The Omnibus AFB Surface Topic

  • Posted: 19 June 2012 11:29 PM #76

    FalKirk - 20 June 2012 01:49 AM
    Mav - 20 June 2012 01:25 AM

    Never thought I’d do this - but I’ll be watching the Surface intro keynote now that it’s up.  As-objective-as-possible commentary to follow.

    It’s a very good keynote. Microsoft did a first class job in secrecy, preparation, presentation and their hardware looks excellent and sounds fantastic.

    I’ll be very interested in reading your thoughts on the presentation, Mav.

    I think you’re being very generous.

    If Apple is the benchmark for events and we’re rating MSFT on a scale of 1 to 10.  I’d give them a 5.

    Why?

    1.  Lack of product details.  No pricing.  No availability.  No specifications. No kidding?
    2.  Confusing product separation (RT vs. Pro) will give consumers a headache.
    3.  Busted demo (oops—how many tablets did MSFT have tucked behind that table?)
    4.  It was not polished.  The presenters were nervous and showed it.  Ballmer’s demeanor was that of a CEO who’s been waxed by the competition too many times and he’s pissed.
    5.  Lack of originality and inventiveness.  I didn’t see anything new here except another tablet that lacks apps and a highly compromised ultraportable with a screen too small for legacy Windows programs.
    6.  Aside from the flat keyboard that attaches by magnets (gee, where did they get that idea?), the hardware is rehashed and uninspiring.  Not all consumer decisions turn on aesthetics, of course, but you mentioned that it looks “excellent.”  It’s a personal thing, so I’ll put this subjective item last.

    Did we see the same presentation?

         
  • Posted: 19 June 2012 11:41 PM #77

    I’m not joking when I say this:

    It’s just a big Zune HD.

    [ Edited: 19 June 2012 11:51 PM by Francisco Geraci ]      
  • Posted: 19 June 2012 11:44 PM #78

    Mercel - 20 June 2012 02:29 AM
    FalKirk - 20 June 2012 01:49 AM
    Mav - 20 June 2012 01:25 AM

    Never thought I’d do this - but I’ll be watching the Surface intro keynote now that it’s up.  As-objective-as-possible commentary to follow.

    It’s a very good keynote. Microsoft did a first class job in secrecy, preparation, presentation and their hardware looks excellent and sounds fantastic.

    I’ll be very interested in reading your thoughts on the presentation, Mav.

    I think you’re being very generous.

    If Apple is the benchmark for events and we’re rating MSFT on a scale of 1 to 10.  I’d give them a 5.

    Why?

    1.  Lack of product details.  No pricing.  No availability.  No specifications. No kidding?
    2.  Confusing product separation (RT vs. Pro) will give consumers a headache.
    3.  Busted demo (oops—how many tablets did MSFT have tucked behind that table?)
    4.  It was not polished.  The presenters were nervous and showed it.  Ballmer’s demeanor was that of a CEO who’s been waxed by the competition too many times and he’s pissed.
    5.  Lack of originality and inventiveness.  I didn’t see anything new here except another tablet that lacks apps and a highly compromised ultraportable with a screen too small for legacy Windows programs.
    6.  Aside from the flat keyboard that attaches by magnets (gee, where did they get that idea?), the hardware is rehashed and uninspiring.  Not all consumer decisions turn on aesthetics, of course, but you mentioned that it looks “excellent.”  It’s a personal thing, so I’ll put this subjective item last.

    Did we see the same presentation?

    I don’t agree with you but this isn’t one of those times when I’m trying to argue with you or argue you out of your position. I’m glad to get your take.

    I think Microsoft accomplished their purpose. They wanted to generate buzz and they did that in spades. I think their presentation was well done and I’m not grading on a curve. Your criticisms, while all quite real, were also probably inconsequential. Microsoft got the job done.

    Now if the purpose of Microsoft’s presentation was to freeze the market, then I think they failed abysmally. I suspect that only a handful of people are going to wait for the unannounced Windows Surface and those people are desperately trying not to buy tablets anyway. So in that sense, I think that the presentation - due to its timing and its lack of specificity with regard to release dates and pricing - would have failed no matter how well it was executed.

    In a broader sense, I think that Microsoft is energetic, highly motivated and executing at a very high level. However, I think their grand strategy is badly flawed. To use a metaphor, it doesn’t matter how fast Microsoft climbs the ladder of success if the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.

         
  • Posted: 19 June 2012 11:50 PM #79

    Francisco Geraci - 20 June 2012 02:41 AM

    I’m not joking when I say this:

    It’s just a big Zune HD.

    You know, it’s easy to use the Zune in order to unfairly mock Microsoft, but truth be told, the parallels between the Zune/iPod and the Surface/iPad are truly remarkable.

         
  • Posted: 20 June 2012 12:01 AM #80

    I would say that, being Microsoft, I wasn’t expecting much, and therefore, I was impressed by the boldness of the products, and the plan in general. 

    The Products—
    Magnesium case reminded me of Liquid Metal.  Thin, strong, highly detailed molding. 
    Impressively thin, at least the RT version.
    The back stand, while gimmicky, seems well-designed and well-functioning, at least by reports.
    The soft keyboard—it’s original.  It seems like vaporware at the moment (no working prototypes at the event).
    The Surface(s) are much more impressive than anything I’ve seen from the Android world.  It’s tough to compare them to iPads without holding and using one, and seeing it up close.  The ‘vent slit’ seems suspect.  At a glance, from a hardware design standpoint, I prefer the seamless simplicity of the iPad.

    The Plan—
    I didn’t see it coming, that MS would make such a big leap into hardware.  It is somewhat audacious, considering their history and OEM relationships.  I think it is probably a smart move on their part.  I have my doubts that they can pull it off, but I give them credit for trying.  I also give them credit for designing something that is very unlike the iPad (and too, an OS that is very unlike iOS).  I think this is smart.

    Demerit points for (as usual) not announcing availability or pricing, as well as showing and promising a product that is obviously a good way off from shipping.  I do think a big part of the exercise was to try to stall potential iPad buyers, who might be coming from the PC camp.  It just might work, to a degree. 

    To really succeed in tablets, I think they need to do something dramatic in the phone area.  Ballmer admitted that they need to focus on a software/hardware ecosystem, and that the hardware matters, A LOT.  I would not bet that they will be successful, but I think it is what they need to try.

    What’s next?  Microsoft branded PC’s?  TV’s?  Why not go for the gusto, Mr. Ballmer?

    In short, Microsoft has pretty much admitted that the Apple way is the smart way.  Even while listening to the script, there were many moments that seemed like they could have been lifted from Apple keynotes.

    I use to despise MS, then I just stopped paying attention to them.  Now, I’m impressed.

         
  • Posted: 20 June 2012 12:17 AM #81

    FalKirk - 20 June 2012 02:44 AM


    I don’t agree with you but this isn’t one of those times when I’m trying to argue with you or argue you out of your position. I’m glad to get your take.

    I think Microsoft accomplished their purpose. They wanted to generate buzz and they did that in spades. I think their presentation was well done and I’m not grading on a curve. Your criticisms, while all quite real, were also probably inconsequential. Microsoft got the job done.

    Now if the purpose of Microsoft’s presentation was to freeze the market, then I think they failed abysmally. I suspect that only a handful of people are going to wait for the unannounced Windows Surface and those people are desperately trying not to buy tablets anyway. So in that sense, I think that the presentation - due to its timing and its lack of specificity with regard to release dates and pricing - would have failed no matter how well it was executed.

    In a broader sense, I think that Microsoft is energetic, highly motivated and executing at a very high level. However, I think their grand strategy is badly flawed. To use a metaphor, it doesn’t matter how fast Microsoft climbs the ladder of success if the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.

    I think its purpose WAS to freeze the market, and that intangible played into my grade.  Although I agree MSFT gets kudos for taking risk here, the hubris is still there.  But it’s still a demo without details.

    We’ve seen this movie before.  The most recent MSFT sequel is the Windows Phone.  Although MSFT has delivered a solid alternative to Android, it’s not iOS 6 and the Lumia 900 isn’t the 4s.  If MSFT gets solid reviews for its mobile and consumers receive it with a collective yawn, why should we expect something different here? 

    I agree that MSFT’s strategy is flawed.  And it won’t help that Windows 8 will crawl out of the gate slower than a tortoise with hemorrhoids.

         
  • Posted: 20 June 2012 12:18 AM #82

    This is a good article illustrating how consistently Microsoft comes up short trying to solve the tablet riddle:

    Microsoft’s long and tortured history in tablets

    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-06-19/microsoft-tablet-history/55682538/1

         
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    Posted: 20 June 2012 12:27 AM #83

    90% of the time I use the iPad it’s on my legs. What the heck would you do with the keyboard flap on that thing. Apple’s keyboard was thought out well for how you use a tablet. And the prop would hardly get used either. Dumb ideas if you ask me. They may be little techno-wonders, but totally useless on a tablet. They’d be better off marketing it as a laptop.

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  • Posted: 20 June 2012 01:02 AM #84

    Paul S. - 20 June 2012 03:01 AM

    I didn’t see it coming, that MS would make such a big leap into hardware.  It is somewhat audacious, considering their history and OEM relationships.  I think it is probably a smart move on their part.  I have my doubts that they can pull it off, but I give them credit for trying.  I also give them credit for designing something that is very unlike the iPad (and too, an OS that is very unlike iOS).  I think this is smart.

    I agree with every word and with every sentiment except for the second to last sentence. I think that what Microsoft does is, they look at what their competitors have done and then they try to make something differentiated. All of their products are designed to “one-up” the competition. Unfortunately for them, they’re usually so late to the party that different is simply not enough to distinguish them from their competitors.

    What Apple does is they step back, ignore what everyone else has done and try to build the best whatever that can be built.

    And that, has made all the difference.

         
  • Posted: 20 June 2012 01:07 AM #85

    Paul Goodwin - 20 June 2012 03:27 AM

    90% of the time I use the iPad it’s on my legs. What the heck would you do with the keyboard flap on that thing.

    I think you’re being unfair. It’s no more intrusive that Apple magnetic cover is.

    Paul Goodwin - 20 June 2012 03:27 AM

    They’d be better off marketing it as a laptop.

    And therein lies Microsoft’s problem. They don’t believe in tablets. They believe that PCs are tablets and Tablets are PCs. They want you to pretend to use your tablet as if its a notebook computer. They’re not trying to enhance your tablet, they’re trying to convert it.

         
  • Posted: 20 June 2012 01:56 AM #86

    The device looks nice, if a little derivative - which is not a crime, until proven otherwise in a court of law.

    The OS? So far opinions have been lukewarm. They try to cover two bases, and seem to fall a little short on both.

    Available apps? We shall see! MS have been very busy buying up medium sized and small shops that make innovative apps. This story has not seen much press, but it’s a smart, long-term move.

    I sense no excitement about it at all at my workplace. My wife was still unaware that MS had even introduced a tablet yesterday, when I asked her.

    So where does this leave us?

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    Posted: 20 June 2012 02:13 AM #87

    Another stand out quote from the keynote, this time from Steven Sinofsky: “We see a tablet that is designed the way that Windows has been designed”. Yep, that’s what people want.

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  • Posted: 20 June 2012 02:16 AM #88

    dduck - 20 June 2012 04:56 AM

    I sense no excitement about it at all at my workplace. My wife was still unaware that MS had even introduced a tablet yesterday, when I asked her.

    I dunno. My mom saw an article about it in the paper today and asked me about it. She owns an iPad but she seemed impressed that the Surface came with a case that had a built in keyboard.

    I use my mom as a barometer of public sentiment. I figure if my mom knows about it, EVERYBODY knows about it. I think Microsoft got the publicity they were so desperately seeking. Whether it profits them is another matter.

         
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    Posted: 20 June 2012 02:35 AM #89

    I give Microsoft a 5-6 on the event and a 3 for the content.

    I’m all for originality and the competition making great products, which makes everyone better and benefits the consumer.  (Oh, and the Surface does have front and rear cameras, good to know.)

    But, potential multi-touch issues aside (Steve Jobs:  “And boy have we patented it”), putting aside the awkwardness of the speakers at points, there’s serious problems with the Surface intro event and the Surface demo…or lack thereof.

    - The overfocus on mice was borderline (note the choice of words) embarrassing.  A mouse is NOT a tablet.  It was built as an accessory, yes an important one, but it’s no computer.

    - Really, Microsoft shouldn’t have overplayed their hand on hardware in general.  Guys, let your presence speak for itself.  Underpromise, overdeliver.  Don’t try to connect dots that aren’t there.

    - When Ballmer kept repeating “surface” in ways not commonly used in the English language (let’s face it, the typical syntax would be “bring X to the surface”), I kept thinking of something like this:

    - Microsoft COMPLETELY screwed over its OEMs.  Whatever reassurances Ballmer gave in his opening remarks were totally contradicted by the rest of the event.

    - Heck, Ballmer was in on it too, basically saying:  “People want it all, work and play, productivity/entertainment/consumption…and this is the way to do it.”  Subtext:  We’re making the end-to-end solution, the One Computer.  Integration, particularly of that nature, doesn’t leave much room for hardware partners.

    - Magnesium…theoretical flammability makes me nervous. 

    - Horrendous lack of demoing.  Guys, use that HDMI to show off apps, and when you do, do it for more than 15 seconds! 

    - Doubling down on widescreen.  Cameras and “Home button” are best accessed from landscape orientation.  You better believe navigation, never mind regular use will be a lot more difficult in portrait.  And

    WHAT IS STILL UP WIT
    THE STUPID CUTOF
    TEXT AND PICTUR
    MOTIF FROM WIND
    PHONE 7?!?

    - Kickstand is fine…until you want to be more interactive, like play a game.  22 degrees…nuh uh.  It’s set up pretty OK for typing with an add-on…but I’ll get to that.

    - Given that Smart Cover is over a year old, you sure as heck better have made something better, Microsoft.  But until we hear otherwise, it’s an optional accessory.  That’s a problem.  You can buy an iPad by itself and be OK.  You can buy a Windows Surface but you’re feeling like you’re missing out without one of the Touch Covers.

    - With the proper accessory *cough* typing on glass is just fine.  At least on an iPad - I can’t speak for the other tablet competition.  In fact I was shocked how used to typing I got on the iPad - when I first tried it here and there at the Apple Store, it was a fairly steeping learning curve from the iPhone.

    - Touch Covers live and die by the table.  Makes you wonder about the other use cases, like the classic lounging around, or people flying coach.

    - True multitasking - there IS a price to be paid here.  Battery life, hm…

    - No self-respecting pro user will run AutoCAD, Photoshop, etc. on an ultrabook, much less a tablet.  On the go, maybe.  Everywhere else?  It’s NOT a full PC.  It’s NOT a high-powered PC, Mr. Angiulo.

    - 1080p = NOT a Retina Display for the PC Surface.  But nice try, Microsoft.

    - Super Wi-Fi.  Point for Microsoft.

    - Around 30-31 minutes into the keynote video - Why do you have all those prototypes stacked up there?!?

    - Panos’ presentation:  Surface feels great by itself.  You absolutely cannot be without the Touch Covers, just leave it on all the time.  Well, that kind of changes the feel, doesn’t it?

    - Overselling Touch Covers.  Your tablet should be complete out of the box.  So here’s hoping you’ll put a Touch Cover IN the box.  Will you?

    - Having Touch Cover change the screen background is a plus.

    - No actual typing demo with Touch Cover said all I need to know about the perfect typing experience as of right now.

    - Microsoft better hope Touch Covers don’t stay active when they’re flipped over.

    - Pricing and availability - laughable lack of details.  Like the HP TouchPad - you didn’t have to announce at this point!  You didn’t!  Wait until the product is more final!

    - Don’t promise hands-on time and then underdeliver.  Just, don’t.

    Well, let’s see how Microsoft’s convergence effort stacks up.  Uh, I guess I’m talking about the Intel Surface model?

    [ Edited: 20 June 2012 02:41 AM by Mav ]

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    Posted: 20 June 2012 04:45 AM #90

    FalKirk - 20 June 2012 05:16 AM
    dduck - 20 June 2012 04:56 AM

    I sense no excitement about it at all at my workplace. My wife was still unaware that MS had even introduced a tablet yesterday, when I asked her.

    I dunno. My mom saw an article about it in the paper today and asked me about it. She owns an iPad but she seemed impressed that the Surface came with a case that had a built in keyboard.

    I use my mom as a barometer of public sentiment. I figure if my mom knows about it, EVERYBODY knows about it. I think Microsoft got the publicity they were so desperately seeking. Whether it profits them is another matter.

    likewise, my wife saw a brief new report on the 6pm news, and said the keyboard cover looked awesome.

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