by Jim Lynch

Apple’s iPad Pro is not a copy of Microsoft’s Surface

11 Sep 2015
Consumer ElectronicsiPadMobile

The iPad Pro has nothing to do with Microsoft's Surface tablet

Apple’s announcement of the iPad Pro the other day has caused quite a bit of commotion in various discussion threads and articles online. One weird line of thought that I keep seeing here and there is that the iPad Pro is a copy of Microsoft’s Surface tablet.

Huh? Are these people kidding me?

The iPad Pro has nothing to do with Microsoft’s Surface tablet, and I can’t imagine what people are thinking by saying that it is Apple’s attempt to copy Microsoft.

[ Related: iPad Pro’s potential as a laptop replacement excites CIOs ]

Whenever Apple releases a new product, there’s always a ton of bullshit said about it online. I should have expected that with the iPad Pro, but for some reason it still surprised me that people were accusing Apple of copying Microsoft. I guess I forgot to put up my “presstitute distortion field” shield or something.

Apple and Microsoft have two different strategies

The obvious thing to note here is that Microsoft and Apple have two very different strategy when it comes to mobile devices. Microsoft has attempted to blend the desktop and mobile experience together in one device, while Apple has decided to keep them separate by using OS X for desktops and laptops, and iOS for mobile devices.

If Apple were going to copy Microsoft, they’d have made the iPad Pro into a two-in-one like the Surface. But they clearly did not do that, the iPad Pro does not run OS X. It runs iOS, just like any other iPad. OS X is still reserved for iMacs, Mac Pros and Apple’s laptop products.

I know that some people prefer the two-in-one strategy of Microsoft, and that’s fine if it works for them. I think it’s great that folks have that choice, but it’s inaccurate and downright silly to say that Apple is trying to do the same thing with the iPad Pro. 

Apple’s iPad Pro Smart Keyboard is confusing some users and journalists

One thing that seems to be confusing people is the new Smart Keyboard that Apple announced for the iPad Pro. Yes, Microsoft offers a keyboard for the Surface too. So what? The iPad has had keyboards available since long before the release of Microsoft’s Surface tablet, there’s nothing new or shocking about it. The only thing that is different is that Apple is releasing one of its own.

Big deal. There are going to be lots of other keyboards to choose from for the iPad Pro too. Apple’s Smart Keyboard will certainly be popular among some users, but there will be plenty of other options for iPad Pro users too as more and more vendors release keyboards for the new tablet.

But the “keyboard controversy” makes me wonder about the long-term memory of some people, especially journalists. Is it so difficult to find out that the iPad has had keyboards from various vendors for the last five years or so? Where did they think Microsoft originally got the idea from? Sheesh.

Making a keyboard for a product like the Surface or the iPad Pro isn’t rocket science, regardless of what features go into the keyboard. And when one keyboard vendor adds a feature, others will usually add it too later on at some point. There’s nothing new or shocking about that, it’s how peripherals like keyboards have always progressed over the years. 

The great iPad Pro OS X scandal!

Another strange reaction to the iPad Pro came from some users who expressed disappointment, and even outrage that the iPad Pro did not run OS X. As I noted above, Apple’s strategy for its tablets and other mobile devices has not been a secret. So I’m not sure why these folks were shocked or surprised about it. I guess they saw that Microsoft had included Windows in the Surface, and so expected Apple to include OS X in the iPad Pro.

Frankly, I’m glad that the iPad Pro doesn’t run OS X. OS X is not designed for mobile use. It’s a great operating system that I enjoy using on my Macbook Pro and iMac, but it is not something I’d want to wrestle with on a mobile device. It just isn’t designed for it.

Hopefully the folks who are complaining about the iPad Pro not having OS X will at least try iOS 9 on the iPad Pro. Apple has added some additional multitasking features that might fit the bill nicely for many users, without trying to glom OS X into a tablet.

Maybe the iPad Pro should have been called the iPad Plus?

I suspect that a big part of the problem for the folks who are claiming Apple is copying Microsoft’s Surface, and the other folks who wanted OS X in the iPad Pro, is the name of the product. It might have been wiser for Apple to use the name iPad Plus instead of iPad Pro. 

Calling it the iPad Plus would have signaled to the public that the product was an addition to the current iPad lineup, and not some sort of “professionals only” product that would run a desktop or laptop operating system. iPad Plus simply sounds a bit more welcoming to non-business users than iPad Pro. 

I might be nitpicking here, but a different name might have helped Apple avoid some of the negative coverage and dumb comparisons to Microsoft’s Surface tablet. I suppose we’ll never know now, but hopefully Apple will consider it food for thought for future product names. 

November can’t get here fast enough so I can get an iPad Pro

I’m really looking forward to the iPad Pro, I think it’s going to be a great tablet. As I noted yesterday, it has much to offer those who love comic books. And I think it’s going to be terrific for reading ebooks too. 

And while I’m enjoying my comics and ebooks on the iPad Pro’s amazing screen, I won’t be thinking about Microsoft’s Surface tablet for a single second. 

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