If you happened to be sleeping or otherwise absent last week, you may have missed that Apple announced a few products. Being an iPad fan, I was of course interested to see the much-rumored announcement of the iPad Pro, a much larger tablet that Apple says “lets you be more creative and productive – at a whole new scale.” Of course, the pundits immediately began to call the iPad Pro a “Surface Pro Killer,” leading some to say that it is terrible news for Microsoft. Is it?
I’m a Surface Pro user myself, and I love it – it combines the best of a tablet with the functionality of a Windows computer. So I wanted to take a look at what we know so far about the iPad Pro, and try to make some early predictions about whether it will pose serious competition for Microsoft. Here are some of the specs compared side by side (the ones that matter to me, anyway):
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As you can see, the iPad Pro is a little thinner and lighter than the Surface Pro, and the resolution is much better. None of that is really unexpected – Apple excels at making thin, light devices that look beautiful. In the areas of storage and of ports, the Surface Pro seems to have the advantage in terms of options. To iPad users who store their documents in the cloud, the capacity and number of ports might not be a big deal. But it really depends on whether you are looking for a tablet as a laptop replacement. With these features, it seems to me the Surface Pro offers more opportunities to be a true replacement for a laptop.
Then there’s the matter of software. It was truly amazing to see Microsoft on stage at an Apple event, demoing a new version of Office for iPad. With Apple’s new iOS 9, you can multitask and put two apps side by side, which makes it really nice to put Word and Excel, or two Word Documents, or Excel and PowerPoint, side by side and make it easier to work. I believe that Microsoft Office offers the best office suite for the iPad (with the exception of Keynote), but even so, Word and Excel for iPad are vastly slimmed-down versions of their Windows brethren. There’s just no competition between the iOS version of Office and the Windows version, in terms of feature set. Then there’s the fact that most legal-specific software tools either aren’t available on iOS, or also lack all of the features of their Windows counterparts.
For litigators, the iPad Pro may be a terrific option. As I have discussed before, I believe the iPad is the best tablet for use in the courtroom, because the apps are simple enough for a lawyer to use without being distracted from actually trying a case. The new multi-tasking features of iOS 9 will make it really easy to use tools like TrialPad side by side with other apps to make evidence presentation even easier. I still believe, though, that for lawyers, the iPad – Pro or otherwise – is still better as a supplemental device, rather than a replacement for the laptop or other computer.
Of course, this is an early assessment, without having the chance to actually try out and use the iPad Pro – but for now I think I am going to stick with my Surface Pro as my official work device. Let’s meet back in November and see whether my opinions change any.