Microsoft Executive Says iPad Pro Was Apple's Response to Surface

Microsoft executive Ryan Gavin this week suggested Apple released the iPad Pro in response to its Surface devices, per Business Insider.


"When Surface initially launched, everyone was skeptical, including them," said Gavin, general manager of Surface commercial devices at Microsoft. "And then they followed, and the iPad Pro is a clear example of that."

Microsoft positions the latest Surface Pro, released on Thursday, as a "best-in-class laptop" with the "versatility of a studio and tablet."

The new Surface Pro features Intel's latest Kaby Lake processors and up to 13.5 hours of battery life on a single charge. The tablet-notebook hybrid can be configured with up to a 1TB SSD, up to 16GB RAM, and up to Intel Iris Plus 640 graphics, with a USB 3.0 port, microSD card reader, and Mini DisplayPort.

During a 2012 earnings call, when asked to comment on why the MacBook Air and iPad would not eventually converge, Apple CEO Tim Cook argued that combining the products would result in compromises.

"You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator but those won't be pleasing to the user," said Cook, a comment that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella poked fun at four years later, alluding to the iPad Pro.

"I mean, take even Surface," said Nadella, speaking to The Australian Financial Review. "Three years ago, the two-in-one as a form factor was questioned. Does anybody need one? And now guess what, even our competition has decided that it's not a refrigerator and a toaster but it's actually a two-in-one."

While the iPad and Mac remain two fundamentally different products, the iPad Pro is Apple's closest attempt at a two-in-one hybrid device.

Apple released the original iPad Pro with a large 12.9-inch display and Smart Keyboard in November 2015, over three years after Microsoft launched its first Surface tablet with a 10.6-inch display and detachable keyboard.

In contrast, the Surface was arguably Microsoft's response to the iPad as a whole. Apple's tablet launched in early 2010, and the Surface arrived in late 2012.


Cook has said the iPad Pro is a notebook or desktop computer replacement for "many, many people," adding that "they will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones."

As for Microsoft following Apple? "We don't really look at Apple," said Gavin.

Top Rated Comments

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43 months ago
Lol they are utterly deluded if they think that. It's closer that the Surface was the answer to Apple's iPad, after years and years of failed attempts into the touchscreen market since at least Windows XP. Then Apple reminded people that tablets will sell, providing you make something that isn't a piece of junk, so MS doubled their efforts and eventually made something that was worth purchasing.

XP tablets were crap. Win 7 touchscreen/tablets were rubbish, Windows 8 was a confused joke. Windows RT was a pathetic attempt at iOS, which was almost immediately discontinued as a final FU to those unlucky enough to have purchased one. Good thing they conveniently forgot about all that before nursing their ego about their fabulous foresight.

Look at them touting themselves as visionary market leaders. What an absolute crock. Even on its best day, the Surface Pro is the epitome of "Jack of all trades". You can't use it just with the touchscreen because the interface is abysmal. Windows wasn't designed to be used with a finger, it was designed for a mouse and keyboard.

They haven't addressed any of the fundamental UI flaws with Windows 10; adding touchscreen elements as they currently have just makes a further confused and Frankensteined operating system.
Score: 62 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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43 months ago
Surface a best-in-class laptop? Sheesh they have low standards in Redmond, don't they…
Score: 60 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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43 months ago
I mean sure, I can see the iPad Pro being a response to the Surface, but more iPads are sold in a single quarter than all Surfaces combined. Let's not act like Microsoft is winning this game.
Score: 53 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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43 months ago
Aww that's cute Microsoft. :)
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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43 months ago
What Microsoft forgot to mention was the surface was in response to the ipad.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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43 months ago
the surface pro and the surface book in particular is a much better corporate device. there are people switching to them over laptops. an ipad pro is still a complimentary device. that's the truth. iOS is very limiting. great for an iPad but i wish they had gone mac os for the pro version.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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