iPad 2 Beats Mac Systems In a Speed Test

Sure, the iPad 2 already has size, weight, and battery life advantages over a modern computer. Would I sound crazy if I said you can add speed to that list? A recent speed test, conducted using the newest Mac hardware in an Apple Store nonetheless, suggests that the dual-core ARM processor found inside of the iPad 2 may be even faster than would be assumed.

It may not seem obvious which speed test could be reliably run across multiple Mac systems and both iPad devices. In a word, it is iMovie. The speed test numbers were pulled from time calculations rather than benchmark scores, but that was all that was necessary for the iPad 2 to prove its iMovie speed dominance without breaking a sweat. App Advice found the iPad 2 to come out on top in two of their tests, and be among the top in the third.

Transferring a video using the iPad Camera Connection Kit that Apple sells onto the iPad 2 was about three times faster than every Mac except the Mac Pro, though the iPad 2 still copied the file twice as quickly as the covet Mac Pro. The first-generation iPad also bested the Mac systems with a transfer speed just four and a half seconds longer than its predecessor. While quick video transfer speeds are nice, that is only the beginning of where you would like to see great performance in video editing.

A more important and telling test of encoding an unedited movie to 720p showed the iPad 2 as being much quicker than any of the Mac computers. The fourth-generation iPod touch and iPad also bested the Mac lineup in this test. The iPad got another chance to really shine in a test that involved encoding video that had been edited in the iMovie app to 720p. The iPad 2 was over twice as fast as the iPad, fourth-generation iPod touch, 13″ MacBook Air (plus over three times quicker than the 11″ MacBook Air), and MacBook. Its speed is unmatched by any Mac other than the 17″ MacBook Pro and Mac Pro in this editing test. Keep in mind that every Mac used for testing was a current-generation model.

One of the first things that may pop out to video editors contemplating a Mac is that the iPad’s closest Mac counterpart, the MacBook Air, can be over two to three times slower for iMovie encoding. Apple is obviously doing a great job optimizing iOS and the iOS version of iMovie; the iOS operating system that has the luxury of being tailored around similar hardware types with nowhere near as much diversity as a full operating system definitely contributes to the ability for this one device to be quicker than many devices with hardware more impressive on paper.

Remember how much of a hassle video editing used to be on a fairly modern computer just a few years ago? That an iPad 2 can edit videos so smoothly and show off performance rivaling that of devices that are significantly bigger and cost several times as much says a lot about the device’s impressive ability.

iMovie speed tests

Tests performed by App Advice

Written by Michael DeLisi