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Quick comparison: Surface Pro 3 versus iPad Pro

As it turns out Microsoft must be on to a good thing with the Surface Pro 3, because Apple reinterpreted a number of features we're already used to for it's new, larger iPad. There's a keyboard dock, a pen, sorry, Pencil and the ability to run apps side by side to name a few.

The iPad Pro isn't set to hit store shelves until November, so real-world comparisons will have to wait. And hopefully by then there'll be a new Surface Pro to talk about.

In any case, here's a quick look at the two spec-to-spec. As is often the way with Apple products, there's still some unknown factors right now. But here's what it looks like so far.

CategorySurface Pro 3iPad Pro
OSWindows 10 ProiOS 9
Display12-inches 2160x144012.9-inch 2732x2048
ProcessorIntel Core i3/i5/i7Apple A9X
Storage64/128/256/512GB32/128GB
RAM4GB or 8GBunknown
LTENo cellular versionLTE version available
microSDYesNo
Front camera5MP1.2MP
Rear camera5MP8MP
Battery42Wh3850mAh
Dimensions292 mm x 201.3 mm x 9.1 mm305.7 mm x 220.6 mm x 6.9 mm
Weight800 grams713 grams (723 grams for LTE)
Wifi802.11 a/b/g/n/ac802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth4.04.2
PenYes (Included)Yes ($99 extra)
KeyboardYes ($129 extra)Yes ($169 extra)
Pricefrom $799from $799

The biggest difference has to be right at the top: The operating system. One runs a mobile OS, one a full desktop OS. You're also going to be spending over $1000 to get the 'full' iPad Pro experience with Pencil and keyboard, which is a lot, however you look at it. The Surface Pro 3 is at least marginally cheaper.

We'll be able to talk more when the iPad Pro is on sale. Maybe against the Surface Pro 3, maybe it's successor. Time will tell. Be sure to sound off in the comments with your own thoughts!

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

463 Comments
  • IPad "Pro"
  • Lol, that pro in the name is a complete scam.
  • Doesn't fucking matter, apple stole and reinvent McLaren's touch display.... Wait, maybe MS updated apple first.... Again..
  • No they didn't. This force touch renaming is just fancy touch and hold, nothing like what McLaren 3d touch was to be
  • Still closer than what we didn't get...
  • +640/galaxy s6 edge Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • No
  • So you're comparing Apple's product that will be on sale to the public in a couple of weeks vs. McLaren, a vaporware product that only a handful of people inside Microsoft have ever seen, and was never released. Gotcha.
  • Apple event was a major disappointment... hardware fails to impress news all over USA Today! http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/09/09/new-iphone-6s---first-impr...   http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/09/09/evening-news-roundup-wedne...   http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/09/09/apple-iphone-unveil-lacks-...  
  • We've reached peak innovation...for now. Everything is just expected, obvious spec bumps. Time for someone to pull a rabbit out of their hat (looking at you Microsoft).
  • Yeah they were even talking about the "obvious spec bumps" from apple on a local news station. I don't think the general public is impressed. We need that rabbit!
  • Hololens should be that rabbit
  • we're talking about phones - a devise for mass audience and not for fanatics
  • Huhuhuhuhu..... Holding my Breath
  • Yeah, Microsoft needs that rabbit for sure. Maybe they can invent something like a HoloLens, or Continuum for phones! That would be great. I'd love to carry my PC in my pocket and dock it at work, except, I'm retired. Man, I'd go back to work for that... almost... okay, I'm not going back for anything. Who am I kidding?  Well, maybe One OS across the entire range of devices so you don't have to relearn things going from desktop to phone to hololens to your game console to your home theater system to Raspberry Pi to your home thermostat and toaster. That should do it.  Unfortunately, Microsoft will never decide to unify the OS or invent a HoloLens tech. I guess that's what I get for living in an alternate reality.  :P
  • Does somebody know if the engineers working with Pureview tech didn't join Microsoft after the Nokia acquisition? I would find this unnaceptable, and that could be the reason Microsoft hasn't launched McLaren or a 1020 sucessor.  What happened to all the amazing camera tech from Nokia, is this really not part of Microsoft? 
  • Apple actually snagged some of the Pureview guys a while back which in turn might be responsible for the iphone 6 camera improvements and the ones announced today.  
  • Yep: http://www.engadget.com/2014/05/09/apple-just-hired-nokias-pureview-came...
  • The ex Nokia guy may have helped them also with the Live Photo feature that Lumias have had for a long time now. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • still it was and also is useless feature. Just like there is no fun in gaming without buttons its much better to touch than wait for sometime and idiotically hover your fingers to do something.
  • Well, it is surprising that Apple also choose to name it 'Pro'. With that they are clearly pitting it against the Surface. And with Surface 4 coming out soon that seems like a risk as the 'old' Surface Pro 3 seems to beat the new Apple pro on specs. The risk is putting the Surface Pro 4 in the limelight and making it look more innovative than Apple's product.
  • Which specs would those be, exactly?
  • A skylake CPU for one. IIRC they support external graphics cards. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Skylake will trump the A9X in CPU performance. Graphics remains to be seen, but even if its close, the Pro 4 will be driving a lower resolution on a screen that will likely be just as good. 8GB of RAM versus what certainly can't be more than 4 in the top SKU, and 64-512 (hopefully 128-1TB in sp4?) Of real SSD nand, either sata or pcie, will likely be way better than what apple can manage with UFS or eMMC, unless they've built a sata controller into the A9 platform. Battery is still up in the air, although it's possible this is the one thing apple will come out on top in. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Battery: But for the power and performance you can purchase with an Intel chip the trade off is not bad at all.
  • Functionality.
  • Memory, micro SD, OS. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • The Apple fanboy websites are going absolutely nuts protesting against any comparison between the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro. I think their years of mocking everything that the SP is, a tablet that is also a laptop, has a pen, bigger screen, not just for media consumption, etc. is now back to bite them. They are trying to seperate SP and iPP so they don't have to admit to themselves that they were wrong, and also that Apple copies feature for feature like they claim that everyone else does of Apple.
  • I don't think they care. They're going to buy what they like and you're going to buy what you like.
  • What are you talking about?  Apple just invented the Large Tablet/Convertible category.  It is a brand new computing category that has never existed before, and there are no devices to compare the iPad Pro with.  It is completely new and novel. Kappa
  • Hahaha
  • This is gold
  • \sarcasm\ at it's best.. 
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=287&v=_jTk3Fv9ido
  • Lol. IPad pro? Over sized iPod touch pro that is
  • They should've called it the MaxiPad.
  • Lol yes the Maxipad
  • It's iPAD XXL.
  • +1520
  • You deserve a +
  • Maxipad+
  • Agreed
  • You win the Internet.
  • God never thought of this before, thank you
  • The surface pro already beats the iPad "Pro."
  • Ironically, the iPad pro is basically a Surface RT (not pro). But they are charging a "pro" price for it.
  • It's cute that they think what they're offering constitutes pro, right? :D
  • "Pro" until you fill up its massive non-expandable, 128gb of memory. Oh yeah, I can do EVERYTHING that I'd EVER need to do with that!!!
  • oh come on dude, CrApple Wanta be surface Pro, can kiss MS's ass. That is another overpriced garbage from CrApple AGAIN. I can't wait to see EVIL CrApple scam fail, one of these days.  
  • iPad Pro - For Professional Idiots
  • Thats why they picked i.  I for idiot.  the idiot pad,  the idiot phone,  the idiot pod touch....etc.  Apple sucks.
  • I hate the fucking apple! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Looks like an isurface attempt to me.
  • Can you attach the Apple Pencil somewhere?
  • Nope
  • From Twitter:   Abbi Crutchfield
    ‏@curlycomedy  Everyone at the #AppleEvent just received a free iPencil, promptly chewed it, then lost it.   Alison McDonald ‏@MissAliMcD  · 26m26 minutes ago 
    @curlycomedy some walked around with the ipencil behind their ear asking if anyone saw it.
  • and the pen is huge in a weird way.
  • Which is a good thing for iZombies.. Bigger size means 'easy to show off' .. :D
  • It totally seems enormous, doesn't it? That was one of the first things I noticed. Also, I didn't hear or see any mention of buttons...which makes it pretty stupid if you ask me.
  • No no no pencil !!!
  • Compensating for something...
  • They should call it Apple Marker
  • iCrayon
  • Is the "pencil" actually an active device, or is it just one of those goofy touch stylus things?
  • iPad Pro 2 (2016) - now with pencil iLoop ($29).
  • Lol, make that $50!
  • Come on dude you're wrong and its silly because it'll be the iPad Pro (S) lol...
  • Yeah, that's why I hate all the double standard concerning Apple. They trained their iZombies that negative points of others are positive or to be ignored when it comes to apple products and software
  • And did Microsoft train you to view anyone who likes apple products as a zombie?
  • Years of watching people line up days in advanced to buy an Apple product, that you can order online or just wait a week and order, pretty much made Apple fans look like zombies. The fact that seem to think apple can do no wrong is also a strong indication. Steve Jobs pretty much declared that large phones, small tablets, keyboards for a tablet and a stylus were the wrong way to go and the Apple fans defended that. When Apple did a 180 degree turn, all those things became the most amazing features ever. At least Cook didn't use OSX in the tablet because that would go against his refridgerator and toaster comment regarding using windows on a tablet.
  • The following is an actual comment from iMore, referring to the new iPad Pro, and it provides an excellent example of why Apple fanboys are thought of as zombies:   "I almost like the higher price, because at least I'll be able to get one on day one."   If this isn't hilarious to you, you probably have an iPhone in your pocket.
  • Yes, in the Lightning port, to recharge its battery. Visually: []-
  • Fits over your ear.
  • Behind your ear
  • Should it be Surface 3 instead? Yeah, didn't read already.
  • Nope. 12 inch vs 12 inch
  • Compare iPhone 6s plus and Lumia 950XL ;)
  • One exists. One currently does not. Done.
  • Not like that.. Like this "One exists. One currently does not, but Daniel claims to know almost every detail about it..so let's compare the hardware at least" Done? ;)
  • One exists? Really? Where?
  • He means the iPhone exists while the Lumia (the other) does not (only rumoured, not launched).
  • It's on WMPU
  • With the exception of the size - it better compares to S3; NOT SP3.
  • Price
  • Comparing iPad Pro and SP3 is like comparing a Scooter and a Car
  • This^
  • Considering Apple calls it a Pro device instead of say, "Plus", I think the comparison is fair.
  • Apple can call it what it wants.  Atom processor (S3) is comparable to ARM processors.  x86 iX system is NOT the same class as an ARM system.   As Yasar said: "Comparing iPad Pro and SP3 is like comparing a Scooter and a Car."
  • Except Apple are charging a car price for their scooter. :) 
  • ^ Right :) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • More like public transport and a car. The Surface Pro is an exclusive experience that will take you directly to where you want to go, the iPad just follows the herd on a predefined route, you still need to walk to your actual destination. Having said all that, Apple are very good at convincing people to never leave the station.
  • +maxipad
  • No No One is Scooter and another is porche or lamborghini or Audi or BMW or ferrari!!! Lolzzz
  • I would say No, the Surface 3 comes with Cherry Trail, from what I've seen today that Apple A9X is about 1.8 times faster than A8X we are probably talking that A9X is about same performance than Intel Core M, but with better graphics (Maybe compared to Nvidia GeForce GT 930M)  
  • The x86 instruction set (and by extension full windows) still trumps anything iOS can ever bring to the table. Full windows vs iOS just cannot be compared on any scale really, particularly when talking about 'Pro' devices. Heck I can compile apps for iOS, and probably build iOS itself on a SP! Try building/compiling windows apps or windows itself on an iPad 'Pro'...
  • A9X is nowhere near the performance level of even the first Core CPUs let alone the Cherry trail or Skylake.Frannkly its not really comparable to a generation old Atom.
  • Lol, in what world are you living in? A8X is already much faster than the latest Cherry Trail, let alone A9X. A9X can and will be compared to Skylake 4.5W SKUs.
  • The iPad Pro stil doesn't compare to the Surface 3.  Unlike the Surface RT and Surface 2, Surface 3 runs full Windows 8.1/10.  All iPads only run iOS.  You'd be beter off comparing the iPad Pro with the Lumia 2520 Nokia put out before the buy out.
  • More like "pro" v Pro!
  • Even S3 is too much. This is more like S2 with a pen.
  • Surface Pro 3 is over $300 cheaper with a 128 GB SSD and Core i5 + Pen + Keyboard ($1029 vs. $1347)
  • And Surface Pro 3 supports software only a MacBook Pro supports, so if you go with the iPad Pro, you still need to carry your MacBook for using software many professionals do (from different industries: engineering, design, computer science, architecture).  Maybe the only exception is Art, where the iPad Pro looks to have a nice solution for painters/drawing professionals - This is due to the pressure sensitivity of the Apple Pencil which is not available in N-Trig Tech.
  • N-Trig does support pressure sensitivity
  • But not in the same way that the Apple Pencil does.  The N-Trig Surface pen is only pressure sensitive at the tip.  The Pencil is sensitive at the tip and around the side (the whole cone shape area). This is why they call is a pencil instead of a stylus or pen.  Hopefully the Surface Pro 4 will have it's own "pencil" in October.
  • That's not pressure sensitivity, that's tilt sensitivity. My wacom has pressure and tilt sensitivity, but unfortunately the N-trig only has pressure.
  • Name the high end art apps that are on the iOS app store that support pressure sensitive pens.  
  • The only unique feature of the pencil is the 45 degree drawing. I'm not an artist but I've seen plenty of artist hold a pencil this way while sketching.
  • What are you on about, Surface Pro had sentivitivity in its pens from the first gen with wacom 1024 levels of pressure and now with n-trig as well with 256.
  • Or in my case, €1259, damn you MS and your new exchange rate!
  • I am surprised that their weights are similar
  • No contest really, but that won't stop the iPad pro outselling the SP3 ;-(
  • The Dell and HP tie ups will nullify things nicely...
    If anything, I think Apple have opened themselves up for a battering on this one. There isn't an area where the iPad 'Pro' beats the Surface. Not one. & we haven't even seen the Surface Pro 4 yet!!
  • There is 1 area, and that's the camera...
  • Better use iPhone if you insist using Apple's camera, less straining the arm trying to hold it still. Or maybe they expect us to take pictures like the good old days of large format camera, attached to tripod.
  • It'll be great for Snapchat......
  • If the camera is a concern, then compare it to the MIIX 700, at least then you're comaring it to a real sense camera.    All Microsoft needs to do is lower the price of the SP3, or do a bundle with the keyboard etc. sell it into businesses everywhere it can and then announce the SP4 at the a same price point as the iPad Pro and it should take a little wind out of Apple's Sails.
  • I hate PadHoles... The ones holding up the pad in front of everything taking pictures... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I'm so happy people will continue taking pictures with their iPads... I'll be sad when that ends.
  • I look forward to seeing someone trying to take a picture with a 13" tablet.
  • Yay, more idiots holding their tablets up to take pics!
  • Only the rear camera. The front camera on SP3 trounces the MaxiPad.
  • I despise it when people use their iPad to take photos. And considering they likely carry a perfectly adequate or superior camera in their pocket, I find it pretentious.
  • haha a 13" camera device hahahaha
  • Screen resolution and an LTE model, that's it, nothing that matters.
  • It will still sell on its name and typical Apple owners will buy it as a way to show off. Not in large quantities like other ipad or phones, but I doubt it will completely flop. It may be the only iPad Pro model though... As in it won't sell enough to update that line again. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You underestimate how much money apple fans are willing to blindly throw at apple products. The iPad pro will sell out and everyone will rave that invented tablet multitasking and stylus support.
  • a couple years ago I would agree with you, but the tides are changing a bit. People are a bit more informed now-a-days and don't mind trying android devices anymore since Samsung helped that push with its marketing. the Apple Watch is a good example of this, great product but almost unnecessary in many peoples eyes. This iPad Pro may venture in the same direction.
  • Only way they "sell out" is if inventory is ridiculously low. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Nicely said...+1
  • Why would I want to buy an oversized iPad when the smaller one I have collects dust in a drawer? My wife only drags it out when she's on a plane. iPad sales are already slipping and they expect this to fix what?        
  • We only use ours for a tv in the dining room.
  • Yeah, there is the issue of "apps".  If they aren't already using a Surface or Windows 8/10 device, then they are probably already exclusively iOS/OSX.  Having said that, buying this over a PC tablet, etc, is easier to justify if it will run all of the stuff you spent money on.  It's a misnomer, but it's platform investment.  People on this forum (guests??) have complained since creation that apps are what will break the mobile platform. Well, this is what will be their advantage. It is, really, just a bigger iPad with Surface inspired improvements.
  • And it won't stop all the people who crucified the Surface RT for having an ARM processor rave about the iPad Pro. Quite said really, when you think aout the level of intelligence in the masses.
  • Ehh, slightly different. It's still running iOS 9 which makes its future as bright as any iOS device. Unlike all our current RT units... (Yes, I own one). But... It's still an iOS device. Ha-ha. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I think things are some how different this time the name pro is known globally for the surface and seeing the price for iPad most people would stick with the small ones benefit/price is too small(that's why there is no new iPad air like there was a sub updated iPad mini 3 to push sales of iPhone 6plus "the new category")
    So the main market for iPad bro is business where people at least are more rational and savvy to throw many away on garbage!!
  • Just b/c someone works at a corporation, it does not mean they will be prefer SP to this. It's all about how they use the device and you would be surprised how many ppl already use iPad with Bluetooth keyboards to check emails and even use productivity apps from the app store. This will sell b/c of brand and familiarity. I'm the only one with a Windows tablet (Toshiba Encore Write) which already has an awesome pen, in a center with more than 3000 employees.
  • I will always prefer Microsoft products over Apple ones. Microsoft only lacks good advertisements which Apple has and I have no idea what do people see in them.
  • Well, ios is superior to Windows Phone, it doesnt matter how fluid and stable wp is if its apps are far far behind ios
  • Is it though? Is it.....
  • apps =/= OS
  • Of course not. And although Mac or Linux users used to claim their OS are better than Windows, it doesn't matter to users because they don't really care if it's Windows/Mac/Linux. They just want OS with softwares that get their job done, and run games.
  • iOS is stable enough.
  • IOS isn't superior. The developer support is superior. Of course, that is the same issue that plagued macs. For decades, people claimed that Mac was superior but the developer support meant that it couldn't compete with windows.
  • That certainly is a very subjective matter of opinion - I have a Windows Phone and I have experienced no issues with the alleged "app gap". That said, more apps doesn't equate with a better experience.
  • 50 fart apps is superior to 30 fart apps :/s
  • IPad "price to high" Pro. Pro = stupid
  • There is no comparison.
  • I like how the Apple Pencil has 12 hours of battery life. That's cute.
  • :D
  • Which one is dumber, charging pen or charging watch?
  • I think Charging pen is more dumber.. All the new smartwatches out there needs charging..
  • You said "more dumber".
    I heart that.
  • That's right. It is most more dumber. Speak American. (Copyright SP[Sarah Pro])
  • I don't need to charge my Mont Blanc and my Tag Heuer. It seems like technology had gone backwards theses days.
  • The charging Idea is Ironic Anyone could break that little tiny Lightining connector While charging thus not only breaking the pencil, but also the iPad And Apple wins from both sides :) Note that: the Pencil CAN'T be charged directly from the Charger as both connectors - from what I see - are males :/ , ALSO the Live Photos part was hilarious. 
  • Agreed.. +Smart Keyboard
  • Apple: Oh, you are right about that. We do sell an accessory for you to charge your Pencil directly on the charger for $19.99, or you can opt for the Pencil Case charger for $49.99 that has a built-in battery. Also, it comes in Gold.
  • Hahah actually I think apple will do that  (sell a male to female converter)