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  • Microsofts Surface Tablet: The Good, The Bad and The Apple



    Microsoft officially announced their Surface tablets yesterday. The tablets are available in two models, the cheaper ARM-based, Surface RT and the Intel i5-based Surface Pro. In true Microsoft fashion as of late they got a lot right, a lot wrong, and a lot of things Apple.


    The Good

    1. Design

    This thing looks good. The device is thin with no abrasive lines, or ugly accent colors. It’s simple, looks functional, and has a built-in kickstand. Which, if implemented on the iPad/iPhone, would eliminate a whole category of accessories.

    2. Ports, ports, ports and storage

    HMDI, Display port, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, these things have all the connectivity you could want in a tablet. Of course that depends on what version you buy (the RT only has USB 2.0). Also, storage varies from 32GB with the smallest Surface RT to 128GB in the largest Surface Pro.

    3. The magnetic cover is awesome

    The magnetic cover Microsoft debuted with the Microsoft Surface makes Apple’s Smart Cover look really, really stupid. It features a super-thin keyboard and multitouch trackpad. Apple’s Smart Cover is just a cover.

    4. Fully functional Windows 8 applications on your tablet

    It will potentially run all of your Windows 8 applications with ultrabook like performance depending on what version of The Surface you get. Adobe Creative Suite on your tablet? Check. Office Suite? Check.

    5. A tablet to genuinely challenge the iPad:

    Android tablets are Android tablets. Outside of the Transformer Prime not much is really exciting, and certainly nothing is in a position to directly challenge the iPad. Microsoft’s entry has the potential to be a legitimate challenger if for no other reason than Microsoft owns over 90% of the personal computing OS market share worldwide. Moving this to a functional tablet interface with Windows 8 and its Metro UI means less headaches for IT professionals.

    The Bad

    1. The name

    It’s called Surface Windows 8 Pro. This is bad. Even if Microsoft didn’t already have a line of multitouch tables called Surface this would be bad. It doesn’t scream tablet, it’s ambiguous, and nearly as bad as Apple’s MacBook Pro With Retina Display (guh).

    2. Two different models

    Microsoft pulled a Microsoft. Windows comes packaged in infinity flavors, and while they boiled it down to two models for their tablets the Surface RT and Surface Pro the models feature incompatible operating systems. The Surface RT is an ARM-based system with a lower resolution screen and runs a Metro version of Windows 8. The Surface Pro is an Intel i5 based tablet running the full version of Windows 8. Both versions feature different ports as well (Mircro HD vs Mini Display Port, USB 2.0 vs 3.0) and have different displays (full 1080p for the Surface Pro, not so much for the RT). However, their physical builds are nearly identical.

    3. No word on price, release, and the app predicament

    Microsoft’s presentation featured lots of buzzwords and grand ideas and a great piece of hardware, but no information on availability or price except that The Surface will be priced competitively. This is huge. The Surface RT will presumably be in the $500-$600 range based on its ARM architecture, but the specs of the Surface Pro rivals many $1,000 ultrabooks. Also, with an estimated release date later this fall, and even later for the Pro version, Microsoft gives Google and others a chance to undercut and beat them to market.

    4. They wouldn’t let anyone use the awesome multitouch keyboard cover hybrid

    This accessory looks awesome, but Microsoft wouldn’t let a soul on hand for the announcement actually touch the damn thing. Reports claim that Microsoft reps claimed they could type faster than 60wpm the first time they used the device. Yea, that’s fantastic, not let me touch it.

    5. Buyer confusion, developer frustration

    Microsoft’s release timeframe places The Surface RT coming out months before The Surface Pro. This wouldn’t be a huge deal except that both tablets share a surname and run incompatible operating systems. Seriously? Imagine if Apple announced the Retina Display iPad ran a different OS than the iPad 2. Yea this is that kind of stupid. The average consumer won’t know the difference, and will likely be peeved they can’t run the Windows programs they thought they could with the RT version compared to the Pro version. All of this is made worse by the fact both Surface models look nearly identical sans the thicker housing of the Pro model due to beefier internals.

    The incompatible models mean developers have two tablets with incompatible operating systems they have to develop for. Does a developer make a Windows 8 application and optimize it for tablet use, or do they build a stand alone Metro tablet app or do they do both? Apple's iOS applications can run across multiple devices without problems. Microsoft's won't be able to run on products that share the same name.

    They pulled an Apple. Almost.

    Microsoft managed to keep two fantastic pieces of hardware out of the public eye up until its announcement. This is decidedly an Apple technique, but they missed a few integral steps.

    1. Announce, and make immediately available.

    The argument can be made that Microsoft wants to build hype surrounding Windows 8, and this will help in the months before its release. This is a problem. Microsoft let the rabbit out of the hat, but now the magician wont be paid till months after the show. Competitors know their hand, and can bring products to market with similar features before the likely fall release of Windows 8 and either tablet. Microsoft should have launched both tablets alongside Windows 8.

    2. Excitement

    Steve Ballmer looked like zombie launching a product. Microsoft announced arguably the most capable tablet other than the iPad, with a truly forward thinking accessory, and the people most excited about it were those watching, not those who built it. Steve Jobs and those who inherited his empire genuinely adore the products they produce, and that excitement is infectious to the Apple masses, and media.

    3. Battery Life

    Ok, this shouldn’t be a big deal in this new age of functional computing, but things like battery life are essential pieces of information buyers need to know. The ARM based Surface RT will likely get 8-10 hours of life, but the Intel i5 based Surface Pro could get substantially less battery life with comparable tablets on the market now registering 3-5 hour of battery life.

    Conclusion

    The Surface line of tablets look to be the first genuine threat to Apple’s throne at the top of tablet world. However, Microsoft has directly positioned itself not only against Android tablets, but have positioned them against hardware makers who will license and run their operating system. Microsoft has proven it can design and release great products, but they’ve also proven they can botch product launches, and prove ineffective at marketing their computing devices to the masses.

    The lack of information regarding exact specs, release date, and the fact no one was able to use their awesome keyboard cover signals to me they haven’t finalized the hardware yet. Microsoft should have held off announcing their new tablets until Windows 8 launched, and they should have released a single tablet instead of two almost identical devices that run incompatible operating systems.

    I hope Microsoft's Surface tablets are successful, Apple needs the competition and consumers need the choice. But, the separation of Microsofts tablets into two incompitable products could create problems especially for developers. Who would want to develop tablet Metro apps if they only work on a device with a more capable older brother?
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Microsofts Surface Tablet: The Good, The Bad and The Apple started by Phillip Swanson View original post
    Comments 67 Comments
    1. d_animality's Avatar
      d_animality -
      Quote Originally Posted by subywrex View Post
      WAIT?!?!??! you mean to tell me that my iPad has been running fake applications this entire time?? WTF I'm taking it back to apple as we speak!!!!

      lmao.. a tablet is meant to be a tablet. your so called "real" applications are not built for a touch screen. Yes you can then plug in a mouse i suppose and play video games but i can play video games with my iPad just fine..lol I have a feeling this tablet is going to run like every other small based windows machine, slow laggy and like crap!.

      Apple is restrictive in the sense that there products are stream lined. Yes does the iPad need some better features? of course i agree 100 percent.. But as of right now i can hook my bluetooth keyboard case (yes i know this comes with a keyboard but this set up looks like its meant for a desk and not your lap on the couch) and do actual real work using the fake application (as you say lol) that are available to us on the AppStore.

      I have no doubt at all this is going to be a great hit. but gonna take more than a windows platform to beat out apple in this game..
      LoL... that's really Apple fanboy the way ure sayin' .... Chillax there.. we see how M$ thing works first before jumping into conclusion... after all i really love both OS ... .. and as for the "keyboard cover" .. do u guys really think Apple will make such.. they will be labeled as "stealing" if they made one that looks/functions like it
    1. subywrex's Avatar
      subywrex -
      Quote Originally Posted by d_animality View Post
      LoL... that's really Apple fanboy the way ure sayin' .... Chillax there.. we see how M$ thing works first before jumping into conclusion... after all i really love both OS ... .. and as for the "keyboard cover" .. do u guys really think Apple will make such.. they will be labeled as "stealing" if they made one that looks/functions like it
      Don't have to wait to try I can logmein to my Mac and use applications with a touch screen. They don't work good. There not designed for touch.

      And yeah I am a fan of apple products. Isn't that why we are all on MMI? Because we're all fans of apple?

      My point is saying that just because it won't run software you can install on a computer doesn't make any less of of an application
    1. d_animality's Avatar
      d_animality -
      you guys should see the ads.. so cool tho --> Surface by Microsoft - YouTube and i think its more like a laptop than a tablet... but cant wait to see and feel it personally
    1. brodimus's Avatar
      brodimus -
      If the Pro version is actually as awesome as it sounds, I see no reason whatsoever to buy an iPad over this. USB? Full OS? No waiting for a jailbreak for BASIC functionality? Sign me up.

      Quote Originally Posted by thazsar View Post
      I like the 'Smart Cover/Keyboard'....and that's about it!
      Come on, how can you not like USB 2 and 3, or HDMI? Stop fanboying.
    1. Ruthless Killa8's Avatar
      Ruthless Killa8 -
      These look great, especially the pro version. Nothing that Apple offers can even compare. I'm thrilled that products are coming out that finally utlizise the great technology we have today so we do not have to settle for the half-assed products that Apple keeps releasing. I hope Apple finally steps their game up.
      And no, I am not a Microsoft fanboy. I am an iPhone and iPad owner sick of Apple making no improvements to their product and leaving out the most basic of features
    1. thazsar's Avatar
      thazsar -
      Quote Originally Posted by brodimus View Post
      Come on, how can you not like USB 2 and 3, or HDMI? Stop fanboying.
      I love how MMI members refer to Apple owners as fanboys!

      FYI, I share files using Dropbox... No need for USB. Also, I use AirPlay on my 'fanboy' iMac & 'fanboy' Apple TV; so no need for HDMI.

      Lastly, I don't even care about the iPad. I have one and don't use it. But the numbers don't lie, it's the top tablet and it'll be hard to beat...sorry!

      I do agree w/ Ruthless Killa, Apple needs to improve instead of lying stagnant.
    1. brodimus's Avatar
      brodimus -
      Dropbox is neat. But it doesn't beat the instant, direct access of USB. Fact. Not to mention you won't have to pay for a connection kit in addition to any interface you want to plug into it.

      Apple TV - $99. HDMI cable - Maybe $10 with no WIFI needed.

      And you pretend like you're winning? I'm not saying all Apple owners are fanboys, that would be dumb, especially as I type from a JB 4S and my MB Pro is a foot away. But you? I'm just looking at the evidence man. To deny that this is awesome, at least on paper, just wreaks of it.
    1. cpotoso's Avatar
      cpotoso -
      I was about to get a macbook air, the full surface tablet gave me pause. Will wait and see.
    1. bossngex's Avatar
      bossngex -
      windows 98? Great
      windows Me?FAIL
      windows XP? Great
      Windows Vista? FAIL!
      Windows 7? Great
      Windows 8? ....Must be FAIL
      we must wait for windows 9 LOL...
    1. thazsar's Avatar
      thazsar -
      Quote Originally Posted by brodimus View Post
      Dropbox is neat. But it doesn't beat the instant, direct access of USB. Fact. Not to mention you won't have to pay for a connection kit in addition to any interface you want to plug into it.

      Apple TV - $99. HDMI cable - Maybe $10 with no WIFI needed.

      And you pretend like you're winning? I'm not saying all Apple owners are fanboys, that would be dumb, especially as I type from a JB 4S and my MB Pro is a foot away. But you? I'm just looking at the evidence man. To deny that this is awesome, at least on paper, just wreaks of it.
      Again, LOL!

      If u wanna call me a fanboy, then so be it. I used to be anti-Apple until I got tired of dealing w/ Windows problems. For YEARS and YEARS I was constantly having to diagnose/debug my Windows PCs. So if that makes me a fan, then that's fine!

      Specs don't matter so much to me as performance and reliability. My friends that bought 'top of the line' PCs when I purchased my first MacBook have either switched to Mac or are looking to switch. Why? Because Windows fails, in time...forcing us to buy again & again.

      BTW, I've used Windows 8 on a Samsung Tablet. It was cool BUT also took a big learning curve while still being glitchy. You don't deal w/ that kind of stuff on Mac/iDevices (you of all people should know that).

      So don't assume I don't know what I'm talking about cuz I do. Aside from IT, I'm the 'fix-it' guy!!! Mac is user-friendly and reliable...

      FYI, Apple is far from perfect but Windows can't even compete anymore!
    1. ensigma's Avatar
      ensigma -
      Maybe I'm missing something, but can someone elaborate a little more on why Microsoft shouldn't have announced the surface tablet in advance like they did? I see this as strategic move to build hype and lure in consumers who may be in the market

      Quote Originally Posted by cpotoso View Post
      I was about to get a macbook air, the full surface tablet gave me pause. Will wait and see.
      or in this case, even someone in the market for a macbook.
    1. rkswat's Avatar
      rkswat -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rasta4Jah420 View Post
      As usual, rookie writing.... "Yea, that’s fantastic, not let me touch it. " I think you meant "Yea, that's fantastic, now let me touch it"

      I also believe "Mircro HD" Was meant to be "MicroHD"

      But what do I know? I dont write for a technology site
      No but you know how to be a real douch! If you find typos how about sending the writer a PM and have them fix it.

      Quote Originally Posted by brodimus View Post
      ....And you pretend like you're winning? I'm not saying all Apple owners are fanboys, that would be dumb, especially as I type from a JB 4S and my MB Pro is a foot away. But you? I'm just looking at the evidence man. To deny that this is awesome, at least on paper, just wreaks of it.
      +1

      Quote Originally Posted by thazsar View Post

      If u wanna call me a fanboy, then so be it. I used to be anti-Apple until I got tired of dealing w/ Windows problems. For YEARS and YEARS I was constantly having to diagnose/debug my Windows PCs. So if that makes me a fan, then that's fine!
      Specs don't matter so much to me as performance and reliability. My friends that bought 'top of the line' PCs when I purchased my first MacBook have either switched to Mac or are looking to switch. Why? Because Windows fails, in time...forcing us to buy again & again.
      BTW, I've used Windows 8 on a Samsung Tablet. It was cool BUT also took a big learning curve while still being glitchy. You don't deal w/ that kind of stuff on Mac/iDevices (you of all people should know that).
      So don't assume I don't know what I'm talking about cuz I do. Aside from IT, I'm the 'fix-it' guy!!! Mac is user-friendly and reliable...
      FYI, Apple is far from perfect but Windows can't even compete anymore!
      Not sure if you and your friends are tards or what but I've been rocking windows machines and have NEVER had an issue with any of them other than the fact they get old and it's time to replace them (which is true with any machine windows or apple). Never had a virus, never had blue screen of death, never had an OS failure, never never never. I still have one of my machines I bought back in 99 running a kick *** P1 866mghz! I didn't want to spring for the extra $500 for the 1ghz.

      I'm not saying macs are bad computers..... I don't like them but that doesn't make them bad. Your bunch seems to have a lot of problems with your windows computers so makes me believe it's more user error than OS or hardware related.

      Windows computers do more than compete as sale figures tell you. Sure macs are gaining market share but they had no where to go but up sitting at the bottom for SO many years. I won't own an apple machine simply because I don't like how they function AND I can get a better machine spec wise for about 1/2 the cost. Macs look great and a lot of people love how they function.... I'm simply not one of them. I will stick with my windows OS that I have never had an issue with and be happier for it. Good luck to you and your friends with macs.

      As far as this tablet goes I love how the "fanbois" (you know who you are) are discounting this thing before it even gets going. Will it replace the iPad on the top of the hill? No of course not. Does it fill a niche that the iPad can't? Of course it does. I honestly would rather this be my next tablet over another iPad. PLUS those of you that are talking crap about what it offers if apple came up with these ideas you would be puking out how awesome it is and how much apple innovates. How many threads have we seen about adding HDMI and USB to the iPad? Now it comes offered on another device and people talk crap about it. Typical.
    1. ddonuts4's Avatar
      ddonuts4 -
      Quote Originally Posted by rkswat View Post
      No but you know how to be a real douch! If you find typos how about senging the writer a PM and have them fix it. How about we highlight all your fuckups for all to see?

      Sure he could have been more subtle about it, but he was just trying to help. Also...

      *douche
      *sending
      *having
      umad?
    1. subywrex's Avatar
      subywrex -
      Quote Originally Posted by rkswat View Post
      No but you know how to be a real douch! If you find typos how about sending the writer a PM and have them fix it.


      +1



      Not sure if you and your friends are tards or what but I've been rocking windows machines and have NEVER had an issue with any of them other than the fact they get old and it's time to replace them (which is true with any machine windows or apple). Never had a virus, never had blue screen of death, never had an OS failure, never never never. I still have one of my machines I bought back in 99 running a kick *** P1 866mghz! I didn't want to spring for the extra $500 for the 1ghz.

      I'm not saying macs are bad computers..... I don't like them but that doesn't make them bad. Your bunch seems to have a lot of problems with your windows computers so makes me believe it's more user error than OS or hardware related.

      Windows computers do more than compete as sale figures tell you. Sure macs are gaining market share but they had no where to go but up sitting at the bottom for SO many years. I won't own an apple machine simply because I don't like how they function AND I can get a better machine spec wise for about 1/2 the cost. Macs look great and a lot of people love how they function.... I'm simply not one of them. I will stick with my windows OS that I have never had an issue with and be happier for it. Good luck to you and your friends with macs.

      As far as this tablet goes I love how the "fanbois" (you know who you are) are discounting this thing before it even gets going. Will it replace the iPad on the top of the hill? No of course not. Does it fill a niche that the iPad can't? Of course it does. I honestly would rather this be my next tablet over another iPad. PLUS those of you that are talking crap about what it offers if apple came up with these ideas you would be puking out how awesome it is and how much apple innovates. How many threads have we seen about adding HDMI and USB to the iPad? Now it comes offered on another device and people talk crap about it. Typical.
      coming from someone who refuses to buy a mac for its price, i built one. OSX as an AS is FAR better than any windows I've used. I don't know what you do to not get errors, but i actually have a laptop sitting next to me with windows 7 that won't boot after doing a system update. Not to mention the virus's and malware. If you think you have never had a virus then either 1 your in denial, or 2 you just don't use the internet..lol.

      its not about fanboy or not, some of just prefer apple OS over MS OS.. Why is that so hard for people to understand. Just because something is spec wise better doesn't make it better. The only thing i use a usb for is to hook up peripherals to my desktop, and the only time I've ever done it on a laptop is to jailbreak an iPhone (most of the time i just do it on my hack).

      However, i am excited to see how this thing performs in real life. I have a feeling that people are going to get it and go try and run photoshop, or some other heavy tasking application and realize it doesn't run that fast. For god sakes its a tablet lol. A lot of people criticize the iPad for being locked down. yes it has its frustrations, but over all its a stream lined OS that does more than i need it to be.

      But then again I'm not a laptop fan. windows or osx. I think there all limited in capability and power. With my desktop i have easily double the power of most laptops.


      One thing i am very curious about on this tablet is the way the kickstand and keyboard hold up. I know when i use my iPad i am usually not around a table. it sits in my lap or on the couch in front of me (i have a bluetooth keyboard case) so i wonder if it will be able to do this with out always wanting to fall down..

      Non the less maybe this will force apple to bring some new things to there line
    1. krayzeeman's Avatar
      krayzeeman -
      Maybe if the thing is not locked down we can install Max OS X (hackintosh) on it, and get the best of both worlds...
    1. bro0klyn's Avatar
      bro0klyn -
      4. They wouldn’t let anyone use the awesome multitouch keyboard cover hybrid

      This accessory looks awesome, but Microsoft wouldn’t let a soul on hand for the announcement actually touch the damn thing. Reports claim that Microsoft reps claimed they could type faster than 60wpm the first time they used the device. Yea, that’s fantastic, not let me touch it. [maybe the "actual one" on hand was not of the functioning variety ? maybe there were no guts inside ? kinda like when car manufacturers release/show a concept car, they usually have no motor, or a donor motor from a production model just 2 make the car roll a few feet onto the turntable. just a thought [outside the box]
    1. bigboyz's Avatar
      bigboyz -
      Its a nice product..in my opinion. I just have a feeling by the time it launches, there will already be several "copy cats" In the end it looks like MS has made the biggest leap of all..bridging the PC and the tablet to meet in the middle. Apple has not done this. They offer the iPad and the Mac Air. Two different OS's and two different markets. With the Surface you get an all in one combo. I hope the next iPad has some break through technology and is more Mac like with style, OS, look, feel and operation. It is the future of computing. We call it a tablet as of now..in the future we will call it a computer
    1. Greatbiguns's Avatar
      Greatbiguns -
      Quote Originally Posted by thazsar View Post
      I like the 'Smart Cover/Keyboard'....and that's about it!
      That Cover/Keyboard is B@D @SS!!
      I love having the option of a real keyboard but hate that all of these add-ons make my iPad bigger, this idea is Fantastic!
      I'm a hard core APPLE Fan, but I have to give them credit, Nice Job on that custom feature.
    1. Dark_Ninja's Avatar
      Dark_Ninja -
      Quote Originally Posted by rkswat View Post
      As far as this tablet goes I love how the "fanbois" (you know who you are) are discounting this thing before it even gets going. Will it replace the iPad on the top of the hill? No of course not. Does it fill a niche that the iPad can't? Of course it does. PLUS those of you that are talking crap about what it offers if apple came up with these ideas you would be puking out how awesome it is and how much apple innovates. How many threads have we seen about adding HDMI and USB to the iPad? Now it comes offered on another device and people talk crap about it. Typical.
      Dude This!! Very well said. It's funny how good people think their stuff is until something else offers what they current "best thing" doesn't and then it's crap but if their best thing offered the same thing before it did then it would still be the best lol.

      I am a huge Mac fan. Have a custom built iMac as well as many iPods and iPhones. I do not have a tablet yet cuz I was waiting for a good iPad to come out and was planning in getting the iPad 3 buuuut will wait and see this thing come out first.
    1. thazsar's Avatar
      thazsar -
      Now, this Windows product I'd buy!!!
      http://d35lb3dl296zwu.cloudfront.net...mit-0019_2.jpg