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.
Storage, Mobility Advantage Goes to Air
5. Multitouch gestures in ‘Lion’
Apple has decided to double down on multitouch with the upcoming launch of Mac OS X “Lion.” By using the Air’s trackpad, users will be able to quickly access Mission Control with a gesture, switch between apps with a swiping motion, tap-to-zoom, pinch-to-zoom and much more. That functionality has been available on the iPad since its launch last year, and it has proved extremely popular for users looking for intuitive control. It’ll be a nice addition to the MacBook Air, and it takes another advantage away from Apple’s tablet.
6. Pricing is spot-on for what consumers get
Though Apple is often criticized for the relatively high prices of its computers, the MacBook Air delivers a fine value for what customers get. The cheapest 11-inch version goes for just $999, while the top-of-the-line 13-inch model is available for $1,599. Considering users will be able to get the mobility of the iPad 2 with the functionality of a full-fledged laptop, dropping $1,000 or more on the MacBook Air doesn’t seem unreasonable.
7. Extra storage
Apple’s iPad 2 offers storage sizes of between 16GB and 64GB. That simply isn’t enough any longer. A growing number of people are storing video, boatloads of music tracks and other digital media that take up a lot of room on storage devices. A single movie, for example, can be several gigabytes in size. With the MacBook Air,Apple ups the storage considerably, offering users options of between 64GB and 256GB. Over time, consumers will find quickly that the MacBook Air’s extra storage is an absolute necessity.
8. FaceTime support
When Apple first announced its FaceTime video-chatting feature for the iPhone 4, some wondered if it would take off, since it only worked with the company’s latest smartphone and the then-new iPod Touch model. Now, FaceTime is available on the iPad 2,as well as Macs. That’s an important factor in the iPad 2’s battle with the MacBook Air. If Macs still didn’t support FaceTime, users might want to opt for the iPad 2 if their friends and family owned other iOS-based devices. But now that Apple has added FaceTime to its line of Macs, the iPad 2 doesn’t have an advantage when it comes to video conferencing.
Apple’s iPad 2 and MacBook Air were both designed with mobility in mind. Either device can be tossed into a bag and pulled out whenever necessary. But the MacBook Air arguably boasts more mobility than its tablet counterpart. The device, which is just 0.11 inches thick at its thinnest part, and weighs only 2.3 pounds, is one of the most easily transportable computers on the market. Though Apple’s iPad 2 is slightly lighter and thinner than the MacBook Air at the computer’s thickest point, it’s far more fragile. Without a case or protective screen cover, it can be damaged easily. For the road warrior, the MacBook Air seems to hold up just a bit better.
10. The iPad 2 doesn’t have the iCloud advantage
WhenApple unveiled its iCloud service at the Worldwide Developers Conference on June 6, the company made one very important announcement: The service will work on iOS-based devices, as well as Macs and PCs. That is integral to the MacBook Air’s market appeal. If Apple didn’t offer iCloud support in Macs, the iPad 2 might have become a more worthwhile option. But because they both come with iCloud, and their contents can be automatically shared through the cloud, Apple’s MacBook Air is right there with the company’s tablet. Combine that with its many advantages, and it becomes clear that the MacBook Air is one of Apple’s most compelling iPad 2 alternatives.