The Surface Pro X Should Scare Apple
There’s finally competition for Apple in a space where for a long time there weren’t any good alternatives
Though I’ve gone to great lengths to make my workflow fit onto my iPad Pro, I still find myself picking up my laptop whenever I need to work on more complicated, code-related tasks. And that’s why Microsoft’s new Surface Pro X should worry the competition: While taking the device on a test run over the past two weeks, I finally felt like I no longer needed to carry two devices, something the Surface Pro X managed to accomplish that the iPad Pro never has.
The Pro X promises true all-day battery life and offers LTE like a lightweight tablet, which remains rare in laptops. It is light and easy to carry yet can still handle serious work applications.
The device is slicker than its Surface predecessors. It’s encased in anodized black aluminum, with rounded edges and dramatically slimmer screen bezels. There’s no USB-A port or even a headphone jack—just two USB-C ports and the magnetic Surface charging port. The real stroke of genius is the new Signature keyboard, which hides a new flat Surface pen inside the device, rather than having it hang awkwardly on the edge, where it can easily fall off in your backpack. I love taking handwritten notes, and having the pen hidden away in the keyboard makes it easier to keep track of and thus use more often.
While working from home during the past couple weeks due to Covid-19, I’ve been using the Pro X pen to quickly sketch ideas with colleagues using Microsoft Whiteboard, a great connected-ink app that’s accessed by clicking the eraser button on the pen.
A more important but hidden departure from past Surface devices is the Pro X’s Microsoft-designed processor. Called the SQ1, it is based on ARM technology — the same technology that powers your phone and tablets like the iPad — rather than the Intel processors that still power most laptops.
ARM processors, in general, are far better at providing long battery life than…