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iPad Pro will always be a companion device, says Microsoft


iPad pro

Apple wants the iPad Pro to make you “more productive”, but can it really compete with Microsoft’s Surface?

A senior Microsoft representative has told TrustedReviews that the iPad Pro cannot work as a standalone productivity device.

Dan Laycock, Senior Communications Manager for Microsoft Surface, says that while consumers can get by with a single Surface product, the same can’t be said for Apple’s heftiest tablet.

“Microsoft really wants you to only carry one device for tablet and PC use,” explains Laycock, speaking to us at the Consumer Electronics Show 2016 in Las Vegas. “Whereas the iPad Pro is always going to be a companion device.”

He adds: “The strategies are very different.”

The iPad Pro – released in November last year – bears a number of striking similarities to the Microsoft Surface Pro range, including a large display, a focus on productivity, and a stylus peripheral.

Related: iPad Air 3

iPad ProThe iPad Pro, with keyboard and stylus

“At one point in time, Apple declared that if there’s a stylus, that’s failure,” continues Laycock. “We’re a huge believer in the pen; we know our customers love it.”

The Communications lead goes on: “So to see Apple do something that feels a little bit similar, that is clearly skewed for a bigger screen, and more productivity built in, and the ability to use a pen.”

“We don’t see it as a one-to-one comparison, because this is a full PC, you’re running full apps,” Laycock adds.

Apple introduced a number of productivity-focused features with the iPad Pro, like app multitasking and picture-in-picture video.

surface bookMicrosoft's new Surface Book detachable laptop hybrid

Related: iPad Pro vs Surface Pro 4

However, Microsoft has been peddling its Surface series of hybrids since 2012.

The latest additions to the line-up are the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, and the Surface Book laptop hybrid.

Do you think the iPad Pro will always be a companion device? Let us know in the comments.

Bunker squirrel

January 11, 2016, 5:17 pm

I have always thought that the Surface is a much more capable device, but the iPad has and generally continues to be the benchmark for quality and user expirence. don't get me wrong, the Surface is still an excellent product, and its versatility makes it a significant competitor for the iPad.


January 11, 2016, 6:59 pm

Pretty much stating the obvious. The iPad was always just a toy, only capable of basic web browsing and playing simple games like Candy Crush Saga. The iPad Pro is just a bigger version of the iPad Air and has all the same limitations. For serious work and serious play the Surface Pro wins hands down. It is the ideal device for both consumption and creation.


January 12, 2016, 2:12 pm

with ios 10 ipad pro will be better than surface pro 4


January 12, 2016, 4:59 pm

omg. you mean Microsoft loved the stylus thing they did with the old iPaqs? aargh.

Anyway - The surface is a performance compromised, mobility focused laptop, while the iPad Pro is a souped up tablet. Different machines, so compare accordingly.

The Gnome

January 12, 2016, 6:31 pm

Which is why all the Surface devices we buy even in our Fortune 500 company end up on shelves or under desks.. the iPad is actually worth carrying around and using. The Surface is for those older IT folks who can't move past Microsoft's grasps.. the new "mainframe guys".

Even these mainframe guys go home and grab their iPads when they are no longer trying to fool themselves..


January 12, 2016, 7:26 pm

Total BS. The iPad is used by Writers, Artists, Photographers and Musicians to for Creation. Those who say it is a toy are commenting on their own lack of talent rather than any shortcomings of the iPad.


January 12, 2016, 7:28 pm

LOL, the iPad is just a toy (and the iPad Pro is just a bigger toy). It is so limited in its functionality that it can only be used for casual work or play. I've tried to use it like a computer, attaching a keyboard cover to prop it up (long before the Pro), but then stopped fooling myself and got a Surface Pro 4 instead. As a professional application developer and a lifelong gamer I've tried using mobile tablets like the iPad and the Nexus tablets for serious work and serious play but quickly discovered it to be an exercise in frustration. The Surface Pro 4 has now replaced my old laptop as well as my Android and iOS tablets.

Between my phone and the Surface there is really no other computing need (although I still love my liquid-cooled desktop for its sheer power). Microsoft has delivered on their promise while Apple has not. I've heard it time and time again, what people really want is OS X in tablet form, NOT iOS in laptop form. Until Apple gets it right and developers an OS X tablet they will not be able to challenge the Surface.


January 12, 2016, 10:48 pm

We want a Macbook touch tablet running OS X and not an oversized iPod Pro toy with limitations. The only semi-useful thing about the iPod Pro is as a Cintiq wannabe connected to Macbook but you have to deal with the latency, quirks and carrying two devices instead of one.


January 12, 2016, 11:24 pm

You're pretty funny, but don't quit your day job.


January 12, 2016, 11:26 pm

And the Surface Pro is used by Writers, Artists, Photographers, Musicians, Architects, Engineers, Programmers, Designers, and a hundred other professions - and it provides every one of them with a far more powerful and productive toolset than is available to them on an iPad.


January 13, 2016, 8:36 am

Cool story bro.


January 13, 2016, 4:53 pm

The quote includes the word "iPad". He was not talking about phones.


January 13, 2016, 10:30 pm

Quote was implying that if you "needed" to use a stylus, you failed. It's still true today. Stylus is optional on the iPad Pro.

I "needed" to use a stylus to navigate through folders and files on my Surface Pro 3 (along with other non-native touch optimized apps on Windows 8.1). So I sold it the day after.


January 14, 2016, 12:07 am

(Steve Jobs) It's like we said on the iPad, if you see a stylus, they blew it.

The hoops you iFans jump through to defend your messiah is just staggering at times.
and no, you don't need a stylus to navigate through folders on a Surface.


January 14, 2016, 12:14 am

Steve Jobs: "Microsoft was completely stylus based...and what we said from the beginning was if you NEED a stylus you already failed". Starts at 35 seconds. You don't NEED a stylus for an iPad. You can see an iPad without a stylus. You couldn't see a microsoft tablet (during Steve Job's time) without a stylus.


and yes, you need a stylus to navigate through folders comfortably. i kept moving the wrong folders to the wrong path using a finger. i tried using Filezilla FTP client and I just could not connect to an FTP server without using a stylus to navigate the UI.

and my intention isn't trying to "defend [my] messiah". i'm defending what products make sense to me as a user. i've tried using a touch windows laptop, and touch screen laptops suck. I even hate using my iPad Pro with a keyboard stand because I have to constantly move my arm up and down to touch the screen. the iPad smart keyboard doesn't make sense.

the apple pencil makes sense. I'm taking a Japanese class now and using a stylus instead of my finger really helps with note taking. not NEEDED but very helpful.


January 14, 2016, 12:29 am

I bought a Surface Pro with an open mind. Sold it a week later. If I have to go back to classic desktop mode to do something using a stylus, it sucks.
It works fine as a laptop, but might as well buy a more capable laptop.

Pablo Martinez

January 14, 2016, 12:53 am

The problem with the benchmarks, is that it's an ARM processor going against x86 processors that don't share the same Apps running in their respected devices. Apple can gloat on how "powerful" their A9X Processor and how comparable it is to a Core M or i3 with benchmarks. But in the end, the iPad Pro is limited with a Mobile OS that does not share the same Applications as x86 devices does. When Adobe announces full Photoshop (not the mobile version) on the iPad Pro, then we can really set benchmarks. It's all Marketing on Apple


January 15, 2016, 11:38 am

well... an iPad Pro can run the apps but not the applications / software. ie: photoshop, adobe premiere etc...
so we cant say its a replacement when you cant make all the applications working on it.
we can compare it to a Lumia 950 and the continuum feature which cant run win32 applications.


January 21, 2016, 4:54 pm

If the surface devices end up on shelves or under desks why do you buy them? And why exactly is the ipad worth carrying around but not the surface?

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