Yes, both are tablets or at least take a tablet form, and I get that MS wants to take advantage of the tablet craze. But feature by feature comparisons of the hardware are completely useless to me. Why? Simply because the two machines are completely different animals.
The iPad Pro, even with the addition of a keyboard and stylus is still, well, and iPad. While you can do office productivity with the iPad, fuggettaboutit if you want to do more technical things like programming. Oh I’m sure that some Apple evangelist will read this, and retort that there are online programming editors available so this is a non-issue. I’m going to bullshit on that.
The Surface Pro 4 is a full-fledged computer housed in a tablet body. I have the modest version of the machine that sports an Intel i5 processor and only 8 GB of RAM. I also only have the 128 GB hard drive. But I can do all my software development on my Surface Pro 4, running IntelliJ, MS Word, Excel, browsers, email, and even a local web server, all at the same time. I couldn’t possibly do that with an iPad.
Furthermore, where I often have network connectivity problems with my iPad (admittedly, I have an older version), and even my brand new MacBook Pro, I’ve experienced nothing of the sort with my Surface Pro 4. Ever. For example, I have a wonky HP OfficeJet 6600 at my home that itself loses connectivity to my WiFi at times. It’s a simple matter of turning the printer off and on, and it reconnects. If I try to print from any of my Macs when I do this, they completely barf, and I have to reinstall the printer in my System Preferences! But with my Surface Pro 4, while it may take a little while to find it after the printer resets, it finds it.
Note that I’m not disparaging the iPad Pro at all. With the plethora of apps available for it, it’s hands-down the winner in the apps department; at least for the iPad ecosystem. But please spare me with the comparisons. The Surface Pro 4 is a laptop disguised as a tablet, and the iPad Pro, despite its accouterments is still a pure tablet. If you have the need for the computing power of a laptop, the Surface Pro 4 is the way to go. If not, either will do, but you’ll have the benefit of a huge application ecosystem with the iPad.
So… I guess I should just qualify that I think the head-to-head comparisons I’ve read thus far are stupid with respect to hardware. The more useful ones don’t take a stand and don’t rate one higher than the other, though most of the writers tend to favor the iPad Pro, but it’s easy to see that they’re not programmers. For me, I just think it’s astounding that MS figured out how to hybridize the tablet and notebook computer. Software geek that I am, I enjoy the best of both worlds!