iPad Pro looks awesome, but is Surface Pro 4 even better?


Which one is your money on?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Whether you like it or not, 2-in-1 tablets that turn into laptops are a thing. Microsoft’s Surface was one of the first to kick off this trend, and with the Surface Pro 4 that was announced this week, it is making the 2-in-1 an even more compelling device.

Friday-Night-Fights-bug-2For the same price as an iPad Pro with Apple Pencil, you can get a Surface Pro 4 with powerful notebook internals that runs desktop-class software when you need it. So, why wouldn’t you?

What makes the iPad Pro a better option? And did Apple miss a trick by not making the iPad Pro the ultimate 2-in-1 for iOS and OS X users?

Join us as we battle it out over these questions and more in this week’s Friday Night Fight between Cult of Android and Cult of Mac!

Killian-FNFKillian Bell (Writer, Cult of Android): I’m particularly excited for the Surface Pro 4, which seems like the ultimate laptop/tablet hybrid. I had been eagerly awaiting iPad Pro pre-orders to go live, but after watching Microsoft’s keynote, I’m just not that interested in Apple’s device — the Surface Pro 4 seems like a much better option for the same money.

I’m sure you’re going to disagree, so convince me the iPad Pro is still worth it.

cartoonluke_360.pngLuke Dormehl (Writer, Cult of Mac): You know what, Killian? Friday Night Fights is a great place to cut loose at the end of a long week, but I was genuinely impressed by Tuesday’s Microsoft event. I’m an Apple fan, of course, but I’ve never been loyal to a brand for any reason other than I like its products and think they’re the best.

With that in mind, this week’s media event made me feel something I haven’t felt in a long time when Microsoft is mentioned: slightly envious. I was particularly blown away by the Surface Book, which in my opinion looks the most exciting new iteration of a laptop since the original iPad Air. But I digress.

The Surface Pro 4 may not have been quite so exciting, but it still looks more than decent. That doesn’t make mean it’s an iPad Pro beater, though. The iPad Pro still has plenty going in its favor. It has a marginally larger display, at 12.9 inches versus 12.3. It’s lighter and thinner and probably the more attractive of the two. Price-wise there’s not much in it, since the iPad Pro is cheaper but doesn’t come with the stylus — which most people are going to want — included.

The real advantage for Apple fans is going to, as usual, be the fact that it’s tied into the Apple ecosystem. If you’re all about the App Store, a regular user of iCloud and want to easily Handoff to your iPhone, Mac etc. the iPad Pro is the device for you.

More than ever, though, Microsoft has closed the gap. And that’s actually pretty exciting.

Surface Pro 4 is bigger and better in every way.
Surface Pro 4 is bigger and better in every way.
Photo: Microsoft

Killian-FNFKillian: What’s great about the Surface Pro 4 is that it isn’t ​just​ a tablet. It runs tablet apps designed for a touchscreen device, but if you want to, you can also run full desktop apps; you don’t have to settle for watered-down versions of image and video editing suites, lightweight word processors, and mobile browsers.

And even when you run desktop apps, you’re going to get great performance, because Surface Pro 4 has a laptop processor, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 1TB of internal storage.

The iPad is terrific, and I love my iPad Air 2 — especially the software available for it. But it’s tablet software, and for many tasks — some of which I’ve mentioned — it simply cannot replace a desktop or laptop computer. The Pro 4 can, and it starts at the same price as an iPad Pro with Apple Pencil.

I certainly see your point about the Apple ecosystem, but Windows devices have been playing nicely with iOS devices for a long time. iCloud is available on Windows, as is iTunes with Apple Music. You’re not going to miss anything but your iPad apps, but there are plenty of desktop-class alternatives.

cartoonluke_360.pngLuke: It’s tough to disagree with a lot of what you’ve said, which makes this less than a fight. Ultimately a lot of this is going to come down to what you want to use it for. If media viewing is your thing, the iPad Pro looks like the best tablet around. Not only is the screen bigger as I pointed out but it’s also got a higher resolution display. If you play games, same thing. If you’re into photo-editing I’d say the iPad Pro definitely has a lot going in its favor, but if you’re going to be doing the kind of tasks that normally require a desktop you’ll probably be happier with the Surface. Or, better yet, buy a MacBook Pro.

My question to you Killian is what this is going to do to Apple’s strategy with the iPad Pro? It’s no secret that the company has been trying to get into businesses and education with its tablets, and the iPad Pro was viewed as a great way to do this. Now Microsoft has come along and done something which undercuts a lot of what Apple’s aiming for. Could you see Apple going down the two-in-one route in future iterations of its iPad Pro?

Surface Pro 4 is the ultimate 2-in-1.
Surface Pro 4 is the ultimate 2-in-1.
Photo: Microsoft

Killian-FNFKillian: I don’t think 0.6 inches is going to make much of a different to media viewing, especially when you’re going to be holding these devices in your hands and they’re going to be pretty close to your eyes anyway. I should also point out that while the iPad Pro may have a ​slightly​ higher resolution, its larger size means it’s not as sharp as the Pro 4, which boasts 267 pixels-per-inch versus the iPad Pro’s 264.

Regarding a possible two-in-one from Apple, that’s a great question. I don’t ever see it happening, mostly because I’m not sure how it would work without combining iOS and OS X in some way, and Apple has stated this is something it will never do. Wouldn’t it be awesome, though, to have a tablet running iOS that automatically switches to OS X when you attach it to a keyboard dock?

Maybe in the future, when iOS is as advanced as a desktop operating system, the iPad will be capable of replacing a notebook. But without simple things like a file manager, so many things just aren’t as easy — or even possible at all — on an iPad, no matter how big its display.

I know the iPad has already replaced a laptop for those who only ever browse the web and use email. But so many of us still rely on desktop apps that simple aren’t available or aren’t as good on tablets.

cartoonluke_360.pngLuke: There’s definitely a Catch-22 with the desire not to combine OS X and iOS. It makes a lot of sense and Microsoft has run into the problem before, with Windows 8, of making a combination that tried to be both mobile and desktop OS and wound up being neither. I’m not sure how useful it would be to have a device that shifts between OS X and iOS and runs differently with each, but I bet this is going to prompt some interesting discussions in Cupertino.

At the end of the day, we won’t know how the Surface Pro 4 performs until we can take it for a test drive. The iPad Pro is still very much on my “to buy” list, but I’d be lying if I said Tuesday’s event hadn’t made me at least reconsider my purchases for the remainder of 2015. And I never thought I’d say that.

Since we seem to be in agreement, though, let’s turn things over to the readers. Are both of us crazy for getting excited about something from (boo! hiss!) Microsoft? Will you be picking up an iPad Pro the day it hits shelves? Or is the Surface Pro 4 maybe, just maybe the next-gen device people have been waiting for?

Continue the discussion below. And have a good weekend.

Friday Night Fights is a series of weekly death matches between two no-mercy brawlers who will fight to the death — or at least agree to disagree — about which is better: Apple or Google, iOS or Android?

  • HadrianM

    I like the ecosystem argument – I am particularly married to the Apple ecosystem and divorced Microsoft years ago. Saying that all I will lose is my apps is like saying I will lose hundreds of dollars is investment. The apps that come out of iOS are far more competitively priced than they are for Windows OS. I would have to spend a pretty penny to replace them. And other apps that are designed to be used more powerful workstations can run on Surface, but at what cost of performance to be in that slate? As where things designed for iOS – are designed to perform on that hardware specifically and platform, specifically.

    Now if I were new to the market and needed to start with a device – the choice could be harder.

    • CelestialTerrestrial

      I look at it this way. The Surface Pro 4’s are using the slowest, lowest power i5/i7. Now, can you do 4k video editing on the i5 versions? I don’t believe it’s going to work all that great on a low end version. So you would have to get the i7 version, but that’s not the same price as the iPad Pro. Also, is the Microsoft Pen really comparable against the Pencil in terms of latency, and other performance considerations? I don’t think the Microsoft pen is as good, at least I have not heard a single professional graphic artist prefer the Microsoft pen. Jury is still out.

      Now, Apple doesn’t want a full blown OS with a mobile hand held device because it requires a lot more processing power, etc. etc. and most people simply don’t like the added nonsense of a full blown OS, they want something they just download the app, open the app and go, no futzing around with all of the completely wasteful eye candy and all of the other crap that you really don’t need..

      As far as a Laptop is considered, For the same money as a high end Surface Pro, I could get a decent MacBook Pro with a MUCH faster i7, a LOT more I/O like Thunderbolt 2, etc. and something that has a real keyboard. Yes, I would lose the tablet functionality, but as far as a laptop is concerned, I would have greater power, longer useful lifespan and certainly far more useful as a laptop than a Surface Pro, which isn’t even an Ultraclass, it’s more like a high end notebook computer.

      Some of use want both a tablet as a tablet and a laptop as a laptop because there is benefit from having two good devices than one half assed one. Some will even use the Tablet in COMBINATION to the laptop for even more flexibility as there are surface apps to make an iPad be a control surface for things like Final Cut Pro, etc.

      Plus, if I got the MacBook Pro, I can always run Windows, if I need to run Windows, but in this day and age, the only thing on Windows worthwhile might be some stupid video game and even THAT’S debatable.

      Microsoft tried to push the 2 in 1 product idea, but I think the result is just two half assed products in one, rather that two distinct products that the sum of the two is RIDICULOUSLY better, more flexible and certainly the better setup.

      • Patrick

        How can you judge the Pencil vs the Pen. You can’t hear a “single professional graphic artist prefer” either, they aren’t out yet. And the new Pen is better than the previous generation.
        If you’re going to bring in the MacBook Pro then I can bring in the Surface Book. Which blows away the MacBook Pro, has the real keyboard, dedicated GPU, MUCH faster storage throughput using PCIE vs SATA, oh and you don’t have to “lose the tablet functionality” because it is still a 2 in 1 (#toasterfridge)

      • Christopher Stevenson

        How can you chide someone for comparing the pencil to the pen when the pencil isn’t out yet (a valid point) and in the very next breath say the Surface Book “blows away” the MBP? Particularly if you are not all that interested in tablet functionality in a laptop, as I am not.

      • Richard Callaway

        We can compare them because we can look at specs published by intel for their processors and GPUs. You can’t look at specs of a Pen especially when neither have been released.

      • Christopher Stevenson

        You can compare them but the comparison is not all that meaningful. Specs do not by any stretch tell the whole story. My last three PCs had great specs on paper but performed poorly in the RW because of things like constant driver failures and odd instances of hard drive thrash; the touchpad on my current PC laptop STILL won’t work most of the time, and it isn’t a hardware issue. (I don’t really care much bc PC touchpads are garbage.)

        In particular with the Surface Book, as a first-gen device, it is hard to say (for example) what kind of problems there might be over time with constant keyboard attaching/detaching. It’s an intriguing device but too early to say that it blows anything away.

      • Richard Callaway

        We are talking about comparisons with published data. Obviously YMMV but since none of these devices are in the wild yet that’s all we have to compare. My point was that the pen vs. the pencil comparison is utterly ridiculous because there is no reverence point for either except photos.

        Celestial said
        ” Also, is the Microsoft Pen really comparable against the Pencil in terms of latency, and other performance considerations? I don’t think the Microsoft pen is as good, at least I have not heard a single professional graphic artist prefer the Microsoft pen.”

        Really??? that’s the statement you are defending? How can Celestial say he doesn’t think it’s as good when neither has been released yet?

      • Christopher Stevenson

        Yes, and I agree that yours is a valid point about pen and pencil. My point is that it is also invalid to state that a device “not in the wild” (Surface Book) is superior to one that is (MBP) based solely on specs without actual testing and use cases. Arguing otherwise simply reveals one’s bias.

      • Derp

        I so much agree with you. Although I didnt like the looks of the surface book…

      • The Apple Pencil hasn’t even been released yet, and you’re already accusing the Surface Pen of not being comparable?
        Don’t get me wrong, I do agree with your argument, but the Surface Pen has a great track record already, as opposed to the Apple Pencil, which hasn’t even reached consumer hands yet. So how are you making that assumption?

      • Dave Williams

        The SP4 is not using the “slowest, lowest power i5/i7” as far as we know it’s i5-6300U and i7-6650U. Go look them up, and you will see they will be fine for 4K editing. Also until the next gen MacBook is release, it will be slightly more powerful than they are.

      • SimeonJeanJulien

        Or you can get the surface book, which is geared towards those who primarily want a laptop most of the time and a tablet on occasion. Apple makes great products and now Microsoft does too, but what Microsoft and its OEMs do is give the consumer a choice.

      • mmmcoffee

        Really good points. From someone who had owned an Surface Pro (first generation), I can say that I had a real love-hate relationship with that device. On one hand, I loved the fact that I could write on it with a stylus. On the other hand, it gave me so many headaches. It was too heavy with too poor of a battery life to be truly mobile. As a laptop, the keyboard was finicky — often, the trackpad stopped working, or the keys stopped typing. I also found the screen to be too small to be functional with multitasking with many windows open. So it was disappointing.

        Mind you, the new generations I hear are much better but I have played with a few of them, and there is just no comparison to the macbook air I would later buy. There were too many compromises everywhere. I would rather have two devices that work perfectly for what they were meant to do rather than one device that would annoy me with its compromises.

        Where Apple needs to improve (and I think it has made the right step with the iPad pro) is to stick with its vision of what a tablet is supposed to be — portable, simple, and device that is unique and separate to a laptop. On that last point, I agree that Apple needs to push the synergy features, allowing iPads to work better with laptops. It needs to find the answer to how those two devices can be combined to make something that is greater than the sum of the parts, as you put it. Right now, I don’t think it’s quite there yet but this is what should be the aim.

      • Random Ranter

        Surface Pro 4:
        6th Gen 2.2-GHz Intel Core i7-6650U processor with Intel Iris graphics 540
        6th Gen 2.4-GHz Intel Core i5-6300U processor with Intel HD graphics 520
        6th Gen 900-MHz Intel Core m3-6Y30 processor with Intel HD graphics 515

      • Toohard2do@gmail.com

        You are a great person I am guessing. However, I dont have time to counter all your thoughts you are pulling out of your hat.
        1) version 6 of I-5 low voltage is really not that far away from the low voltage I -7. Sorry, I understand that you just inexperienced with mobo hardware. The ram is going to be more of a factor for full blown Photoshop. That alone eliminates the ipad.

        My old Surface Pro does pretty well using Adobe products within reason.
        But my personally designed desktop is necessary.

        2) What in the world would you base your statement of the Apple
        pencil being superior to the MS aka N-Trig pen?
        A) N-Trig has 19 years in business . So the Apple pencil is 2 months out and the Surface Pen is 228 months along. Plus from last year’s SP 3 using 512 levels of pressure and now has many more art software drivers it didn’t have 2 years ago.
        B) The SP4 now has 1024 levels of pressure (mostly needed only for large brush strokes). MS really took the inking tech seriously and they jumped in the fast lane improving an already decent pen system.
        C) Apple has not published any specs on it $99 (typical Apple gouging its poor willing customers.) It is compatible with what? A bunch more
        under powered apps. ¿¿
        D) 8gb of ram is minimal on the SP4 (DDR5 helps) must for top of the line professional art software. I don’t think there is an app for that.
        E) just for the record, I have 4 Wacom devices and do not own an N-Trig.
        Just saying, if you are going to spout out the kind of unsupported dribble you do, you are simply embarrassing yourself.

        Kindly, a formal wakeup call..

  • Zurkram

    The whole “Surface can run desktop apps” thing is getting tired. Most people aren’t going to run Photoshop or CAD software on a 12 inch screen. That’s Microsofts play because that’s all they have.
    In fact they want to move away from desktop software themselves but they can’t.
    The promise of Pro “Apps” is what the iPad pro is based on, and that’s the killer feature that will make the IPad pro the better buy.

    • A-thought

      You seem so sure that this won’t happen (people won’t run “desktop”, or let’s say “traditional”, software on their mobile device). But I use both limited apps and powerful traditional apps every single day on mine. And I relish the fact that I’m not forced by the maker of my device to make a choice. I have a friend who’s a lawyer that ditched his iPad and bought a surface Pro 3 for the same reason – he can use modern type apps as well as all of his firm’s software. I know a student who uses his for games like candy crush and apps like Facebook, but also for his school’s design tools like CAD, for programming languages & coding, and for MS office.

      This is not a tired scenario. The tired scenario is a hardware provider telling us we should have to flip between tablet and laptop as we process our work & life, as if that somehow serves us and not their ability to sell 2 pieces of hardware when 1 could’ve been just great for us.

      The world is waking up to this. Maybe you should too.

      • Mattoligy

        Very well said. Completely agree.

    • verplanck

      The whole “Surface can run desktop apps” thing is getting tired

      The promise of Pro “Apps” … that’s the killer feature


      • g


      • SimeonJeanJulien

        Agreed the promise that the ipad pro will be able to run software that windows tablets already can. Why waot for apple when there’s a device that can already do it.

      • A-thought

        Because when you live and die for a brand, you can’t see any other way. (It’s true of any brand loyalist, whether iOS, Windows, Android, etc)

    • Patrick

      True, you wouldn’t do CAD on a 12 inch screen, but you could pair it with the Surface dock and then drive dual monitors. I work for a home builder and we have a whole team who use AutoCAD every day. This devices enables a scenario where our managers can review things on the big screen at the office, but then carry the device to the job site and make annotations without having to switch devices. Couple that with Miracast and now I can also project it to the big screen. And trust me, we’ve tried Apple TV, but it just doesn’t scale to the conference room.

      • A-thought

        Yep yep yep. I and the others I mentioned have all done this kind of stuff as well. Most of us here are real productivity people, so we get the benefit of this type of stuff and therefore why the current market shift is occurring. The rest are iOS brand loyalists. They’ll never get it.

        Until the day, if it comes and likely will, that Apple introduces an OS X tablet. Then they’ll herald Apple’s genius. Just like they’re doing now with the iPad pro, when two years ago they laughed at the idea and said Apple would NEVER be so STUPID as to introduce a tablet that is meant to pair with a keyboard and stylus! If they’re honest, they’ll admit they laughed at it then, and are defending it now. It’s called blind loyalty.

    • SimeonJeanJulien

      Ipad has extremely well built and powerful apps, given the device and OS there built to run on but I wouldn’t really call them pro, once the OS can support pc level apps then they would be pro apps. Microsoft doesn’t have this problem its OS can support both limited apps and pc level software. Its a pretty awesome concept that at first was terribly executed but with windows 10 the desktop experience is much improved, touch experience remains much the same and does need to be improved a bit. All Microsoft needs is continued developer support for its desktop, more deceloper support for touch based apps and they’ll have an amazing ecosystem for an already incredible device.

      • Zurkram

        To clarify my original point on “Pro Apps”. I’m referring to Apps not currently available that will take advantage of the more powerful iPad pro. Apps that will rival desktop apps. Imagine Logic Pro, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Photoshop reworked for iOS. Even Microsoft is moving away from legacy desktop software.

    • placid causal

      Some people certainly do use desktop apps successfully on the surface pro. I for one use Photoshop CC and Lightroom regularly on the surface pro 2. Both programs run flawlessly with fast startup times and integrated wacom digitiser support. Of course the 10.9 inch screen brings in an obvious compromise but that is acceptable given the advantage in portability and the ability to connect and drive a high resolution display. Competition is good, and the IPP certainly brings some interesting features to the table – i.e. the stylus and it looks nice, but until the software catches up with the hardware the compromises are far greater

  • Lucus Bendzsa

    What type of fight of this!? I fell asleep! MORE FIGHTING!!! Put on your big boy gloves!

    • Luke Dormehl

      I was fighting a Mayfield strategy. Get people through the door and then get out with as few bruises as possible. :D

  • Richard T Lennox

    OK… I agree to disagree. The New MS Surface looks wonderful for the largest market share (i.e. office workers) but for a certain segment… those who can actually “draw” (you know… with a real pencil).. Artists and other pixel peekers… there is simply NO challenge. I am lusting after the new resolution and the new tool to reach it, but I have been struggling with the pointing devices (1 own 6 styli, track pad preferred on OS ) and am looking for one that mimics the skill set that I have honed (even before computers). I have ditched my laptop, and fully do 90% of my work on my iPad… Bluetooth keyboard when needed. When the first iPad came out, it was denigrated as “just a bigger iPhone”, and lots of us were all about it, “HELL YES!” At this time, & there is a wealth of software for the iOS ecosystem and more will be coming specifically to tap (pun intended) the new capabilities of the Pro. My only question is if I really need a keyboard too (the dictation is getting so much better…) and while I can type, it is not my primary means of communication (raised with preference for actual face to face or telephones). Sigh…but I realize I am a minority as I also can draw- well! I don’t see a headlong push for drawing to enter schools as a requirement, or even an elective, so few will appreciate the inherent difference, but those who do & can, will.

    • I respect that you prefer the iPad for drawing, and that you’re apparently a talented veteran artist, but I’m also tempted to accuse you of having no idea what you’re talking about.
      The Surface Pro 4 has a ppi of 267, as opposed to roughly 265 ppi on the iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro. And if it’s sheer screen size you care about, the Surface Book also offers 267 ppi. No matter how you slice it, the Surface has more pixels to peek at. We also have yet to see how well the Apple Pencil performs, while we already know that the Surface Pen is incredibly effective. And I’m glad that you’ve adapted well to iOS’s software suite for artwork, but I’m quite thrilled that I have no need to adapt, as the Surface can run the fully fledged Adobe and Autodesk suites, (not to mention other gems such as Corel and ArtRage). While there are iPad versions of several of those programs, they simply aren’t as effective on what is still only a mobile device. And if you’re EXTREMELY crazy, you can even hook up a Cintiq to your Surface via the dock.
      I’m glad you like the iPad and that it serves you well, but I think you might be neglecting a few facts, not to mention you might need to put some ice on that swelled head of yours.

  • CelestialTerrestrial

    It’s going to take a lot more than one Microsoft product announcement to get me to give up OS X and IOS and go to Windows only environment, especially since I’ve used Windows in the past and it just wasn’t a great experience. Microsoft needs to bow out of their monopoly status more gracefully and just become a normal competitor. They have that arrogance and that annoys me. They got that monopoly illegally, but the damage was already done, so sorry Microsoft, the products on the SURFACE sound great, but when you start doing more analysis, it’s just superficial and it’s only on a SURFACE level. Puns intended. I guess the name is fitting. :-) I would still wait until the SkyLake refreshes hit the market from Apple, they aren’t going to use the lowest end i5/i7 on their laptops, they aren’t currently. I would think they’ll some of the faster i5/i7 in the upcoming MacBook Air/Pro models.

    Remember this


    The Surface Pro is a high end Notebook class computer, not an Ultrabook and DEFINITELY not a Laptop class.

    • Dave Williams

      Wh does everyone think it’s the lowest end i5/i7? They never said which ones yet, but best guess it mid range i5 and the top end i7 (for 15W TDP). Also I think your definitions are a bit off… Laptop = Notebook and Ultrabooks are just small form factor laptops (and BTW it’s a trademark). The internals of an SP3 or 4 are going to be better than a LOT of laptops and Ultrabooks. It depends what the OEM puts inside it.

    • Random Ranter

      These are the Surface Pro 4 processor options:

      6th Gen 2.2-GHz Intel Core i7-6650U processor with Intel Iris graphics 540
      6th Gen 2.4-GHz Intel Core i5-6300U processor with Intel HD graphics 520
      6th Gen 900-MHz Intel Core m3-6Y30 processor with Intel HD graphics 515

  • whodakat

    Too bad the full blown OS this thing runs is Windows. If I’m looking for toolbars and apps that download them self and then take over your computer and brick your hardware, then I know where to go.

    • Dave Williams

      Idiot, they don’t download themselves… You download them and install them, quite likely even though you are warned against it by the OS.

  • Octagon

    iPad Pro is a very nice tablet provided it is the right choice, that is, the easier to handle iPad Air 2 is not better. It can replace a laptop as much as iOS can replace OS X or Windows, that is, for some usage scenarios. Surface Pro is a poor tablet, weight aside it can replace a tablet as much as Universal Apps can replace iOS apps, that is, in some exceptional cases.

    I was exited to see Surface since it potentially, provided Universal Apps are popular, can replace a laptop, which in its own right replaces a desktop, and a tablet. Poor cheap experience is what any business wants most. Same for a consumer on a budget.

    I guess neither iPad Pro nor Surface change much. The iOS multitasking and increased adoption of Universal Apps are important. Will universal apps create the ecosystem on par with that of iOS and once again put Apple at the brink of extinction or will iOS become capable of doing desktop job and extinguish Windows? It will be fun to see…

  • Chris Jones

    3 PPI difference… Like the human eye can see that! WTH? Personally, I think both are good/great but for different reasons/uses.

  • mildmanneredjanitor

    Given how massively the Surface outranks the iPad in every respect, that these comments still attract support in favor of the iPad demonstrates more clearly than ever before the blind, unconditional willingness to burn money that characterizes the irrational cult which is Apple.
    Boys and toys.

  • avi

    ipad pro is just an ipad xl running the same ios.
    nothing “pro” about it.

  • 2oh1

    I’ll never understand how people compare hardware that runs different operating systems. It makes no sense because even if you think the Surface thing is better, you can’t run your iOS apps on it. And even if you think the iPad Pro is better, it’s irrelevant if you want to run whatever version of Windows the Surface runs.

  • I’ve seen the promotional video already. I am in no way saying that the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil doesn’t look impressive; I’m just saying that the specs and features you’re lauding have already met their match.

  • Whocares

    U have a great hybid car, but it can’t perform as well as BMW gasoline car and is not as effiecient as a Tesla. Do I need to say more?

    • caywen

      Except you can buy 3 of your hybrid cars for the price of a Tesla, and 2 of the hybrid cars for the price of the BMW. And the Tesla outperforms the BMW as well. And the hybrid car kills both in terms of range. Not sure what your point is.

  • caywen

    To be fair, the SP4 has higher PPI and a screen 95% of the iPad Pro’s size. And its pen is not a passive stylus as I think you are suggesting. I think if you’re totally happy with the iPad Pro, you should go get it. I envy you, you’re mode of thinking makes your decision easy between two great devices.

    • Richard Callaway

      “mode of thinking” hilarious!

  • g

    Missing Point – iPad Pro is not meant to be a laptop – I don’t want to use it as a laptop I want to be free and explore/create Microsoft NEVER gets this! a friend tried to work on one of these surface tablets and was done after 30 minutes… Just done.

    • Richard Callaway

      You are missing Apple’s point! They are the ones positioning this as a laptop replacement. Apple never gets this!

    • Random Ranter

      Being productive confused your friend?

  • JimGramze

    I have a 2015 Macbook Pro. When I look at the iPad Pro I am NOT comparing it to a Surface model. The premise of this article is completely ridiculous. There are things I only do on an iPad, there are things I only do on an iPhone, there are things I only do on the Apple Watch, and there are certainly things I only do on my Macbook Pro. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to consolidate and settle on only one device. I consider best use cases, not what I have to settle for instead.

    • Richard Callaway

      Nice straw man you put up there by including an Apple watch and iPhone in your argument. The surface is not trying to replace them. You may as well have included a lamp and a vacuum cleaner in your statement. You would be equally wrong then.

    • Random Ranter

      And you’re exactly the type of person Apple is completely dependent on to support its business model. Discrete devices for each use case. Me, I’d rather have my Surface Pro 3, which can serve as my tablet, my laptop, and my desktop, all in one device. I can run simple consumption applications as well as desktop class applications like Photoshop, Visual Studio, etc. I’d take one device over 2 or 3.

  • srsjones825

    Having struggled with (an admittedly cheaper) Microsoft tablet, the Dell Venue, all I can say is that Windows 10 on a mobile device is awkward and clunky at best, bordering on awful undocked. Apple (and Google’s Android) just do mobile better. Better by light years. I’m sure the Surface Pro’s hardware is impressive, but I’m unconvinced. I’ll be sticking with the mobile platform that does it best. My next purchase is a no-brainer. It will be the iPad Pro.

    • Random Ranter

      And what second device will you purchase for doing anything productive?

      • srsjones825

        I have a Windows workstation on my desktop & an older laptop, which weighs a ton and I hate carrying around. If I really needed a laptop, I woulds buy one. What I need is lightweight and mobile, and that the Apple iPad does flawlessly, and Microsoft, not so much.

      • Random Ranter

        So what you’re saying is when you’re mobile you don’t need to do anything productive and don’t need any of the applications on your desktop/laptop. See, in my case I need and can use every application that I use on my “desktop/laptop”, as well as my tablet, because they are all running on a single machine. To me that is the ultimate computing experience. A 3-in-1 device.

  • Johnny

    For running custom applications, you do need a Surface Pro / Book. Since it is running a full version of Windows 10, though, as a bonus you’ll also be getting the capability of being infected by countless viri and trojans. Think nice pop-up windows with ads in every page you visit.

    You will also have the obligation of installing operating system updates almost every week. Also, when you need to use an e-banking site/application, you’ll never be sure whether a screen/key logger is not running in the background, transmitting your bank account credentials.

    Also, some of your applications might start crashing after a few months, once you’ve filled your Surface with the same ones you have on your desktop PC (you know, the one that inexplicably started slowing down about 5 months after you originally installed the O/S.

    Then you’ll have to carry out fun tasks like checking the registry for application entry conflicts, emptying temporary folder files and checking your disks for errors, in case your tablet crashes.

    My response to Microsoft is : ‘No thanks. For certain tasks, like remote administration of systems/networks and basic MS Office tasks, I’d rather keep my less-capable, restricted but much more secure iPad’. For other tasks, I’d rather use my (same-priced, compared to the Surface Pro, but much more capable) desktop computer. It comes with a bigger keyboard and screen, a comfortable mouse (oh, and a desk :) ).

    Yes, in terms of security neither the iPad is perfect. It is much, much better though than any Surface system because of its (criticized) restrictive nature. Some people don’t need the hassle of carrying the issues of a desktop computer everywhere they go. People that do need custom Windows apps on the go, though, do need either a laptop or a Surface.

    Or in certain cases, a jailbroken iPad with a remote desktop connection, a Cydia-enabled Bluetooth mouse and a keyboard ;) .

    (Why these points are not mentioned is beyond me – most people seem blinded by the, admittedly nice, design of the new Surface line)

    • Richard Callaway

      Really??? This tired old virus argument. It’s been know for some time that Macs are more susceptible to viruses than the latest versions of Windows. Then you go onto mention that you can add a mouse to a jail broken iPad. REALLY???? You can make that statement weeks after the biggest security breach that hit Apple’s eco system came via Jail broken iPhones?

      • Johnny

        Richard, I’m sorry but as a very, very long time user of both Windows (literally since version 3.0) and Macs O/S, both at home and at work, there is just no comparison when it comes to the actual virus / trojan situation between the two operating systems.

        If Microsoft die-hards don’t want to admit it in public / don’t have practical experience with Mac O/S and actual infection incidents, that’s fine by me. I’m not choosing that path.

        There are pros and cons to both operating systems. The virus and trojan situation is still not a strong point of Windows. Maybe Mac O/S is not an attractive target, as it’s by far not so popular, maybe its a matter of the underlying FreeBSD system architecture, call it what you want.

        Exploits and viri do exist in numbers on Mac O/S but comparatively, in practical terms, its still a night-and-day situation when it comes to the latest versions of Windows, no matter how much Microsoft has tried in the past.

        Don’t get me wrong : Microsoft does try fixing exploits, with very frequent security updates. I wholeheartedly do want them to succeed with the new Surface. In terms of hardware it seems a well-designed device with specific merits; also, Apple does need to wake up and truly innovate, not just release successive revisions of iOS with inexcusable screen orientation issues and overcharge for extra RAM on their iOS devices.

        One thing that does bother me, though, is that Microsoft tries harder to spy on my usage habits, through Windows 10. I imagine you also don’t approve of that.

        Oh, and regarding the ‘security breach via Jailbroken iPhones’ you are talking about, what does that actually have to do with jail breaking ? If somebody uses the latter method to download pirated and infected applications from a Chinese repository, it’s not really Apple’s fault, is it ? We might as well blame Apple for the user corrupting the iPhone’s filesystem through a similar app.

        In any case, as you can imagine I’m not your typical iPad user and know fully well how to protect myself from such incidents.

    • Dynafrom Wang

      So much ignorance in this post. How do you manage to breathe retard?

    • Dynafrom Wang

      Johnny the dumbass.

  • Simple: Did Microsoft make it? Does it run Windows or some variation thereof? If the answer to either question is Yes, then I want no part of it. MS will NEVER get a penny of my money because of the garbage they’ve pushed on us for years such as Internet Explorer and Windows. No thanks.

    FWIW, I use an Android phone because I can’t stand how dumbled-down iOS is.

  • Abdallah Nasser

    Microsoft has gone too crazy with it’s Surface book. What would be a point if you were chosen to get either a surface book or a surface pro ? Microsoft’s goal is to take both tables and laptop industry with just 1 device with 1 software. This is not going to happen. Windows 8 is a failure to Microsoft as it has many glitches and bugs that makes the software pretty useless while using apps. The stylus in Surface book or pro is also useless. What would you do with a styles unless you are an artist. Making stylus in box and increasing the price isn’t a good idea. While the iPad gives you the choice of either getting it or not.

    • Random Ranter

      50% of the people that use Surface Pros use a stylus. There are many use cases for styli. You can’t project your limited uses to the rest of the world.

    • SKS

      Stylus is used with Onenote or Drawboard PDF to annotate on PDF or any app that support annotation or sketching program from illustrator to other store apps. WIndows 8 may be hard(more click to shutdown) to use in desktop computer than touch device, but it was never ever unstable OS with glitches, many things from speed, searching etc. were improved but in no way it has glitches. After windows 8 pro final version released. From 2012 to now, I hvae installed windows 8 pro, then upgraded to 8.1 then upgraded to windows 10 then reset through setting for clean install. My laptop is Dell inspiron-14z-5423 and never have virus problem, since windows defender is already there. If pendrive have virus, it will be cleaned bcoz of realtime monitoring. So no tension.

  • Jess

    I’m liking where they’re going with this, although I won’t be going for one as the OS is the dealbreaker. But an ipad pro/macbook mashup is something I would want to see in the future.

  • WilburPost

    I’m all in on Apple at this point, but to accomplish what I need to accomplish, that means having a laptop in addition to my iPad. I can afford to do that at this stage in my life, but for those who are unable to, The Surface seems like a better investment. It gives the user a broader range of functionality for the same amount of money.

    • A-thought

      Most unbiased comment in this stream, and I think it makes the point pretty clearly.

      Thanks for your honesty.

  • John

    Until it runs a mobile version of osX the Surface will win time and time again, I’m Apple die hard but I own a Surface, the iPad just will not do what the Surface can. These will sell fine but will not be as big a hit as they could have been.

    • A-thought

      “Opponent admission” is the strongest evidence in court.

      Here we have a die hard apple fan admitting that the surface beats the iPad hands down for productivity. Strongest evidence you can get Apple friends. (And not the first one I’ve seen by the way.)

      I’ve looked at many posts by MS fans, some have admitted iPad’s ease of use or large app ecosystem to be fair..but can’t seem to find any feeling compelled to admit that a Surface is just no match for an iPad when it comes to productivity. Has to make you wonder why.

      • John Cobb

        I have an iPad and I have a Surface, they both have their specific uses, the Surface is for productivity while iPad is web surfing and light emailing. Put OS X on iPad Pro and they will be back ordered for years, even Microsoft die yards will convert.

  • AAPL.To.Break.$130.Soon>:-)

    I simply don’t buy the theory that the average consumer wants to run desktop apps in Windows 10. Almost everyone I know has a smartphone and they’re happy accessing their apps under Android or iOS. They don’t seem to be craving some powerful desktop apps. Certainly not enough to go running out and buying a new Windows computer. All the tech-heads keep saying iOS isn’t powerful enough to run the programs they need. I can understand if they’re professionals and need certain desktop programs for their workplace but other than that I would think the iPad’s iOS would be more than suitable for most. I like Microsoft’s idea of using one OS on everything as long as works but that’s Microsoft’s way of doing things. I wouldn’t say it’s particularly better than Apple’s approach of tailoring the OS to the device. If Microsoft can get good battery life while running desktop apps than that’s fine. I only figured they’d need a more powerful (battery draining) processor to run desktop code but I may be wrong. I could live with an eight-hour battery life as opposed to Apple’s 10-hour battery life. I think both the Surface Pro and iPad Pro are useful but I wouldn’t say one is better than the other. It all depends upon what tasks each can do for a specific user.

  • lcfbill

    I see lots of people using Surface Pro’s but almost always as a laptop (actually, with the kickstand, it is truly a “tabletop”). I never seem to see any of these folks using it as a tablet. (Perhaps they do a home when in couch potato mode.) In that light, I think the Surface Laptop looks like a recognition by MSFT of how its Surface devices are actually being used. I think it could do very well. However, when Apple unveils a 14 inch (retina) MacBook, even thinner and lighter and with the screen real estate of a 15 inch machine, that is the thing I would buy since it comes with a much better OS.
    For me, tablets are good for two situations, when you are traveling and when you are sitting around at home. Up to now, I find trying to do precision work on them to be a frustrating experience.

    • Robert Kozak

      This. Too many comments here focus on the tablet vs tablet. I am MacOS user. I owned an iPhone and iPad literally mins to hours after each release. I have a and iMac and MacBook Air and ..oh crap.. an Apple watch. I might be a fanboi.

      But I preordered the Surface Pro 4

      Why? Because it is the thinnest lightest laptop I can get to date. the fact I can use it as a tablet is a neat little feature but i only care that the package is light and capable. I will dock it at work and home to a big ass monitor with keyboard and mouse. This will be my main computer that goes with me everywhere.

      This is why I am getting it and why the iPad Pro is not for me. There is no point arguing about the builders, i care about the device and what it can do for me. Not just the specs or hypothetical use cases that don’t apply to me.

      I want a very thin light device i can take with me anywhere and use when i get there as a full computer. If I could I would even rather have a phone that I can dock to a full screen and keyboard/mouse and have my computer in my pocket. Maybe I can have that in 2 years.

      • A-thought

        Wow, so appreciate your honesty. Don’t envy the flack you’ll probably get from the loyalist community, but hey, at least you’re thinking for yourself and not just following a “cult”!

    • A-thought

      I see lots of people using iPads..no wait, I don’t see them using them. They don’t take them into meetings, they don’t work on them while moving around..they don’t use them. They just don’t use them for productivity. They leave them in their bag, and They use their desktop.

      I on the other hand am on my Windows tablet all day, every day. I take notes on it in meetings. I build office documents on it like full spreadsheets, both moving around with touch keyboard, and at my desk with physical keyboard. I sit at the coffee shop over lunch and use a small portable monitor and great my own custom two screen workstation and get power work done. I go home and pull up a movie on it in Netflix.

      I use it. Constantly. My iPad-using colleagues, in contrast, seem to own a $700 paper weight whenever they’re not playing a game.

  • guest

    Kind of sad how Apple fans have to make up stuff to make the Surface Pro machines look bad and the iPad Pro look legitimate.

  • Daniel Radle

    I work on PC’s every day with the full spectrum of Windows versions, they ALL slow down, they ALL get buggy, and it’s only a matter of time before they need a complete overhaul of the OS, it’s just the way it always has been. I’ve never seen this same issue with iOS, and in particular the iPad’s I’ve had over the years, these devices get better and faster with each iOS release. If you want a bogged down system get anything Windows related, that’s your good hard earned money going into my pocket, thank you!

    • orpickanamo

      This is old & misinformed argument. I keep my Windows and OS X machines clean, and other than some manual maintenance, driver selection (GPU being the most sensitive by far in any platform) and major updates, there have been practically no issues with either. I also have had iOS devices that went “obsolete” but that’s another issue.

      I wonder, how can you defend your “ALL” inclusive argument, by the way? For example, my Win7 machines were rock solid for 5+ years. Now Win10 seems even more solid. That alone has already rendered your statement invalid. And I know for sure I’m not alone. Many non-technical users who
      are having issues need tech help, just like non-technical Mac users should get tech help on doing some major changes to their system.

      I’ve seen non-technical friends put crap into their Macs, got tricked by who-knows-what installers and sneaky phishing stuff maybe. They should stick to App Store and practice basic “safe-internet” really. “Hygiene” practices pretty much depend on the user.

      Also, Macs may have better integration out of the box for average users, but I have had major and minor compatibility issues with AMD graphics on Macs running 3D apps. It’s not the “it just works” heaven many make it seems to be (I bet a lot of them don’t go into the more resource-intensive aspects of computing). Major updates breaking compatibility with various programs and plugins are nothing new either. Funny I thought that should only happen on Windows? …. Not.

  • caywen

    Dear Community: This is to remind you that we are quickly approaching the deadline of determining for the world whether iPad Pro or SP4 is better. Please avoid considering silly and irrelevant ideas like each device having different strengths and appeal to different people. Instead, stay focused on resolving which one is absolutely better. Please include anecdotal evidence, bizarre metaphors, and overarching platitudes to support your argument. Remember, the world is listening, and we can totally influence the market and the ultimate outcome.
    There can and must be only one device. It makes absolutely no sense for there to be viable alternatives in the marketplace! We can do this together!

    • A-thought

      I gotta give you kudos, that was funny, even though it incriminated me a bit too.

      Nicely done. :)

      • caywen

        Heh, I incriminate myself just as much. But it’s amusing reading the general tone of some of what we all have to say :-D

  • Candice Hiley

    I really like the Apple ecosystem it us thousands of apps and hundreds of companies designing hardware catered to Apple products. Plus, integration between different types of hardware is flawless.

    Take a look at the companies they’re building chargers for the Apple watch, Lumiy building LED desk lamps, and Lacie building speakers designed to complement and enhance the existing hardware and software that has been designed by Apple. Apple my have created the iPad but it is all the companies better building the the ecosystem that’s making Apple products great.

  • Brian Hinton

    It comes down to the ecosystem. I actually think Microsoft devices are more innovative. But despite having a better camera in their phones, and a better looking desktop OS (my opinion) they don’t have the app options. With the exception of a few big devs and Microsoft the apps on Windows are poorly designed. I just can’t see myself leaving a platform with many options to one with few. I do hope Apple will start to innovate again. Especially in their desktop OS…how did MS get Cortana in Windows before Siri was integrated with OSX?

    • orpickanamo

      …Or how did MS get multitouch and pen integration long before OS X (which still doesn’t support both natively)?

      Few big devs? Few software options? Major CAD and 3D DCC programs are Windows-first. Countless music/DAW programs are going multiplatform (save for Apple’s own Logic X of course), some newer gen applications are coming to the market, with innovative multitouch (or pen & multitouch) support on Windows (and even Linux) but ironically not on Mac. These are professional/production-level programs costing hundreds to thousands of dollars, not sub $99 “apps”.

      We have to give credit also to MS’ dedication on pen-based computing since 2001, which has paid off now with the likes of OneNote, and various pen-optimized (and multitouch-ready) creative applications (Sketchbook Pro, Painter, Krita, Art Rage, Ps for drawing & painting–among many other choices; beautiful and revolutionary StaffPad along with more traditional Sibelius for music notation), that when combined with the Surface lineup, really do shine as a creative package. Many creatives have realized the potentials of this form factor, and many more are only beginning. You know what prevents many people? It’s not Mac, it’s not Apple, and therefore they do not even see it as a “creative” device. There’s that mental barrier.

  • kavok

    Microsoft could come out with the hoverboard from “Back to the Future”, or even a flying car and I would not own it. There is absolutely nothing Microsoft could create that would entice me to buy their products. I don’t care how much more advanced their hardware is. I don’t care if their software can predict the winning lottery numbers with 100% accuracy. I have been Microsoft-free since OS X 1.0 Public Beta, and have not missed that company’s garbage at all.

  • InklingBooks

    Laptop or tablet, both fill a niche that in my case is work-on-the-go—or at least work at my standup desk. My other work, researching, editing and laying out books, requires a dual display desktop and robust backup. There’s no way I’d use a laptop or tablet for that.

    Having made that distinction, there’s no reason for me to choose a laptop or laptop/tablet clone over a pure tablet. A tablet does all I need done on the go at less cost and hassle than a laptop. For years, I’ve thought of replacing my aging MacBook and always reached the same conclusion. For what I do, the purchase would be a waste. My iPad is enough.

    I tend to think of digital devices as having circles of capabilities. A desktop does these things. A tablet or smartphone does those. I loose out both financially and as a hassle factor if those capabilities either overlap too much or leave gaps in their capabilities that none can do. In my world, I no longer have a need for a laptop. A tablet with keyboard will serve as well. Therefore, I have no need for a laptop/keyboard combination like the Surface Pro 4.

    The situation may be different for those who work more on the go and have little or no reason for a desktop with multiple displays. For them, a laptop may be a necessity and the hassles of a combination laptop/tablet worth having to allow only carrying about one device.

    In short, this debate depends a lot on what you do.

  • AKC322

    I really want to like the iPad Pro, and while I’m sure it’s great for animators and other creative types, it falls well short of giving me what I need as a business professional. I have often imagined a future device that looks, feels and operates like my MacBook Air, but lets me use it as a tablet. Apple has missed the boat on two new products. The MacBook Air now has a smaller screen (what were they thinking?) and the iPad Pro has a really awkward (and aesthetically unsatisfying) half-keyboard, not-quite-a-cover solution. I write this out of a sense of frustration that MS has figured this out with its new line of table-cum-laptop devices. Apple’s becoming too clever by half, I fear, and losing focus on designing and manufacturing intelligent products that are both extraordinarily beautiful and highly functional.

  • Chris Busby

    Killian?ipad pro has slightly higher resyou say !!what 1920x 1080 for the surface and 2048 x 2732 for the pro,think thats a bit higher than slightly don’t you?

  • Luke Dormehl

    I just realised I wrote Mayfield. Should, of course, have read Mayweather. Unless Mayfield is a debater par excellence. Good points on your part though.

  • Ghost of Steve Jobs

    The best kept secret about it is the Surface Pro 4 outdoes both the MacBook Pro and iPad Pro in many areas. It is important to point out that it performs as fast as the MacBook Pro while costing less than both the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro. For example, a forum user on TabletPCReview found that the i5 Surface Pro 4 gets 3.42 in Cinebench R11.5 with zero throttling and almost non-existent fan noise, whereas this year’s entry level MacBook Pro Retina gets 3.34 in the same test. Note that the MacBook Pro costs $300 more than the Surface Pro 4 model (i5 128 GB is $999) in question. Note also that the same model Surface Pro 4 which includes a pen in the price costs some $50 less than the 128 GB iPad Pro when additionally purchasing the Pencil. It is also refreshing to note that the Surface Pro 4 is about as thick as the 1st Generation iPad Air and weighs only about 0.1 lbs more (1.73 labs) than the iPad Pro (1.57 lbs) and less than half the weight of the MacBook Pro (3.48 labs). Similar comparisons can be made with the Surface Pro 4’s screen, which has higher pixel density and color fidelity than both the MacBook Pro and iPad Pro and higher resolution than the MacBook Pro. And the list goes on. The only reason to get an Apple product now is if you like the ecosystem or the aesthetics. Any other reason is likely rooted in false assumptions or misinformation.

  • Jonny_O

    This comes down to one thing: ecosystem.

    On the Microsoft side of the tracks, there’s a huge base of legacy apps but 99% of them are not tablet-friendly. If these apps were going to carry the day then we would have seen the end of this battle by now. There are precious few critical tablet-centric apps available on the Windows platform, and if this tide is turning then I haven’t seen it. That being said, if you find yourself carrying both a laptop and a tablet but reaching for the laptop more often because you need “grown-up” apps then the Surface might be your best choice. Given how Microsoft promotes it with the Type Cover, I suspect the Surface Book might be closer to what the doctor ordered for this camp than the Surface Pro 4.

    On the Apple side, iOS developers are typically very quick at exploiting the capabilities of Apple’s latest advances. I suspect we’ll quickly see an avalanche of pencil-aware apps being released. But will we see iPad apps do “big boy” tasks? That’s as hard to determine as the problem listed in the paragraph above, and we already know that Apple isn’t trying to position iOS to be a weapons-grade OS. This makes the iPad Pro’s lofty price a bit harder to digest, especially since the pencil is not included as standard equipment. If I had to make a prediction here, I suspect Pencil compatibility will reach the smaller iPads as an option and get bundled with the Pro in the next generation.

    Both camps have their work cut out for them. It’s anyone’s game at this point.