Microsoft announced the successor to the Surface Pro 4, the Surface Pro, at an event in May, while Apple announced updated specs for it's iPad Pro 12.9 device at its developer conference in June.

Both devices are similar in size, designed to work with each respective companies' stylus and they both aim to replace your laptop, but how do they compare to each other and which is right for you?

Here is how the Microsoft Surface Pro stacks up against the Apple iPad Pro 12.9 spec-for-spec.

  • New Surface Pro (2017) heavier and thicker but smaller overall
  • New hinge system on new Surface Pro (2017)
  • Apple iPad Pro 12.9 lighter and slimmer 

The Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) looks similar to its predecessor, offer a solid metal body, but it has a new hinge system on the kickstand, allowing it to be used in Surface Studio mode. That means the device can lay flat and work directly with the new Surface Pen.

It measures 292.1 x 201.4 x 8.5mm and its also lost a bit of weight compared to its predecessors, touting itself as the lightest Surface Pro ever created at 766g.

The Apple iPad Pro 12.9 also offers a premium solid metal body, measuring 305.7 x 220.6 x 6.9mm and weighing 677g. It is therefore lighter and slimmer than the Surface Pro (2017) but it offers a slightly larger footprint.

A Smart Connector is positioned on the left shoulder that will power additional accessories, such as Apple's Smart Keyboard, which is good for those after a laptop-style tablet. There are also two extra speakers positioned at the top, offering four-directional sound for powerful audio.

  • Surface Pro (2017) has smaller screen
  • iPad Pro 12.9 supports 120Hz refresh rate
  • Surface Pro (2017) has slightly higher pixel density

The Surface Pro (2017) has the same size screen as the Surface Pro 4, meaning it offers a 12.3-inch PixelSense display. The resolution of the latest model is 2736 x 1824 pixels, which results in a pixel density of 267ppi.

Meanwhile, the Apple iPad Pro 12.9 is the largest iPad available in the company's line up, with a 12.9-inch display so it's a little larger than Microsoft's option.

The LED-backlit Retina display has a 2732 x 2048 resolution for a pixel density of 264ppi, meaning the Surface has a slightly shaper display but a difference that small will not be noticeable to the human eye.

Apple updated the display for the 2017 iPad Pro 12.9, offering support for a 120Hz refresh rate which should offer a smoother experience, while it also increase brightness to 600nits and made it less reflective to the 2015 model.

Both the Surface Pro and the iPad Pro have touchscreens that measure pressure, meaning they will both work with their respective stylus. In the Surface Pro's case this is the Surface Pen, while in the iPad Pro's case it is the Apple Pencil. Both allow you to draw, write and annotate.

  • Surface Pro (2017) has configurable processors, RAM and storage
  • iPad Pro 12.9 offers one processor and RAM option, but various storage capacities
  • Surface Pro (2017) claimed to offer longer battery life
  • Higher resolution cameras on iPad Pro 12.9

The Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) features Intel Core 7th-generation processors, with the base model offering the Core m3 Intel 7th-gen chipset, which is configurable to a faster-yet Core i7 option.

In terms of RAM, the entry-level Surface Pro (2017) has 4GB RAM, expandable up to 16GB, while storage options start at 128GB SSD, through 256GB, 512GB, and even a maximum 1TB option. There is also a microSD card slot on the new Surface Pro (2017).

The Surface Pro (2017) is claimed to offer 50 per cent more battery than its predecessor, putting it at 13.5 hours. There's also an 8-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front camera on the Surface Pro (2017), which is capable of 1080p video recording.

The Apple iPad Pro 12.9 features the latest 64-bit A10X Fusion processor with built-in M10 motion coprocessor, following the upgrade in spec. It is offered in storage options of 64GB, 256GB and 256GB in both a Wi-Fi only option and a Wi-Fi and LTE option, but there is no microSD support for storage expansion.

Battery life is said to offer up to 10 hours and the iPad Pro 12.9 also features an 12-megapixel rear camera with a f/1.8 aperture and 4K video recording capabilities, as well as a 7-megapixel front camera, like the iPhone 7.

  • Surface Pro (2017) has microSD and USB 3.0
  • Both have headphone jack
  • iPad Pro 12.9 only offers Lightning port and Smart Connector

The Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) features a full-size USB 3.0 port, a microSD card reader, a Mini DisplayPort, one cover port, a 3.5mm headset jack, as well as Surface Connect. There are no USB Type-C ports. 

The Apple iPad Pro 12.9 features a high-speed USB 3 Lightning port. There are a few advantages to having this; the faster port can take advantage of USB 3 accessories from Apple, including a speedy Lightning to SD card reader, as well as a USB 3 Camera Adapter.

This iPad also has a headphone jack, unlike some of Apple's devices, as well as the Smart Connector for connecting up accessories. There is no microSD reader though, or any full-size USB 3.0 ports. 

  • Surface Pro offers Type Cover, Surface Pen, support for Surface Dial and Surface Mouse
  • iPad Pro 12.9 suports Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard

The Microsoft Surface Pro has the option of several accessories, all of which cost extra with none included in the box.

There is a new Type Cover called the Surface Pro Signature Type Cover, which is made from Microsoft's Alcantara material and there is also a new Surface Pen. The new stylus comes in four colours and offers four times the sensitivity of its predecessor.

The Surface Pro (2017) also offers on-screen support for the Surface Dial and there is also a Surface Mouse available too.

As for Apple's iPad Pro 12.9, accessories are a little more limited, though once again cost extra with none included in the box. The two options include the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard.

  • Surface Pro (2017) comes with Windows 10 Pro
  • iPad Pro 12.9 runs on iOS 10, with iOS 11 upgrade to follow around September
  • Both offer personal assistants 

The Surface Pro (2017) runs on the latest Windows 10 Pro operating system. That means the full bevy of software - from Office to Cortana and beyond - is offered, plus it'll run third-party apps. It also offers an Office 365 30-day trial.

The Apple iPad Pro 12.9 runs on iOS 10 for now, though this will be updated to iOS 11 when it launches in Autumn. Apple announced several new and exciting features for the new software, including something called Drag and Drop and a new filing system so the experience looks like it will be a great one once the new build arrives.

The iPad Pro 12.9 also comes with Apple's Office-equivalent programmes including Numbers, Pages and Keynote. It will also come with the company's voice assistant Siri.

  • Surface Pro (2017): Starts at £799
  • Apple iPad Pro 12.9 starts at £769

The new Surface Pro (2017) will start at £799 with no accessories and will ship on 15 June. This is for the base model, with the top-spec Surface Pro model costing £2699.

The Apple iPad Pro 12.9 starts at £769, again for the base model. The top storage model with LTE will set you back £1169.

The Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) is the more expensive of these two devices, but it is also likely to be the better choice for those actually after a laptop replacement, given the processor and RAM can be configured to suit your needs.

The Apple iPad Pro 12.9 on the other hand, will be a fantastic entertainment device, whilst also offering working-on-the-go capabilities, though perhaps not to the same extent as Microsoft's offering.

Both are powerful, well-designed devices with some good accessories. The decision between them will come down to what you want your device to do.

If it's entertainment first, working on the move second, the iPad Pro 12.9 is probably the better option. If working on the move is your priority, the Surface Pro (2017) should meet most needs with its full desktop apps rather than mobile apps like iPad Pro.