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Apple and Google Statement on COVID-19 API

From Apple and Google:

One of the most effective techniques that public health officials have used during outbreaks is called contact tracing. Through this approach, public health officials contact, test, treat and advise people who may have been exposed to an affected person. One new element of contact tracing is Exposure Notifications: using privacy-preserving digital technology to tell someone they may have been exposed to the virus. Exposure Notification has the specific goal of rapid notification, which is especially important to slowing the spread of the disease with a virus that can be spread asymptomatically.

To help, Apple and Google cooperated to build Exposure Notifications technology that will enable apps created by public health agencies to work more accurately, reliably and effectively across both Android phones and iPhones. Over the last several weeks, our two companies have worked together, reaching out to public health officials scientists, privacy groups and government leaders all over the world to get their input and guidance.

Starting today, our Exposure Notifications technology is available to public health agencies on both iOS and Android. What we’ve built is not an app — rather public health agencies will incorporate the API into their own apps that people install. Our technology is designed to make these apps work better. Each user gets to decide whether or not to opt-in to Exposure Notifications; the system does not collect or use location from the device; and if a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is up to them whether or not to report that in the public health app. User adoption is key to success and we believe that these strong privacy protections are also the best way to encourage use of these apps.

Today, this technology is in the hands of public health agencies across the world who will take the lead and we will continue to support their efforts.

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13-inch vs. 16-inch MacBook Pro — FIGHT!

Just when I thought I was out… You pulled me back in!

Yeah, I did pretty much every single MacBook Pro comparison I could think of. Hit subscribe to see them all. But I didn’t do 16-inch vs. 13-inch, because I figured anyone who wanted the 16-inch would know it.

But… that didn’t stop all you all from asking. And asking. And asking.

So, this… is the MacBook Pro 13-inch vs. 16-inch — FIGHT!

Design

While the 13-inch MacBook Pro just got updated… the design part of it simply never got the memo. It’s still got pretty much the same look and build that it debuted with back in October of ought 16.

Same boxy, unibody aluminum chassis. Same silver and space gray options. Same four USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 ports on the higher-end model, and same 13.3-inch display.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro… well, late last year is when it went to 16-inches.

Not much changed, granted. It’s also got the same boxy, unibody aluminum chassis, silver and space gray options, and four USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 ports as it debuted with back in 2016, but the display has been stretched out from 15 to 16 inches to not just reduce the bezels but increase the useable work space.

And, in an age where competing laptops are going full edge-edge, it’s currently the only MacBook Apple has that’s coming close to keeping up.

Display

The difference between the 13.3-inch and 16-inch displays doesn’t just come down to size alone. Not quite.

Sure one is 2560 by 1600 and the other is 3072 by 1920, but they’re both LCD, both 500 nits of brightness, both wide P3 color gamut, and both have True Tone ambient color temperature matching.

The subtle difference is that the 16-inch can change refresh rates between 60hz and 48hz, so if you produce video like I do for this channel, in glorious 24 frames per second — say it with me — the way nature and Hollywood intended, you can set the 16-inch display to properly show it to you that way while you’re editing.

Which is, yeah, nice to have more than anything else, but it’s really super nice to have.

But, the 13-inch is a tiny bit thinner, almost 3 inches skinnier, over an inch less deep, and over a pound lighter.

So, if size matters to you, get the 16-inch.

If portability is more important, get the 13-inch.

Audio / Video

Let’s just get this part out of the way: Both the 13-inch and the 16-inch MacBooks Pro have the same terribad 720p webcam that’s ok in full light but bad and worse in backlight and low light, and pretty much everyone wants Apple to apply their iOS prowess to fixing it up and soon.

The speakers on the 13-inch aren’t bad, though. In fact, they’re pretty good. High dynamic range, wide stereo, spatial audio, even Dolby Atmos. They make it sound like whatever you’re listening to is right in front of you.

The speakers on the 16-inch, though, are next level. Like Apple shoved a HomePod under the keyboard next level. And they make it sound like whatever you’re listening to is all around you.

Same with the mics. The 13-inch has a 3 mic array that’s ok for video calls in a pinch. The 16-inch has a 3-mic array that’s tuned for high signal-to-noise, what Apple calls “studio quality” and what I’d call equivalent to a mid-range dedicated USB mic. Which is ok for even podcasting or voice over in a pinch.

And yes, both still have 3.5mm headphone jacks.

So, if you want the best sound possible, you want the 16-inch.

Processors

The new high-end 13-inch MacBook Pro — and I’m really only going to focus on the new high-end model for this — starts off with a 2.0Ghz quad-core Intel 10th gen Core i5 but you can spec it out up to a 2.3Ghz quad core i7.

The 16-inch starts off with a 2.6Ghz hex-core Intel 9th gen Core i7 and can go all the way up to a 2.4ghz octo-core i9. Yeah.

Moreover, the high-end 13-inch only comes with Intel Irish Plus graphics where the 16-inch has Intel HHD Graphics 630 but also comes with a discreet AMD Radeon Pro 5300M and can be upgraded to a Radeon 5500M.

Both have the same T2 ARM-based co-processor for Touch ID, voice-activated Siri, camera and mic security, real-time encryption, accelerators, controllers, and all the other custom silicon advantages.

Neither have WiFi 6, because Apple, while jumping right into it on iOS, seems to be staying the hell away from it on the Mac.

And both promise the same 10hrs of battery life for light workloads, which means roughly the same for heavy workloads as well.

But even though the 16-inch still has previous generation CPUs, it’s got much more powerful GPU options.

So, if performance matters more to you than portability, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is going to give you more.

Capacity

The latest 13-inch MacBook Pro update means the high-end model now starts at 16GB of RAM and can finally — is finally fair here? — go up to 32GB of RAM.

Likewise, the storage now starts at 512GB but can also finally — also fair here? — go up to 4TB of SSD.

The 16-inch, though… well, that also starts at 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD but… but… they can go all the way to 64GB of RAM and 8TB of SSD. 8TB.

So, if you want to run a ton of virtual machines, simulators, or super pro apps, or you want to keep a ton of pro projects and content on your internal drive, you need the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Keyboard

One of the most important updates to the 13-inch MacBook Pro is the new Magic Keyboard. The same one the 16-inch MacBook Pro got late last year.

That means they both have the new scissor switches, which maintain some of the stability people liked about the butterfly switches, but restore more travel and, so far, reliability, which is what people hated about the butterflies.

I just call them the best of both keyboard worlds.

They also both have distinct escape keys now, Touch Bars, combined Touch ID power buttons, and inverted T arrow keys.

So, while this is a draw, it’s an excellent, excellent draw.

Pricing

The new high end 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,799 U.S. That’s for the 4-port, 10th gen model, which can go all the way up to $3,599 U.S. with all the bells and whistles.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,399 U.S. But, because graphics, RAM, and SSD can go much higher, you can bell and whistle it all the way up to $6,099 U.S.

Now, some people have complained that the price difference between the 13-inch and the 16-inch isn’t really that different… But… ok.

There is absolutely an overlap, especially if you tilt your head and squint to look just at that overlap.

But you’re not really paying per inch here. For some pros, they have a Mac Pro or iMac Pro at home and really just want something as light and capable as possible to travel with. For other pros, they work almost exclusively while mobile so they want the biggest screens and higher performance possible.

And, yeah, those pros typically charge hardware purchases to clients and pay them off with big jobs, so things like portability vs. performance are far more important to them price.

If price is important to you, though, the 13-inch starts lower. Much lower at the lower end.

Conclusion

So, if you need to do pro-level work on a Mac while mobile and you don’t want to carry a pound or an inch more than you have to, everything else be damned, than you want to carry the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

But, if you need to do most of your pro-level work on a Mac while mobile, and you need the absolute best Mac possible regardless of size or weight, or you just want the better audio and graphics, then you want the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

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New Apple Watch Pride Bands and Watch Faces for 2020

Apple has announced a new set of Apple Watch Pride bands — Sport Loop and Nike Sport Loop this year — and matching Pride Watch Faces for 2020:

This year’s artfully unique Pride Edition Sport Band is joined for the first time by the new Apple Watch Nike Pride Edition Sport Band. Both are available today from apple.com, the Apple Store app, and Apple stores, and pair beautifully with new matching Pride Watch faces that are coming soon as a part of watchOS 6.

The Pride Sports Loop is next-level manufacturing-at-scale:

The Pride Edition Sport Band is assembled by hand from individual strips of colored fluoroelastomer. The strips are then machine die-cut and compression molded together. This process results in subtle variations in the wavy rainbow design, making each band artfully unique. Durable and strong, yet surprisingly soft, the band drapes elegantly across your wrist and feels comfortable next to your skin. An innovative pin-and-tuck closure ensures a clean fit.

Apple Newsroom: https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2020/05/as-pride-goes-virtual-apple-watch-pride-edition-helps-community-and-advocacy-continue-worldwide/

Apple Store: https://www.apple.com/shop/watch/bands

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iPhone 12 and what all-OLED and 120Hz ProMotion really mean

There’s been a ton of chatter about the iPhone 12 lately. That’s thanks to the deluge rumors from the likes of Jon Prosser, Kuo Ming-Chi, Mark Gurman, Max Weibach, and others. I’ve covered some of it before, so hit subscribe and check it out. But, this time, I want to focus on the iPhone 12 display.

See, reports are saying that Apple is going all-in on OLED across the full range of iPhone 12 devices. No more LCD on the base model, OLED only the Pro.

Also, that Apple is going 120hz, or ProMotion, on the high end, which means that will become the exclusive, Pro-only feature.

But, there’s also been a lot confusion about what those things are, what it all means, and how, precisely, it’s all going to work.

So, I jumped on iMore to dive a little more deeply into it:

https://www.imore.com/iphone-12-truth-about-all-oled-and-120hz-promotion

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Golden Hour Ep. 61: Rene Ritchie (Tech Journalist & YouTuber)

Huge thanks to Dave Maze for having me on the Golden Hour podcast. I don't usually get to talk about video gear but I love doing it.

Give it a listen:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ep-61-rene-ritchie-tech-journalist-youtuber/id1454412220?i=1000474374734

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Parallel #29: Under the Feet of a Drunken Giant

Honored to join Shelly Brisbin on her podcast, Parallel, along with co-guest, the terrific James Rath.

Video just keeps growing as a way to tell stories about technology. Both of my guests have made video a mainstay of their creative output. I wanted these two experts to school my audio-centric self. We also talk a whole lot about accessibility advocacy through the video medium.

Come for the YouTube chat, stay for the accessibility.

https://www.relay.fm/parallel/29

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Logic Pro X 10.5 is the Biggest, Most Unce Unce Boom Boom Update Ever

Apple has announced a new version of their pro-level audio production software, Logic Pro X.

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2020/05/apple-unveils-biggest-update-to-logic-since-the-launch-of-logic-pro-x/

“The Mac and Logic Pro X are essential tools used by the world’s top musicians and producers to create the music that we all love,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Apps Product Marketing. “Logic Pro X 10.5 represents the biggest update to Logic since the launch of Logic Pro X, with powerful new tools that will inspire every artist — from those just getting started with Logic, to those already using it to produce Grammy Award-winning albums. We can’t wait to hear what these artists create next.”

New features include:

🎵 Live Loops: New, free-form, non-linear music creator

🎸 Sampler and Quick Sampler: Next-gen EXS24, new combined 3-in-1 panel, fast, simple panel

🥁 Beat Creation: Step sequencer, drum synth, drum machine designer.

You can currently try it out for free, for 90-days, so you can make some quarantine content all your own:

https://www.apple.com/logic-pro/trial/

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13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) Review

This is Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro. The higher-end version. There are actually two new 13-inch MacBook Pros and, while that might sound confusing, it’s really nothing new. We just tend to forget that Apple has had both lower and higher end models on the market for… basically ever.

To read my full review, head on over to iMore.

https://www.imore.com/13-inch-macbook-pro-2020-review

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iPhone SE (2020) Review: One Month Later

Normally, this video would be very different. I’d talk about how Apple announced the new iPhone SE a month ago this week, talk about my experiences using it since then.

Tell you how, despite throwing it my pocket with keys and other phones and it sliding off various services with alarming regularity, it was still amazingly scratch and break free.

About how I still miss high dynamic range on the rare occasions I watch movies on my phone, but mostly never notice it’s LCD and not ultra-high density.

That I’ve been spoiled by the iPhone 11 Pro and especially iPhone 11 Pro Max battery life, which gets me a day and a half without breaking a sweat — or breaking out a charger — while the new SE has me in battery saver mode by dinner time pretty much every evening.

How the photos and video are almost as good as the iPhone, it just doesn’t have as much range, especially as you get into very low light and night mode, or dynamic range on high frame rate video.

And how I do miss the full screen display, gesture navigation, and Face ID of more recent iPhones, which I love, but I also see why so many people still love the Home button and Touch ID, especially in the age of masks, and now that I’m not wearing gloves when I go outside… or, you know, going outside.

Normally, this video would be that, but something else happened when the iPhone SE came out, something wonderful and kinda disappointing.

See, for years, there have been some in the community who review mainstream products only to complain that they’re not for pros. That actively get upset when every product isn’t specifically for them. Even if it may be perfect for their parents or kids or significant others.

But, with the iPhone SE, there was an empathy miracle: Most reviewers who themselves would naturally gravitate towards a $1200 iPhone Pro Max said that, for a lot of people, a $400 iPhone SE would be the much better buy.

Most but not all. Because, yeah, there was some pushback. Here’s the gist, paraphrased:

All these iPhone SE reviews:

LOL no, are you joking, I’d never be caught d e d ded using one.

But, for real, it’s the perfect phone for you peasants.

Which, ugh, as cringe-sad as that sentiment is, it hits me on so many levels.

See, I’m a nerd, a geek, a tech-head, and I typically buy the highest end gadgets I can and promptly lose myself in every little implementation detail. And, for many years, that’s what and how I reviewed as well.

But I’ve been working really hard, really conscientiously over the last couple of years to complete change my approach. Why? Because the vast majority of people who buy this stuff aren’t other tech-heads.

They aren’t people who get a dozen new phones to look at every year and never carry anything longer than a few weeks.

They’re people who work very hard for their money and have to stretch it as far as possible. Who keep their phones for 2 to 5 years. Who hand them down to other family members. Who don’t shop based on specs but on value.

They’re my family. And… if they’re not you, they’re probably your family too. Your parents, your kids, your significant others. And, for the most part, they’re completely underserved by today’s tech media.

I mean, can you imagine if this were cars?

All these Toyota and Honda reviews:

LOL no, are you joking, I’d never be caught ded without my jag or lambo, baby.

But, too right, perfect phones for you peasants.

Because, yes, all-caps yes, that’s very literally the advice any petrol-head, any gear head, worth their humanity card should be giving everyone else in their families and this world.

Even and especially if you’ve been reviewing windows since you still had to launch it from the DOS prompt or you flip laptops like Shake Shack back when they still had a lunch rush.

And, you know, it didn’t used to be like this. In fact, Walt Mossberg pioneered the personal technology column at the Wall Street Journal just precisely so it wouldn’t be like this.

So, when Walt joined me on my new podcast this week, I took the opportunity to ask him about it.

The full audio version is up in your favorite podcast app:

🎙 Full Podcast (audio) version: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/rene-ritchie/id1505433591?i=1000474228922

If you have Nebula or the early access tier of my Patreon you can head on over and watch the entire 40 minute plus video as well.

🙏 Full Podcast (video/Patreon) version: https://www.patreon.com/posts/36951321

⭐️ Full Podcast (video/Nebula) version: https://watchnebula.com/videos/reneritchie-personal-tech-walt-mossberg-full

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13-inch MacBook Pro vs. iPad Pro — Full Comparison

This week, Apple announced a new 13-inch MacBook Pro. Last month, Apple announced a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard dock. Sure, there’s a new 16-inch MacBook Pro and an 11-inch iPad Pro, but since this is a comparison I’m sticking with what’s most comparable.

Because, frankly, I wasn’t originally going to do this video. I mean at all. I felt like it was too Apples to… Apple’s other Apples.

But you kept asking, you kept saying you had money to spend on one of Apple’s new 13-ish inch pro portables, you were just having trouble deciding on which one. And I’m here for you, always, so I’m doing it.

Design

The MacBook Pro is a classic laptop. It has the guts of a full on portable Mac stuffed beneath the keyboard, with a sleek, incredibly thin display permanently hinged on top.

The iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard is the exact opposite. It has its guts stuff behind the display, which then opportunistically and magnetically grafts itself atop the kinda thin, but also kinda heaving keyboard dock.

The end result is that, with the MacBook Pro, you have a solid base and, because the display is so light and can’t become dislodged or detached, the ability to angle it and use it on pretty much any surface and from pretty much any position. You can open it wide without tipping it back, and it’ll stay totally stable on your lap. Of course, you can’t take that display off and walk away with it whenever you want either.

The iPad Pro has a fairly strong, albeit magnetic connection to the Magic Keyboard dock and, while that allows for unrestricted positioning from closed to open, the weight of the iPad Pro itself only lets it functionally open so far. And, while it totally works on the lap, the same extra weight on the top likewise makes it a little less — please don’t make me say lappable — that devices literally called laptops. But, when you don’t need the keyboard, you can just tear the iPad Pro off and use it like the full-on, ultra light weight tablet it is, the way nature and Jobs intended. Something you can’t do with any MacBook.

So, if you prefer the traditional computer clamshell, with heavy base locked to super light lid, you’ll prefer the MacBook Pro.

If you prefer the tablet but occasionally want to do traditional typing in a mostly traditional way, you’ll prefer the iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard.

Displays

The MacBook Pro has a 13.3-inch LCD panel. It’s Retina density, which in general means an average person from an average viewing distance shouldn’t be able to see individual pixels. In this case, it also specifically means 2560‑by‑1600 pixels at 227 pixels per inch at up to 60Hz. It’s bright, at 500 nits, and digital cinema P3 gamut, which means the color space is wide enough for richer reds and deeper greens. It also has TrueTone, so it adjusts to the color temperature of your environment for whites that don’t look too blue or too yellow but proper paper white.

The iPad Pro has a 12.9-inch LCD panel. It’s also Retina density, but 2732-by-2048-pixel resolution at 264 pixels per inch, so even denser than the MacBook Pro. It’s also P3 gamut, but brighter at 600 nits, and TrueTone, but instead of being limited to 60Hz, it can go all the way up to 120Hz for silky smooth scrolling and, more directly aligned with my interests, ramp down to 24 to show movies the way nature and Hollywood intended.

The MacBook display is also square and has about the same amount of bezel as it’s had since 2016. The iPad Air has rounded edges and had a good portion of its bezels taken away in 2018. They’re actually not that different in terms of ratio, but change elicits excitement so the iPad feels more modern and fresh, especially considering the 16-inch MacBook Pro went even more edge-to-edge last year.

The biggest difference, though, is that the Mac does not have multitouch or any ability to take touch input, built into the display. All of that is handled through the Touch Bar and trackpad. The iPad, though… well, it was born of multitouch.

More on that in a minute.

Audio

The MacBook Pro has slightly better speakers than before, with a stereo, high definition, wide, spatial audio, Dolby Atmos compatible pair that sit on either side of the keyboard. They’re nowhere near the almost HomePod quality of the 16-inch MacBook Pro speakers introduced last year, but they still sound loud and clear.

The iPad Pro has four speakers, two each on the top and bottom, when held in portrait orientation. It’s not quadraphonic, but rather designed to keep the proper stereo sound playing regardless of how you rotate them. And they sound every bit as loud and clear.

There’s a three mic array on the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which is fine. Not what Apple calls “studio quality” though, like on the 16-inch MacBook Pro… and the 2020 iPad Pro. They’re supposed to be more like dedicated USB mics, and something you can use if you forget your pro mics in a pinch.

So, the speakers are pretty much a wash but if you need to record audio on the go, without an external mic, the iPad Pro’s got you.

On the flip side, the MacBook Pro still has its 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can plug in whatever you like. The iPad Pro lost its jack last redesign, so it’s USB-C external only for you.

Speaking of which…

Ports

The lower-end MacBook Pro has two USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 ports, both on the left side. The higher-end version has four USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 ports, two on each side.

The iPad Pro has one full on USB-C port, but no Thunderbolt 3 since Apple doesn’t surface PCIe for the interconnect on the iPad. The Magic Keyboard dock has a second USB-C port for power delivery but not for data, since it transits through the smart connector which doesn’t have the same bandwidth, far as I know.

So, if you need more ports or higher speed ports, you’ll need the MacBook Pro.

Cameras

The MacBook Pro has a tiny, 720p potato of a FaceTime camera mounted top and center, and… that’s it.

The iPad Pro has a proper, 1080p , 60fps selfie / FaceTime camera not just with much better back and low light capabilities, but with a full on set of True Depth sensors for augmented reality and Face ID.

But… it’s mounted on the side, at least when docked to the Magic Keyboard, which is way better but way more awkward.

On the back… the MacBook Pro has nothing and more nothing.

The iPad Pro on the other hand has like an iPhone 11 jr. camera system, with a 12 megapixel, 4K wide angle and ultra wide angle. Also, a LiDAR sensor for instant augmented reality experiences.

Which the MacBook Pro doesn’t have. No ARKit at all. But, you really need to take the iPad Pro off the Magic Keyboard to use it as a camera. Though that’s exactly what it’s meant for.

So, if you want or need cameras beyond your phone or dedicated camera, you’ll want or need to go with the iPad Pro. Even with the goofy angle when docked.

Trackpad and Keyboard

Both the new MacBook Pro and the new keyboard for the iPad Pro are… magic. That’s Apple’s existing, stand-alone Mac keyboard brand re-interpreted for the MacBook and for the iPad dock.

It’s backlit and uses scissor switches, like the old-school MacBooks, but is designed to feel more stable, like the butterfly switches. Like I’ve been saying, best of both keyboard worlds.

One the MacBook, it’s permanently attached. Literally the flip-side of the display. And it has a few things the iPad version didn’t. Like an escape key, a Touch ID-enabled power key, and Touch Bar for easy access not only to shortcuts but to media and settings controls.

The iPad Pro version has no Touch Bar, and no function or media row, but has a dedicated emoji key, so there.

The MacBook Pro trackpad is also much, much, much bigger. Which some people dislike, because of accidental touch events, but others love because of all the room for touch gestures.

The iPad Pro’s trackpad isn’t as big, and is physical rather than Taptic and virtual, like on the Mac. Of course, the iPad Pro has that huge, totally touchable display anyway.

Also, the iPad Pro has an optional Apple Pencil that attaches magnetically to the iPad Pro, charges inductively, and lets you do pretty much any drawing and handwriting you want to, right on the display.

So, the MacBook Pro keyboard is more like a like a traditional keyboard, Touch Bar not withstanding, and the trackpad is bigger with a cursor that’s more precise… because it needs to be.

The iPad Pro keyboard comes off, and is more of an accessory that expands the iPad Pro than the input method that defines it.

Processors

Here’s where it gets fun. The MacBook Pro has Intel processors and graphics. 8th generation and Iris 645 on the low end and 10th generation and Iris Plus on the high end.

It starts at 1.4GHz quad-core 8th Gen Intel Core i5 and tops out at a 2.3GHz quad‑core 10th‑generation Intel Core i7, with turbo from 3.9 to 4.1GHz.

The iPad Pro has only one processor option, and it’s the A13Z system-on-a-chip with efficiency and performance cores, built-in graphics and neural engine, and a variety of accelerators, security, and controller blocks.

Which is similar, but way more modern, than what the T2 chip does on the Mac.

The T2 is still Touch ID generation tech while the A13Z is Face ID era.

Likewise, while the MacBook Pro is still limited to 802.11ac and has no option for cellular connectivity at all, the iPad Pro has WiFi6 and optional Gigabit LTE.

But… the iPad Pro is limited to 6GB of RAM where the MacBook Pro starts at 8GB and the high-end model can go up to 32GB.

Likewise, the iPad Pro tops out at 1TB of storage where the high-end MacBook Pro goes all the way to 4TB. And it still handles external storage way more flexibly and just downright better. Which can be a meaningful difference.

Now, Apple has been updating their chips far more aggressively and successfully than Intel has over the last few years, to say the least. But silicon doesn’t mean much to people without the software that runs on it, so…

Software

The MacBook Pro runs macOS, which is a fully mature, traditional, mouse and pointer, graphical user interface-based operating system.

And it can run all the traditional, x86 and AMD64-based software that runs on the Mac, from the Mac App Store apps, to the highest end, most niche, most powerful pro and scientific apps, all the multiple decades worth. All that require gobs of RAM and huge amounts of storage.

The iPad Pro runs, as of last year, iPadOS, a still-maturing, multitouch-based operating system.

And it can run all the hundreds of thousands of iPadOS apps in the iPad App Store. Which, in some ways, is far wider, but in others, isn’t quite as deep. Like it’s still struggling with Photoshop and doesn’t have the type of production software used by major studios or in science labs, for example. Especially the stuff that needs Bootcamp or virtual machine capabilities because it runs only on Windows.

Now, iPadOS has just recently gotten full trackpad and pointer support, although it’s not quite the same as macOS.

So, if you want that traditional computer experience and you need to run specific, Mac-only or Windows software, you’re going to want and need a Mac.

But, if you prefer the direct manipulation of an iPad, all the iPad apps, and the ability to use software designed not just for a typing computer but a real tablet computer, you’re going to prefer the iPad Pro.

Pricing

The low end 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1299 U.S. for the 8th gen core i5 and maxes out at $2,499 for the i7, 16GB, 2TB model. The high end model starts at $1,799 U.S. That’s for the 4-port, 10th gen model, which can go all the way up to $3,599 with every option maxed out. Which, yeah, is a lot of money. 16-inch MacBook money.

The low end 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $999 U.S for 128GB with Wi-Fi, or $1348 with the Magic Keyboard, and goes all the way up to $1649 for 1TB with LTE, or $1998, maxed out.

So, MacBook Pro vs. iPad Pro — they’re such fundamentally different devices that they’re really not directly comparable.

That means, you have to ask yourself a series of questions:

  1. Do you want or really need a traditional computer that runs traditional computer software, including legacy production or Windows software, in a very traditional way, with massive amounts of memory and storage, even if the silicon is uninspiring and the camera will have you reaching for your iPhone at any opportunity.
  2. Or, do you want a multitouch tablet that offers all the portability and flexibility of a tablet, including full on camera systems and the optional Pencil, but can also dock with the Magic Keyboard for those times where you want a more traditional-style computing experiences.

Also, do you already have an iPad or Mac? If there’s an iMac on your desk, maybe you’re better off with an iPad Pro in your hands. Or, if you have an iPad Air or mini, maybe a MacBook Pro will let you get different things done better.

End of the day, you can get more bang for your buck with the iPad Pro, but only if it’s the kind of bang you really need to get done.