Last year, Apple unveiled the iPad Pro - a larger version of its hugely popular tablet range, with a focus on productivity. The launch immediately elicited comparisons with Microsoft's Surface Pro tablets given the obvious similarities in form factor, right down to the custom-designed keyboard and stylus accessories available for each device.
The iPad Pro's productivity credentials were even given a boost thanks to an on-stage appearance at the device's announcement by Microsoft, which showed off its Office suite running on the Apple tablet, including support for the Pencil stylus. Unsurprisingly, though, Microsoft still believes its Surface line is superior.
Dan Laycock, Senior Communications Manager for Surface, told TrustedReviews that "the strategies are very different" between Microsoft's approach and that of the iPad Pro.
"Microsoft really wants you to only carry one device for tablet and PC use," he said, "whereas the iPad Pro is always going to be a companion device."
While the latest Surface devices run Windows 10 - the same version available on desktop PCs and notebooks - the iPad Pro runs the mobile-focused iOS. Notably, both companies' devices are still sold as tablets only - buyers must pay an additional $129.99 for a Surface Type Cover, or $169 for Apple's Smart Keyboard, and a further $99 for the Pencil stylus on the iPad Pro (whereas the Pen is included with the Surface Pro 3 and 4).
Laycock also commented on Apple's introduction of the Pencil:
At one point in time, Apple declared that if there's a stylus, that's failure. We're a huge believer in the pen; we know our customers love it. So to see Apple do something that feels a little bit similar, that is clearly skewed for a bigger screen, and more productivity built in, and the ability to use a pen.
Referring to Microsoft's Surface devices, he added: "We don't see it as a one-to-one comparison, because this is a full PC, you're running full apps."