Google revealed the Pixel C Chromebook yesterday and Apple the iPad Pro earlier this month. Both devices are designed to add productivity features to tablets running Android and iOS, for instance by offering first-party keyboards that you can attach to the device.
Microsoft has yet to reveal the new iteration of its Surface line but is expected to do just that before year's end.
If you are looking for a new productivity device currently, you are probably wondering which of these three devices -- if any -- you should get. You may also be interested in core differences and hardware specs.
Not all the specs of Apple's iPad Pro and Google's Pixel C have been revealed yet. What we know so far is this:
|Apple iPad Pro||Google Pixel C||Microsoft Surface 3|
|Operating System||iOS 9||Android 6.0||Windows 10|
|Chip||A9X||Nvidia Tegra 3||Atom x7-Z8700|
|expandable Storage||none||none||microSD and USB 3.0|
Update: Both Apple and Microsoft have announced or released new products. You find information about Apple's new iPad Pro 9.7, and Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book below.
|Apple iPad Pro 9.7||Microsoft Surface Pro 4||Microsoft Surface Book|
|Operating System||iOS 9||Windows 10||Windows 10|
|Chip||A9X||Intel Core m3, i5, i7||Intel Core i5, i7|
|Keyboard||$169||$129, $159 with fingerprint reader||included|
The first difference that becomes obvious right away is that all six devices use different operating systems that depend on which company manufactured them. The operating system is often a deciding factor considering that you may have used a certain system before and want to keep using programs or features that it offers.
It is clear as well that Apple and Google have created tablets while Microsoft hybrids that work as a tablet but also as a laptop replacement as it runs a full copy of Windows which means that you can run all Windows desktop programs on the Surface that are compatible with Windows 10.
If you select Apple's or Google's device, you will have access to apps available in the company's store and web applications.
Apple's and Google's tablet start both with 32 Gigabyte of storage space while Microsoft starts the Surface Pro 3 with 64 Gigabyte and the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book with 128GB instead. Google customers can upgrade storage for a price to 64 Gigabyte but that is about it. Considering that the device does not offer expendable storage options, it may be a deal breaker for some.
Apple's iPad Pro is maxed out at 256 Gigabyte with no option to extend the storage further, Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 offers a capacity of up to 512 Gigabyte while both the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book a maximum capacity of 1 Terabyte. In addition to offering larger storage options, both allow you to add external hard drives and microSD cards on top of that to add more storage.
Accessories and Price
Google's Pixel C and Microsoft's Surface start at $499 while Apple's iPad Pro at $799. The new Apple iPad Pro 9.7 starts at $599, the Surface Pro 4 at $899, and the Surface Book at $1499.
This means that you can add the keyboard to the Pixel C or Surface Pro 3 and still pay less than you would for Apple's tablet without one.
All three companies have created keyboards for their devices. Microsoft's offering is the cheapest at $129.99 followed by Google's for $149 and Apple's for $169.
Both Apple and Microsoft offer pen accessories for their tablets. Apple charges $99 for the pen and Microsoft $49 but the Pen is included out of the box on Microsoft devices.
Microsoft is the only company of the three currently that is offering extra accessories. The company offers a dock to transform the Surface into a workstation, a wireless display adapter to connect it to big-screen HDTV and monitors, and a USB 3.0 Ethernet adapter.
Which is right for you?
The question cannot be answered easily as it depends on what you need the device for. You can be productive with all three devices up to a point but both Apple's and Google's offering are clearly lacking when it comes to business-level software support.
For instance, you cannot create Android apps easily, comfortably (or at all) on Apple's and Google's device while you can create apps for all three operating systems on Microsoft's Surface.
Microsoft's device is also the only one that can run desktop programs such as Photoshop or Steam.
Now You: Would you pick one of the three devices? If so which and why?