The T-Grid: iPhone vs. iPad vs. MacBook

By  |  Friday, January 29, 2010 at 1:37 am

At Wednesday’s iPad launch, Steve Jobs began his introduction of the new gizmo by noting that most of us carry a laptop and/or smartphone, and asking whether there’s room for a new kind of device in the middle. His answer, of course, is that there is–and that iPad is that product. That makes iPad the third distinct class of computing device that the company offers–assuming you don’t consider iPods to be computing devices.

As is my wont when I’m comparing products, I whipped up a T-Grid. This one contrasts the iPhone 3GS, the iPad, and the cheapest version of Apple’s flagship MacBook Pro computer. Check it out for a quick summary of what Apple thinks is important to include in each category of device. The MacBook Pro may be the most expensive and capable of the three, but there are certain ways in which it’s beginning to feel like old technology, such as its lack of built-in 3G and GPS. And I’m starting to wonder how long it’ll be until Jobs decides it’s time to build a touchscreen Mac

Any questions, corrections, or additions?


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25 Comments For This Post

  1. Ben Says:

    According to the Grid the iPad is available as an 8GB version, don’t think that’s the case. Base model is the 16GB version…

  2. Harry McCracken Says:

    Duh, my bad–corrected…

  3. Jeff Reynolds Says:

    It will be interesting to see how much of the 3.2 iPad functionality trickles down to the iPhone. I haven’t downloaded the new SDK yet but I’m sure Apple could restrict certain iPad features on the iPhone. However, it’s also hard to imagine them not wanting to open up iBooks to the millions of iPhone users, who may never want an iPad, a lot of which are using the Kindle iPhone app.

  4. Bouke Timbermont Says:

    the CPU in the iPad is a QUAD CORE 1GHz ARM CPU, based on the Cortex A9 😉

  5. Kevin Says:

    The iPhone has only 802.11 b/g, not N.

  6. John Says:

    “And I’m starting to wonder how long it’ll be until Jobs decides it’s time to build a touchscreen Mac…”

    Apple is like Sony, leave them wanting more, for years if necessary. It’s on its way. (I remember the old ink based PowerBook laptop/tablets waaay back. Their time has almost come and the iPad is the stepping stone.)

  7. Thomas Traub Says:

    Like already mentioned, the iPhone is only WiFi b/g not n.

    Why do You repeat these fictitious battery live times, on my MacBook Pro 13″ I have 3,5 hours of productivity without WiFi, half an hour longer than the old not Pro one.

    I haven’t tried, but for sure the iPhone won’t last 9 hours constantly browsing using WiFi, playing games or using Maps over Edge it lasts maybe 3 hours.

  8. Jemuel Griffith Says:

    The battery for the iPad is a lithium-polymer not lithium-ion

  9. Harry McCracken Says:

    Thanks for the corrections…

  10. Jasper Linsen Says:

    It might be unconventional, but I see this turning out like Nintendo’s ‘third pillar’, the DS. I assume the iPad is going to become the modern laptop. I think there’s no room for a third mobile device, but that later we wille have an advanced iPad (capable of almost everything we do with a laptop today, but with a fairly different touch-interface), a mobile phone (for calling, quick searches and easy portability without a bag) and a desktop (for our highest needs in technology). These three will become basic things, and the iPad will become the next MacBook in a few years, when it’s OS evolves and gives developers the possibility to create something like Adobes Creative Suite on the device (it’s my example, but I mean full-fledged applications).

    Start saying goodbye to the MacBook, from now on it’s dying.

  11. juandesant Says:

    A few things:

    – iPad service costs are optional
    – I would say construction is aluminum Unibody too; the rear part seems carved from one piece
    – MacBook Pro also uses lithium-polymer battery, as per Apple’s tech specs

    And I’d bet that the books will be readable on MacBooks in little time after introduction… and that the application hosting the syncing will allow putting non-DRM ePub books in the iPad.

  12. Steve Says:

    You should clarify the storage options for the iPad – perhaps listing 16GB as “Base”. As it stands it appears that all memory options are available for the $499 price.

  13. Jake Says:

    I didn’t think the iPad used “Safari” for browsing considering the iPad isn’t Adobe Flash comparable. It’s the same dumbed down version the iPhone uses.

  14. Dale Larson Says:

    Next January may also be a very interesting time.

  15. John Laudun Says:

    I think Jasper Linsen has it right.

    I actually came to this conclusion using my version of Harry’s “Aunt Betsy”, my mother. She’s not going to want to manage the content on an iPad by docking it to a “full-blown” PC — be it a Mac or a Windows machine. That makes no sense. For her the device will be her PC — she already refers to her iPhone 3GS as her computer. (And it is.) I have to think that Apple has something like a docking setup already in the works whereby the user manages the content on an iPad from the iPad itself.

    (I wrote about this at a bit more length on my blog: Not much more length, but some.

  16. Tom B Says:

    This thing is going to KILL net books– get a really, nice, powerful device with solid OS and multitouch, instead of a stripped down laptop saddled with Win XP or 7.

  17. Eduardo Says:

    Everyone forgets you still need a computer to develop the apps for iphone and iPad, isn’t that the MacBook ?

  18. KenC Says:

    The 30-pin connector is also a USB connection.

    I think in the video of Steve Jobs with Walt Mossberg, he says the 10 hours is for video and that audio is something like 300 hours. And, in response to the comment about battery life, Anand Shimpi of Anandtech has tested the battery life claims, and says they are legit, Mac OS X is very efficient compared to Windows. His tests are very interesting because of the large disparity between Windows and Mac OS X on battery life.

  19. Walt French Says:

    I’d be surprised if the iBooks app doesn’t show up in the iPhone and Mac frameworks… I hope, with your books as readable on any of your devices so you can scan on your desktop, iPad and/or iPhone.

    But whatever, just because it’s not announced for other platforms doesn’t mean, “No.” It’s not available today on the iPad, either. You KNOW iTunes X is not far down the road.

  20. julie leck Says:

    ibooks is on the iphone….

  21. Matt Says:

    The iPad isn’t going to kill netbooks. It costs more and offers less functionality. I’m very interested in seeing the 2nd gen. iPads as this current version leaves a lot to be desired. Though I have no doubts that this model will sell extremely well.

  22. HBrumfield Says:

    I am torn between the WIFI-only iPad and the model with 3G as well. I will carry my iPhone so it seems like a bit of over-kill to have 3G on both. I’m usually near my own WIFI connection.

    Can anyone make the case for 3G on both your iPhone AND iPad? Money is not a big consideration, but practicality is.

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  25. Aiez Says:

    i just want one unit – looks like the ipad, has the OS and processing capabilities of a macbook pro so i can do all my photoshop work on it easily and has a sim card feature so i can make phone/skype calls using a Bluetooth hands free.. but looks like i may have to wait a few years for something like that to come out.. someone let me know when that comes out!

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  1. Archana » iPad vs Macbook / iPad vs iPhone Says:

    […] A good comparison of iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro is given here. […]