Microsoft exec claims iPad Pro is a Surface copycat


You can thank Microsoft for this... apparently.
You can thank Microsoft for this... apparently.
Photo: Apple

In love with your new iPad Pro? You can thank Microsoft for that.

Microsoft executive Ryan Gavin claims Apple’s latest take on tablets wouldn’t have happened without the Surface Pro. It is a “clear example” that the company is following Microsoft’s move into ultraportable 2-in-1 machines.

The iPad Pro is great, but it isn’t exactly a revolutionary upgrade from a regular iPad. Its additional features — Apple Pencil compatibility, the Smart Connector, fancy stereo speakers, and the new ProMotion display — seem like obvious improvements.

But Apple wouldn’t have delivered all that if it wasn’t “following” the Surface Pro, Microsoft claims.

“We have been learning and perfecting our products in the 2-in-1 category for years now, [but] when Surface initially launched everyone was skeptical, including [Apple],” Gavin told Business Insider. “And then they followed, and the iPad Pro is a clear example of that.”

Gavin also claims that when Microsoft is developing new hardware, “we don’t really look at Apple.” If it did, fans would not have devices like the Surface Pro and the Surface Book, which both feature detachable displays that can be used as tablets.

Gavin’s certainly right about that. Apple refuses to deliver a 2-in-1 machine, despite their rise in popularity and the obvious advantages a MacBook that doubles as an iPad could bring. It has given us iPad Pro, but that doesn’t run true desktop software like the Surface.

However, I’m not quite so convinced that iPad Pro is a response to the Surface. Again, its additional features are obvious upgrades that Apple could have easily thought up all by itself — and iPad Pro is still a very different device that serves different needs.

Apple does market the iPad Pro in much the same way Microsoft sells its Surface Pro — as a tablet that can replace your laptop. However, Microsoft’s device does a more convincing job, thanks to a full version of Windows 10, a trackpad, and features like USB connectivity.

I don’t know about you, but I wish Apple really would follow the Surface Pro. I’d love a 2-in-1 MacBook running a full version of macOS with a touch-friendly interface.

  • mmajeski06

    If anything, I view the iPad Pro as a perfected version of the Surface RT.

    • David

      Well said. iPad Pro is everything MSFT was hoping for with the Surface RT, and again with its next consumer iteration, Win10 S.

      • Sta­rt getting residual money on weekly basis… This can be an amazing part-time work for everybody… The best part about it is that you can work from your couch at home and start making from 100-2000 bucks each week … Start today and receive your first paycheck at the end of the week……. VZTURL.COM/bnk55

  • Anthony Velazquez

    “thanks to a full version of Windows 10” lmao… couldn’t PAY me to HAVE to use windows…..smh

    • lattermanstudio

      have to agree with that……. Win 10 is a pain to use. (had to help out a friend runnin Win 10 recently……. just a horrible experience…..

  • daragon99

    If the iPad Pro is a copy of the Surface Pro, then the Surface is a copy of the original iPad. So if you like your surface, you should thank Apple. Because it bet on tablets when nobody else did.

    • David

      Im happy Apple lead and developed the tablet market into what it is today. Nobody doubts Apple’s contributions. But we can give credit when credit is due – to the Surface team who has also moved the segment forward, quite remarkably.

      • Richard Ludwig

        I give the Surface team a lot of credit for pushing the Surface in it’s market segment, but I give them no credit for the iPad Pro. They’re two very different devices with a very different market segment. I think there’s far less market overlap than people think.

    • Samsung Defense Force

      Tablets existed many years before the iPad.

      Tablets are dying now thanks to the Phablet

      The surface is not a “tablet’ it’s in a league of it’s own and others–Samsung and Apple have jumped on that bandwagon.

      • DrMuggg

        “tablets are dying because of the Phablet” – you mean large phones?

        Sorry, but I am sooo buying a iPad Pro 12.9″ with a pen and a keyboard this fall.
        Reading a lot on something that is smaller than an iPad mini. Does not work for longer than 10 min.

        In your fantasy world Phablets are killing Tablets.

      • Samsung Defense Force

        So you’re telling me that tablet sales haven’t been falling and falling and falling over the past few years? Is that what you’re telling me?

  • ciderrules

    Yeah, if only there were keyboards for the original iPad. Or even aftermarket keyboards that **gasp** were also a folding case for your iPad.

  • klaushell

    Two different things…. When we see an iPad with MacOS, then it will be in the same league… Surface is just another attempt from Microsoft to sell something that they’re not quite sure what it is…. I think there is market for everyone… Don’t understand why people keep comparing the two… when they are two different things… One is a tablet… the other is a Laptop with a detachable display so you can pretend its a tablet… Sad…

    • Richard Ludwig

      I think Microsoft knows what the Surface is – it’s a laptop with a touch screen. They want people to believe it’s the casual, pick-up device the iPad is, but it’s not – it’s what you buy when you want a laptop that you can also write on.

  • Zurkram

    Microsoft has some nerve. After the iPad came out 7 years ago, and started eating Microsoft’s lunch, Balmer pivoted the entire company to copy Apple. They tried to make everything touch based, causing the disasterous Windows 8. They’ve failed at touch. The surface is just a laptop with a removable keyboard.
    Now that they’re a “devices and services” company, again copying Apple, they’re copying every product Apple has. Hence the exact replica of the Macbook Air, the Surface Laptop.
    Microsoft is worse than Samsung, and wouldn’t exist without Apple.

  • Samsung Defense Force

    Well to be fair, Apple fans accuse other OEMs for even the slightest of similarities and trivial things like a color.

    • Toltepeceno Delsur

      The apple bots will continue to whine that anything rectangle with rounded edges is an apple knockoff while failing to acknowledge apple “borrows from others. I have all apple products, no ms or android, but at least I wake up in the real world every day. No billionare brand owns me.

  • Chindavon

    iPad still on mobile OS, no trackpad, no windows, no Kickstand, has smaller bezels, advanced to 120hz refresh rates, etc. But it’s still a carbon copy of Surface Pro? Oh okay.

    • A-thought

      You are trying hard to miss the obvious.

      Original Apple vision: tablet with touch, eschew inputs beyond touch (keyboard, stylus, trackpad, mouse), no need for file system, drag and drop, copy & paste, connect to external screens & devices..”that’s not what a tablet is for.” “Refrigerator toaster”. “Car vs truck”. Etc etc.

      Original MS vision (since 2002): full computer in a mobile touch format, complete with multiple inputs (touch, keyboard, stylus, trackpad, mouse), file system, drag & drop, copy & paste, connect to external screens & devices..

      Which direction is iPad going now? You don’t have to say it, we all know.

      • jamesdbailey

        The original iPad had an optional external keyboard that connected to the iPad’s dock connector. So external keyboard is not something thought up by MS.

        And I doubt that Apple will ever add a mouse or trackpad to the iPad. So we are down to a stylus. Of course third-party styluses were sold in Apple stores on day one of the original iPad too. So nothing new there either. So kickstand? As far as I can tell, the iPad Pro doesn’t have one.

        As for the software, I think you are trying very hard not to recognize that MS had to change their whole Windows strategy to compete with touch enabled iOS devices. Having no file system on the iPad has been one of the main pain points for using it as a pro device. I don’t think Apple needed any help from Microsoft to realize that either.

        Apple’s refrigerator toaster comment was targeted at using a desktop optimized OS like Windows on a tablet. Hybrid use of the Surface makes it pretty limited in use as a pure tablet.

        (Oh and as for the “kickstand” via the Smart Keyboard, the original iPad had a foldable cover that works exactly the same as the current Smart Keyboard.)

      • Chindavon

        He jumps on EVERY single iPad post on here. Mocking anyone who disagrees. MS troll infestation

      • A-thought

        Not mocking..just zealous. amazed at how blind some people are to the obvious and want them to see. But maybe you’re right, I should just slap my forehead and accept the fact that some people so badly do not want to see the obvious due to prior loyalty, that they’ll shoot you down for bringing up the problems in an attempt to help them see it.

        Its too bad people, because you could be seeing real power in a tablet form factor and getting everything you want for productivity out of 1 device, for around $600-800. Instead, you’ll end up spending over 2K and constantly swap between 2 devices to try to get the same productivity experience. And probably buy a new piece of hardware every year from a hardware-driven sales company.

        Aaah, I shouldn’t care so much. I just get whipped for it.

      • A-thought

        Surface has been, is, and will be a full computer that can also be a tablet.

        The iPad originally sold itself as a tablet.

        Now, Apple marketing bills it as a “computer”.

        I rest my case as to who’s following who.

    • darwiniandude

      Re: mobile OS:
      It’s a tablet. It’s a tablet OS. I run Windows on computers with decent keyboards and nice. Surface is a horrible experience used just as a tablet. Keyboard doesn’t even hide/appear when you tap a text field in the system. So many little issues.

      • A-thought

        That’s configurable in settings. do some homework before you state unjustified conclusions.

        “Horrible experience used as a tablet” – ok, I’ve been using surface without keyboard today – on screen is two browser windows with YouTube videos set to small size and always on top, so I can review both videos on demand, and those are sitting on top of 2 word documents split side by side that I’m moving text back and forth between. Working on all this without keyboard.

        Pull that off on an iPad that restricts you to one instance of apps like word and at most two of the browser. Forget it – you’ll go to the Mac. And so, 2 devices and 2 thousand bucks in order to be able to do what you could do on one device for under a thousand. Sorry, but it makes no sense to me.

  • arnesaknussmm

    Dream on, MS. Dream on.

  • lattermanstudio

    IOS 11 is an attempt to make the iPad line slowly become the MacBook “replacement” at some point in time. ….. kinda sad to see how this Tim Cook Apple functions ……. I’m still in favor of a dual boot ipad ios / mac os …… just choose the OS you need / prefer and away you go…… the Tim Cook Apple is kind of a mess :(

    • DrMuggg

      Change is hard…

      We need to evolve away from keyboard, mouse, windows etc. I feel that I am working much closer to the computer on an iPad than on an “classic” computer (MacBook).
      What you want is just a new form factor on an old solution. Nothing new.
      This is because you are not 18 years old….you are used to work in a certain way – “the computer way”, you don’t want it to be in any other way. The gap what is done “better” on a computer than on an iPad keeps getting smaller all the time. Soon iPads will do a lot of stuff better, faster, easier, more intuitive than macbooks.
      The dual machine is just a dream, it will never be. It would be a kludge.

  • NoNonsense74

    waiting for the day if it ever comes when iPad runs full macOS….

  • A-thought

    One of the most honest articles I’ve ever seen on a pro Apple website. Kudos.

    For those below or attempting to soften the blow by saying “windows 10 is a horrible experience on a tablet”: I am an experienced user of an iPad, and I switched to a surface last year after using another brand windows tablet for a year. And I couldn’t disagree with you more. Granted it is not as “boxed in” of an experience as an iPad, but I can do things on there that I simply cannot do an iPad. For example, yesterday I had FOUR windows open in quadrants on the screen: reviewing and editing my task list in the upper left, hand writing in onenote in the upper right, File Explorer in the lower left browsing PDF files that I needed to read (simple switch over to that window in that quadrant when I needed to quickly read those pdfs), and Netflix playing in the lower right. So 3 interrelated windows for work, and one for entertainment. I was doing all of this without having to switch between screens or move them at all. On an iPad that would be a frustrating mess of touches, switches and swaps.

    And I can size them any way I wish for my work. I have at times had one app taking the right half of the screen, two apps taking the two left quadrants, and other apps underneath that I just tap the task bar to pull them to the front when I need them. All using tablet interface. IPad – good luck.

    Not as simplistic to use as iPad? Yes. But no comparison in terms of productivity.

  • Jack Hickman

    Hmmmm…who brought us a mainstream lightweight tablet first? Seems like MS has already copied Apple.

    • A-thought

      Nope. You’re talking about who invented the concept, and touch tablet concepts existed as early as the 50s, and in the 70s DynaBook was a primary concept. Apple may have brought the first PDA (Newton), but first true touch tablet was MS in 2002. The concept was like the DynaBook, believing a full computer with multiple input options (touch, keyboard, stylus, mouse) would be the path. Multitouch technology wasn’t invented yet, so it was difficult to use and didn’t catch on. Apple introduced the iPad which benefited by multitouch and caught on, but with it they also introduced the concept of a stripped down, boxed-in OS, believing that would be the path of success for tablets. In 2012 Microsoft again launched the concept of a full computer in touch tablet form, now with the benefit of multitouch and again with multiple input options, still believing that it would be the concept that would carry the day. Now, five years later, Apple is copying them in that concept.

      So MS is entirely accurate in what they are saying. Deny it all you want, but it’s the truth.

  • darwiniandude

    Apple copied the idea of a magnetically attached keyboard from Surface. They kept their own (inferior?) folding cover as a stand system, so iPad Pro only has one angle. Surface has a kickstand with multiple angles. So Apple hasn’t copied one of the best aspects of the Surface design, imo.

    Other than that, they are completely different.

    iPad is a tablet computer. The best tablet computer, in my opinion.

    Surface is a Windows PC in a tablet form factor, great if you want that sort of thing but the best Windows software is built for keyboard and mouse, this hasn’t changed. Just try browsing a long web page and then trying to scroll to the top. Try playing a game on steam with the table to hand held. Try using chrome, tap in the address bar. Does the keyboard appear? No. It’s a horrible ghastly experience as a tablet unless your only requirement is walking around holding a spreadsheet just looking at it, or tapping buttons in an ancient piece of custom built business software.

    • A-thought

      I’m not sure what you mean. I have no problem scrolling back to the top. Granted a feature to go right back to the top by touching title bar like on iPad would be convenient, but I don’t really feel the pain of missing that feature. Browser scrolls back up via touch really fast. Not familiar enough with steam to comment – but I will say that I really enjoy playing 3,000 classic arcade titles on my surface using mame, and you can’t even HOPE to do that on an iPad. The keyboard issue is resolvable, it’s in settings.

      • Wow

        WOW, You really have so much time…replying all these post