In the Arena with Microsoft and Apple

Within a month, both Microsoft and Apple announced tablets they claimed were able to replace your laptop. Microsoft released the Surface Pro 4, the latest in their line of two-in-one productivity devices, while Apple came in with the iPad Pro, their first designed specifically to compete with Surface. At first glance, they’re very similar, both beautiful devices that pack a lot of power. But if you take a closer look, it becomes clear that only the Surface Pro 4 actually steps up to the challenge of replacing your laptop, or even your desktop computer.

The most immediate difference between the Surface Pro 4 and the iPad Pro is size. The iPad Pro is taller and slimmer than its competitor at 8.68 by 12 by 0.27 inches to the Surface Pro 4’s 7.93 by 11.5 by 0.33 inches. However, the Surface has a good reason for its thickness: ports. The iPad Pro has only a lightning connector, while the Surface includes a USB 3.0 port, a microSD card reader, headphone jack, and Mini-DisplayPort. Add the optional Surface Dock, and you get three more USB ports, as much connectivity as a desktop.

Next, we have the keyboards. Microsoft is leagues ahead with their new Type Cover. It improves upon the Surface Pro 3’s Type Cover, with backlit, spread-out keys, and a bigger, more sensitive trackpad. Meanwhile, Apple’s Smart Keyboard has no backlight, and no trackpad, so you have to keep reaching up to touch the screen to navigate.

Take a look inside the machine, and you find that the Surface Pro 4 has up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage. The iPad Pro has only 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, at maximum.

Tim Cook says that iPad Pro will replace the laptops of many, many people, but that’s only if their needs are basic. Like it’s previous incarnations, the iPad Pro uses a mobile system, specifically iOS 9. So if all you need to do is some word processing, check your email, stream a video, then sure, iOS 9 will work for you. But if you need to actually get things done, then you desktop class operating system, which the Surface provides. You need Final Cut Pro, you need the Adobe Suite, you need the real thing, not some watered-down app.

Apple might call its new iPad a ‘Pro,’ but it’s definitely an amateur. Sure, it has a lot to offer in terms of display and processor speed, but it’s simply incapable of functioning as a real laptop. The Surface Pro 4 can. Microsoft has spent ages working on their productivity devices, and they may have perfected it with the Surface Pro 4. It genuinely provides all the mobility of a tablet with the power of a laptop. The ‘Pro’ in its name actually means something. It’s productive and professional. Microsoft’s Surface Line consists of the best productivity devices out there, and Apple has a long way to go before they can catch up.

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 2.25.01 PM

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