "old school" compared with the newer offerings, are still better purchases for consumers and enterprise customers who want to get work done.

Though several companies compete in both markets, Apple arguably has the most to win or lose in that debate. Not only does it have an iPad that has proven extremely popular around the world, but the company'sMacBook Air is one of the most compelling lightweight notebooks on the market. There are many customers-consumers and enterprise users alike-who go to the Apple Store looking for a mobile computer who must decide between the iPad and the MacBook Air.

Admittedly, that decision isn't an easy one to make. But a solid argument can be made for choosing Apple's MacBook Air over the iPad 2.

Check it out:

1. Bigger displays

Apple's iPad 2 comes with a 9.7-inch screen, which by tablet measures, is a large display. However, Apple's MacBook Air comes with the customer's choice of 11- and 13-inch options. Larger displays have long been important to consumers and enterprise users alike.Considering the MacBook Air wins out on display size, it might just be a better option for users.

2. A full physical keyboard

Trying to type out long documents on the iPad 2 without the additional physical keyboard accessory can be a pain. The MacBook Air, however, comes with a full physical keyboard, making it easy for users to type out long documents or emails. Consumers might not mind the iPad 2's touch screen and virtual keyboard, but for enterprise users, the MacBook Air's keyboard is a must-have.

3. Mac OS X provides more usability

Though Apple has come a long way with iOS and the upcoming installment in the software, iOS 5, looks to be a winner, it's still not as useful as Mac OS X. That operating system, which is running on the MacBook Air, is a full Windows competitor. Not only does it offer file system management-a major omission from iOS-but it also allows for compatibility with key software platforms, including Office and Photoshop. Mac OS X is simply a more advanced, user-friendly OS. And the MacBook Air, not the iPad 2, is running it.

4. It has the apps

Prior to the launch of the Mac App Store in January, Apple's iPad 2 would have taken the crown when it comes to apps. But with the availability of the marketplace on Mac OS X-based devices, it's hard to choose the tablet over the MacBook Air. After all, users can run more advanced software as well as lightweight apps and download them all from the Mac App Store. When it comes to third-party software, the better options are available to the MacBook Air.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...