Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Versus iPad Pro



Forbes admits that Microsoft Corporation has not been the leader in mobile technology for many years. However, their Surface Pro tablets have gained intense loyalty from diehard Windows enthusiasts. In Computerworld’s opinion, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 gives rival Apple Inc. a nose-to-nose challenge in the race for the best in mobile technology. The answer of Surface Pro 4 versus iPad Pro lies in its intended use and the expectations of what it must accomplish.

Computerworld agrees that replacing a bulky laptop with a sleek and portable tablet has offered a large advantage in the past, as far as providing equal productivity. The latest technology from Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc., however, has narrowed that gap considerably. In 2016, tablet processors are faster, their hardware is lighter, and mobile operating systems are impressively powerful. Multitasking is made easier by allowing more than one application to display in the foreground. Tablets may never take the place of laptops, but they offer an attractive alternative for those who have a nomadic work life.

Due to Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system, the Surface Pro 4 is more like a laptop than the iPad Pro. Computerworld believes the optional removable keyboard base makes the device function as a pseudo-laptop, as well as a powerful and sleek tablet. The high-end model has an 11.5-by-7.93-inch footprint and weighs 1.73 pounds. The overall package, including a digital pen, offers a practical and portable advantage over the competition.

According to Apple Inc., the iPad Pro uses Apple’s mobile iOS 9 operating system, making it function differently than a laptop. Some applications cannot be shared between the Apple laptops and the iPad Pro. Then again, Apple Inc. did not intend for the iPad Pro to take the place of a laptop, despite its impressive 12.9-inch diagonal screen. The device weighs only 1.5 pounds. Like the Surface Pro 4, the iPad can be accessorized with a removable keyboard and a digital pen.

As described on the Microsoft site, the Surface Pro 4 is available with three different processors: Intel® Core™ m3, Intel® Core™ i5, and Intel® Core™ i7. Computerworld agrees that these variations are attractive, but they do not necessarily outclass the iPad Pro. Apple Inc.’s 64‑bit architecture, an A9X chip with an M9 motion co-processor, is comparable in speed.

As far as screens are concerned, the iPad has slightly more display space. Computerworld believes that its split screen technology offers a definite advantage, and the retina display is in the top of its league with 2732-by-2048 resolution at 264 pixels per inch. The screen’s surface has a fingerprint-resistant, oleophobic anti-reflective coating. The iPad Pro is also fully laminated for additional protection.

The Surface Pro 4 has a 10-point multi-touch, 12.3-inch PixelSense™ display with a resolution of 2736-by-1824 at 267 pixels per inch. It is just as sharp as the iPad Pro, agrees Computerworld, but does not have the oleophobic, anti-reflective coating, or the added protection of lamination. 

According to Forbes, when comparing the iPad Pro versus the Surface Pro 4, something to consider is the ability to connect to the Internet. iPad Pro has a cellular option that could potentially replace the need for a cellphone. Maybe Microsoft will offer a wi-fi/cellular option in the future, but for now, it does not. If an Internet connection is required, however, a hotspot can always be used with the Surface Pro 4. 

The Surface Pro 4 excels in memory and storage capacity over the iPad Pro. Microsoft Corp. offers the device with 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB memory configurations and 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage capacities. Computerworld reports rumors that a 1TB version is in the wings and may be available in the future. Microsoft Corp.’s device also has a microSD card slot under the kickstand for additional storage.

Apple Inc. makes their iPadPro available in three different models. Two of the wi-fi models come with a storage capacity of 32GB or 128GB. The wi-fi-plus-cellular model has a 128GB storage capacity.

If frequent software updates and subscription application services are not an issue, says Computerworld, the Surface Pro 4 operates like a laptop. Working between the laptop and the tablet is seamless because the operating system and applications are the same. 

The iPad Pro functions a little differently, claims Apple Inc. The tablet is easy-to-use and does not offer the threat of contracting viruses over the Internet. It also does not have the customization options that the Surface Pro 4 offers, but it does not need to. The Apple tablet works well out of the box.

When it comes to price comparisons, the choice is a tough one, claims Forbes. Neither device is affordable for the average user. As of December 2015, the iPad Pro started at $799 and topped at $1,079 for the wi-fi-plus-cellular model. Add a few necessary accessories, such as a keyboard, and that price increases. The Surface Pro 4 can cost anywhere from $899 to over $1,500, depending on which options are chosen and the required accessories. 

When considering the affordability of laptops these days, purchasing a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 versus an Apple iPad Pro may not be the real question, says Forbes. If long battery life and extreme portability are important factors, buying a tablet makes sense. New technology is expensive. In time, the cost of such devices will come down like their predecessor, the laptop.

By Rowena Portch

Forbes: Surface Pro 4 Review
Computerworld: A month with the iPad Pro
Apple: iPad Pro Specs
Microsoft: Surface Pro 4 Specs
Image Courtesy of Isriya Paireepairit’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

3 thoughts on “Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Versus iPad Pro

  1. I am underwhelmed by this review. Most of the advantages of the SurfacePro 4 over the iPadPro are ignored or treated as being superfluous. No mention of the free Surface Pen that comes bundled with the SurfacePro and that the equivalent pencil on the iPadPro costs almost US$100 and has no eraser nor can it be stored with the device. No mention that the SurfacePro can run any standard Windows program. When price is compared it is conveniently ignored that similar specifications for both devices have the SurfacePro costing less than the corresponding iPadPro. And really, who of those that purchase an iPadPro are going to get one with only 32MB? No one that wants to do artwork, or image editing, or video editing, or just about any productive work. Selling a 32GB iPadPro is so crazy that it should be ignored. Nowhere does it mention that the iPadPro has no kickstand, nor that it’s optional keyboard does not allow for adjusting the screen angle while typing. No mention that the iPadPro cannot support a mouse or a touchpad. There are simply too many things that the iPadPro cannot do to make it a reasonable laptop replacement (which Apple’s CEO believes it to be), not so with the SurfacePro 4. Amazing! Even the SurfacePro 3 on which I am writing this post is more capable that the iPadPro.

  2. Overall a decent article, but I don’t understand the following statement:

    “Computerworld believes that its [iPad Pro’s] split screen technology offers a definite advantage..”

    Ha? This acts as though the surface Pro 4 doesn’t have split screen technology. When in fact it has split screen technology that is far superior to iPad Pro. The surface can quickly snap two, three or four windows to the screen at once, or the user can simply choose to stack as many windows as they want.

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