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Microsoft mocks iPad Pro as just a 'companion device'

Technically Incorrect: A Microsoft spokesman says Apple doesn't want you to just have one device. He also reminds everyone how Steve Jobs felt about the stylus.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


The iPad Pro, complete with keyboard and stylus (er, pencil).

Photo by CNET

Have you imagined there was a certain detente between Microsoft and Apple?

Did you wonder whether, now that the seemingly conciliatory Satya Nadella is in charge of Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, the two tech giants would be good companions?

Perhaps not quite.

I judge this from the slightly dismissive comments toward Apple uttered by Dan Laycock, a senior communications manager for the Microsoft Surface line of tablets. Microsoft has long pitched the Surface, including its new Surface Pro 4, as a tablet that can replace your laptop.

Speaking to Trusted Reviews, Laycock compared the Surface to Apple's new large-screened iPad Pro. Oddly, the latter didn't come out too well.

"Microsoft really wants you to only carry one device for tablet and PC use," Laycock told the publication at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. And the iPad Pro? It's "always going to be a companion device," he said.

But, I hear you mutter, you can buy a keyboard for the iPad Pro. There's also that glorious stylus. I mean, pencil.

"At one point in time, Apple declared that if there's a stylus, that's failure," sniffed Laycock. "We're a huge believer in the pen. We know our customers love it."

At one point in time, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer declared the iPhone had "no chance" of getting any significant market share. This wasn't entirely accurate. Isn't anyone allowed to change their minds?

Ah, but Laycock was specifically referring to the words of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. He once said that if a stylus was attached to a device, then "they blew it."

When it comes to hardware, Jobs rather showed Microsoft how things can be done for years. It's unsurprising that some Redmond rancor still remains.

Laycock insisted that the iPad Pro was "a little bit similar" to the Surface. To him, the Apple product is merely surface deep.

"We don't see it as a one-to-one comparison, because this is a full PC, you're running full apps," he said of the Surface.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The iPad Pro, which sports a 12.9-inch screen, was launched in November to make Apple's tablet range feel exciting again. My colleague Scott Stein reviewed it and described it as "a killer creative canvas with laptop-replacement dreams."

We can all dream. Microsoft dreams of its hardware becoming desired for its sexiness. Apple dreams of world domination achieved through style with a British accent.

It's good to know, however, that the dreamers haven't suddenly become best buddies. That would be far too dull.

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