Apple is making quick gains on Microsoft with its iPad Pro, according to a major market research firm.

 

These days, one of the most intense Apple-Microsoft rivalries is centered on Apple's iPad Pro and Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 – both tablet-laptop hybrids. The Surface Pro line has been around since 2013, while the iPad Pro was only released in November of last year. But Apple is catching up fast, according to market researcher IDC.

 

In a report titled “Apple Beats Microsoft at Their Own Game,” IDC says that the iPad Pro has already taken an “impressive lead” in the market for detachables -- tablets that effectively become laptops by connecting a separate, detached keyboard.

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“This quarter they were number one,” Jitesh Ubrani, an IDC analyst, told Foxnews.com. “The growth [for iPads] is coming solely from iPad Pros,” he said, rather than Apple’s other tablets like the iPad Air and iPad Mini.

 

Comparing the two shows how the Apple and Microsoft tablet hybrids stack up against each other in features:

The iPad Pro: Starting at $799 for the 32GB Wi-Fi-only model and $1,079 for the 128GB Wi-Fi and cellular version, the largest iPad weighs about 1.6 pounds and comes with Apple’s speedy A9X processor, a high-resolution Retina display, and of course Apple’s iOS operating system with all those popular apps. An Apple Pencil for sketching adds $99 and an Apple Smart Keyboard – which allows it to morph into a laptop – adds $169. There’s also the just-released 9.7-inch iPad Pro: this 1-pound tablet starts at $599 with 32GB of storage. The Smart Keyboard for the 9.7 incher is an extra $149.

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The Surface Pro 4: It sports a 12.3-inch display and starts at $899 for a model with a lower-performance Intel processor and 128GB of storage. And $999 gets you a higher-performance version with Intel’s faster Core i5 processor. The 1.7-pound tablet is offered with Wi-Fi wireless only. It does come with the Surface Pen at no extra cost, however. The Type Cover keyboard, which turns it into a laptop, adds $130.

So, why is the iPad Pro gaining so fast?

“Most Surface Pros are priced much higher” than most iPad Pro models, said Bob O’Donnell, President of TECHnalysis Research. “The iPad Pro is still primarily a tablet and therefore more prone to a spontaneous purchase.…[Microsoft’s] Surface Pro is really a PC,” O’Donnell added.

 

Though IDC didn’t provide first quarter 2016 numbers for specific devices, the firm said back in February that Microsoft sold around 1.6 million Surface devices in the fourth quarter of 2015, while Apple sold about 2 million iPad Pros.