MacBook Air Versus iPad 2

From a purely aesthetic perspective, Apple products are second to none. They are undeniably beautiful and sturdy, showing levels of craftsmanship other companies can only hope to match. After pioneering new markets like the portable mp3 player and tablet computer, Apple dominated with products like the iPod and iPad.

However, many of these products serve the same functions. An iPhone, iPad, and iPod can all play music. Most of the devices can browse the Internet, play games, and check e-mail. With prices ranging from $100 to $3,000, what incentive is there to go with the more expensive offerings?

Comparing the MacBook Air with the iPad 2 demonstrates significant differences in Apple’s line of personal computing devices. The MacBook Air was designed for looks over computing horsepower. It was even marketed as the “thinnest laptop ever,” but its hardware suffered as a result. Apple needed to install smaller and slower parts to reduce its size, power, and heat footprint, so a MacBook Air isn’t going to perform anywhere close to a MacBook Pro.

An iPad 2, on the other hand, fills a completely different market niche. Tablets fill the gap between smartphones and laptops, and Apple’s famous App Store is already bursting with thousands of different iPad applications, turning the tablet into a highly versatile portable computer. Use it as an e-reader, game console, web browser, or music player.

The two can do most of the same activities, but the difference lies in how they perform. Because Apple is renowned for squeezing more performance out of the same hardware than other computer manufacturers, both the MacBook Air and iPad 2 will perform tasks adequately.

The MacBook Air is a status symbol, demonstrating that you’re willing to spend thousands of dollars to have the most beautiful laptop. The iPad 2 is more of a mainstream device, starting at $499 for the basic 16 GB model. If you don’t need the best, an iPad 2 will save you a lot of money, but for bragging rights, go with the MacBook Air. Enthusiasts will probably want to pick up both.