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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

Fun With Charts: Mobile prices and performance

Note: This story has not been updated since 2020.

This week’s chart is about the relationship between processor power and price on Apple’s mobile devices. It’s unfair in a lot of ways, because every dollar you spend on a device does not go to the processor. Buying an iPad or iPhone won’t get you a keyboard or pointing device. Buying a MacBook Air or 13-inch MacBook Pro will get you a trackpad and keyboard, but not a good keyboard.

Still, it can be informative. Using Geekbench 5 and list prices, here’s a view into the relative price/performance characteristics of Apple’s mobile products (and a couple of reference products from other companies):

In general, the farther the dot is away from the trend line (that gray diagonal line in the center), the more impressive its performance per dollar. The 11-inch iPad Pro does quite well on this chart, as does the iPhone 11. The $499 iPad Air is awfully speedy for its price.

And on the Mac side, that $1299 two-port 13-inch MacBook actually acquits itself well. (You just need to be okay using a butterfly keyboard.)

Meanwhile, the MacBook Air… I’ve bought two of them and I like it a lot, but you’re clearly paying a premium for its small size. It’s quite slow for a $1099 product, and even for $999 it’s not really great.

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