Why? Microsoft’s Surface Pro line has suffered staggering losses while Apple’s Mac has bucked the Windows PC downward trend, and the iPad takes up most of the tablet industry’s money. Here’s a look at how Microsoft savages Apple’s MacBook Air and iPad.
Numbers Don’t Lie
Recent Microsoft commercials highlight the advantages of a Surface Pro hybrid tablet notebook vs. an Apple MacBook Air.
The Mac looks pretty lame in the commercials when compared to all the Surface Pro can do, but it’s not quite a fair comparison.
Why not? First, the MacBook Air is a notebook; or, more precisely, an ultrabook, while Microsoft’s Surface Pro is a hybrid device– a notebook with a detachable keyboard, which turns it into a PC tablet.
So, I thought I’d do a little comparison of my own to see how both a MacBook Air and an iPad would compare against Microsoft’s Surface Pro. It’s not pretty.
I’m not going to use Microsoft’s comparison stats, because, as noted, it’s not a fair comparison because one is a notebook, while the other is a hybrid. But if I combine both MacBook Air and iPad, the comparison should be fair, right?
I chose the 11-inch entry level MacBook Air because it’s the model closest in size and power to the Surface Pro. And I chose the iPad Air because it’s also the closest in size to the Surface Pro.
Also, I upgraded the Surface Pro wherever possible to match Apple’s specifications, and compared components that would be of value to an average user.
MacBook Air has an 11.6-inch display but the Surface Pro has much higher resolution. But combining the iPad Air and MacBook Air, Apple’s devices have more total screen real estate, but spread out to two devices. Advantage: Microsoft.
Price: Apple’s entry-level MacBook Air weighs in at $899 and the iPad Air at $499; total $1,398. The Microsoft Surface Pro with 128GB of storage, 4GB RAM, and Intel i5 CPU, with keyboard, weighs in at $1,128. Advantage: Microsoft.
Applicatons: The combo of MacBook Air and iPad Air is formidable when it comes to applications. The MacBook Air runs all Mac apps and all Windows apps, while there are over 500,000 apps just for the iPad. Surface Pro runs Windows apps. Advantage: Apple.
Battery Life: The MacBook Air gets, on average, about nine hours of battery life in normal use, while the iPad Air can deliver 10 hours. Microsoft rates the Surface Pro at nine hours, too, but that’s rough half of a MacBook Air and iPad Air combo. Advantage: Apple.
Storage: The basic MacBook Air comes with 128GB of storage while the iPad Air only 16GB. The Surface Pro model in the comparison also has 128GB of storage, but Microsoft provides plenty of extra storage online, more than Apple, but comparably priced. Advantage: Tie.
Weight: The MacBook Air weighs 2.38 pounds and the iPad Air weighs one pound; total of 3.38 pounds for both devices. Microsoft’s Surface Pro with keyboard weights about 2.5 pounds. Advantage: Microsoft.
Odds and Ends: All three devices come with an assortment of USB connectors, microphones, speakers, built-in cameras, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth; more than enough for the average user. Advantage: Tie.
Keyboard: Apple wins this one hands down because even the entry-level MacBook Air comes with a full size, full stroke keyboard, while the Surface Pro’s detachable keyboard, while usable, is somewhat anemic. Advantage: Apple.
Commercials: Apple’s recent MacBook Air commercials highlight stickers. Microsoft’s Surface commercials highlight actual differences between the devices and how useful Photoshop is on a tablet (no Photoshop on an iPad). Advantage: Microsoft.
There you have it. Of nine important considerations, Microsoft wins four, two are tied, and Apple wins three. Microsoft’s Surface Pro just crushed both MacBook Air and iPad Air in a head-to-head comparison.