A new 12in iPad, an Apple keyboard and even a pencil: My first reaction is why would I want one of these combinations. Since I got the 12in MacBook the iPad Air 2 has been gathering dust. For me, the advantages of OS X, with its multi-tasking capabilities, in such a compact and light package far outweigh any attractions of the iPad.
So back to my question, why would I want a 12in iPad with an attached keyboard and a stylus/pencil thingumajig? Maybe, I thought, it is going to be lighter than the MacBook. Not so, however. The new iPad Air weighs 713g but Apple has been extremely reticent about the weight of the keyboard cover. None of the stories from last evening’s launch mention its weight and, when I called Apple, I was told that the full specification would be available when the new products go on sale. What we do know, however, is that a simple Smart Cover for the Air 2 weighs 102g, so it is fair to assume the Smart Keyboard will be 200g at the very least, probably nearer to 250g.
This means that the kitted-out iPad Pro will weigh more than the MacBook’s 920g. It also has a combined depth of 1cm which compares with the MacBook’s 0.35cm/1.31cm depending on which end you choose. The footprint of the iPad Pro is 30.57 x 22.06cm while the MacBook is surprisingly smaller—28.05 x 19.65cm.
I’ve surprised myself here. The iPad Pro and keyboard is bigger and probably a few grams heavier than the MacBook. I struggle to understand why I would choose this new combo over a fully fledged computer running OS X and with all the benefits that brings. About the only thing you can’t do on the MacBook is touch the screen and run iPad apps. The new Apple Pencil is useless. You can, however, duplicate just about anything with a native OS X app.
Then we come to price. The cheapest MacBook in the UK costs £1,049, including tax. Prices for the iPad Pro have not been announced, although in the US the 128GB model will cost $949 without cellular. Add in the case ($169) and an Apple Pencil ($99) and we’re up to $1,217 before tax. So not a lot in it, I suspect, especially when we start comparing specs and see that the MacBook has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
It will certainly be interesting to see the public reaction to the iPad Pro when it arrives in stores in November. For the first time since the original iPad was announced, I do wonder where Apple is going on this one.