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Which Apple device is right for you?

Ana Perez

Apple has always been a favourite of creatives everywhere. But with the range of top-notch devices they have available, how can you know if you’re getting the one that’s best suited specifically for your workflows? Here are our top product recommendations for different types of creative work – and a breakdown of the features we think you’ll find most interesting.

*All pricing in this article correct as of 6th March 2023

 

iPad (from £307.00 ex VAT)

Get this if… you’re looking for the best iPad to draw on.

iPad now has a much larger screen (10.9 inches), so you have a canvas that’s big enough for your projects – no more zooming in and out so you can get a good view of your art. The latest models also come with the multitasking feature, which allows you to collaborate seamlessly between apps. The possibilities this opens are endless, from switching between art applications to checking in on your references or keeping on top of your messages while you sketch. iPad can also be used with the Magic Keyboard Folio to transition from drawing to typing if your job also includes some office work.

Unfortunately, iPad does not support HDR representation, which might be an issue if you’re looking to do high-end photo editing or colour grading for film. Also, the iPad screen is not laminated, so tapping on it with the pen can be a bit more hollow-sounding than you’re used to if you’re coming from another device – it’s nothing to worry about though! The screen is solid, resilient and does not scratch easily. The iPad is a great device for illustrators and artists looking for a quality drawing tablet that they can also use for other tasks.

Get it here.

 

iPad mini (from £474.00 ex VAT)

Get this if… you need to draw on the go.

With its small size, iPad mini is perfect for travel. But don’t let it fool you: iPad mini is still a powerful machine, meaning you won’t be sacrificing the quality of your art for portability. It can go up to 256GB storage, more than enough for digital art, and now supports Apple Pencil 2 also so you can take advantage of its improved gesture controls. Add to all this its 5G connectivity capabilities and even better cameras than before and you end up with a great choice for graphic designers and illustrators everywhere.

It is important to bear in mind that, while the iPad mini is a very solid device, it does lack some capabilities of the standard iPad, like support for Magic keyboard Folio and Lightning or Smart Connector ports. That leaves its portability at the centre – it’s the lightest and smallest tablet in Apple’s range, weighing less than 300 grams. We recommend the iPad mini if you want to draw during long commutes, if you travel often for your work and need to be always ready in case inspiration strikes.

Get it here.

 

iPad Pro (from £899.00 ex VAT)

Get this if… you want incredible processing power for your art.

The iPad Pro comes with the improved Apple Pencil 2 and offers you a huge canvas for your projects, going up to 12.9 inches. But the main draw is, of course, that it boasts the strongest specs across the iPad range: Liquid Retina XDR display ProMotion technology, up to 2 TB of storage, the latest M2 chip, better cameras and an improved Media engine to power through any projects at lightning speeds.

If you need a step up for your illustration work, then the iPad Pro is for you. It’s powerful enough to be used as your main artistic tool, and you could even forego a notebook if you’re working on the iPad Pro. As it includes a ProRes engine, studio-quality speaker and microphone arrays, and up to 2TB storage capacity, you can do much more than illustration at a professional level while on a portable device.

Get it here.

 

MacBook Air (from £1,075.00 ex VAT)

Get this if… you need a flexible device to handle multi-function workflows.

The MacBook Air is Apple’s most popular notebook, and it’s easy to see why: extra thin, fast and durable. It’s true that in terms of specs it’s less powerful than MacBook Pro, but it is also more affordable and lightweight. At just under three pounds and fitting into most mid-sized bags, the portability is a very attractive aspect if you want to work on the go.

This wide appeal and the fact that there are more powerful machines might make you think that MacBook Air is unsuitable for design tasks, but the truth is that it’s powerful enough to handle them, alongside more common workflows. This makes it perfect for people doing design but who ultimately don’t need loads of power, for example marketing people who do bits of design here and there. If the screen is too small for you, you can always attach an external display when you’re at your desk.

Here's a tip you may have not considered: MacBook Air has no fan, so it might actually be preferrable than a MacBook Pro if you work in audio editing and need a super-silent machine.

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MacBook Pro (from £1,789.00 ex VAT)

Get this if… you’re a mobile user who needs power for video editing and other heavy workflows.

MacBook Pro now features the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, and it comes with a corresponding boost in power. With a 12-core CPU, the MacBook Pro offers some of the strongest specs ever on a notebook. This translates into better performance no matter whether your workflow involves transcoding video, editing pictures or even rendering 3D. Sure, there are more powerful devices out there, but with the biggest size (16 inches) weighing only around 4 pounds, MacBook Pro remains portable and it’s perfect for working on the go. The huge battery life and fast charge capabilities will also help you when you’re travelling.

MacBook Pro is great for editing video, and is a particularly great pick for those working on non-Final Cut workflows, as it also offers great performance for Adobe and Avid. A solid selection of ports and memory card slot means you can easily access additional storage if you need it or connect to an external display (or up to three Pro Display XDRs and a 4K TV, actually) if you need more colour accuracy than what the Liquid Retina XDR display can offer.

Get it here.

 

Mac mini (from £539.00 ex VAT)

Get this if… you need a reliable desktop machine for general office work that occasionally might include design.

Another 2023 release, the Mac mini now features the M2 or M2 Pro chip, marking the first time a Pro chip comes to a Mac mini. Many might not think of the Mac mini as a device for creatives, but we think this recent upgrade makes it perfect for designers, as it’s capable of incredible processing speeds. The new Mac mini brings Apple’s usual high quality at a more affordable price point, so we particularly recommended if you’re on a tight budget.

The Mac mini needs an external display, keyboard and mouse, and a mains connection. This means its small size is not really for portability, but it’s perfect for a crammed desk or for those with a taste for minimalism. All in all, the Mac mini proves to be a very versatile desktop for your team.

Get it here.

 

iMac (from £1,059.00 ex VAT)

Get this if… you need a solid option for graphic design.

iMac features a Brilliant Retina display that’s perfect for graphic design work, bringing you the best possible screen and great all-around specs at an affordable price – the fact it comes with a screen built in only makes it even more affordable when compared to the other Apple desktops.

We recommend going all in for the 24-inch model so you can get the most out of the graphic capabilities and have enough room for editing. The mic is also included in that model so that’s one thing less cluttering your desk.

Speaking of add-ons, you can keep your desk looking slick and cable-free with the Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse and you’re all set. If you really want to boost your setup though, you can even add an external hard drive – we recommend you make it a Thunderbolt one, as using this port will more than double the data transfer speed when compared to a USB-C. iMac can be configured for additional memory or storage, meaning you can select the option that fits your workflow best. Save perhaps for the most powerful requirements, the iMac is a desktop favourite for all types of workflow.

Get it here.

 

Mac Studio (from £1,829.00 ex VAT)

Get this if… you need a more powerful desktop to streamline your work.

The Mac Studio offers great performance and specs along with a wide range of ports that make it easy to connect to your other equipment. There’s a real range to the models too, so it can be suitable for different kinds of workflows, but in general the Mac Studio boasts more processing power and storage capacity than Mac mini and the MacBook Pro models. Mac Studio allows your team to choose the display they want, meaning they can choose something appropriate for colour-critical work if needed.

Mac Studio is capable of handling up to 18 streams of 8K ProRes video, so rendering video is almost instant whether you’re working on Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro. It’s also perfect if you’re working on multitrack audio in Logic Pro.

You can see from these recommendations that Mac Studio can be a bit overkill for many workflows, but you perfect for those with heavier workflows or if you just want to feel assured that your machine that can handle anything. It’s on the more expensive end of the range, but has the power to justify its price. We recommend that graphic designers and video editors pair it with Studio Display to really take advantage of its capabilities.

Get it here.

 

Mac Pro (from £1,215.00 ex VAT)

Get this if… you literally need ultimate power.

Mac Pro remains one of the higher-end devices across the entire Apple offering. Its high cost makes sense when you consider the specs that this beast of a machine is capable of: up to 28 cores, up to 1.5TB of memory operating at 2933MHz and up to four GPUs.

Featuring up to eight expansion slots, Mac Pro is a customisable choice for those who need certain GPU cards, modules, drives and more for their specific workflows. With the right upgrades, Mac Pro can handle anything. For this reason, we recommend it for animators, 3D visual artists and people working in the most graphic-intensive game design – it might be a bit overpowered for everyone else.

Get it here.

 

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