Microsoft Surface: iPad Competitor

Poll: Will Microsoft's Surface tablet give the iPad serious competition?
Total Votes: 22
Yes. Microsoft has a winning product on its hands.
4
Yes, but only because it sucks less than Android.
4
No. Too complicated and it’s just Windows on a slab.
4
No, because the everything-for-everyone device strategy makes for mediocre products.
10
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    Posted: 17 October 2012 10:43 AM

    Microsoft’s Surface is available for pre-order and the company is hoping its will make a big splash in the tablet market. Will it be a serious competitor to Apple’s iPad?

         
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    Posted: 17 October 2012 10:54 AM #1

    It’s either a high priced tablet with a keyboard or a low priced ultrabook with a touch screen.
    Because its got Windows, and Office Docs. You’ll still have to worry about patches and drivers, and all the other things you deal with on a full Windows system. However it has a small screen. I think the market might perceive it as the latter, and that’s a different market.
    OTOH I’m never right about these things.

    [ Edited: 17 October 2012 10:56 AM by geoduck ]

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  • Posted: 17 October 2012 11:47 AM #2

    The arguments I’m hearing in favor of the Surface all seem to follow a certain line of thought:

    ” It runs full Windows like a real PC! It has a physical keyboard like a real PC! It runs Office and other productivity suites like a real PC!”

    Which begs the question: If that is what you want a tablet to be, then why don’t you just get a laptop PC? It does all of the above better than the Surface, and it doesn’t even cost more than a decked out Surface with a Smart Cover.

    I don’t get it?

    [ Edited: 17 October 2012 11:53 AM by Garion ]

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  • Posted: 17 October 2012 01:05 PM #3

    I think Microsoft is slowly learning they can’t grind out mediocre crap and expect to make a boatload of money on it, like they could in the 90s, so I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility that Surface might turn out to be a very nice product. Until someone actually gets some hardware to try out, however, there’s not much to go on.

         
  • Posted: 17 October 2012 04:27 PM #4

    In my view the Surface itself is only one facet of the equation here. What is almost far more important is how well in integrates into a Windows driven network. How much effort does it take to move content back and forth from Home to “Surface” to Work to “Surface” to Home. Can it and will it play nice with other Microsoft power devices and services. This was a rather large failing of the Zune and other prior Windows mobile phone-ish things.

    If they can get it to be the portable screen into your Microsoft life (your home PC, Xbox, Work world) and get it some stand alone functionality I think they’ll have product.

    On the device itself it’s almost worse then vapor ware right now because they clearly have ‘something’ but they aren’t sharing pricing details or if its guts are going to be Ultrabook or will they more ARM Tablet. They’ve promised both, with the ARM Tablet running a stripped down Windows 8 that only supports Metro (IMO iOS for Windows).

    To make inroads on the iPad it’s gotta be on price (or lower), similar quality (doesn’t seem likely), and work better at the things iOS sucks at (mainly file management) without turning into Android in terms of fickleness. On top of that they can’t look like they’re going to pitch it out the window after the first quarter if it doesn’t sell like hot Apples… because it won’t. MS has done that twice already. The Zune, WindowsPhone7, every time they’ve tried something new and it didn’t immediately get the same rabid response that even a ‘minor’ upgrade in an iOS device gets, MS has show a tendency to drop it like rock. That chills consumer response in the future. No one likes going unsupported a year after buying a product.

    IMO, that is why this time it feels different. The focus on getting Windows8 (as much as people are spitting at it) into a position that development can support it both Desktop and Tablet (touch screen) flavors makes it very different from the ill-fated Zune. Of course that could go down the tube out the gate if they make the ‘Exe’ buying process orneriness and don’t encourage 1-buy use-muliple owned programs… at least in Metro.


    *Edit*

    P.S.

    Why hasn’t the MS board fired Ballmer out of cannon yet and slashed his pension? He’s been a royal fuck-up since he came in. The only successful thing to really take off under him was the Xbox, and that likely because he didn’t have a hand in its development and setup.

    [ Edited: 17 October 2012 04:39 PM by Dorje Sylas ]      
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    Posted: 17 October 2012 07:30 PM #5

    I don’t know if this poll can be held yet.

    MS really needs the Surface out in the wild so it can be tried & tested & compared.

    I do wonder if it’s going to be another Zune. I hope not, but MS doesn’t exactly have a sterling record in that regard.

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  • Posted: 17 October 2012 10:54 PM #6

    Garion - 17 October 2012 11:47 AM

    The arguments I’m hearing in favor of the Surface all seem to follow a certain line of thought:

    ” It runs full Windows like a real PC! It has a physical keyboard like a real PC! It runs Office and other productivity suites like a real PC!”

    Which begs the question: If that is what you want a tablet to be, then why don’t you just get a laptop PC? It does all of the above better than the Surface, and it doesn’t even cost more than a decked out Surface with a Smart Cover.

    I don’t get it?

     

    My sentiments exactly.

         
  • Posted: 22 October 2012 02:17 AM #7

    Jeff Gamet - 17 October 2012 10:43 AM

    Microsoft’s Surface is available for pre-order and the company is hoping its will make a big splash in the tablet market. Will it be a serious competitor to Apple’s iPad?

    Jeff:

    Yesterday I saw my first Surface TV and it did nothing to explain the product or clear up confusion about the two different Surface models that are becoming available.

    Because the two Surface product lines run on different chips and different versions of Windows, it really is “buyer beware.”

    Anyone that has used an iPad with an external keyboard understands how counterintuitive it is to move from a touchscreen to a keyboard and back. Additionally, the keyboard cover is an additional purchase bringing the cost of the WiFi-only (no cellular option) to over $600. There no compelling reason to purchase a Surface rather than an iPad.

         
  • Posted: 24 October 2012 05:04 PM #8

    In isolation I think Surface itself and the new UI look nice, and are a good move. But there are a lot of other factors that I see causing problems for Surface and muddying the bigger picture of Windows 8.

    - Inevitable consumer confusion about differences between ARM and Intel models
    - Broader confusion about Windows 8 vs RT and what software they can run
    - Switching between Desktop vs. Metro style UI depending on what program you’re in
    - Tablet UI forced on the desktop PC too

    Personally I think it would have been better for Microsoft to push a single tablet version of Windows without a desktop mode, which doesn’t run any legacy stuff, and only runs on ARM, much like iOS. And keep desktop Windows as a separate product.

    [ Edited: 24 October 2012 05:10 PM by David Nelson ]      
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    Posted: 25 October 2012 09:55 AM #9

    My technical and intellectual curiosity is up to try one of these, but the thought of bringing Windows into my home is just too much. Just having to put up with the never ending updates on my PC at work is enough for me. I’m spoiled with the ease and problem free operation of Macs , iPhones and iPads.

    At least the commercials are less annoying than Samsung’s. if I hear “Deja Deja Deja Deja Vu” or ” when are we gonna get that bump bump thing” one more time I think I’ll puke-it’s ruining the baseball post season.

    The big colored square user interface on the MS device looks butt ugly to me. It reminds me of Windows 2 graphics.

    I wonder if the average web designer these days, that can’t design a web page to work correctly on anything but a PC Running standard IE will do any better designing for these devices.

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  • Posted: 25 October 2012 12:32 PM #10

    I saw a somewhat negative review of the Surface RT on Gizmodo yesterday. I think it’s too early to tell since there are still people (business IT) who will spec anything from MS. I agree though with you guys that the product is ripe for confusion about which version can actually run what.

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    Posted: 25 October 2012 03:33 PM #11

    My opinion is that people with Microsoft-centric ecosystems at home will want the Surface tablet, but will run into confusion in the UI and the fact that an iPad is not just better but also somewhat cheaper (or at least the same price range) and will either get the Surface and be sorry about it (maybe pretending not to be) or get the iPad because they can’t justify the Surface.

    What I think is wrong:
    - Price.  It’s in the same ballpark as iPad, but slightly more expensive with their keyboard covers.  This gives no compelling reason to buy it over the well-known and well-liked iPad.  It should have been a tad cheaper to break into the market.  E.g. Surface + keyboard cover should be the same price as iPad allowing Surface without the cover to be cheaper than the iPad.
    - Confusion between Surface and Windows legacy UIs.  Hopefully a non-issue on the tablet if you only get tablet-UI apps. (Especially the names.  I don’t know or even care what their official names are now.  Metro and Legacy works for me, but I guess MS doesn’t agree.)
    - No equivalents of iPad mini and iPad 2.  This is more on the price thing.  iPad 2 is still competitive with Surface from a consumer’s point of view, and it’s $100 cheaper.  The iPad mini competes in the 7” space where MS hasn’t even gone.  They’re still behind in the tablet market.  It will take a while for them to catch up.

    What I think doesn’t matter:
    - ARM vs. Intel options.  Average consumers don’t know and don’t care.  They’ll end up buying whatever the salesman tells them to.  Informed consumers will be able to make informed decisions.

    What I don’t know:
    - Integration and moving of data between MS devices.  Like iCloud, AirPlay, etc. in the Apple ecosystem.
    - Will some apps open in Windows legacy UI on a Surface?  I think the idea is that ARM tablets get tablet-only and Intel tablets get both?

    What is good:
    - They still have a lot of users.  Those users will be glad to consider MS tablets first.  If they work well and mesh in with the rest of the MS ecosystem then Surface could do quite well.
    - They are focusing on well-designed and well-marketed products.  If the product really measures up to what MS is saying about it, this could bode well for MS.  It lifts them above the cheaper Android tablets.  It could help improve MS’s image to be more cool.  It puts them more on the level with Apple.  They would probably like a view that MS and Apple were the top quality brands with Samsung, Google, Amazon, B&N as the low-quality brands.

         
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    Posted: 26 October 2012 11:19 AM #12

    I’m reserving judgement for now.

    I like that they’ve managed to innovate a new UI system for Windows 8 and RT that actually might differentiate the market a bit. Kudos. Only time will tell if the Metro interface benefits PCs.

    I think the blurred line between Windows 8 and Windows RT could hurt consumers. We’ll see how that works.

    I honestly hope Windows 8 and Surface are successful. I’m not an Apple owner; I’m an Apple customer. I’d rather deal with a competitive company than a monopoly.

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  • Posted: 26 October 2012 04:32 PM #13

    Actually, the Surface and Windows 8 does have me highly concerned.  I think MS is onto the right idea here and that it will take a chunk out of Apple sales.
    As I have written previously, I like the idea of having just one inter-operational operating system that works across devices.
    As much as I like Apple, I don’t like having the separation between iOS and OS. I don’t like only being able to load apps that come from Apple store and Apple-approved. I don’t like having to have separate apps for Macs and other devices.  I don’t like, on non-Macs, not being able to navigate, rename, find files, etc. like I can on a Mac.  And there may be excellent integrations between MS software (I LOVED Entourage for so many years!).  Now MS customers will get around all these limitations….and we won’t be able to.  A very sorry give-away of position indeed!!!!!!!
    For the first time in 30 years, I’ll be very interested in touching, feeling, and learning about MS devices and OS.  That will be a HUGE change!

         
  • Posted: 07 January 2013 03:45 AM #14

    in my view, i prefer the second option.

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  • Posted: 07 January 2013 09:48 PM #15

      I Guess it won’t be a serious competitor to Apple.  I believe the tablet side user experience is not that good with Surface. Surface takes lot of time , even to open up an application when compared to Ipad.