Microsoft claims iPad Pro copies Surface Pro

Microsoft executive Ryan Gavin alleged the recently released Apple iPad Pro was copying the Microsoft Surface Pro.

“We have been learning and perfecting our products in the 2-in-1 category for years now, [but] when Surface initially launched everyone was skeptical, including them [Apple]. And then they followed, and the iPad Pro is a clear example of that.”

It’s difficult to take Mr. Gavin’s statement seriously especially since I’ve been using an iPad 2 (which came out in March, 2011) connected to an Apple Keyboard. As an iPad user, it was obvious to me Microsoft was copying Apple when they released the Surface, February 2013.

It was very exciting to learn an iPad could be connected to a keyboard. This pairing brought my productivity up as my iPad became my go-to machine for writing. Email, notes and ideas were easily typed out on my go-anywhere iPad. 

Apple created a mobile device I could draw and write on. Heck, my iPad came with me on longboard trips around Mill Pond where I found myself sketching scenes with a rubber nibbled stylus.

When I began attaching a keyboard to an iPad I recognized immediately how versatile the form factor was and wrote about it on a few occasions. Here’s a post from 2012.

We’ve come a long way since then. It’s 2017 and even tho I’ve upgraded to an iPad Pro 12.9″ I’m still using an Apple external keyboard. It’s a great form factor – and I don’t mind at all that Microsoft copied it. 

What I’d like to see in the next iPad


My iPad Pro 12.9″ has become my primary computer. I use it everyday for work and take it home with me every night for personal use. An Apple Keyboard (bluetooth) and Apple Pencil always come along, too. Here’s a breakdown of what I use it for:

* Email (Gmail)
* Writing (iA Writer)
* Spreadsheets (Google Sheets)
* Chart building (Apple Numbers)
* Note taking (Notability and Apple Notes)
* Photo retouching (Pixelmator)
* Page layout (Adobe Comp)
* Illustrating (Sketchbook Pro)
* Web design and Blogging (WordPress)
* Lists (Wunderlist and Clear)
* Reading (Apple iBooks)
* News (Apple News and Flipboard)
* Internet (Apple Safari)
* Storage (Apple iCloud and Google Drive)

My main computer (a 27″ iMac) has Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat – which I use for creating larger projects. On occasion I also use Apple iMovie to create and edit the videos I shoot on my iPhone. Otherwise, I’m usually facing my iPad Pro.

My job as Marketing Manager for an energy company allows me to be flexible with the hardware I use day-to-day. The iPad Pro lets me sketch my ideas and build layouts very quickly. I can stay at my desk, stand and work at a nearby table or go into another room. Often, during my commute into work via LIRR I’ll pull out the iPad Pro and sketch out an idea for an upcoming project.

Certainly, I am the exception to the rule at work. Most are using PCs (some Windows some Apple). If Apple wants the iPad Pro to become more mainstream in work environments, here are my suggestions:

Make the iPad a uniquely collaboration device

Others in the office have iPads. It would be nice if I could see who was online and share my screen with them. For example, if I was in Starbucks while others were at the office or home it would be wonderful to share my work with them easily without having to setup time consuming meetings.

Connect iPad to a larger screen

I love the 12.9″ screen on the iPad Pro. The device is small enough to easily slip into my bag (along with the Pencil and Keyboard) and big enough to make an impact during a meeting. And while I love writing, designing and drawing on the 12.9″ screen there’s something very nice about working on a larger screen (like my iMac’s 27″). If there was a way to connect the iPad Pro to a larger screen I might use it even more for larger projects.

Add a touchpad 

While the Apple Pencil is great for drawing I’m not always fond of poking at the screen while working on spreadsheets – which I do more often these days. A touchpad (right beside my Apple Keyboard) would be nice. I can toss it into my bag or leave it behind just as I do now with the keyboard.

Education on using iPad as a PC

I didn’t start using my iPad Pro right away as my main computer. I started years ago with a 9.7″ iPad 2 and worked my way up. Now that device stays at home primarily for streaming music (Spotify – because it’s free). During this time the Apps were not as powerful and I was unable to achieve professional results but that’s not the case anymore. The majority of iPad users probably use it as their secondary device but if educated on how much more it can do now compared to only a year ago, many would switch from their clunky Windows PCs and travel light like I do. In fact, my son uses a 9.7″ iPad Pro as his main computer at Binghamton University where note taking, research and writing reports is paramount. Here the iPad Pro is a perfect solution – better then a heavy laptop that’s less portable, has worse battery life and likely isn’t as speedy.

After working with iPads for years, I believe they are the future form factor for everyday computing. But it remains a niche product in most mainstream work environments. If implemented, my suggestions above might change that and many more might consider making the iPad their primary computer. I did, and I haven’t looked back since.

In Samsung’s case, karma is a bitch

In 2007, a few days before the iPhone was introduced, Apple filed design patents. In 2011, Apple sued Samsung for infringing on this intellectual property. Given the state of our legal system, this case has dragged on for years. Lawyers are paid to create diversions without regard to the case in point and courts entertain this folly. For example, Samsung argued the side-by-side photos showing the similarities between an iPhone and a Samsung phone submitted were altered. Lawyers argued about Photoshopping rather than how one company copied the others design. Apple should have just handed the court the phones for review. Clearly, they were (are) very similar – from shape and overall design to the icons on their screens. 

Fast forward to 2016. Samsung is now the best selling mobile phone maker while Apple is number two. The phones are still extremely similar, Samsung having copied Apple’s design. Battles fought in court allowied the benefit of time for Samsung to fully pull off its theft leaving the market with nothing but similar products. No innovation here other than Apple’s original vision. 

Companies both large and small should be respected for building careers for their employees. Most employees are not responsible for their employers mission. But when that mission involves stealing another company’s vision while the courts fail to act in a timely fashion, karma may play a role. Case in point for Samsung’s exploding Galaxy Note 7. 

Since August 2016, Samsung phones have been catching fire, injuring children (while playing games) and destroying cars (while left charging). The problem with these phones is so bad Samsung has issued a worldwide recall. They do not want anyone using the Galaxy Note 7 – their flagship phone. 

I really don’t believe in karma. Many people and companies get away with stealing ideas, mistreating others, etc. But in this instance, Samsung needed more than just a slap on the wrist or to pay a fine (August 24, 2012 the jury returned a favorable verdict for Apple finding Samsung had willfully infringed on Apple’s design and patents awarding $1.049 billion in damages – the amount was later reduced but the charges stuck). Samsung’s rush to falsely prove they are an innovator in the mobile phone market resulted in a terrible oversight of quality control. Poorly designed batteries have been discovered to be the cause of the exploding phones. This manufacturing defect could have happened to anyone, but it happened to Samsung. 

In Samsung’s case, karma is a bitch. 

Microsoft’s marketing blunder Surfaces


When Microsoft sits its Surface tablet beside an iPad Pro it makes a marketing blunder. Comparing its Windows 10 PC with Apple’s mobile device lends credence to the fact that the iPad is a computer. Microsoft marketing is doing themselves a disservice while bolstering Apple’s product relevance – if just by entertaining the comparison.

Apple’s iPad runs mobile software and mobile apps. Full versions of Microsoft Word and Excel are not running on iOS. Full versions of Photoshop are not available on the iPad. This distinction, while true, isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Apple. It depends on how productive you can be with the current functionality of mobile apps. For many, like me, the extra features of full apps are not always necessary to be productive. There are excellent alternatives to popular apps, for example, Pixelmator is a wonderful Photoshop replacement. Google Docs and Sheets as well as Apple’s own Pages and Numbers are viable alternatives to Word and Excel. At work I open Word and Excel files on my iPad using mobile apps and save them back to Word and Excel without anyone noticing.

In addition to having useful alternatives to popular PC applications, you have a bevy of productivity enhancers on the iPad that may or may not be available for Windows. I love Wunderlist (recently purchased by Microsoft) to keep my projects organized on my iPad. For writing I love iAWriter – possibly the best writers application ever. And note taking has never been better than Notability. I can walk into a meeting with my iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil and take notes just like having a pad and paper.

Email is just as easy on an iPad as it is on a PC and web surfing is arguably superior on an iPad. I haven’t brought my ‘full’ computer on a business trip in years – just my iPad – and I can stay in touch with the office just as easily.

Directly comparing the iPad to Surface, Microsoft has placed an idea in the minds of future customers that the iPad, while lacking some of the bells and whistles, might just be enough of a computer. For many, there are advantages to having an iPad without the weight, bloat and expense we know we get with a full Windows PC.

Essentially, Microsoft is acknowledging that an iPad is coming closer to the performance of a full PC with its latest advertisement. It’s also letting consumers know the iPad now comes with a keyboard (I’ve been using an Apple bluetooth keyboard for years with my iPad 2 and now the iPad Pro). They’ve put their primary product up against Apple’s mobile device. A marketing blunder if ever I saw one.

Replacing your laptop with the iPad Pro

Recognizing the tablet is the next form factor for a computer you might want to consider replacing your laptop with an iPad Pro. It’s all about thinking things thru and making adjustments. Like me, once you have, you may never turn on your laptop again.

I purchased an iPad Pro to work on my illustrations, keep organized and surf the web. I carry it around in my bag. It’s lighter than my aging MacBook Pro. So I figured out what else the iPad Pro can help me with. Quite a lot actually! I also purchased the Apple wireless keyboard and Apple Pencil making this a complete laptop replacement. 

Word processing – you have options! I use iAWriter for daily writing. With the click of a button you can email your written ideas. It’s a very personal and comfortable writing experience (I’m using iAWriter to type this). It’s a flawlessly executed app. I love it! 

You can also use Google Docs (which I also use, primarily for work) so I can save and share files with coworkers. 

Apple’s own Pages is also nice and it gives you more control over layout than iAWriter and Google Docs. If you must create layouts for your writing (rather than just words on a page) then Pages would be a great solution.

Spreadsheets – I use Google Sheets, you can too. Sharing a spreadsheet among coworkers has never been easier. Or you can use Apple’s Numbers. Creating attractive presentation charts has never been easier. No reason to use Microsoft Excel. I don’t miss it. 

Note taking – use Notability. The Apple Pencil is the perfect investment here offering precision and a smooth writing experience. Notability allows you to use the Pencil and keyboard together, easily. Often, I find myself opening PDF files and marking them up. 

Printing – who still prints? Actually, I print wirelessly from my iPad Pro all day long without issue. The first few times you do this it will feel like magic.

Email – Gmail. 

Internet – Safari.

Blogging – WordPress.

Movies – Netflix.

Everything is saved in iCloud automatically so you never lose anything. As a precaution, I also back everything up on Google Drive. This lets me access my files from other devices (my computer at work, for example). And, in the future, when I purchase another iPad, all of my files are safe.

The above should cover most, if not all, computing needs. As a laptop replacement, the iPad Pro excels!

iPad Pro – An important device for creatives!


I purchased an iPad Pro the day after it became available. At first I resisted, wanting to wait a few weeks, hoping to read reviews confirming it’s a solid device and a good deal. It’s been nearly a year since the iPad Pro’s introduction on September 9, 2015 and I can honestly say, it’s the best device I’ve ever owned.

In my role as an Art Director and Marketing Manager, my career is all about creativity. My specialty is Design and SEO. I have the pleasure of helping companies redesign and reimagine their marketing strategies and materials including, websites, brochures, videos, product slicks, signage and logos (among other things) helping them look the best they can. I help organizations compete and ultimately defeat their competition. The iPad Pro allows me to perform my best.

As a creative, I’ve put my heart and soul into my work. Late nights are common, ideas occur in the shower, and weekends are often spent working out ideas for the following week. Often, the results are immeasurable but the impact can be palpable. For example, the latest website I redesigned appears as an expense from an Accounting perspective, but Sales has been able to close more opportunities than the years prior to the redesign. There’s an intangible process that occurs in the mind of the customer, a feeling, a push to work with one company over another. I help persuade customers with visual design and search engine placement.

How does the iPad Pro excel? The device is simply metal and glass but it has a soul. Why? Because the talented people developing Apps are also putting their heart and soul into their work. Apple has created a device that simply works as a conduit. The iPad Pro is a reliable and beautiful device. It’s a platform for App developers to express themselves. In turn, creatives, like me, use these Apps to create their work. The process starts with the device, continues with the Apps and culminates into the effective Marketing and Advertising we see all around us.

With the iPad Pro, I have an amazing device that allows me to do so much. For example, scribbling out an idea in Bamboo Paper, taking notes in Notability, composing layouts in Adobe Comp, retouching in Adobe Fix and Mix, mind mapping a new website with SimpleMind, illustrating in Sketchbook Pro, keeping organized with Wunderlist, reading Stephen King with iBooks, and writing this post in iAWriter. Everything is backed up in iCloud (for peace of mind) and Google Drive (so I can retrieve documents anytime, anywhere). In addition, my calendar is always handy, music is always playing, news is always available and, of course, Facebook!

If you are a creative professional, I can’t recommend the iPad Pro enough.

Windows 10 to run Xbox games

Microsoft’s new PCs running Windows 10 are going to run Xbox games. My first thought was that a more powerful video card enabling Windows 10 to run games would benefit all applications across the board. But I discovered these PCs will have (and always have had) two video cards – one for your regular applications that’s already built in and an additional one for your games.

History will likely repeat itself as the market races to provide the lowest price PCs. During that time manufacturers will seek ways to save money. Likely, it will come in the form of cheap materials (low quality plastics), lower spec screens, among other things, and eventually, poorer quality video cards. I’d venture to guess this is already happening with regard to the built in video card running your ‘typical’ apps (Word, Excel and PowerPoint, for example).

But if gaming is where Microsoft is going, why would businesses invest in Windows 10? Something’s got to give. Currently, everyone recognizes Apple as the superior machine for graphics. Even tho it’s a wonderful computer for business applications it shines for graphic use. Windows is known as a business machine. It will be interesting if that focus changes over the next few years to gaming. Certainly, Microsoft will go where the money is. Perhaps manufacturers will offer either gaming or business focused PCs?

I wonder if Windows 10 will eat away at the Xbox market? I wonder if Xbox users will find creative ways to use their gaming devices for work? Surely, many future users will find themselves short changed on either end.

So, perhaps it’s a good thing Microsoft Windows 10 PCs will run Xbox games. If my job provides me with a Windows 10 PC I will have something to play games on. This way I can continue using my Mac for work.