iPad Pro vs Surface Pro 3 – Comparison and a Quick Look at the Specs

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Sep 10, 2015

Apple announced its oft-rumored and long anticipated 12.9-inch iPad Pro earlier today. For the past two years, we have been getting tidbits in the shape of various rumors that kept reminding us that Cupertino was indeed busy designing a hybrid device aka a larger tablet. Considering the fact that Microsoft was one of the first who managed to successfully market this concept with its Surface Pro 3, iPad Pro vs Surface Pro 3 comparison is only natural.

Come on, don’t look at me like that. It was long coming, wasn’t it? There are, of course, things that are beyond comparison here, for example the operating system. While you would expect a 12.9-inch screen to be large enough to take advantage of a desktop operating system, Apple appears to be tagging the iPad Pro as an iPad, not just another MacBook. This looks like an important decision for a company that has released the 12-inch MacBook only a few months back. There needed to be at least a few differences to make both the products unveiled in the same year, successful.

Apple has showcased a very beautiful and powerful Apple Pencil with its iPad Pro and also invested more than a few minutes talking about the Smart Keyboard. One thing is clear that the $799 price tag is not final as a power user buying an iPad Pro instead of a MacBook will also want to invest in Pencil, Smart Keyboard, or perhaps both these accessories to be able to take more benefit out of the screen real estate and the productivity choices that open up with the Apple Pencil.

While many may argue that Apple has taken its cue from Microsoft, which is partially true, we cannot take this product for granted as Apple has certainly given much thought into the design and the productivity aspect of the tablet. Surface Pro 3, if I may say, is nothing but a notebook without a keyboard. The same cannot be said for the iPad Pro as its pressure sensitive Apple Pencil seems to be adding much depth into what can be done with the larger tablet. Not something that you can experience with Surface Pro 3. Not only is Apple taking advantage of its already vast App Store to offer optimized apps for iPad Pro but has also partnered with Microsoft (heh!) and Adobe to enhance productivity and design apps.

We wouldn’t be able to talk more about iPad Pro until it is available in November to do actual, real-life comparisons, but it honestly looks like a winner device for the segment that has been buying hybrids like Surface Pro 3. If you ask me, I don’t feel confident using such a large screen powered by a mobile operating system. Surface Pro 3 has this edge over iPad Pro when it comes to the capabilities of a desktop operating system. We will see how the iOS + 12.9-inch screen combination pans out and how much every app is optimized for the increased screen real estate, but comparing my experience of “working” with iOS and iPad, I have never really fallen for using power apps (like Office or WordPress) on iOS. Some of us always stay old school, I guess.

For those interested, here is a quick glance at the specs of both the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 3.

iPad Pro vs Surface Pro 3 specs sheet

Category iPad Pro Surface Pro 3
Display 12.9-inch, 2732 x 2048 12-inch, 2160 x 1440
Processor Apple A9X 1.5GHz Intel Core i3
Dimensions 305.7mm x 220.6mm x 6.9mm 292mm x 201.3mm x 9.1mm
Weight 713gms / 723gms for LTE 798gms
Rear Camera 8MP 5MP
Front Camera 1.2MP 5MP
Storage 32GB / 128GB 64GB / 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
RAM unknown 4GB / 8GB
MicroSD No Yes
Battery 10 hours 42Wh (7:28 hours according to real-life tests)
LTE Yes No
Bluetooth 4.2 4.0
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Pen Optional ($99) Yes (Included)
Keyboard Optional ($169) Yes (Optional $129)
OS iOS 9 Windows 10 Pro
Price from $799 from $799