What it is: The iPad Pro looks much like Microsoft’s Surface Pro, but there’s a huge difference in philosophies between them.
Hockey great Wayne Gretzky once said, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” That means you want to go where the future is, not where the present is, and that’s the fundamental difference between Microsoft’s Surface Pro and Apple’s iPad Pro.
Back in the early days of computers, the operating system that businesses relied on was CP/M-80. When IBM introduced their IBM PC, it was natural for most people to think it would flop because it ran a new operating system called MS-DOS, which wasn’t compatible with CP/M-80. Because CP/M-80 had such a huge user base in the corporate world and because so many companies sold software for CP/M-80, it only made sense that CP/M-80 would be around forever and MS-DOS would go nowhere.
KayPro, an early computer manufacturer, actually stuck with CP/M-80 for so long because that’s where the profits were. Only when MS-DOS started to gain momentum did KayPro finally switch to selling MS-DOS compatible computers, but by then it was too late.
If you want to stick to what’s popular in the present, you look for what’s popular today. If you want to lay out a long-term future, you look for what’s going to be popular tomorrow.
That’s essentially the difference between Microsoft’s Surface Pro and Apple’s iPad Pro. Right now, the Surface Pro has far more productivity software available and is far better supported, so it’s easy to believe that the Surface Pro and Windows 10 will last forever.
Even though the Surface Pro may be a better choice for many business people today, that’s not where the future is going. That would be like cloning to CP/M-80 back in the days when it was far more popular than MS-DOS.
If you stick with a Surface Pro, you’re essentially getting an ultraportable laptop. If you get an iPad Pro, you’re getting a far smaller software library, so it seems logical to stick with the Surface Pro just like people stuck with CP/M-80 over MS-DOS.
But like MS-DOS, iOS is the future. People who learned and mastered MS-DOS eventually had a long productive life in business while people who clung to CP/M-80 gradually watched their opportunities fade away. The same will happen with Windows 10 vs. iOS.
Expect Windows 10 to gradually wither away. At one time, Windows dominated the computer market. Today, the latest release of Windows 10 generated as much excitement as the latest version of a Blackberry smartphone. In other words, few people cared because it won’t affect most people’s lives.
If you learn and master iOS, the future will only get brighter. If you cling to Windows 10 with the Surface Pro, the future will only get dimmer. At one time, all you had to know was Windows to work in the corporate world. Now you have to know iOS as well. Pretty soon, only a few people will need to worry about learning and using Windows just like people no longer needed to use CP/M-80.
So if you want to cling to a present that’s slowly fading, get a Surface Pro and use Windows 10. Today it’s more capable than an iPad Pro, but tomorrow is coming faster than you might think, and tomorrow is going to be around a lot longer than today will be. The world is shifting to iOS and gradually leaving Windows behind. If you want to skate where the puck will be, you want to start mastering iOS. If you want to go to where the puck used to be, you want to stick with Windows 10 on a Surface Pro.