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It's iPad vs. Surface Pro in Business Tablet War

By Jennifer LeClaire
February 1, 2013 10:59AM

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The Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro comes in at $800 and is available in 64 GB and 128 GB models. A Surface pen with Palm Block technology, designed to work with Surface to let customers edit, collaborate and get things done, is included with Surface Windows 8 Pro. Apple just announced a 128 GB version of the fourth-generation iPad, aimed at business users.
 



Microsoft and Apple have been battling for years. Now, the battle is for business consumers -- on the tablet front. Both brands have recently pushed out tablets that aim squarely at enterprise users.

Microsoft announced the Surface Windows Pro 8 earlier this month. Apple came crashing in on the business tablet user party with a 128 GB iPad just days ago. So what does each offer and which one is better suited to the needs of business users? Let's stack them up against each other and get some analyst insight.

Microsoft Boasts Power

Microsoft's Surface Windows 8 Pro is the newest model of Surface tablets. It hits store shelves this month in Microsoft's U.S. and Canada stores, MicrosoftStore.com, Staples and Best Buy, among other locations.

The Surface Windows 8 Pro is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor. That gives it the power and performance of a laptop in a tablet package. Microsoft is positioning the new product as suitable for home, office and the road because of its size and ability to run Windows 8 applications, as well as current Windows 7 desktop applications.

The Surface Windows 8 Pro comes in at $800 and is available in 64 GB and 128 GB models. A Surface pen with Palm Block technology, designed to work with Surface to let customers edit, collaborate and get things done, is included with Surface Windows 8 Pro.

Apple Boasts Style

Apple just announced a 128 GB version of the fourth-generation iPad with Retina display. The 128 GB iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular models offer twice the storage capacity of the 64 GB models -- and were designed with business users in mind.

At launch, Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said, "With twice the storage capacity and an unparalleled selection of over 300,000 native iPad apps, enterprises, educators and artists have even more reasons to use iPad for all their business and personal needs."

In its release, Apple pointed out that iPad is making a "significant impact" on business with virtually all of the Fortune 500 and over 85 percent of the Global 500 currently deploying or testing iPads. Apple also pointed to business-oriented tasks people use the iPad for, including 3D CAD files, X-rays, film edits, music tracks, project blueprints, training videos and service manuals.

Who Has the Advantage?

Microsoft offers Office, the predominant productivity suite. But Apple is boasting about its iWork capabilities. Apple says there are more than 10 million iWork users and points to other apps, like Global Apptitude for analyzing team film and creating digital playbooks, Auria for an incredible 48 track recording system, or AutoCAD for drafting architectural and engineering drawings, that benefit greatly from having the choice of an iPad with more storage capacity.

But the advantage still goes to Microsoft, said Roger Kay, senior analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates.

"Generally, the Microsoft product will integrate better with corporate IT manageability and security technologies," Kay told us. "Apple designs its products for individual users."
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Gareth:

Posted: 2013-02-10 @ 10:24am PT
It's Surface Pro v's Mac Book Air 11.

iPad is not a direct comparison to Surface Pro.

me:

Posted: 2013-02-04 @ 5:29pm PT
There's no comparison. Surface Pro is superior to an iPad in literally every aspect: design, build, functionality, price, performance...everything. You could possibly make some arguments for an iPad vs the Surface RT. But the Surface RT also beats the iPad. You'll find the only criticism of surface comes from people that don't own one and already spent their money on the older, dated iPad device

Dayo:

Posted: 2013-02-04 @ 2:05pm PT
Have folks noticed something intesresting lately, when showing Windows 8 tablets you see the live tiles (Home or Start screen) and when showing iPad, they show colorful plots and graphs with rich black background.
What happened to the static square rounded corners icons thingy?
Should I assume that apple folks are begining to see how outdated and obtuse those patented squares with round corners are... Hey, just like in this article! !! !! !!!

TomH:

Posted: 2013-02-04 @ 9:50am PT
It's unbelievable that people think that space is the only problem with the iPad and that since Apple came out with a 128GB version that will make up the difference in what the Surface Pro has to offer. By that logic I assume those people also fell the Macbook Air is at risk for the same reason? After all, if the iPad has just as much space why would anyone want or need the Macbook Air?

Rocwurst:

Posted: 2013-02-04 @ 4:22am PT
97.3% of business tablet activations are iPads according to Good Technology and 73.9% of smartphone activations (non-BB) are iPhones so Microsoft is in an uphill battle against an entrenched opponent.

And the iPad has 300,000 multi-touch, mobile optimized apps available while the vast majority of Windows apps are designed for mouse and keyboard and more RAM and other resources than the Surface brings to the table. Oh, and the iPad I terraces with Outlook, Exchange and VPNs very well thank you - unlike the Surface RT.

With the Surface Pro coming in at nosebleed prices up in Ultrabook territory while the equivalent iPad costs half the price, this is not going to a cakewalk for MS.

RocWurst:

Posted: 2013-02-03 @ 8:42pm PT
Note that the $800 64GB Surface Pro only has a paltry 23GB of free space so from the storage perspective is not even competitive with the $499 32GB iPad which has 31GB available.

The Surface Pro also has half the battery life and is significantly thicker and heavier than the iPad.

In terms of apps, having access to a large library of non-multi-touch, non mobile optimized x86 desktop programs is a dubious advantage. That is why Windows Tablets have been failures for the last decade.

Cramming a desktop OS and desktop programs into a mobile, multi-touch, form factor is a recipe for disappointment.

Loweg:

Posted: 2013-02-02 @ 10:42pm PT
While Apple has more apps than everyone else. There are more x86/x64 applications than Apple Apps that do more than is possible on an iPad.

As Windows 8 gains market share, more Windows 8 apps will be developed for Windows 8 Pro, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 through code share. If you develop for one device it will work on all devices. This will increase Market share on all devices sold under Microsoft License.
Another thing Apple needs to look out for that the journalist aren't. Apple has to compete with the surface and every other Windows 8 Pro/RT tablet manufactured out there. I want to see all the Dell/Asus/Acer Windows 8/RT Tablets vs. iPad. Surface may not out sell iPad, but the MS OS combined is.

I predict there will be a Mac OS tablet soon. Then things will really get interesting.

Another interesting note is my son wanted a MacBook when he started college at the number one engineer school. He still has to boot camp into Windows 7 for his software development classes.

Loweg:

Posted: 2013-02-02 @ 10:39pm PT
While Apple has more apps than everyone else. There are more x86/x64 applications than Apple Apps that do more than is possible on an iPad.

As Windows 8 gains market share, more Windows 8 apps will be developed for Windows 8 Pro, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 through code share. If you develop for one device it will work on all devices. This will increase Market share on all devices sold under Microsoft License.
Another thing Apple needs to look out for that the journalist aren't. Apple has to compete with the surface and every other Windows 8 Pro/RT tablet manufactured out there. I want to see all the Dell/Asus/Acer Windows 8/RT Tablets vs. iPad. Surface may not out sell iPad, but the MS OS combined is.

I predict there will be a Mac OS tablet soon. Then things will really get interesting.

Another interesting note is my son wanted a MacBook when he started college at the number one engineer school. He still has to boot camp into Windows 7 for his software development classes.

Jenny J:

Posted: 2013-02-02 @ 1:58pm PT
I prefer the Kindle Fire HD. The interface is great and it's very easy to use. Check out its Amazon page (http://amzn.to/11SRHbE) if you want to compare what they bring to the table.

Sergiu:

Posted: 2013-02-02 @ 5:59am PT
People reading this will be put further in the dark. You cannot compare the products productivity-wise. You can compare the thickness, the storage space, the screen resolution, battery life and even build quality. But you cannot compare the software running on them, and that's what influences productivity more than anything else.

It's like this: Apple claims iPad users have access to AutoCAD. No. They do not. They have access to a AutoCAD drawing viewer app running on iOS. Microsoft on the other hand claims the Surface Pro runs Windows 8 Pro, that most certainly can run any of the productivity suites sold by AutoCAD, not just a viewer.

So anyone writing articles like this is either ignorant or has been paid by Apple to lie that these devices are playing on the same field. And if Apple manages what they've been planning then maybe they will be playing on the same field.

Christopher:

Posted: 2013-02-01 @ 3:11pm PT
While I use numerous iProducts, I will be setting down my iPad 1.0 and I will be picking up the Surface Pro 8.0.

I was considering a desktop purchase, but I have set that aside and will try to see how much productivity I can get out of the Windows product.

Scott:

Posted: 2013-02-01 @ 12:31pm PT
The only real point of comparison is that they are both tablets.
The iPad is primarily a media consumption device. It can be a great solution in the workplace when you need a single purpose or limited purpose device.
The surface pro is a fully functional computer. In the workplace you can utilize your existing software license base. Office, Outlook, Notes, Autocad, or whatever.
No comparison beyond the form factor.

ulrich krauskopf:

Posted: 2013-02-01 @ 12:25pm PT
agree with points made, however it should be pointed out that surface pro's better connectivity (USB,SD card) allows the easy use of peripheries, high capacity hard drives with cloning capacities and certainly memory expansion

adam:

Posted: 2013-02-01 @ 12:10pm PT
I am stick of having a whole bunch of different devices. I am going with a Lumia 900 and a surface pro. That is all I need. Ipads are a poor substitute for the (still) small iphone.

Frank:

Posted: 2013-02-01 @ 12:01pm PT
It all depends on what you're doing. If you just want to consume content and stay within Apple's walled garden, then the iPad is for you... But if you need to do work for business or just want the freedom to add your own content easily then go with the Surface.

Gary Roberts:

Posted: 2013-02-01 @ 11:46am PT
While I agree that the Surface Pro is well designed for enterprise, I think the Surface Pro is also well designed for users.



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