iPad Pro iPad Pro or Surface

Discussion in 'iPad' started by jerryk, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    With the split to iPadOS and additions like mouse support it looks like Apple is trying to push the iPad into laptop replacement space.

    I just purchased an 11" iPad Pro + folio keyboard to make it easier for me to do things like edit documents, spreadsheets, and alike. I am still within the return window and wonder if I should return it and consider a Surface since I get free full Office 365 apps (I have subscription).

    Has anyone tried both devices doing business level tasks?

    I also still have a 9.7 iPad Pro for media consumption around the house.
  2. fokmik macrumors 68040

    Oct 28, 2016
    surface pro 6? or surface laptop? or surface book 2 ?
    I now have the iPP 11" +ios13 and surface pro 6 after i tried surface book 2 that had a lot of issues and went with surface pro 6 and this one i had it for around 6-7 weeks
  3. Rhonindk macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2014
    sitting on a beach watching a DC simulation ...
    Not sure exactly what you are asking...
    I have a IPP 12.9 G2 that I did extensive testing to try to utilize as a laptop replacement for my current rMB (2015). It worked for most tasks however there were a number of functions that I needed a laptop for. For a more work centric laptop (Lenovo Yoga) the usability of the IPP was even less. This includes developing work-arounds.
    Biggest issue was even if the IPP could be used for 95% of your tasks, that other 5% shows you still need a PC or MB.

    Note: my background is engineering and my usage will differ from many other users and their needs.

  4. jerryk thread starter macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Surface Pro 6 looks like the closest match.

    I have an MBP 15, But it is really overkill for Word, Excel, Outlook, and other business apps. But I want the bigger display for coding and photo work (Lightroom and Photoshop). And there is the bulk of the MBP 15"
  5. chrism_scotland macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2018
    I haven't tried the 11" iPad Pro but I do have the 12.9 and a Surface Pro 6.

    It honestly depends what you need to do - Word, Powerpoint on iPad are good, excel does too but it is more limited v the Windows Version (no macro's for example).

    Personally it looks to me that the move to a Desktop Browser may mean that I can do almost anything I need to do on iPad especially with Office 365 but maybe the odd thing on Sharepoint Designer.
  6. StralyanPithecus macrumors regular


    Sep 27, 2018
    Toasty South Texas, I miss my kangaroos.
    I have both and my main unit right now is the Surface Pro 6. I moved everything from iCloud to OneDrive and ended using the iPad Pro 12.9 less and less, simply for my personal and work routine the Surface fits better. But as a media consumption the iPad it's better, but carrying both devices all the times was difficult, so the iPad remains at home. Windows 1903 update makes the OS more flexible, you can uninstall a lot of Microsoft apps like Movies & TV that wasn't possible before.

    I recommend you to install the new Microsoft Edge Developer edition, is based on Chromium and all your chrome extensions work with it, as well is very fast and stable.
  7. mr_jomo macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2018
    I’ve owned a Surface Pro and iPPs 9.7, 10.5 and currently the 12.9” 2018 version.

    A couple of observations:
    1. As a tablet the Surface Pro is feeble at best. Windows is so far from a tablet OS, that it’s really a chore to use.
    2. As a laptop the Surface Pro is mid tier. Cramped screen, small trackpad and weak keyboard makes serious work in Office tiring.
    3. As a pure tablet doing office work, the iPPs cannot be matched. They are fast, the OS is optimized for touch etc., pen integration is superb. There are limitations though:
      1. The Office apps lack quite the number of features compared to their Windows or Mac equivalent.
      2. But, Microsoft is expanding on their apps all the time and their office 365 offering is current quite comprehensive spanning Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Teams, Skype, OneDrive, Outlook, Todos etc. - all with sophisticated integration and capabilities for mobile applications
      3. That said, for any work spanning more than 2-3 documents at one time I boot my Mac mini.
    4. Annotating PDFs, reading articles and magazines, taking notes during meetings in OneNote is unbeatable on an iPP compared to the Surface Pro.
    5. The iPP essentially has replaced my laptop for everything listed above
    If you need the full functionality of Microsoft Office - and doesn’t have a laptop already - the Surface laptop or even MacBook Air will serve you better than any of the current iPads. In combination with a mac of any kind, the iPPs are brilliant portable, office workhorses. Buying a Surface Pro as a tablet - laptop hybrid is a poor choice based on my experience.
  8. Dave-Z macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2012
    I have a Surface Go and a Lenovo L380 Yoga (2-in-1 laptop).

    I tried using a 2nd Gen. 12.9" iPad Pro for about 14 months as a primary device. Coding (front- and back-end web development) was painful. There's not a single app for iOS/iPad OS that has a proper web inspector. Task switching was painfully slow as well. My iPad started developing hardware issues (light bleed and unresponsive touch screen) so I switched to the Lenovo and then eventually also got the Surface Go because I wanted to try out that product line.

    My typical usage is to use my devices in tablet mode when I'm relaxing and reading; this is basically limited to surfing in a web browser or reading in the Kindle app. When I work I like to have a keyboard and window environment. The Lenovo and Surface let me make this transition easily. I found the iPad limiting for my productivity work.

    iOS is really nice as a touch-based UI. Windows much less so; however, because in tablet mode I typically only use Firefox and Kindle I really don't find it to be a problem and have found I'm substantially more productive when I work by using Windows versus iOS. Everything runs faster and being able to open multiple windows is really nice. (I'm running Debian Linux on my custom-built desktop machine and will probably install it on my Lenovo over the summer. I prefer Linux over other operating systems.)

    I was never a huge fan of Windows but Windows 10 is faster than previous versions I've used and Microsoft keeps making it better (Linux subsystem, bundling OpenSSL, etc.). I recommend a few of things: Always go with Windows 10 Professional. It's a little more money but you get proper full disk encryption (BitLocker) and it already has the group policy editor included. Do a clean install from the installer ISO direct from Microsoft. Do the install offline. Remove apps. Disable analytics (group policy editor helps with this). Then put it online and finish your setup. You'll end up with a leaner, well-working machine without the cruft (app recommendations, and what other people call "spyware" even though it's just normal analytics that you can mostly opt out of, and the rest you can disable by turning off specific services).

    Only you can decide if a Surface device is better for you. For some it is, for others not so much. Having used both Windows as a tablet and iPad I can say that I prefer Windows right now; only because it converts easily into a full desktop operating system (which I tend to prefer). Contrast this with my spouse who spends an entire day with a Windows laptop docked to dual monitors... at the end of the day they go for the iPad because its UI is simple, clean and easy to use to just surf the web or respond to a few personal emails.
  9. mkelly macrumors regular

    Nov 29, 2007
    I've got the following toys:

    2016 12.9" iPad Pro
    Surface Pro 5
    13" Surface Book 2 w/1050 GPU

    Why two Surfaces? I'm a developer, and I originally had a Dell XPS 15 laptop but when it died it was still under extended warranty from the MS Store, and they replaced it with a Surface Book 2.

    So, what do I recommend as a daily driver for "business" tasks? It depends on what your business tasks involve. If you need to run Windows-specific software than the iPad probably won't cut it. But if you're talking Excel, Word, Powerpoint - you can definitely get by nicely with the iPad although proper mouse support would be nice. I find most other tasks (like web browsing) much more pleasant on the iPad than either of my Surfaces. You are still going to get a *better* MS Office experience under Windows 10 though, for obvious reasons.

    Despite their respective specifications, I find both the Surfaces to be laggy when compared to the iPad, especially when scrolling large pages of content.

    I don't enjoy managing Windows on the best of days, and especially not on a tablet (too much like my day job). Last November, my Surface Book 2 began to randomly blue screen after boot-up. I spent a week trying to figure out the cause when it turned out that Microsoft had started pushing out "testing" updates to anyone that clicked on "Check for updates" in Windows Update - even if you weren't part of their insider program. iOS has had some good bugs over the years, but I've never had to waste a week on it.

    That said, file management is (currently) much better on Windows than iOS - so if you're juggling a lot of files around between different applications you might find it easier to do on Windows. But iPadOS is going to help there, and honestly, I'd rather deal with some file management hiccups on iOS than the hassles I go through with Windows 10. So much so that I'm putting both of my Surface devices up for sale later this week, and trading the 2017 iPad Pro for an updated model.
  10. muzzy996 macrumors 6502

    Feb 16, 2018
    I can pretty much agree with this, and it all comes down to where a person's own needs/usage/process falls in. The plain and simple fact is workflows to accomplish tasks vary from platform to platform and due to that one has to find the platform that gives them the best workflow. For me the iPP is best suited for PDF review/annotation and note taking by hand. I have office apps installed on my iPP but only to open email attachments when I'm mobile - there is no way in hell I'll ever attempt to do any type of office production work on my iPP, the feature set just simple isn't enough for me and my workflow requires many office documents open at once on multiple displays.

    For me personally if I were trying to choose between the iPP and a Surface I'd boil it down to what my primary workflows need to be. If office document production is a must I'd go Surface, but if media consumption and other tablet oriented workflows (handwritten note taking, PDF annotation etc.) were my thing I'd go iPP. Side note: Many people love OneNote but personally I hate it - the infinite paper space thing seems like a great feature but it's a royal PITA to print from and for that reason alone I just can't get myself to use OneNote on iOS.
  11. sparksd macrumors 68020

    Jun 7, 2015
    Seattle WA
    I don't have a Surface but I do have a lightweight Dell XPS 13 QHD+ and a 10.5" iPP. The laptop works better for productivity with full-up Office apps. I also still prefer the laptop on travel for on-the-go RAW photo processing with a "real" mouse and full Lightroom. At home, it docks with my 24" monitor and USB-C hub with drives and provides a true full-screen experience as opposed to iPad mirroring. I see the devices as complementing each other as there are tasks that the iPad handles well. If the laptop died, I'd replace it with another XPS 13 or a Surface - but I would replace it and not go iPad-only.
  12. jerryk thread starter macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Thanks for all the great replies.

    I am lean heavily to returning the iPad Pro 11 and folio case. As I said, I also have an 9.7 Gen 1 iPad Pro. Based on comments, not sure about the Surface.

    Fortunately I only have one more trans-continent trip this summer, so the MBP 15 AND iPad will both go. Maybe by this fall iPadOS will be feature complete and I can revisit an upgrade at that point.
  13. petvas macrumors 601


    Jul 20, 2006
    Mannheim, Germany
    I think that the issue with the iPad is not the OS (anymore), but the quality of apps available for the kind of work you want to do. If you are a heavy MS Office user, then the iPad is by far the worst option. Get the Surface and you will be happy with the power of Office apps. If you value the tablet part more and want a great consumer device, that is also great at note taking, signing documents, and brings a new computing paradigm, then go with the iPad.
    If you want to use the full power of Office 365, then you don‘t have a choice but to go with Windows. There is no Visio on the iPad (and on the Mac too), and many apps are not so good as on Windows. It all depends on what you want to do with the device.
  14. Rhonindk macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2014
    sitting on a beach watching a DC simulation ...
    I am not an iOS developer however working with a couple they say the restriction is the OS design, not the app. The OS will not fully support many of the functions we have come to recognize and use on a PC or MB.
    Devs here can comment on the accuracy of this.
  15. AutomaticApple macrumors 65816


    Nov 28, 2018
    Get the Surface.
  16. Dave-Z macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2012
    Seems about right (I'm not an iOS developer, either). I've tried about 4-5 VoIP apps before I finally found one that (half decently) worked around the fact that Apple doesn't let UDP SIP connections run in the background (ergo, the VoIP doesn't run in the background and cannot receive calls directly).

    Edit: Contrast that with my Windows machines... which run X-Lite non-stop all day without missing a beat.
  17. jimmy_uk, Jun 7, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019

    jimmy_uk macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2015
  18. Digitalguy macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2019
    I have several surface devices and many ipads. Why are/were you considering the surface? Because it can act as a tablet if needed? (I doubt it since you have the first gen IPP) Or because you want a light and compact device to use on the go? I guess many people buy the surface for this second reason and rarely use it as a tablet. I would not suggest a surface pro. The first reason is that it's going to be heavily updated this year. Rumors say it will have magnetic usb C (sort of a magsafe usb C), smaller bezels, a Windows on ARM variant with LTE and the the powerful 8CX and a cheaper (than previous models) 16GB version coupled with a i5 (contrary to the 2k$ version of past years with i7 and 16GB RAM).
    So not the best moment to buy a surface.
    Second, personally I stopped buying surface pros as compact laptops since you can get lighter similarly sized or ever larger screen laptops which work much better on your lap that the surface pro.. So unless you find some amazing deal I would skip the surface...
  19. jerryk, Jun 7, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019

    jerryk thread starter macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Good info.

    The reason for considering the surface is actually because I have an iPad Pro (9.7) now and find it great as a media consumption (YouTube, NetFlix, etc.) device that I can hold in my hands in my easy chair or in bed (this used case kills most full laptops). But lacking as a content creation devices (word processing, spreadsheets, some programming, light photoshop and lightroom, etc). Even with a keyboard the whole touch screen interface get's in the way. I supposed I could adapt, but why should the user have to adapt when we can do these tasks with easy on a laptop. The device should adapt to our needs not that other way around.

    Therefore the Surface Pro seemed like a reasonable compromise for a single machine I can use at home to do media consumption and on the road to light creative tasks.

    It should do as well as any low powered PC does at media consumption (YouTube, NetFlix, etc.) tasks.

    For the creation work, I know they can run full Office 365 locally, photoshop and lightroom. Plus it has command line access and more importantly the applications needed in many programming environment (node, Angular, etc) should I need to do some Plus I am completely familiar with Windows and use it every day.

    But, based on your comment about a new Surface version coming, perhaps I will send back the 11" iPad Pro and folio keyboard, and wait to see what happens this fall in the Surface space. I just hope they still have an Intel i5 entry model. Not sure how ARM would do with Windows 10 Pro.
  20. Digitalguy macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2019
    So you want to replace your 9.7?
    Personally I love my 9.7 and it's my on the go device (I have LTE and a create keyboard) as well as my youtube device.
    At home I use mainly windows laptops and a macbook air 11. My surface devices (surface pro 3 and non pro 2 and 3) now mainly collect dust... (I use them mainly as secondary devices instead of a second monitor). I use a 13.3in 1.8 pounds samsung laptop as my main windows device. Generally for me the IPP 9.7 is enough on the go if I don't need to do serious work, if I need windows I use VNC to remotely connect. If I need to travel several days and want to travel light, I'll take my samsung and and ipad mini 5 with LTE as a tablet. Personally I am not convinced by the "one device" idea and I am happier with several devices that I can combine if necessary since they are all pretty compact and light.
  21. rowspaxe macrumors 68020


    Jan 29, 2010
    Its not cclear form the post whether you wil be using surface pen? If You don't need the pen, consider
    surface laptop--its awesome. If you o palne to use the pen to mark up, I'd still take surface pro
    over an ipad pro every time, especially if you have another ipad for consumption. I love my
    ipad 12.9 for art and notes, but find it fails at basic workflows like cut and paste and the file
    system sucks. If you use OneDrive it's a no brainer
  22. jerryk thread starter macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    I would like to:
    1. replace carrying both my 9.7 and MBP 15 when I travel. They are getting to be too much bulk to lug around. Because I also carry photo gear like a Sony FF camera and a lens or two.
    2. have a device I can watch media on while I am home in my easy chair or bed.
    At home I use my MacBook for local meetups etc, and some programming. But most of the time I use a desktop with 2 or 3 monitors, 32 GB of RAM, 2 TB of SSD, 2 RTX 2070 video cards. I run Windows 10 or Ubuntu depending up what project I am working on.

    Application wise I run Office 365 (Word and Powerpoint mostly, Excel, and One note occasionally). Any all-in-1 travel device would have to run these.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 7, 2019 ---
    I have a Surface Book we use in the sound booth. Never use the pen. How does the Surface Book compare to the Surface Laptop?
  23. Digitalguy macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2019
    Yeah the MBP 15 is way too heavy if you don't need the power on the go. For me any laptop over 3 pounds is too heavy. Remember that for watching media surface is worse than a convertible since is similar to an ipad in terms of aspect ratio.
    Something like a DELL XPS 13 2 in 1 or one of the HP x360 would be a better choice. If you get one device get one with good battery life or get a USB C PD power bank as I do (for me the advantage of having and ipad and a laptop when I travel is that I have more battery life since I watch stuff and browse on the ipad)
  24. Macalway macrumors 68030

    Aug 7, 2013
  25. Rhonindk macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2014
    sitting on a beach watching a DC simulation ...
    Unless this is just another fancy band-aid.
    Hope not.

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