iPad Pro vs. Surface Pro 3: How they stack up against each other

iPad Pro vs. Surface Pro 3: How they stack up against each other

Microsoft made an appearance on the Apple product keynote stage today but it was software related as they demoed their updated Office Apps for iOS on the iPad Pro.

However, if you follow social media then many would say that Redmond’s ideas and concepts also made it onto the keynote stage in San Francisco as Apple unveiled the worst kept secret ever – the iPad Pro.

After several leaks over the last few weeks about this device and its purpose everyone finally got to see exactly what Cupertino had been building behind closed doors.

Of course, it is inevitable that comparisons are going to be made between Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 and the new iPad Pro.

There are several reasons for this:

  • They both have Pro in their name. This is an indication that Apple wants to legitimize the use of their devices in Enterprises and businesses scenarios. It is already happening anyway so why not give the device a name that equates it to professional uses.
  • They are both large screened devices with the iPad Pro at 12.9 inches and the Surface Pro 3 at 12 inches. A larger screen typically means more productivity because more apps/programs are accessible. This especially comes to fruition with iOS 9 which introduces the ability to multi-task with two apps open side by side on the screen.
  • Each device uses a stylus for content creation and manipulation. For Apple that device is called the Apple Pencil; on the Surface Pro 3 it is the Surface Pen. Both support palm rejection and pressure sensitivity which are key aspects of stylus use on a device. Microsoft’s Surface Pen is included with all Surface Pro devices and no additional cost but the Apple Pencil will cost iPad Pro users $99.
  • Surface Pro 3 is compatible with all kinds of third party hardware devices through its Bluetooth wireless connection and USB ports. The iPad Pro can not use a mouse because there is no mouse support in iOS but the Apple Pencil may help to replace some of the missing mouse functionality.
  • Each device has accessory keyboards available, but not included, that attach to the tablets with proprietary connections and also act as covers for the screens.  The Surface Pro 3 Type Cover costs an additional $129.99 and the iPad Pro’s Smart Keyboard will be $169 for end users.

This is a good spot to mention that the Surface Pro 3 has a continuous position kickstand that allows it to be placed at any angle for multiple usage scenarios with or without the Type Cover keyboard attached. 

The iPad Pro does not have a built in kickstand but the Smart Keyboard provides one position for resting a tablet against it as a stand but it is only available when the Smart Keyboard is attached. You might recall in Surface Pro and Surface RT there was only one position that presented usability issues which were addressed when Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 arrived with a second kickstand position.

Storage on the Surface Pro 3 comes in 64GB, 128GB, 256Gb and 512GB options and it can be expanded using the included microSD card reader slot. The iPad Pro has 32GB and 128GB versions with no expansion possible.

Of course, one big difference is that Surface Pro 3 comes with a full version of Windows and can run any desktop software including Universal Windows Platform apps from the Windows Store. The iPad Pro can only run apps from the Apple App Store but there are an abundance of choices available.

There are some areas that the new iPad Pro exceeds the specs of the Surface Pro 3:

  • We already mentioned the screen size difference above but the iPad Pro (2,742 x 2,048) also has a higher resolution compared to the Surface Pro 3 (2,160 x 1,440).
  • The iPad Pro has an 8MP rear iSight camera and a 720p front FaceTime camera compared to Surface Pro 3’s 5MP cameras (front and rear).

Now let’s talk about pricing – including accessories – for comparison.

iPad Pro 128GB (WiFi)

  • iPad Pro - $949
  • Smart Keyboard - $169
  • Apple Pencil - $99
  • Total Cost is $1,217

Surface Pro 3 128GB (WiFi)

  • Surface Pro 3 (includes Surface Pen) - $899 ($100 off retail price currently)
  • Type Cover - $129.99
  • Total Cost is $1,029 (discounted) or $1,129 (full retail)

The current discount makes the Surface Pro 3 an attractive option compared to the iPad Pro with same storage and wireless connectivity. While it is easy to compare iPad Pro with Surface Pro 3 because we know all about that device the difference between the iPad Pro and expected Surface Pro 4 will be a much more interesting side by side look.

What do you think?

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