You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
Microsoft may be right to dub the iPad Pro a 'companion device'

Microsoft may be right to dub the iPad Pro a 'companion device'

January 12, 2016

I’m finding myself in an awkward predicament today. I’m actually in agreement with something a senior Microsoft representative told TrustedReviews at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas recently. Dan Laycock, Microsoft’s senior communications manager for Microsoft Surface, told the publication that the iPad Pro simply cannot suffice as a standalone productivity device.

The iPad Pro, released in November 2015, appears at first glance to be designed to compete directly with the Microsoft Surface range of tablet devices. It includes a large, 12.9-inch display, a focus on productivity, and has both a stylus and keyboard accessory available directly from Cupertino. Still, Laycock points out a truth about the iPad Pro, stating that the device “is always going to be a companion device.”


Yes, the iPad Pro incorporates a number of productivity-focused features, including app multitasking and picture-in-picture video. However, the tablet is still locked into the iOS ecosystem with all of its limitations and drawbacks. I’ve previously pointed out how unlikely it is that professional apps will arrive for the iPad Pro, and that’s a limitation that the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book laptop hybrid don’t have.

If you want to run full versions of Adobe’s Creative Suite software, for example, you can’t do that. You’re forced into using the same mobile versions that you can install and run on a smaller iPad. The same holds for Microsoft’s suite of products, since you continue to be locked into what the iOS App Store has to offer.

Laycock elaborates that “Microsoft really wants you to only carry one device for tablet and PC use.” The Surface runs full software applications, just like a Windows PC is able to use. The same cannot be said for the iPad Pro, unfortunately. If you rely on full software applications, the iPad Pro cannot be more than a companion device for you, rather than a standalone productivity tablet.

The iPad Pro is a beautiful device, don’t get me wrong. However, this is one of those times when Microsoft points out the drawbacks of the tablet, and I’m forced to ever-so-reluctantly nod my head in agreement. Hopefully, a future upgrade to the iPad Pro will allow it to run a more complete version of OS X optimized for the tablet, and with the capability to install the same apps that we can run on our Macs.

Image credit: TechAdvisor

Related articles