Apple M1 Mac vs Surface Pro X

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Great overview by someone that owns both an M1 Mac and SPX

An M1 Mac vs the Surface Pro X: How do ARM devices compare? – Technovia (ianbetteridge.com)

Comments (28)

28 responses to “Apple M1 Mac vs Surface Pro X”

  1. Ron Diaz

    Surface Pro X vs M1 Mac is kind of like Ford vs Ferrari.


    Except is Ford Pinto vs Ferrari 812 Superfast.



  2. shark47

    interesting post and I think people will compare the Surface Pro X to M1 Macs, but they’re completely different devices. I think everyone forgets that Microsoft never claimed this was going to be a blazing fast device.

    • Greg Green

      In reply to shark47:

      The Mac mini and MacBook Air were also originally not meant to be blazing fast devices. Yet the M1 now completely outclasses not only the intel predecessors, but several models above it in the respective form factors. More importantly those those who reviewed these devices describe them as blazing fast, or no waiting. They are blazing fast compared to their intel versions.

    • bkkcanuck

      In reply to shark47:

      Apple's gen 1 devices after switch were always going to be exactly the same machine with a new processor. Where Apple is going with the devices - you will begin to see on gen 2 & 3. What is today two very different devices could possible lead to a transformative device that has both UIs (or a spectrum of features). That is what I think is there long term vision (gut feel based on the last 2 months changes). I don't think we can rule anything out now, I have had a feeling they were in a holding pattern while still on Intel.

      • wright_is

        In reply to bkkcanuck:
        Apple's gen 1 devices after switch were always going to be exactly the same machine with a new processor.

        Exactly, this is a seachange for Apple and by keeping the existing design, it helps reassure (non-technical) customers that they are buying the "same old" reliable Apple device that runs all their software (teething problems excluded ;-) )

      • shameer_mulji

        In reply to bkkcanuck:

        "That is what I think is there long term vision (gut feel based on the last 2 months changes)"


        What changes specifically?

        • bkkcanuck

          In reply to shameer_mulji:

          - The separation of iPadOS from iOS is likely a precursor of leaving iOS (iPhone) app store as a console store, while the iPadOS will likely eventually have a common app store.

          - The encouragement of making macOS and iPadOS apps as a common binary with different UI.

          - The fattening up of the top of windows and spreading out of icons on the menu bar (this causes an issue with people on laptops having lots of items over-running the menu itself) - the only reason to go through this pain for a purely display change - is if they are making room for touch in the future.

          - Moving both systems to a common architecture

          - The allowing for iPad apps to run on macOS without being written for it (very unapple -- unless this is a move to encourage apps that work with one binary for both macOS and iPadOS

          To me, this feels like one of those 5 year plans that we only realize what is going on once they have reached the final steps and we look back and go... ohhhh... now I see that this has been underway for a while.

          Similar to the AR stuff on the iPad - it is not something I expect they thought would be a big thing - but it is a foundation to get developers playing with it... then 5 years later (maybe 2022) ... the Apple Glasses.


          • shark47

            In reply to bkkcanuck:

            Dan Rubino made an interesting point. The PC industry was stagnant or shrinking before the pandemic hit. After all this is over, we’ll likely go back to those days where corporations are the biggest consumers with some individual purchases. (I remember going days and even months without booting my PC when I was going into the office.) The gaming Industry will be the most interesting one to watch. PCs have dominated, but I’ll be curious to see if there’s a shift in the future. I’m also curious to see what AMD has planned.


            Also, I wonder if Apple is going for a Samsung Alex like solution where you get the full OS when you hook up your iPad Pro to a monitor. That would be pretty cool. Otherwise, I think all of that power is wasted on a (mostly) consumption device.




            • bkkcanuck

              In reply to shark47:

              There are a lot of companies like the one I am doing work for (I work 12 hour timezone off from office) -- they have closed one downtown office location and will shrink it further after they polled the employees and the majority will continue to work from home rather than return to the office. Mac sales also increased because many people who VPN into work - run Macs at home (Windows at work).


              Hard to figure out gaming as there are two primary groups - the casual gamers and the hard core gamers that get premium graphics etc. for gaming... Even with it's growth, the casual gaming will be the majority of it (IMHO).


              Apple is constantly working on different device concepts (if you watch what is patented) -- it depends on what they think will be in demand from customers.


              Now that AMD is becoming more healthy, we might see them expand out further than their typical products.

              • jchampeau

                In reply to bkkcanuck:

                Most people use PCs, not Macs, at home and work, both in the US and globally. I was going to post some links but there's no need. Pretty much any way you search for Mac market share or usage share statistics, Macs tick up or down by a percentage point here or there but remain below 10% almost universally.

                • interloper

                  In reply to jchampeau:

                  That's because PCs encompass a huge variety of price points and are bought in their millions by Enterprises, Education sectors etc. The vast majority of PCs the average consumer sees in Best Buy etc are cheap junk.


                  While Apple's overall share is sub-10%, what's their share of the premium market? I'd wager it's significantly higher, hence the vast profits they bring in from the one sector that truly makes money.

                • Paul Thurrott

                  This is certainly true. One thing that PC makers have come to understand is that, while PCs overall are not profitable, there are sub-markets that are, and can sustain the entire product line. These are mostly premium PCs, like the MacBook Pro-type devices, and gaming PCs, which are unique to the PC space. I bet Apple owns as much as 40-50 percent of the premium PC market. And it's notable that Apple is probably the only "PC" maker that makes a profit on every single PC it sells.
                • shark47

                  In reply to Interloper:

                  Agreed, but there are profitable segments within the consumer space where AMD plays.

                • bkkcanuck

                  In reply to jchampeau:

                  Well, if Apple has somewhere like 9% of the market overall (not going to look it up) and the are near non-existent as many people stated here in corporations, and not used in manufacturing, and not used in some specialized uses - then that 9% must be much much higher than that for home use... or are is there some black hole that all these Macs disappear into??

                • Truffles

                  In reply to bkkcanuck:

                  That's a really good point. I'd like to see a reliable percentage for macs in the home.


                  In my little circle of friends, everyone has macs at home except for those who have been issued an employer provided laptop. It's like people who need to spend their own money are opting for macs.

                • Paul Thurrott

                  We can't go by what we each see and experience. There's a huge, diverse world out there that we're unaware of day-to-day.
                • wright_is

                  In reply to Truffles:

                  And around me, it is the other way round. My eldest daughter has a MacBook Pro and she is the only person I know who has a Mac, she is also one of two people I know who use iPhones... My other daughter had a Mac mini and replaced it about 5 years ago with a Lenovo Yoga.

                  Everybody else uses Windows PCs.

                  The other person I knew, who had an iPhone works in ecology and switched to using a Fairpohone.

                • anoldamigauser

                  In reply to bkkcanuck:

                  9-10% is what it is. It includes all sales.

                  Your experience may vary, for instance, I have noticed that the percentage of Macs is higher for college students, and higher still at an Ivy institute than at a Public university. That may simply imply that Macs are purchased by those that can afford them and see them as status symbols.

                  The math (total #Macs/total #computers) does not really change.

                • bkkcanuck

                  In reply to AnOldAmigaUser:

                  Yes, but according to people here the number of macs used in offices is substantially below 9 - 10%, the amount of macs used for specialty or manufacturing is near zero... if that is the case that means the number for home use has to be substantially higher to offset - balancing out to 9 - 10%.

                • anoldamigauser

                  In reply to bkkcanuck:

                  Splitting hairs.

                  It always comes down to whether one can use a device to get the work one needs to do done. For computers, that comes down to the applications a platform will run. In the end computers are just tools.

                • bkkcanuck

                  In reply to AnOldAmigaUser:

                  True,


                  But then every one of our applications sold to financial institutions -- the server side IS NEVER deployed on Windows -- only on AIX and Linux.


                  The application has newer UIs that are browser based, and older fat UIs that are Java Swing based (though we only test Java Swing on Windows for now). These are of course large ticket items and we only test/certify on hardware required at the time - it would not take much to make it available on other desktop OSs.


                  For general office work - either would not be that difficult to use - MS Office is available on both, and other applications generally have equivalents (sometimes the Mac version is better sometimes not).


                  Legacy applications can be run in terminal services.


                  Not saying that suddenly offices will just switch, but if laptops and the rest of the mobile devices make a compelling reason as to why they are better - C level execs may drive the Mac into the office... in the same manner as how iPhones replaced blackberries and other phone devices in the office.

                • wright_is

                  In reply to bkkcanuck:

                  Yes, it all depends on the software. In our case, much of it is Windows only and the couple of web-based systems need IE11 and ActiveX (that is still the only option being provided by the manufacturer in 2020!!).

                • shark47

                  In reply to AnOldAmigaUser:

                  Ot at Starbucks, where if you bring a PC, they don't let you in. (Kidding, but I've only seen Macs at Starbucks. )

              • wright_is

                In reply to bkkcanuck:
                Mac sales also increased because many people who VPN into work - run Macs at home (Windows at work).

                This very much depends on the company and where they are.

                Here, in Germany, using private devices to VPN into the company network is a big no-no.

                Because of GDPR, the company is responsible for all data, therefore it never goes onto private devices.

                All the companies I've worked for in the last 15 years have had a policy in place that only company devices can be connected to the company network - including VPN.

                Likewise, no company data on non-company devices or cloud services, including private smartphones and private OneDrive, iCloud, DropBox etc. accounts.

                We are moving as many people to working from home as possible, but a pre-requisite is that they have a company laptop.

  3. illuminated

    The answer is: they do not compare.


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