One’s intuition would tend to suggest that a MacBook Pro would far outgun an iPad of any kind in iMovie speed tests, due to it being much more substantial of a machine for the task. AppAdvice, however, has found that both iPad models have bested the MacBook Pros in a number of benchmarks.
So, what is happening here? Before you read further, click on above image for the full comparison chart. Now, there are a couple of logical explanations for this. First, the video was raw video that was captured by an iPod Touch, which has the same chipset as the original iPad. Because the same hardware was used to shoot the video as to export and process it, the iPad’s hardware (especially 1st gen) may be better optimized for the task than a MacBook Pro. Second, the iPad has a dedicated h.264 chip, so it has an inherent advantage in decoding and processing h.264 video.
So, in the end, is the iPad 2 really faster than a MacBook pro? Probably not. It’s much more likely that it’s a simple case of hardware optimization. I’d be much more interested to see how the iPad 2 compares against a MacBook Pro when converting something non-native.
Whatever the true story might me, it still astounds me that a device that weights a mere 1.3 pounds, and that you can lose underneath a piece of paper can contain such raw power – power that even 10 years ago would have astounded most people. What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments!