My experience with the new iPad Pro (9.7") coming from Surface Pro 4

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Leo90, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. Leo90, Apr 4, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016

    Leo90 macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2014
    Recently I sold my iPad Air 2 in order to try a "so-called" hybrid as I always desired to replace both my tablet and mac for one device when I'm on-the-go. So I bought a Surface Pro 4 and oh boy what a big remorse I had. Aside from all the bugs with Windows 10 which cost me an entire day installing/re-installing drivers, the user experience was simply poor. Sure, it was a working pc but the tablet part of it was just plain awful. Being awful I mean, battery couldn't last more than 5 hours in tablet mode, lack of optimized apps, clumsy form factor for reading and bug with sleep mode which pretty much turns off the device. After having the Surface Pro 4 for a few days I realized I just had bought a "boring PC", a device which is an average computer and a poor tablet, a device without any focus with a ridiculous interface. All in all, I returned it and with the refund I decided to get an iPad Pro 9.7 with the Smart Keyboard. What a difference! The hardware (mainly the amazing new screen) just screams quality and the experience is so much more focused and fluid, no reboots out of nowhere, no painful updates which take hours to be installes, it simply works. Of course I was expecting it as I had used an iPad Air 2 for 2 years and it never disappointed, I just never felt compelled to work much with it (always forgot to charge my keyboard haha). The improvements on the new iPad Pro for me were totally worth the upgrade. I've been working quite intensively with it on-the-go (preparing presentations, analysing data in excel, writing my thesis, browsing papers, writing here on macrumors hehe) in a way that is so much more fun than a conventional PC. At home I use my 15" rMBP for more intense data analysis with software only available for OS X.

    So, what is your experience with the iPad Pro (9.7 or 12) so far? Have you tried any "hybrid" before?
  2. spiderman0616 macrumors 68040


    Aug 1, 2010
    I have the same impressions as you. I'm super impressed by how capable the 9.7" Pro is. It's done a very good job so far of replacing my 13" retina MBP.

    Just as a side note--I have a friend who's getting his doctorate right now and he got the 12.9" awhile back. He is doing all of his school stuff on the iPad Pro and his one sentence review to me the other day was "I can't live without it."
  3. Leo90 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2014
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yeah, I agree with your friend haha. My iPad Pro is also a nice computer to have with me in the lab.
  4. gorkt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2007
    I have been very surprised at how much I can do on the Pro. What most people don't take into account with the Surface Pro is the lack of apps. The iPad has the full range of apps available that the app store has to offer. Yes, some things aren't as easy to do, but then again, there are a lot of things you CAN do that you can't really do with a laptop.
  5. dannyyankou macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2012
    Yeah, other companies are so lost and confused. Apple sees the future, yet other companies are trying to replicate it while clinging to the past.

    It reminds me of when phones like this came out after the iPhone was introduced-

  6. Leo90 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2014

    Blackberry blues? :p
  7. spiderman0616 macrumors 68040


    Aug 1, 2010
    I think what's getting lost in all the Wall Street noise about the iPad is that it's stealthily becoming the computer of choice for a LOT of people. The iPad sales boom that we saw between 2010 and 2013 is probably over for good and it was never going to be sustainable at that rate, but if you look past all the doom and gloom, people are still loving their iPads and using them for more and more things. I don't think we're going to see lines out the door for the iPad Pro or anything like that, but when people upgrade, that's going to be the machine they want if they prefer the larger form factors.
  8. ShaunAFC3 macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2016
    I must say threads like PROVES that Microsoft approach for tablets and hybrids with a full desktop OS Windows is not the right way to go and that the iPad with a mobile OS(IOS) is definitely the right way to go and definitely here to stay! :) :)
  9. spiderman0616 macrumors 68040


    Aug 1, 2010
    I think Apple thinks of both Windows AND OS X as legacy products. I think Google and Microsoft both secretly do too, though they're not as outspoken about it. The complication of a computer is just not necessary anymore for most people, and it probably never was to begin with. We were all kind of forced to learn computers on the desktop workstation paradigm because that's where the technology was over the last several years, but mobile is moving us beyond that. The people who complain about not having a file system are not the target audience for this. The open and exposed file system is what tends to get the common technology user in trouble.

    We're in a transition right now. It's going to take a long time for the paradigm to change. But I'm getting more and more open to it and I'm enthusiastic about the future of mobile devices like the iPad.
  10. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    in exile
    I have extensive experience with iPads, Windows tablets, Windows 2-in-1's, and Microsoft Surface in particular.

    As I've said in the past, there is a whole spectrum of use cases from a "pure" tablet on one of the scale, and a "pure" notebook on the other end. Somewhere in between is that sweet spot of convergence. It's not a single point on that scale but it is unique for each person. For some people, the sweet spot is "pure" notebook.

    I have found the Surface in particular and Windows tablets in general to be adequate notebook/netbook solutions but fare poorly as tablets. Partially, this is due to the nature of Windows itself (and its frequent system updates), but to an even greater extent it is the chronic lack of a quantity of quality touch-optimized Modern UI apps.

    Yes, those devices support desktop apps, but those are a stop-gap measure and not preferable. There's far more to touch-optimizing an app than magnifying UI elements.

    In contrast is the iPad in general, and Pro in particular. I've spent nearly a week with my 12.9 Pro and after getting over the initial shock of the size (compared to my Air 2), I'm finding it to be much closer to my sweet spot for converged devices. I've had to alter a few of my workflows in order to accomplish things that I did on my Macbook Air + iPad Air 2 combo, but so far so good.

    There are a few things that I'd like to see change with the Pro to get it even closer to where I'd like it to be. Some are hardware, others are software. I'd like to see optional support for mice and pointing devices. This can be done without compromising the touch-centric nature of iOS. Jailbroken apps can do it. It works well on Android devices. Another hardware-related addition would be additional support for USB devices.

    The iPad Pro is not as "pro" in a corporate environment as my Surface 2 (the much maligned Windows RT-based tablet)... mostly because of the expansion options for the Surface... none of which will be added to the iPad Pro.

    iOS software still needs to be updated... first to support split-window, but also to support the higher resolution. Those apps that do support both, are great. But when I launch an app that has not been updated, it's like Fisher-Price's "My First Tablet" for preschoolers.

    I love Microsoft's TypeCover, but Apple's Smart Keyboard is quickly growing on me. I don't miss the trackpad on the ASK since the quality of the trackpad on the TypeCover was worse than worthless that I ended up using the touchscreen or bluetooth mouse instead.

    At this moment in time, the iPad Pro fits my needs in a converged device better than the Surface. It's a matter of, "it can't do everything, but the things that it does, it does well".

    Of course this is my opinion, others will disagree.
  11. macduke macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    Interesting to read your take on the Surface. I haven't paid attention to many reviews, especially those from people who already are in the Apple ecosystem and appreciate quality design. On the surface (no pun intended) it looks like a great little device. But it sounds like it's still the same old painful Windows with a new coat of paint. I could never go back to that.

    The biggest thing for me is that Apple needs to continue to improve iOS for productivity and project-based workflows instead of single-creation "one off" workflows. Sure, you can make one cool thing. But what about a project that uses several assets, and needs organization of all those files when you need to make changes? I think they will improve stuff like that eventually. I'm just a little disappointed in the hardware in this first version. Was hoping it would more closely match the larger one with the extra RAM. I'm hoping for new generations of creative apps that can do spectacular things on the iPad. In coming years we'll see the chip sizes continue to shrink, giving us more cores at higher clock frequencies, and more RAM. Performance will get really close to higher-end MacBook Pros. We'll also see much faster NAND with much longer lifespans, meaning iOS can do a lot more caching to NAND, meaning we can work on really big and complex projects with tons of layers and such. Eventually we'll be able to do most everything a Mac can do, and hopefully such devices will be dockable with large displays and transform into non-touch desktop mode. That's my dream. I think eventually Apple's operating systems will converge. Or maybe they'll even build something new. Either way it will be much better thought out than the Surface and they'll take their sweet time with it. We've seen iOS and OS X slowly converge over many years and I think we still have a decent wait until they're fully integrated.
  12. Ludatyk macrumors 65816


    May 27, 2012
    Well, I've tried the Microsoft Surface Pro 3... And I think Microsoft has an awesome device with the Surfaces. But my thoughts reflect yours.. it left me with a feeling "Is that all?" It's in a form of a tablet, but there's not many apps that really take advantage of the form.

    I've been an iPad user since the iPad 2, so.. I'm kind of accustomed to it's experience. But when experiencing the 12.9" iPP it's as I'm experiencing the iPad all over again. To be honest, it's the best computing device I've had thus far. I enjoy the larger screen, on screen keyboard & the apps that support SplitView.

    But don't get me wrong... Apple has much to improve on the iPP, but I like the direction their heading.
  13. Mr. Buzzcut macrumors 65816

    Mr. Buzzcut

    Jul 25, 2011
    Great testimonial but it doesn't say anything about the pro over the air. Everything mentioned could be done just as well on the latter.
  14. Leo90 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2014
    I agree with you. But having the smart connector makes it more convenient for me to use the keyboard. I had plenty of bluetooth keyboards and I always forgot to charge them somehow.
  15. AlexJoda macrumors 6502


    Apr 8, 2015
    If you replaced the Surface Pro 4 with the iPP I am asking myself why you did not went for the 12.9 version, which is far closer to the 12.3" Surface Pro 4 and better suited for productive working...
  16. TroyBoy30 macrumors 68020


    Jun 9, 2009
    Atlanta GA
    my surface 4 is an outstanding laptop, my ipad pro 12.9 is an outstanding tablet. neither can replace the other

    ive also had zero issues with my surface
  17. Cptnodegard macrumors 6502

    Jan 17, 2013
    I have a couple of Windows tablets, an Android tablet, my old Air 2 and now a Pro 12.9. Been using iPads since the first and tablets since the days of Android 1.5, Maemo, og WinXP tabs.

    For me the iPad is mostly a work device, rather than carry around a PC - emphasis on "carry around". My workflow still includes using two PCs, the first being my desktop PC at home, the other being my work issued laptop. I use these via remote desktop software from the iPad, specifically Jump Desktop, which is one of only two I know of that supports a mouse (not mice in general - literally 1 mouse). It also auto-adjusts RDP resolution based on device resolution, so entering split view on the iPad changes the remote computer resolution to match that new half screen. Just earlier today I made annotations on an image using the apple pen in remote windows 10 while the other half of the screen had notes open in iOS.

    To me this solution works well. As you say, a Surface is a poor tablet and an average PC (at best). It's become better since the days of Windows XP tablets a decade ago, but far from as much as you'd think, and nowhere near as far as the iPad has come in the last few years alone. With one type of device unable to improve itself, it makes sense having that device as an app on the better device, always there via 4G (which works surprisingly well).
  18. Leo90 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2014

    That is a good question in fact. I chose the 9.7" because of its smaller footprint. I had the 12.9 for a week when it launched and I returned as I could not get used to carrying it around or using it while commuting. The 9.7" hits the sweet spot for me when I need to perform some tasks on the go. When I need a bigger screen to do a lot of stuff at the same time, I just use my 15" rMBP which is a beast :)
  19. redman042 macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    I use a Surface Pro 4 for work (I previously had a Pro 3). My personal devices include an iPad Air and iPhone 6s+.

    I have to use a Windows machine for work, and I multitask heavily. My typical workflow is to have Outlook, several instances of Word, at least one instance of Excel, and perhaps a PDF or two open at once while I prepare a report. I simply cannot do that on an iPad, not even the 12.9" Pro. I wish I could, because the purity of the iPad experience is one I enjoy greatly.

    Given that I must work in Windows, I feel the Surface Pro 4 is the nicest machine you can choose. Yes it does have some annoying software bugs. They only come up occasionally now and I've learned to work around them. Slowly but surely they are getting patched. On the flipside, it is fast, relatively lightweight, and it IS feasible to work on it without the keyboard while walking around the room or leaning back on the couch. I never use Win10 "tablet mode" though - I always use the Desktop mode. I do pull off the keyboard when I'm doing more reading than typing, and I take notes or make markups with the stylus. When it's time to crank out a lot of text, I snap the keyboard back on and set it on a desk or a lap desk. It's nice to be able to switch up during a long work grind.

    But when I can, I break out the iPad. I'm thinking I'll upgrade to the iPad Pro 9.7 soon, and start to use it more. I expect to still be a multi-device guy for several more years until Apple kicks iOS up a few more notches.

    It's a fun time in computing. So much change happening. So many choices.
  20. Leo90 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2014
    That is true! We are quite lucky to live in such exciting times for computing technology. I might give Surface Pro 4 a chance once I get to know the bugs are fixed and the device is overall more reliable. But I will no longer get rid of my iPad, that is for sure!
  21. off_piste macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2015
    What's the program other than JumpDesktop that supports mice? Also, you can use the Citrix X1 with Jump in addition to the supported Swiftpoint mouse.
  22. dazz87 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 24, 2007
    Surface has a file system = computer.............Pro 9.7 does not = tablet
  23. OneMike macrumors 603


    Oct 19, 2005
    Right now I'm on the fence of getting an iPad pro 12.9 or surface pro 4.

    Value for money and usability seems to sway more towards the surface pro.

    iPad pro 128GB $850 + $100 for pen. No keyboard but I have a spare apple bluetooth one. $1008
    Surface pro 4 128GB with keyboard $1015

    Those are with some discounts.

    My thing is 99% of the time I will use the device just for browsing, reading, watching media, etc.. While not needed as I have a beast of a computer at home and a decent laptop for the go. I do like that with a surface I can do things like install full apps to get work done.
  24. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    in exile
    One thing that might help you decide... do you want a notebook that can do "tablety" things, or a tablet that can do "notebooky" things? If the former, then the Surface might be a better option. If the latter, the iPad Pro.
  25. OneMike macrumors 603


    Oct 19, 2005
    That's a good way of looking at it. I definitely care more about the tablet aspect of it. The notebook use is bonus, but definitely not as important.

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