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The Apple iPad Pro M4 launch left tech pundits vexed. Why did Apple debut its powerful new M4 processor on a device that’s a gigantic, glorified smartphone? What benefits could the M4 offer iPadOS, a system built for simplicity, if not strength? If you stare at the latest iPad Pro, wishing it could be more Pro, I suggest looking at the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 instead because it’s probably the tablet you wish Apple made.

But wait, here comes Microsoft with its new Surface Pro tablet. Is it a tablet if it runs Windows just like my laptop and always comes with the keyboard accessory? Or is it a laptop that can detach, like the saucer section of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), in times of trouble? Whatever it is, it stands on the other side of the looking glass from the Apple iPad Pro.

The Microsoft Surface Pro

The new Microsoft Surface Pro in the best color (Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Both tablets have new, powerful chipsets inside, based on ARM’s processing cores, instead of Intel’s x86 chips. Both have an OLED display, a new pen for writing, and a price tag that starts at $999 / £999 / AU$1,699, or more if you want a larger display, extra storage, or other optional features (like 5G networking on the iPad Pro).

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