iPad Pro vs Surface Pro: Apple, Microsoft head-to-head in enterprise tablet battle

In an attempt to steal some limelight away from Apple's big announcement for larger iPad Pro tablet, Microsoft -- just a day before the iPad Pro launch -- announced its plans to team up with Dell to push its Surface Pro tablets in the enterprise.

Arti Singh September 10, 2015 16:51:41 IST
iPad Pro vs Surface Pro: Apple, Microsoft head-to-head in enterprise tablet battle

Apple just made its enterprise push stronger with a bigger and better iPad Pro tablet. While launching, Apple said it had partnered with IBM and Cisco to help power the iPad Pro, which it said is up to 1.8 times faster and has a 10-hour battery life. The iPad Pro targeting business customers was one of the much-expected announcement in the company's Sep 9 event; and there's no prize for guessing that Microsoft turned out to be one of the keen observer of its rival's move.

So, in an attempt to steal some limelight away from Apple's big announcement for larger iPad Pro tablet, Microsoft -- just a day before the iPad Pro launch -- announced its plans to team up with Dell to push its Surface Pro tablets in the enterprise.

iPad Pro vs Surface Pro Apple Microsoft headtohead in enterprise tablet battle

In an announcement, Microsoft Chief Satya Nadella said: "Today’s expanded partnership with Dell represents a bold step forward as we marry amazing devices, such as Surface Pro, with enterprise-class service and support."

Given the fact that Dell is already engaged with different enterprises either through direct sales or IT services, the Microsoft-Dell partnership looks quite similar to that of an agreement between Apple and IBM, which was announced last year.

As part of the deal, Surface Pro devices sold through Dell will include the option of Dell Services, including Dell Hardware Warranty, ProSupport with Accidental Damage Service, and Configuration and Deployment Services.

"With 75 million devices already running Windows 10, it’s a good time for enterprises to consider Windows 10," Microsoft said in its blog post. "Only Windows 10 includes built-in enterprise grade security, so employees can replace passwords with more secure options, help protect corporate data and corporate identities, and only run software they trust. New management and deployment tools simplify device management and help lower costs, and enable businesses with the enterprise strength of the Azure cloud."

Beginning early October 2015, we will be selling Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Pro accessories through our North America sales organisation, and rolling out to other regions starting in early 2016, Dell said.

HP has also joined the Surface Enterprise Initiative effort. HP stated: "We will be offering the Surface Pro 3 through the HP direct sales force. Independently, we will also be offering a new set of HP Care Packs designed specifically to help customers to plan, configure, deploy and manage in enterprise environments. We also plan to offer some mobility workflow transformation tools and services that will be available next year."

iPad Pro vs Surface Pro

Screen size/resolution:

Apple iPad Pro: 12.9-inch; 2732x2048
Microsoft Surface Pro 3; 12.0-inch; 2160x1440

Processor:

Apple iPad Pro: Apple A9X
Microsoft Surface Pro 3: Intel Core i3 (1.5GHz); Core i5 (1.9GHz); Core i7 (1.7GHz)

Storage/RAM:

Apple iPad Pro: 32GB, 128GB; RAM not known
Microsoft Surface Pro 3: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB; 4GB and 8GB

Front Camera/ Rear Camera:

Apple iPad Pro: 1.2 megapixel; 5 megapixel
Microsoft Surface Pro 3: 5 megapixel; 5 megapixel

Weight:

Apple iPad Pro: 713 grams
Microsoft Surface Pro 3: 798 grams

Battery life:

Apple iPad Pro: 10 hours estimated
Microsoft Surface Pro 3: 7:28

Starting Price:

Apple iPad Pro -- a tablet in the shape of a laptop -- comes with the stylus called Apple Pencil (which is sold separately at $99 (approx Rs 6,600)) and a dedicated Smart keyboard for $169 (approx Rs 11,300).

The iPad Pro will cost $799 (approx Rs 53,500) for 32GB (Wi-fi only), $949 (approx Rs 63,500) for 128GB (Wi-fi only) and $1079 (approx Rs 68,500) for 128GB (Wi-fi + Cellular). When combined with the keyboard and the Apple Pencil, the iPad Pro can cost more than the MacBook Air in some cases.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3: $928 ($799 + $129)

Enterprise take

Apple -- which has made it's consumer-centric approach quite clear since the beginning -- is is lately turning its focus on the money-generating corporate space. The company is even partnering with rivals like IBM to push its products into the enterprise. And, most recently it entered into a deal with IT giant Cisco to make its devices and apps more productive in enterprise networks. So, all in all the Cupertino-based giant is trying everything to get the attention of business customers.

There's no one doubting the fact that Apple's products have always been tagged as status quo, and that numbers also prove the same. Mobility firm Good Technology's (which was recently acquired by BlackBerry) in its Q2 2015 Mobility Index Report confirmed Apple's strong performance in the enterprise. iOS retained the top spot for device activation as it has in every Mobility Index Report. However, its overall market share dropped for the second straight quarter, falling from 72% to 64%, its lowest showing to date. Both Android and Windows surged with Android growing from 26% to 32% and Windows at 3% . Windows Phone remained unchanged at 1%.

In tablets, over the last year, the iPad dominated tablets, comprising 80%-90% of activations every quarter. In Q2, the tablet market dramatically shifted. According to the report, iOS fell from 81% of activations to 64%; Android grew from 15% to 25%; while Windows surged from 4% to 11%.
The study, however, hints the surge in Surface tablets in enterprises. "The growth of Windows, which includes both Surface devices and devices from Windows OEMs, was especially impressive given that only two quarters ago Windows made up only 1% of tablets," Good Technology reported.
In a research note, Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um said, "Given sales of iPads have been declining in the recent quarters mainly driven by declines in the broader tablet market as well as cannibalization by larger screen iPhones, we believe a release of an iPad Pro could improve growth for a quarter or two."

Last year, Charles King, an IT analyst who covers enterprise computing, made a valid point while talking to Tech Radar. He said, "That's mainly because Apple's dominance of the tablet market aside, the iPad remains a device that's primarily made for media consumption, not workplace productivity."

"In addition, the vast majority of businesses run on Microsoft platforms like Sharepoint and Exchange, and use Office productivity applications and tools. The Surface Pro's integration with core Microsoft solutions means that most employees can begin working productively with it in short order, and that systems can be deployd, managed and secured with most if not all of the same tools IT is using with other Windows-based endpoints," King added.

While on iPad Pro, Forrester analyst J.P. Gownder said that the Pro could appeal naturally to hyper-mobile workers who value ease of use and mobility but need a bigger screen, such as for conducting corporate training, conferencing or consuming a lot of content. "The Apple Pencil companion product could also increase appeal for other uses like design and using Asian languages. But Microsoft and Samsung already offer styluses. And for companies that use legacy apps that aren’t compatible with iOS, the iPad Pro won’t be a fit for the foreseeable future."

And going by the numbers and analysts take, it would be wrong to undermine Microsoft's Surface Pro announcement on Sep 8 when compared with Apple's iPad Pro announcement on Sep 9.

Updated Date:

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