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After much consideration I've decided to invest in a portable tablet so that I'm no longer tethered to my Workstation at home and can double my output of designs by working on the go. I currently use an Artisul D13 tablet and it's been good to me, but I've recently tried my friends iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil and it completely blows mine out of the water. It's highly responsive with no lag, pressure sensitivity was off the charts, and there was no parallax which completely blew my mind! I went to Best Buy to purchase one and stumbled upon the MS Surface Book 2 on display so I checked it out. Now I'm conflicted because the Surface Pen is just as impressive as the Apple Pencil! The fact that the Surface Book 2 also doubles as a laptop and runs Windows 10 is a huge plus, but I need to inquire about a few things before I make such an investment. 


1) Designer is the main app I use for my illustrations so I was wondering when it's coming to the iPad Pro or if there's some type of beta I can use until the full release. 


2) If I get the Surface Book 2 am I allowed to install the same Designer & Photo I have on my PC or do I need a different License?


3) I know Photo is optimized very well on the iPad Pro so is it safe to assume that the same could be said for all versions of the Surface Book 2? 


4) Let's say I get the Surface Book 2 with the i7 CPU, GTX 1060 GPU, and 16gb of Ram; Are there any type of performance benefits to having all the extra memory and computing power? If so what are they?


Sorry for the long post and please feel free to comment. All opinions are welcome specially if you have an iPad Pro or the Surface Book 2. :)

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1) Lead developer @MattP posted a teaser video to Twitter last July, but no one at Serif has given us an ETA for the public release (beta or retail) of Affinity Designer for iPad.

2) The licence for the Windows version of either app allows you to install the product on any compatible Windows device that you own or control, as long as you're the only one using it for commercial purposes.

3) As Matt explained here, the iPad's hybrid CPU/GPU architecture gives it performance advantages over a system with an external GPU.

4) I'll leave this one to users who have an iPad Pro or a Surface Book 2.


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Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher for Windows 1.9.1 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.9.1 • Designer for iPad 1.9.1 • iPadOS 14.4.2 (iPad Air 2)

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Even though I am a Mac user with no interest in Windows PCs, for you I think the Surface Book 2 is clearly the better choice, give or take how much you are willing to spend for one of the pricier high performance models (which could easily cost well over $2000 USD). Here's why:


• From everything I have read the Surface Pen & Apple Pencil are so similar in responsiveness (on the Surface Book 2 & iPad Pro, respectively) that neither one has an edge in this respect. However, the Pen optionally offers several different tips that simulate the feel of different hardness artist pencils (2H, HB, etc.) while the Pencil only has one available tip.

• The Apple Pencil has a rechargeable (& non-removable) battery that offers about 12 hours of use between charges. The Surface Pen is powered by replaceable AAAA (yes, 4 A's) batteries that MS says can last up to a year with 'normal' use. The Apple Pencil recharges very quickly (15 seconds of charge time provides 30 minutes of use) but even so you may prefer to avoid the hassle of having to recharge it.

• You can use both desktop Windows Affinity apps with the Surface Book 2 right now. For the iPad Pro you are currently limited to the iPad version of Photo.

• The iPad version of Photo is not as full-featured as the desktop version.

• Because of some limitations in how iOS handles exchanging document files with other devices, moving Affinity files between your PC workstation & an SB2 should be much simpler.

• You presumably already know the Windows OS quite well, but if you have not used an iOS device or iPad much there will be an additional learning curve for that.

Affinity Photo 1.9.3, Affinity Designer 1.9.3, Affinity Publisher 1.9.3;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.92.236 & Affinity Designer 1.9.2 (showing 1.9.9) for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 14.4 (18D52)

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6 hours ago, OldytroN said:

The fact that the Surface Book 2 also doubles as a laptop and runs Windows 10 is a huge plus,


If this is particularly important to you, definitely go for the Surface Book 2.

I love the iPad Pro as a fantastic solution for lightweight portability, and with iOS 11 it is making in-roads on inter-app communication, but (in my opinion) it still doesn't match the overall flexibility, power, and general utility of a full OS (MacOS or Windows). 


6 hours ago, OldytroN said:

4) Let's say I get the Surface Book 2 with the i7 CPU, GTX 1060 GPU, and 16gb of Ram; Are there any type of performance benefits to having all the extra memory and computing power? If so what are they?


More from reading and some limited in-shop previews than personal experience:

I suspect the i7 is a minor advantage in speed but not a huge advantage for 2D work and non-gaming applications. The extra memory may add to speed and responsiveness, especially when working with very large multi-layered projects (the more you can run in-memory before swapping to disk, the better). If portability is extremely important, I'd say consider the Surface Pro, but from what I've read/seen, the Surface Book's screen is sufficiently superior to tip the balance for design work.

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Thanks for taking the time to reply guys. I think you're both right; the Surface Book 2 is probably the best option for me since iPad Pro doesn't have Designer yet and I already have both Affinity apps for Windows. It's definitely pricey, but it's a worthwhile investment towards getting my business off the ground so it'll pay for itself eventually. 

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