Even though the devices are quite different, in terms of hardware and software, obviously incorporating proprietary tech of each manufacturer, both set out to fulfill similar needs and whims. In this regard, General Manager for the Surface family, Ryan Gavin, has said in a recent interview that Apple’s iPad Pro was a ‘clear example’ of following Microsoft’s effort in the 2-in-1 gadgets category.
Apple’s buffed iPad indeed seems like a step towards the market segment that Microsoft has aimed its Surface line at, so Mr Gavin might have a point there. It’s difficult to say at this point which of the two product lines is better at fulfilling the duty of a laptop, let alone comment with certainty on a degree of similarities and ‘followership’ between the two.
At this point, one could argue that the iPad is better suited as a tablet than a computer, when compared to the Surface, given that the latter runs a more PC-focused OS, in the face of Windows 10. In this sense, promoting the iPad Pro as a computer might look a bit far-fetched and trend-based. However, the file management optimizations and some other laptop-like features, such as a Mac-like apps dock, that iOS 11 will bring to the iPad means that Apple is only getting started with the niche of hybrid devices. Apple has sold Pro products, aimed at creative professionals, for quite some time and it’s difficult to see how the iPad Pro is a product of followership, and not just a response to market demand.
Whether Apple took inspiration from Microsoft for the promotion of its high-end iPad is something that we would love to hear more on, as we go forward. Also, one would want to wait until all iPad-focused iOS 11 features kicked in this fall, in order to appreciate whether it is truly capable performing as a full-blown computer – something that commentators consider the Surface better at fulfilling.