Apple showed Microsoft some love this past September when it announced the iPad Pro. “Yeah, these guys know productivity,” explained Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller during Apple’s Fall keynote before handing the stage over to Microsoft Office Corporate VP Kirk Koenigsbauer. Koenigsbauer waxed poetic about the powerful hardware within the iPad Pro and how it’s a perfect fit for Microsoft’s immensely popular Office productivity suite.
But times change and Microsoft’s love/hate relationship with Apple seems to be back on the sour side following some refreshing holiday cheer. Since the announcement of the iPad Pro, Microsoft has further refined its tablet lineup, introducing both the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book convertible. Microsoft has also sharpened its fangs, as Microsoft Surface Communications Manager Dan Laycock unloaded on the iPad Pro, opining that it is “always going to be a companion device."
Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Of course, Laycock wouldn’t level the same criticism against the Surface Pro 4, considering that Microsoft’s hardware philosophy allows you to “only carry one device for tablet and PC use.”
Laycock also pointed to one of primary criticisms directed at the iPad Pro — a lack of desktop class apps and an App Store that works against developers who want desperately to embrace Apple’s tablet platforms. We’ve already heard from the developers of the popular app Sketch, who said that it doesn’t make much business sense to bring its app to the iPad Pro.
Yes, it has a beautiful screen, but there’s more to consider, such as how to adapt the UI for touch without compromising the experience. But the biggest problem is the platform. Apps on iOS sell for unsustainably low prices due to the lack of trials. We cannot port Sketch to the iPad if we have no reasonable expectation of earning back on our investment.
It’s for reasons like this that Laycock doesn’t see the Surface Pro 4 versus the iPad Pro “as a one-to-one comparison, because [Surface Pro 4] is a full PC, you’re running full apps.”
Apple iPad Pro
But Laycock didn’t stop there; he got in one last dig aimed at late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who famously said, “If you see a stylus, they blew it.” However, the new iPad Pro can be equipped with an optional $99 stylus called the Apple Pencil. "At one point in time, Apple declared that if there's a stylus, that's failure,” added Laycock. “We’re a huge believer in the pen; we know our customers love it.”