Michael Gartenberg published an opinion piece on Computerworld called: Looking beneath the Surface.
The entry paragraph states “The physical keyboard and inclusion of Office are differentiators that make a straight-up comparison impossible.” I disagree.
Let us start with the easy part, a keyboard. There are numerous cases with built-in keyboards in addition to Apple’s wireless keyboard that work. I use Apple’s wireless keyboard on a regular basis with my iPad and it’s portable enough to pack it in the bag.
Next up was his discussion about ports and how the Surface has a mini-DVI connector so you can display the output to a larger screen. The current iPad, iPad Mini and iPhone 5 have the lightning bolt ports and those who want to connect a HDMI or VGA compatibles display can and it will fully mirror the device.
UPDATE: Just read something I didn’t realize. The Surface let’s you connect another screen as a secondary display. The iPad only let’s you connect it as a mirror. So you get more real estate of the Surface then you do on the iPad.
Office is another point where Michael feels the Surface stands out. Also, with the ability to plug in an external drive you can save and share files. Personally I use Pages, Numbers and Keynote. They are on par with their desktop counterparts and they can review/edit Office format documents.
Regarding the ability to use an external drive; he is correct. But then again Apple’s focus has been toward using iCloud and eliminating the need for drive. For example, I created a Keynote presentation on my desktop and my plan was to take it on my iPad to give a presentation. Once my document was saved to iCloud, which is where I default to saving things, it was immediately available on my iPad for reading and modifying. No cables or external drives needed.
I like the Surface. But I don’t believe you can honestly sit here and provide and opinion piece saying you can’t compare it with an iPad. Now maybe the goal of the Surface is to replace a desktop and tablet with one device. For me I would rather be equipped with a MacBook Air, an iPad and an iPhone. This is what I have to today and I’m a fully functioning walking office that completely fits inside an 11″ mini messenger bag. And with iCloud services all three devices are always in sync for everything from appointments, contacts, bookmarks, Music, etc.