Is it any wonder the world is in such disarray these days? The internet has become the misinformation superhighway and people struggle to tell the difference between facts, alternate facts, news, and fake news.
Even among technology products we’re lambasted with differences that don’t amount to differences, even between products that are much the same. Microsoft, for example, wants people to compare their Surface line to both Apple’s iPad and Mac. Does that work? Let’s see.
Ignore The Headlines
Headlines on technology websites don’t tell the whole story. So, if you read one that says the Mac is more expensive than a comparable Microsoft Surface-whatever, take it with a grain of salt. Likewise, advertisements that compare a tablet with a notebook with a hybrid tablet notebook should be dismissed entirely.
None of those gadgets are really the same, but they all have similarities. Let me start at the easy comparisons.
iPad Pro – Apple’s latest tablet is an awesome machine, regardless of size; 12.9-inch or new 10.5-inch. The Apple designed CPU competes favorably with a 2017 MacBook Pro with 16GB of RAM and an Intel Core-i7 CPU inside. Check out Bare Feats’ benchmark comparisons of both new iPad Pro models vs. the 2017 and 2016 MacBook Pro; both packed to max.
The 10.5-inch iPad Pro weighs in at one pound with an entry-level price of $649 but for $949 you get 512GB of SSD storage. The 13-inch MacBook Pro weighs in at three pounds with an entry level price tag of $1,499, but fully tricked out at $2,899 with 1TB of SSD storage. For about one third the price tag, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has comparable benchmark performance to a fully loaded MacBook Pro.
What does that say?
Microsoft Surface – These are the latest to hit the streets and they’ve been compared to everything from iPads to MacBook Air to MacBook Pros. Many headlines and comparisons point out how expensive Macs are compared to Microsoft’s new Surface notebooks.
Surface Laptop – this is the very personification of entry-level from Microsoft. It comes with a crippled version of Windows 10 (10 S). The base model at an Intel Core i5 CPU with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage for $999. The closest you can get on the iPad Pro line is the mid-range model with 4GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage for $899. A keyboard is about $150 or less, so the model comparison is comparable, but the iPad Pro is a faster device.
Surface Book – at the high end, Microsoft’s new Surface Book also starts at $1,499, just like the MacBook Pro, with 8GB of RAM, 128GB of SSD storage, and an Intel Core i5 CPU in a 13.5-inch case. That makes the entry-level Surface Book more expensive than an iPad Pro, regardless of size or configuration. However, to compete with the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s configurations– 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD storage, Intel Core i7 CPU– the price tag jumps to $3,199 vs. only $2,899 for the MacBook Pro, and $3,199 for the more powerful 15-inch MacBook Pro.
How is it again that Macs are more expensive?
Surface Pro – at the low end of Microsoft’s Surface spectrum lies the Pro models, more comparable to an entry-level MacBook. Indeed, the $799 price tag gives you 128GB SSD storage, 4GB RAM and an intel core m3 CPU. The beginner MacBook starts at $1,299 for 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD storage with an Intel Core m3 CPU, a configuration not found with the Surface Pro, but fully tricked out, the entry-level MacBook goes to $1,949 with Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD storage vs. a comparably equipped Surface Pro is $2,199 for the same hardware, but minus a keyboard. That’s extra.
What’s interesting in all this is how easy it is to destroy common misconceptions about Macs being more expensive than Microsoft’s Surface PCs. Yes, more expensive than plastic Windows 10 touchscreen devices, but compared to Microsoft’s best, the Mac looks pretty good.
What’s also interesting in all this is that a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro with 256GB of SSD storage and 4GB RAM starts at $749, sans keyboard, of course (and Bluetooth keyboards are available everywhere for less than what Microsoft or Apple charge for theirs). And the new iPad Pro models compare favorably on benchmarks that pit the MacBook Pro line– comparable to all or any of Microsoft’s Surface notebooks.
Despite a few years of neglect and dropping sales, the iPad still sells more units than the Mac, which is selling at record levels. What will be interesting to see is how the iPad Pro models impact iPad sales and Mac sales in the next year.