OS X and iOS
Aside from the specs mentioned above, the battle between Apple's devices mainly concerns the different operating systems that each offers. We mentioned above that the iPad runs on iOS and the MacBook Air runs on OS X. Here, we will analyze some pros and cons of each OS.
iOS has the benefit of being engineered to offer a quality mobile computing experience. It was designed by Apple to be used on devices with smaller screens. However, it offers only a fraction of features that a full blown computer operating system, such as OS X, offers.
For example, iOS is almost one hundred percent app driven. Nearly anything that you do on iPad will be because of an app that you download from the AppStore. The downfall of this is that most good apps cost money. Should you use your iPad as a main travel solution for mobile productivity, you are probably going to have a lot of apps, which pushes the cost of the iPad even higher. Heavy iPad users spend just as much money on apps as they do on the device itself.
Selection can also be an issue. The Apple AppStore offers many apps, but there might not always be "an app for that." Meaning, the iPad may not be able to do everything that you want it to.
There is much less explaining to do when it comes to the MacBook Air, because it is essentially an extremely portable, lightweight computer. The Air offers a quality OS X experience, minus a built-in CD/DVD drive and some ports that most users will seldom use. The Air with OS X is more powerful than the iPad. Most importantly, however, it offers you more freedom. Where the iPad is essentially based on a market, or AppStore, where you are constantly being persuaded to purchase new apps, OS X remains a computer operating system, where you have more control.