MacBook Pro (2023) vs iPad Pro (2022): What’s the difference?
Apple’s latest and greatest laptop and tablet releases are impressive pieces of kit. There are some key differences though, here’s how the new MacBook Pro and iPad Pro compare.
The new MacBook Pro (2023) is the newer device here, having burst onto the scene in early 2023 with its impressive M2 Pro and M2 Max processors onboard. The iPad Pro (2022) has been out several months longer, with its big upgrade being the addition of the laptop-grade M2 chip as an option for power users.
Both devices are extremely capable and come with luxury looks, but they’re fundamentally different. This guide will help you decipher the difference, based on our in-depth reviews of both products, and help you make the right choice.
Pricing and availability
Both these Apple devices are now readily available so there’s little wait if you decide you want to get your hands on one. However, both offer a wide range of customisation options when it comes to picking the model you want. These are the options, and we’ll delve a bit more into our experiences in the Performance section.
The MacBook Pro (2023) is available in both 14-inch and 16-inch models. The 14-inch has a starting price of £2,149 and can be specced all the way to £6,549. The base model will get you an M2 Pro (10-core CPU, 16-core GPU), 16GB unified memory, and 512GB SSD storage. This version also comes with a 67W USB-C power adapter but a 96W brick will be included if you upgrade the chip. The price rapidly rises as you switch to the M2 Max and boost those other specs.
The same logic applies to the 16-inch model, but with a higher starting price of £2,699 going up to £6,749. That base model comes with an M2 Pro (12-core CPU, 19-core GPU), 16GB unified memory, 512GB SSD, and a 140W USB-C power adapter.
For the iPad Pro (2022), prices start quite a bit lower at £899 for the 11-inch model and £1,249 for the 12.9-inch. Both these base models come with 128GB storage and Wi-Fi but can be bumped up to 2TB and Wi-Fi with Cellular respectively. Further potential costly additions include the £319 Magic Keyboard for the 11-inch (£379 for the 12-inch) and £139 Apple Pencil.
Design and Keyboard
The new MacBook Pro (2023) is one of the best, if not the best, looking devices around. The all-metal design gives the impression this was once a solid block that had laptop components crafted into it – it’s stunning. Despite its luxe metal design, it isn’t obstructively heavy, starting at 1.6kg for the 14-inch and 2.15kg for the 16-inch. You can get lighter machines but the weight, given the performance you can get here, is impressive.
The iPad Pro (2022) is nearly just as impressive. We’ve always been astounded by the thin, yet sturdy, design of this high-end tablet. The latest MacBook Pro models offer plenty of portability, but the iPad Pro is unmatched for the stunning amount of work you can get done on such a low-footprint device. It comes in at just 6.4mm thick and up to 684g for the larger 12.9-inch version.
Ports may be limited with the iPad Pro (2022), offering just a USB-C port. Even more welcome was the revamp of the MacBook Pro device’s ports a couple of years ago, with the latest models now coming with an SD card slot, HDMI port, 3.5mm headphone jack, MagSafe charging, and 3x Thunderbolt 4 ports.
The keyboards here are quite different propositions. Starting with the (obviously) included keys on the MacBook Pro (2023), it’s one of the best around for a device that isn’t aimed at a gaming market – for productivity work, there are few better. The keyboard offers a just right combination of travel and feedback, it could offer slightly more in both areas but remains a breeze for speedily typing out essays and the like.
With the iPad Pro (2022), no keyboard is included so if you’re planning on using it as a machine for productivity or creative work you’ll have to fork out for the Magic Keyboard for the full experience. It’s costly, at over £300, but it does a terrific job. The keys are recognisably Apple, it’s what you get on the MacBook Pro but toned down in travel and feedback. This makes it less satisfying but we were happy to work on this for long periods.
Apple knows how to nail a display on its portable devices, and we were blown away by both machines. The MacBook Pro (2023) offers up a Liquid Retina XDR display, with a 3094×1964 resolution on the 14-inch model, and ProMotion –allowing for an adaptive refresh rate of 120Hz. Admittedly, it’s the same display as the previous model and the notch may bother some people but we found it largely melts away once you get going. The panel itself, sporting Mini LED technology, is bright and rich, with HDR at the forefront.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2022) that we tested similarly opts for Mini LED for its display and the result is glorious contrast, bags of detail, and punchy colours. It’s another example of a feature on this tablet that will induce awe; it’s remarkable such a stunning panel has made it into a device this thin and portable. ProMotion is here too, making scrolling a breeze and giving a smooth boost to mobile gaming.
Along with portability, performance is the key area that should influence your decision when choosing between these devices.
Both devices are strong options for productivity and creative work but it’s the MacBook Pro (2023) and, in particular, the horsepower of the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips that make it the go-to for those with seriously demanding work to get done.
Between the 14-inch and 16-inch models, as well as the many variations on offer, it opens up the MacBook Pro (2023) to a wide range of workload requirements. Consider the 14-inch M2 Pro if you carry out demanding productivity, coding work, or take on intermediate creative tasks. At the other end of the scale, the 16-inch M2 Max is made for professionals with intense work demands but still need something relatively portable – think those who tackle the likes of high-res video production and 3D modelling. The highest-end options may also make sense for advanced creatives who want to future-proof their machine.
None of this is to say the iPad Pro (2022) isn’t a device for serious professionals, because it absolutely can be, with plenty of quality video and photo editing software available on iPadOS and this tablet can handle it. But, those requiring long periods of very high performance should look to their laptop cousin. The tablet remains a stunningly portable and lightweight option for creatives regularly on the move.
Outside of raw performance, both these devices have strong audio chops too. The MacBook Pro comfortably wins with a broader soundstage, higher quality detail, and a bigger sound. But, again, the iPad Pro stuns with what it offers up despite its trim body. The result is surprisingly loud speakers that retain detail up to high volumes, providing more than enough for casual movie-watching and music-listening.
The competition between these devices on battery life is an easy win for the MacBook Pro (2023), but that’s expected given the differing footprints. Both are impressive in their own right.
We found the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2022) to offer around 10 hours of battery life, while the 14-inch MacBook Pro (2023) manages around 14 hours–with several more hours expected with the 16-inch model.
Both of these devices perform remarkably well when not plugged into power, an impressive party trick enabled by Arm-based processing chips. The iPad Pro doesn’t come with the speediest charger included though, at just 18W. The MacBook Pro (2023) offers up a 67W or 96W adapter for the 14-inch, depending on your choice of chip, and a 140W charger for the 16-inch–offering much faster top-up times.
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In their own right, these devices are awe-inspiring. The iPad Pro (2022) received a 4-star (out of 5) Trusted score, while the MacBook Pro (2023) earned a 4.5-star rating.
The MacBook Pro is undoubtedly the more performant machine and should be the go-to for those who value some portability but their priority is strong performance, a great keyboard, and an accurate display.
On the other hand, the iPad Pro is no performance slouch, providing stunning levels of power for a device so thin. If you’re a creator who loves to work anywhere, it’s got the intermediate editing performance to do just that. The same goes for productivity users who want portability and a stunning display for watching video too.
A big difference is the price though, with an over £1,000 difference between the base models of each device. Both offer plenty of bang for their buck, but if you don’t want to pay more than £2,000 then you won’t be opting for a MacBook Pro (2023) and should consider the iPad Pro (2022) – or a MacBook Air (2022).