Surface Pro 4 Vs. iPad Pro: High-End Hybrid Showdown - InformationWeek

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11/16/2015
07:06 AM
Kelly Sheridan
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Surface Pro 4 Vs. iPad Pro: High-End Hybrid Showdown

Apple and Microsoft are targeting the enterprise with high-end hybrid devices. We compare the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4 specs and promises. Which would you buy?
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(Image: Kelly Sheridan/InformationWeek)

(Image: Kelly Sheridan/InformationWeek)

Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 has some direct competition with the new iPad Pro, which became available via online order Nov. 11.

Since it created its original Surface, Microsoft has been trying to develop a laptop-killing device. Apple recently jumped into the game when it unveiled the iPad Pro, a massive tablet compatible with a Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil.

The iPad Pro is Apple's answer to Microsoft's latest Surface hybrid, the Surface Pro 4, which hit store shelves Oct. 26. Both devices target the enterprise market and are designed for mobile professionals.

[Is the iPad Pro the best business tablet? Here's InformationWeek's comparison.]

Critics have had mixed, but mostly positive, reactions to the two hybrids.

The Surface Pro 4, they say, is a welcome upgrade from the Surface Pro 3. Most of the changes are minor: Microsoft made the display a half-inch larger, boosted the resolution and power, and addressed issues in its Type Cover and Surface Pen.

Early reviews of the iPad Pro praise its hardware, power, and the optional Apple Pencil. Most critics agree the iPad Pro is impressive as a tablet, with its 12.9-inch display and high pixel density, but complain about Apple's Smart Keyboard and lack of iOS 9 optimization.

Here we put the specs for Surface Pro 4 and the iPad Pro side-by-side. Are you thinking about purchasing one of the two? Why or why not?

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Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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jqb
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jqb,
User Rank: Strategist
11/18/2015 | 10:08:25 AM
Re: Not even the same sport
YesIDo, 

I see your point, and I agree. For technical people this article is pointless. However, you forget that not all people are technical, and technical people have to answer to others who fall for... marketing hype and what's "trendy". 

So from that perspective, the article is somewhat worthwhile: for those where processing power and capbilities don't matter (surf, email, word processing - VP and CIO's, I mean you), comparing the two is valid, if only to hash out the lower cost device that can do the job and won't trash the corporate network.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
11/18/2015 | 8:29:22 AM
Re: Where the iPad Pro needs to compete
I tend to mention that when I talk about my Surface pro, it is my desktop, my laptop and my tablet.  I was just given a tablet by a vendor to do some testing and I find myself looking at it and wondering what I would do with it now.  Years ago I would have spent a lot more energy trying to replace my laptop with it but now there's really no need.  I can't say I'm down to one device though, my phone still goes with me everywhere too.  When they get the Surface pro down to a 4" phone sized package that I can still dock then I'll be down to one device.
MichaelOFaolain
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MichaelOFaolain,
User Rank: Moderator
11/17/2015 | 3:19:00 PM
Desktop, desktop, desktop - that's the mantra
We have used Surface Pro's as a desktop computer for two years. This began with Pro 2's, now replaced with Pro 4's. While the Pro 2 was not the easiest laptop substitute, the Pro 4 is great. As tablets, they are ok for some recreational uses or where the situation doesn't permit use of the keyboard. But they aren't going to replace our Fire HDX's as a recreation oriented device.

We use the Surface Pro as a desktop computer through a "docking station." If a comparison with another device doesn't begin, and end, with that functional, business use, there is no comparison.

We have a family member who has used a large desktop Mac of one model or another for two decades in her business activities - she's a graphics technician and designer. I would never tell her to shift to the Windows environment. And while she uses her old iPad for recreation and some business needs, so far nothing indicates that I could suggest she replace her Apple desktop computer with an iPad Pro and I can't suggest she lug around an iPad Pro.
YesIDo
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YesIDo,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/17/2015 | 2:02:44 PM
Not even the same sport
I'm sorry, but any time I see a technology writer try to force a comparison between these two products I can't help but feel that they would be better suited reviewing the latest trends in cattle breeding or lamp post manufacturing techniques.

The iPad pro is a larger iPad that has borrowed some interaction paradigms from the market (let's be honest - from Windows). It runs applets which are micro-productivity tools. Can you use ti to write an uninformed article on how it's almost like a real PC? Yes - because word processing isn't 'enterprise' work.  Can you run a substantive non-retail business on it? No. Not by a long shot.

If you can't resist comparing the two because they have similar physicaly sized hardware elements, you simply aren't aware of how technology is used in the marketplace. It's embarasssing, and it hurts your brand. Stop.
KarlH006
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KarlH006,
User Rank: Strategist
11/17/2015 | 9:40:05 AM
No comparison for Enterprise Readiness
For an actual comparison of "enterprise readiness", you would require two devices (or more) that actually have some level of enterprise ability. iOS still has yet to make any device that is enterprise ready or even remotely capable. It is true that you can add in some thrid party applications that make it seem sort-of able to work in an enterprise, but they are incapable of functioning with the same ability as a device, such as the Surface, which is based on Windows.

For instance, iOS still does not allow you to interact with the storage. They have now allowed you to add a file to an email, but only if it is stored in the cloud. This is NOT enterprise readiness, especially since I do not want my documents in the cloud where I do not have access to them from a corporate level. I cannot copy a file to the local storage, work on it while at 50,000 feet and then email from the next airport layover.

While resting or moving between applications, iOS always tries to refresh or shuts off the connection. Again, not entrerprise ready.

Windows 10 allows programs to be installed and run; not just Apps. Also, since it is Windows, I can run some of my home-grown software and function just the same as if I were using a laptop. iOS will never allow this.

It was not specifically covered here, but I am assuming the Surface still has a USB connector allowing flash drive access. Again, an ability that iOS will never allow. Another scenario: sitting in an airport with no public Wi-Fi (as usual since I will not buy it) and I need to hand a file(s) over to a colleague. I can easily move a file to a flash drive and hand it to them. (Oh, before you say use NFC or some dumb thing like that, they may be using a traditional laptop)

For these reasons alone, iOS will never be in my enterprise and has no functionality that is useful for my organization other than checking email while on the road, which I can easily do this from my phone.
scalbert
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scalbert,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/17/2015 | 9:33:09 AM
Re: Where the iPad Pro needs to compete
To also point out, the SP line has the ability to be docked and used as a desktop. The ability to drive multiple monitors has reduced the number of device I interface with from three to one.
rfrmac
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rfrmac,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/17/2015 | 9:06:13 AM
Re: Where the iPad Pro needs to compete
You just don't get it.  The iPad Pro is not a laptop replacement.  It never was intended to.  It may work that way for some people but not for most of us  iOS is not OSX.  Microsoft and Apple are going in different directions here.  
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
11/16/2015 | 8:53:54 AM
Where the iPad Pro needs to compete
"Surface Pro 4 runs on Windows 10, which works similarly on both desktops and PCs. Like a laptop, it supports the full Office suite and other enterprise apps, multiple users, and virtual machines.

The iPad Pro runs on iOS 9, which was built with a few iPad-specific upgrades to boost productivity. Slide Over and Split View let you run two windows at once; Picture-in-Picture lets you view a video in a smaller window while working within another app."

 

This is the number one reason that even apple fans are saying that the iPad Pro is not a laptop replacement, it's a bigger faster iPad with some better peripherals. The Surface line gets this part right after they dropped the RT, having a full blown desktop OS that you can work on all day, pull the Surface from its dock then go mobile with the same device, same OS, same experience, etc.  really sets the Surface apart.  I've already bought two iPad Pros for co-workers and had them sit down beside me while I'm using my Surface like a laptop with its type cover, they are very surprised that I'm running Windows 10 and it works exactly the way that it does on a desktop.  I really think Apple should have pushed for OSX on the iPad Pro, that would have been competition that the Surface needs to keep Microsoft heading in the right direction. 

 
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