In their usual fall mega event for press and online viewers, yesterday Apple unveiled a whole slew of new tech and updates or revisions to existing tech, all coming out over the next few months. For this article I’m briefly touching on my take on the announced 12.9″ iPad Pro “big tablet”, and it’s very easy comparisons to the well known and fairly successful Surface Pro line (currently Surface Pro 3) from Microsoft.
Despite personally favoring where Microsoft has been proceeding under the leadership of Satya Nadella, I’m far from a “fanboy”, all the platforms have benefits and features that suit different users and functions. In this case the comparison between the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 3 by apperance is really easy:
Looking at the two devices there is no argument that Apple at least saw the reasonable success of the Surface Pro line as something worth competing against in their own right. Each of the devices are fairly similar in size, weight, and overall hardware internally and both sell the mechanical keyboard case accessory as an add-on that almost everyone will buy.
My own opinions break down into a few quick key points around the Price, Features, and Use-Case of both devices. In this case even though I’m Canadian based, I’m going to use USD prices for this comparison given Apple has not announced Canadian pricing…which could be huge if they based it on current exchange rates.
The two key models of the iPad Pro are the 32 GB storage at $799, followed by the $949 model with 128 GB storage, and then add the $169 price of the keyboard/case accessory that most users will buy. For this price range that matches up to the Surface Pro 3 of similar specs being either the Core i3 / 64 GB storage unit or the next model up of the Core i5 / 128 GB model, each with the respective Typecover accessory for only slightly cheaper.
For myself being general a old school “PC” user, this brings up the expected argument of why would I own an iPad Pro vs a Surface Pro 3. The iPad Pro is still a “giant tablet” locked into the iOS system and App Store which while huge, has it’s limitations. For the same price I can get a Tablet/Laptop combo device of very similar specs that I can install Steam, Heroes of the Storm, and numerous other “full PC” games and applications on. I expect this will be the key challenge for the iPad Pro as it comes to market for anyone not in the “fanboy instant-buy” camp for Apple. Expanding the argument might not even be an “Apple vs Microsoft” issue as many Apple users will recognize the price quickly crawls into Macbook Air territory, meaning what the primary usage of the device will be will be more critical as it could be too expensive to have a tablet of this scope and a full Laptop PC system.
This comparison even further has it’s limitations as it’s highly expected, although lacking credible details, that a Surface Pro 4 model will be announced and possibly on the market close to the November iPad Pro shipment timeline. I expect Microsoft will springboard off the iPad Pro details to announce a Surface Pro 4 with better hardware and larger storage for the same price to help maintain it’s momentum. I have no sources for this expectation, it just makes sense to exploit the storage gap and price between 32 GB and 128 GB model, and maybe even take a bold move like including or heavily slashing the price of the keyboard accessory.
If your interested in much more detailed analysis and commentary on this kind of comparison between devices, I highly recommend heading over to WindowsCentral.com. It feels like my overall opinion above is being heavy reflected in a lot of the reactions and commentary, so only time will tell if this new iPad Pro becomes a massive seller beyond initial launch excitement, or if the cost/feature analysis simply sells more MacBooks, Surface devices, and other laptops.