Battle Royale (with Cheese): The MacBook vs The iPad

Pitting a computer against… Not a Computer.

Joshua Beck


I’ve searched far. And I’ve searched wide. I’ve looked at damn near every laptop Best Buy had available in my price range: computers from Lenovo, Microsoft, Samsung, Google, and even Apple’s MacBook Air.

But there was still one computer I needed to look at. A computer that, by its manufacturer’s own description, was not a computer.

I needed to look at the iPad.

Ok, let’s pause there: I have an iPad. Throughout this whole lengthy search for my next laptop, my 7th generation iPad has been a constant companion.

I used to do everything on my iPad. I would write, read, draw, play, watch. It was the single most useful device I owned. I purchased multiple keyboard cases for it, I made sure it was always in my bag. But it was never, ever considered to be my next laptop.

Of course, I’d tried to use the iPad as my daily computer. But iPadOS felt limiting in some ways, especially on the 10.2 inch screen and the micro-keyboards that accompanied it.

I was certain that I needed something with a more traditional operating system. I was determined that I needed something that was familiar in use, similar to all the other computers I’ve used in my life.

But that’s not Apple’s game. All of their advertisement of the iPad tells me that it is not a computer, that it will replace my computer. “Your next computer is not a computer,” says their website.

And with the recent announcement of the new iPad Air and with Big Sur on the horizon- bringing with it a lot of user interface changes that bring it in line with the design language of iPadOS- that sentiment really got driven home in my head.

I’ve been asking myself which computer I needed, but maybe I should have been asking whether I needed a computer at all.