Among Apple’s latest new product announcements announced last week is the iPad Pro. It’s a larger (12.9” display) iPad aimed at the enterprise market, and the similarities to the Microsoft Surface Pro line are remarkable – there’s a type cover, a stylus (or pencil as Apple calls it), and indeed, that they use the word “Pro.”

A technical spec comparison between the iPad Pro and the current Surface Pro 3 shows that the iPad Pro has equal or better specs – but that’s not surprising given that the Surface Pro 3 is a year old. Expectations are that the Surface Pro 4 will exceed at least some of the specs of the iPad Pro.

So how to choose between the two if you are in the market for such a device? Neither one will be a bad device. They will both do a good job of bridging the gap between a typical consumption based tablet and a laptop.

My plan is to replace my desktop PC and my Android tablet with the Surface Pro 4. It will become the workhorse PC in my office, and I will take it with me to meetings and home – primarily for use in tablet mode.  I’ve had an almost paperless practice for many years, and am hoping that this will get me closer to 100 per cent paperless and portable.

In my view it comes down to four things:

  1. Where your Apple vs Microsoft biases lie.
  2. Whether you already have an Apple or Microsoft infrastructure.
  3. Their capability, specs, and how you plan to use it.
  4. Price.

I admit to having a Microsoft bias. I used to have an iPad until it got old and I upgraded to a Nexus 9. My iPad was a great device, but I didn’t like its controlling nature. Some people like that Apple devices just do things – but they frustrate me when I want to do something different.

So my personal take on those four criteria are:

  1. I’m biased to Microsoft.
  2. We have a Microsoft infrastructure at Harrison Pensa, and I have a Microsoft infrastructure at home.
  3. Relative capability and specs are not clear yet – my guess is that the winner of that will depend on one’s point of view.
  4. I’m guessing on price, but my prediction is that the iPad Pro won’t be less than an equivalent Surface Pro 4.

So I’ll impatiently wait for a while longer.  Microsoft just sent invitations to journalists for an October 6 event in New York stating “We have some exciting news to share about Windows 10 devices” at which the Surface Pro 4 is expected to be debuted. They will also be live streaming the event.

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  • Richard Callaway

    “A technical spec comparison between the iPad Pro and the current Surface Pro 3 shows that the iPad Pro has equal or better specs ”
    the A9 processor is a mobile processor, the ipad pro comes with a max of 4 gig of memory, the surface pro 3 has a much bigger hard drive and up to 8 gig of memory.

    The screen is about the only thing the ipad pro can beat the surface pro 3 on (barely).

  • Steve

    Specs do not even compare. Lowest spec machine for surface pro 3 worth i3 processor and 4 gigs of ram with 128 GB hard drive and 128 gb micro SD card beats highest end iPad pro. Also, “pencil” is added cost whereas stylus for surface pro is included. Lastly, not sure why iPad is even called pro. Should be called iPad +, like the naming convention of the iPhone.

  • Two different devices, I have Apple infrastructure but I will not get iPad Pro. If I would have to pick between iPad pro and Surface Pro 4 then Surface all the way. Apple still need to come up with tablet having full Mac OSX then we can start to compare it against Surface. I wish that Apple is listening and they will create tablet/laptop with OSX comparable to Surface.

  • SavageNarce

    For me, it comes down to the expandability of the Surface Pro. Apple has always forced users to “like it or lump it” for memory, making us buy the largest possible (and therefore most expensive) device because there is NEVER enough memory to do everything we want. The MicroSD card capability of the Surface Pro can make all the difference.