On the one hand, Tim Cook owns a MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro, the other side has an iPad and an iPad Pro, and the twins will never meet.
But what if Apple decided it wanted to blur the lines between the iPad and the MacBook? What if Apple decided to tone down the consumer’s view of what it means to be an Apple laptop or an Apple tablet? And what does this strategy mean for the upcoming MacBook Pro?
This decision will separate the professional laptop from consumer expectations; It would allow Apple to pour a tremendous amount of power and flexibility into its 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops without compromising anything that fits consumer expectations.
When we talk about the power available in Apple laptops, we have to admit that the move to ARM-based computing and the resulting Apple Silicon chips have been game-changing factors for Apple and how it can promote Mac computing. The MacBook Air was at the height of that revolution; No longer relying on Intel’s view of mobile chips, the M1 jumped overnight with MacBook Air benchmarking and performance numbers over equivalent Intel hardware. The MacBook Air M2 laptops, launched earlier this year, offered twenty percent more power than the already impressive M1.
For the average consumer, Apple’s M1 chipset provides more than enough power for everyday work. There’s certainly enough to edit photos, work on audio, create videos, run complex and powerful apps, and deliver solid hardware to developers.
The MacBook Air has raised the baseline of the Mac, and this line now covers more user base and arguably the vast majority of the user base is consumer focused.
Your Mac isn’t the only place you’ll find the Apple Silicon M1 and M2. Apple has equipped many iPad Pro models with an advanced chipset. Given the constant pressure from Apple to get consumers to consider the iPad a computer just like the MacBook Air, offering the same power on tap bolsters this argument.
With Apple bringing the visual language of macOS and iPadOS closer together, offering the ability to run apps on either platform, blurring the lines in Apple’s marketing, and relatively similar physical size and weights, you might be forgiven that Apple is looking to integrate the lower end of The laptop market and the upper end of the tablet market.
Regardless of the technical details that the community loves, Apple’s long-term goal is to offer consumers the choice of a tablet that does “Apple things” or a laptop that does “Apple things”. The dominant elements here are the form factor and blanket options like “keyboard or pen”…not in the OS.
Apple’s decision to separate the MacBook Pro from the Air/iPad combination is key.
By deciding to work on shared synergies at the lower end of the Mac portfolio, Apple is allowing higher-spec devices — like the pro-focused MacBook Pro models — to separate and get away with doing their own thing. This in turn provides greater power and flexibility to a smaller but more demanding group of individual creators and production companies.
With the MacBook Air and iPad Pro coming closer together, I expect the MacBook Pro models to bridge this performance gap and create an original professional laptop for the few, thanks to the crowd-pleasing Air and iPad.
Now read the latest Mac, iPad and iPhone headlines in Forbes’ weekly Apple Loop news roundup…
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