Microsoft Surface Pro 9 vs Apple iPad Pro

Microsoft is updating its entire Surface family of tablets, laptops and even desktops, led by the new Surface Pro 9. The latest version of the iconic Surface tablet PC receives a major upgrade, with 12th Gen Intel processors and a new 5G variant powered by the updated Microsoft SQ3 ARM processor, a Microsoft exclusive made by Qualcomm (see our hands-on of the Surface Pro 9). For years, Surface has been the undisputed leader in Windows tablet PCs and is poised to continue the trend in 2022.

But what about the other iconic and powerful tablet, Apple’s iPad? The iPad Pro, in particular, is vying to replace your laptop because of its powerful laptop-level processing and support for accessories that resemble laptops.

Of course, neither device has been officially announced yet. But given the information we have learned from reliable sources, we are inclined to believe that the Surface Pro 9 and iPad Pro 2022 will be announced soon. News and leaks about the iPad Pro have been more numerous than those about the Surface Pro 9, but we still have a pretty good idea of what to expect when the devices come to light.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 vs Apple iPad Pro


Ultimately, which of these two products is “better designed” is a subjective question; some will prefer the lightweight and compact design of the 11-inch iPad Pro, while others will prefer the reduced screen bezels and variety of color combinations offered by the Surface Pro 9. To be fair, we will mainly compare the 12.9-inch version of the iPad Pro with the unique 13-inch Surface tablet. Even with the same screen size, the iPad Pro is significantly thinner and lighter than its Microsoft rival, probably because the Surface requires more internal cooling.

We prefer the 3:2 aspect ratio of the productivity-oriented Surface Pro 9 over the 4:3 of the iPad Pro; the screen seems larger and allows for more text in a Google document or more images on a web page. We are aware that this will not be the same for all users. However, the iPad Pro’s display panel is superior, with a significantly higher contrast ratio and better maximum brightness. Many users will not notice or pay attention to this, but digital artists and photo editors are more benefited by Apple’s tablet screen. The iPad Pro also boasts a better camera, with a 12MP main lens compared to the Surface’s 10MP, although both are capable of recording 4K video.

In terms of physical ports, the situation is much the same; after the Lightning connector disappeared, the iPad Pro uses the same USB-C port as the Surface Pro 9, although the latter also has Thunderbolt 4 support and the Surface Connect slot if you want to charge your device using the USB-C port.


We have no news about the Surface Pro 9 display, although we expect it to be similar to that of the 13-inch Surface Pro 8 (2,880 x 1,920) with a 120 Hz touchscreen. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that the 11-inch iPad Pro might have a mini-LED display similar to that of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. However, in recent times Kuo has backtracked and now display analyst Ross Young says that an 11-inch iPad Pro with mini-LED is unlikely.

Apparently, the 12.9-inch model is doing well enough that Apple wants to keep this feature exclusive to its most expensive tablet. As for OLED displays, they are not planned for the iPad Pro until 2024. However, if you can wait, it looks like this will be a notable upgrade that will make the iPad screen brighter and more durable.


Regarding network connectivity and wireless connections for peripherals, both the Surface Pro 9 and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, making them almost identical in most uses. However, the Surface Pro 9 has Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1, while the iPad Pro only has Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. To learn the details of the Wi-Fi standards, you can consult our in-depth What is Wi-Fi 6E? But for our purposes, the main difference is that 6E offers lower latency and can handle multiple devices simultaneously, provided you have a 6E Wi-Fi router. On the Bluetooth side, the Surface Pro 9 has more Bluetooth antennas, allowing it to locate the device and optimize the signal based on its location, as well as save device attributes for faster pairing with regularly used accessories.


As for the choice of ports, it is not surprising that a Microsoft machine would offer more physical connections than a competitor from Apple, given the latter’s obsession with ever-slimmer and sleeker designs that has led it to abandon even popular connections such as the headphone jack. But Microsoft is not immune to the elimination of ports, and on the Surface Pro 9 you won’t even find a wired audio connection. The choice of ports is therefore very similar between the two models. However, the Surface Pro 9 boasts an additional USB-C port for added functionality, especially when paired with an external dock.

On the Surface Pro 9 there are two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 functionality, a Surface Connect port and a proprietary connection for Microsoft’s accessory keyboard. The Surface Pro 9 5G version also boasts two USB-C ports, but limits the overall capacity to standard USB 3.2, probably due to the limitations of the SQ3 processor.

Battery Life

We have not yet been able to test the battery life of the Surface Pro 9, but Microsoft claims it can last up to 15.5 hours during typical use, with the 5G variant getting up to 19 hours of battery life. This far surpasses the iPad Pro, which has a battery life of up to 10 hours during typical use. During our testing, we noticed that watching Netflix for an hour drained the iPad Pro’s battery by about 8 percent.


The Surface Pro 9 and iPad Pro have front and rear cameras, a feature common to mobile devices but less so to PCs. In this case, the iPad has the advantage. The Surface Pro 9 offers a 1080p front-facing camera, with Windows Hello and all the best video processing and chat options from Microsoft. It even matches the iPad Pro with a webcam function that follows the user in a video chat as they move around the frame. On the back, however, there is a single 10-megapixel (MP) camera for taking pictures and video on the tablet.

The Apple iPad Pro also boasts a front-facing camera with Apple ID for facial recognition-based security and a 10 MP camera on the back. But this tablet also has a second 12MP camera and a LiDAR depth sensor. This combination not only makes the iPad the best camera for simple photos and videos, but also puts it at an advantage for advanced AR features.


Finally, the biggest difference between the Surface and the iPad concerns software and the ecosystem. The Surface Pro 9 is equipped with Windows 11 Home – commercial variants are also offered with Windows 11 Pro, but for this comparison we stuck to the consumer models. And it’s not a limited version of Windows 11, but the real deal, with full support for any software and all your favorite apps and features. It’s all there.

Apple, on the other hand, equips the iPad Pro with iPadOS 16. This is the most powerful version of Apple’s operating system. It is the most powerful version of Apple’s mobile operating system, adapted to the increasingly powerful iPad, but it is still not macOS, not quite. The addition of keyboard and mouse support is a big step in that direction, and iPadOS integrates incredibly well with macOS if you already have a Mac on your desk.

Final Words

Since neither the iPad Pro 2022 nor the Surface Pro 9 have been officially announced, it would be wise to take everything written above with the proverbial grain of salt. If the reports and leaks are close to the truth, it seems that we will not receive monumentally different devices than their respective predecessors. It seems that the most significant changes coming to Microsoft’s and Apple’s machines are updated processors, namely an Alder Lake CPU for the Surface Pro 9 and an M2 chip for the iPad Pro 2022.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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