The highly-anticipated Apple iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface Pro 4 are expected to go head to head soon, setting the tablet market on fire.
Tablet sales may have declined lately, partly due to the rise of supersized smartphones, but large and powerful slates are expected to revive the tablet market and take things to the next level.
Two of the most rumored, most highly-anticipated tablets to launch this year are the iPad Pro and the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, both of which are expected to rock large displays, top-notch specs and a focus on productivity.
While neither of these tablets is officially confirmed for now, the rumor mill is busy churning and a slew of leaks and reports paint a pretty clear picture of what to expect. Based on what we know so far about each of the two slates, let's see how they would stack up against each other.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is expected to launch soon as the successor to the powerful Surface Pro 3, retaining some of the most popular features while also boasting notable upgrades. Design-wise, the new-generation tablet will not sport big changes, allowing for compatibility with Surface Pro 3 accessories such as the Type Cover, the docking station, the Ethernet adapter or the power adapter.
The iPad Pro, meanwhile, will come as the biggest tablet in Apple's lineup, topping both the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2 and the 7.9-inch iPad Mini 3. Consequently, it will not be just an upgrade to an existing iPad lineup.
Latest report revealed that Microsoft could launch two Surface Pro 4 models with two different screen sizes. The Surface Pro 4 will reportedly come in 12-inch and 14-inch display options and retain its predecessor's 2K resolution (2,160 x 1,440 pixels).
The upcoming iPad Pro from Apple, meanwhile, is expected to rock a 12.9-inch display with a resolution of 2,732 x 2,048 pixels at 264 pixels per inch, as some iOS 9 beta code suggested. The iPad Pro is also expected to feature Force Touch technology, which entails a pressure-sensitive display that offers different functionality based on how hard a user presses on it.
The Surface Pro 4 is further expected to pack a new Intel Skylace processor that should provide more power and efficiency than the chips running on the Broadwell architecture. The tablet will reportedly come in different variants with Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 options, catering to different needs and budgets.
The iPad Pro is expected to pack a new Apple A9X chip under the hood, which will reportedly be significantly more powerful than the A8X processor powering the iPad Air 2.
In the RAM department, the Surface Pro 4 is expected to come with the same 4GB/ 8GB RAM options as the Surface Pro 3, but rumors also indicated that a higher-end 16GB RAM option could also be in the mix.
The iPad Pro, meanwhile, is rumored to come with the same 2GB of RAM as the iPad Air 2, which may be disappointing to some. Apple is not expected to offer more RAM configurations.
When it comes to storage options, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is rumored to come with 128GB for the base model instead of the 64GB base model of the Surface Pro 3. The other 256GB and 512GB storage tiers should remain unchanged.
The iPad Pro is expected to ship with 32GB of storage for the base model, compared to the 16GB base models of the iPad Air and iPad Mini lineups. The next storage tier would be 64GB and a top 128GB storage configuration should be in the mix as well.
Microsoft will reportedly equip its next-generation Surface Pro 4 with an N-Trig stylus, which is expected to be more touch-sensitive compared to previous versions. At the same time, the stylus should also boast more functionality when paired with the latest Windows 10 OS.
The iPad Pro is also rumored to come with a stylus, which would mark a first for Apple's lineup. The iPad stylus will reportedly be Bluetooth-enabled and be available as an optional accessory.
Pricing & Availability
In terms of pricing, the Surface Pro 4 is expected to start at $800 for the 12-inch version, which would be the same starting price of the Surface Pro 3 when it first hit the market. The larger 14-inch variant, meanwhile, will likely start at $100 - $150 more than its smaller counterpart. When it comes to release date, the Surface Pro 4 will reportedly debut sometime in October, going on sale soon after that, but no specific date is available.
The iPad Pro, meanwhile, is expected to start at $799 for the base model with 32GB of storage and go up to $899 and $999 for the 64GB and 128GB options, respectively. A top configuration with 128GB of storage and 4G LTE connectivity will reportedly go up to $1,129. The iPad Pro is widely expected to make its official debut at Apple's big launch event on Sept. 9 and go on sale sometime in October.
Both the Surface Pro 4 and the iPad Pro will come as the most powerful tablets in Microsoft and Apple's lineups, respectively, and the two will go head to head in what is expected to be a heated competition on the tablet market.
While one may seem better than the other on paper, at least at this point, it's too early to tell which one will ultimately be the best choice. Neither the Surface Pro 4 nor the iPad Pro are official just yet, but one thing's for sure: both Microsoft and Apple want to raise the bar for what their tablets can offer.