The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro features all the things people like about its popular 9.7-inch model, but with a larger screen, much faster processor, better cameras and very promising software upgrade that's coming in iOS 11.
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|Apple 10.5-inch iPad Pro
|Microsoft Surface Pro
|Windows 10 Pro
|10.5-inch Retina (2224 x 1668)
|12.3-inch Pixel Sense (2736 x 1824)
|Up to Intel Core i7
|Up to 16GB
|64GB - 512GB
|128GB - 1TB
|Lightning, headphone jack
|USB 3.0, mini DP, Surface Connect, headphone jack
|Smart Keyboard ($159)
|Type Cover ($150)
|Apple Pencil ($99)
|Surface Pen (price TBA)
With a larger 10.5 inch-screen, the new iPad compares more favorably to the 12.3-inch Surface Pro than the 9.7-inch model its replacing, although if you really need a big screen, you're probably still better off with the big 12.9-inch iPad Pro. But what's more important than iPad Pro's increased screen dimensions are its improved brightness (Apple claims up to 600 nits) and super wide color gamut that supports HDR video.
Another important upgrade is the Apple's new A10X chip, which when combined with Apple's Metal graphics platform should allow the iPad Pro to deliver competitive 3D performance when compared to the Surface Pro. In our review of the new iPad Pro, its performance scores beat most ultraportable laptops.
Where the 10.5-inch iPad Pro falls a bit short is on storage. The base model ships with just 64GB, which can be upgraded to a max of 512GB. Meanwhile, the Surface Pro starts with double the storage (128GB) and can be configured with up to a full terabyte. Both the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the Surface Pro will also have models with optional 4G LTE connectivity.
Like the Surface Pro, the iPad has a few pretty important accessories that unfortunately don't come in the box. Apple's Smart Keyboard starts at $159 and features a new sleeve to hold the Apple Pencil and an extra row on top for number keys, although there's still no room for a touch pad. When it comes to writing and drawing, the $99 Apple Pencil remains unchanged.
On the Surface Pro, the Signature Type Cover will run you slightly less at $150. The Surface Pen, which for the first time will not come included in the price of Surface Pro, costs $99.
One big advantage the iPad Pro has are its cameras, which are the same 12-MP rear camera and 7-MP front-facing camera that you get on the iPhone 7. The iPad Pro's rear camera features built-in optical image stabilization and the ability to record 4K videos, while the Surface Pro has just 5-MP and 8-MP cameras on front and back that can only record 1080p video.
Another advantage for the iPad is price. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro starts at $649, sans keyboard and stylus. Meanwhile, the cheapest Surface Pro is $799.
The real X factor, however, is each device's operating system. People used to a traditional desktop environment may find using iOS on the iPad Pro to be somewhat limiting. On top of that, a lot of new features in iOS 11 (which won't be publicly available until this fall) such as drag-and-drop and the new Files apps are things that have been available on PCs for a long time.
However, other new additions like iOS 11's new document scanning app and its deep integration with the Apple Pencil, could make it a solid option for creative types when they are away from the office.
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In terms of battery life, the iPad Pro and Surface Pro may be in a near-dead heat. That's because the iPad Pro made it 13 hours and 55 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, while Microsoft claims that the Surface Pro offers up to 13 hours and 30 minutes of juice. We suspect the Surface Pro will fall short of that claim.
While we're going to need to get both of these devices in for review before passing a final verdict, the battle between the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro has just gotten a lot more interesting.
The new iPad Pro is available now and the new Surface Pro will start shipping in less than two weeks on June 15.
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