Microsoft may have tried to make nice last Christmas with its ‘Peace on Earth’ performance in front of the 5th Ave Apple Store in New York City, but a new year means a new chance to target Macs and sell more Surface tablets.
Microsoft has never been shy about trying to convert MacBook Air users into Surface Pro 3 users. Despite being in a room filled with MacBooks, Microsoft targeted Apple’s laptop head-on at its initial Surface Pro 3 announcement event.
Now Microsoft is further highlighting the differences between the MacBook Air and Surface Pro 3 with a new online campaign (via ZDNet) intended to encourage Mac users to feel comfortable trying out Microsoft’s latest tablet.
Whether you’re considering Surface Pro 3 or have recently purchased one, we want to say thank you! We designed Surface Pro 3 to make you more productive in every aspect of your digital work and life. We’re truly humbled you’re here, and we’re excited to see what you do with your new Surface.
The recently launched microsite is the latest in a campaign largely led by ad spots (the latest holiday spot is almost pleasant) mocking the MacBook Air’s lack of touch screen, stylus, and more compared to Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3. Expand Expanding Close
Following its detailed reports on displays used in the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, today DisplayMate published a scientific analysis of color accuracy for the six best mobile displays it’s tested this year. Despite ranking high in some categories in the test, Apple’s new entries, the iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2, end up at the bottom of the list overall. Expand Expanding Close
Same old story, but with a Christmas theme this time around in the latest Apple-bashing Surface ad from Microsoft. Touchscreen, kickstand, USB, etc, Microsoft has given up on comparing its tablets with the iPad and instead wants you to believe Surface Pro 3 is an acceptable substitute for a MacBook Air.
Microsoft must have thought it had pulled off a nice piece of product placement when it gave CNN election commentators a bunch of Surface Pro tablets to help with their coverage. CNN dutifully covered its desks with the devices, resulting in a series of proud tweets from Microsoft fans.
There was just one small problem, noted by GeekWire: a closer look revealed that hidden behind the Surface tablets were the iPads that commentators were actually using. In one case, the commentator was actually using her Surface tablet as a stand for her iPad.
Microsoft, which was last year forced to write down $900M on its ill-fated tablet, has frequently taken pot-shots at the iPad, running a series of misleading Surface tablet ads attacking the iPad (and iPad mini) before more recently turning its attention to the MacBook Air. Switching overt advertising for product placement doesn’t seem to be working out too well.
Update: iMore later drew our attention to CNN anchor Mathew Sheffield digging deeper into the hole, claiming he was using both devices:
So, er, using the Surface as a dumb monitor while actually doing stuff on the iPad, then. Didn’t Microsoft tout the famed multi-tasking abilities of the Surface while claiming the iPad was only a single-use device … ?
Former Apple Senior Vice President of Retail (then ousted JCPenney CEO) Ron Johnson made a somewhat rare public-facing appearance on Andreessen Horowitz’s podcast. The discussion comes in at just under half an hour and features the former head of Apple Retail discussing his experience with leading the Apple Store as well as the challenge for up-and-coming startup brands to afford brick-and-mortar retail channels, but more interesting from an Apple perspective is Johnson’s praise for Microsoft’s retail stores and the Surface 3 tablet that the company heavily markets against Apple’s MacBook Air.
“I think the Microsoft stores have succeeded much more than popular opinion. […] I think it’s really helped, for instance, the Surface 3. It’s a really great product and we all know that. Everyone who has tried a Surface 3 is pretty blown away with the software, the interaction, how it can be a tablet and a computer, its part of the future. Without those stores that Surface 3 wouldn’t be where it is today.”
Microsoft’s decision to go on the offensive is perhaps understandable: while Apple can run a MacBook Air ad simply observing that it’s “the notebook people love,” poor sales of the Surface despite high marketing costs have so far resulted in Microsoft losing $1.7B on the device … Expand Expanding Close
iOS 8 is likely to supercharge the functionality of Apple’s iPad with a new split-screen multitasking feature, according to sources with knowledge of the enhancement in development. These people say that the feature will allow iPad users to run and interact with two iPad applications at once. Up until now, each iPad application either developed by Apple or available on the App Store is only usable individually in a full-screen view.
XTouch, an SDK created by a group at the University of Toronto’s Mobile Applications Lab and funded by JOLT, turns any surface into a touch-sensitive controller for iOS apps with no additional hardware. Since XTouch uses acoustics and vibrations to recognize taps on a surrounding surface, the only requirement is that your iPhone or iPad is placed on the same surface you want to use as a touchpad. An SDK is coming soon that will allow developers to think up many interesting implementations, but for now the company has released two apps that show off what XTouch is capable of. Expand Expanding Close
Despite Microsoft’s disastrous quarterly earnings report, in which it took a $900M writedown on discounted Surfaces, the company has just pushed out a new ad for its Surface v. iPad campaign.
As with its previous advertisements, Microsoft bashes the iPad’s inability to perform certain tasks that the Surface is specifically designed to handle. This particular ad highlights the iPad’s lack of built-in back stand, USB port, and keyboard accessory, all of which are not built-in to or included with the iPad.
Interestingly, in this ad, the Siri-inspired voiceover says, “This isn’t going to end well for me, is it? Nope definitely not ending well,” which is particularly intriguing given yesterday’s financial results. As evidenced by these results, it would appear that Microsoft’s Surface is in a precarious position, and not Apple’s iPad. Expand Expanding Close
Following up on its ad from yesterday claiming that the iPad is not a productivity device, Microsoft has posted a new ad pitting Windows 8 tablets against the iPad. Today’s ad focuses on expressing that Windows 8 tablets are better productivity devices with the full Microsoft Office suite rather than just OneNote and multitasking capibilities. Additionally, the Redmond-based company pits a single ASUS tablet’s weight and thinness against the iPad. Additionally, Microsoft shows how that single ASUS tablet includes an SD card reader, and the company claims that Windows 8 printing is more versatile than Apple’s AirPrint. Thanks, Matthew!
Microsoft’s latest television commercial for Windows 8 tablets uses a Siri voice-over to mock the iPad’s pricing and capabilities. The ad appears to frame Windows 8 tablets as more capable for productivity and more valuable for the price (via The Verge). What’s somewhat comical here is that one of the few advantages Microsoft touts for its tablets is the ability to run PowerPoint, something Microsoft has clearly been holding back from the iPad for some time now. Would it surprise anyone to see another couple of ads in this series focusing on Word and Excel?
Oh, and how much of that 64GB of space on the Windows tablet at the end is free for media? You’re lucky to get half of the space.
Microsoft’s ad is in similar style to Apple’s late 2012 advertisement to introduce the iPad mini. Apple’s ad below:
In fact, the iTunes ecosystem is a competitive advantage as Apple sells its iOS tablets, smartphones and TVs against Android and now Windows 8 devices. Where Windows dominated the userbase in the early 2000s, Apple now is the leader in the current ecosystem race.
That’s why it comes as no surprise that Microsoft’s Windows division CFO Tami Reller is telling folks not to expect a Windows 8 ‘Metro’ iTunes app:
“You shouldn’t expect an iTunes app on Windows 8 any time soon,” said Tami Reller, chief financial officer of Microsoft’s Windows division. “ITunes is in high demand. The welcome mat has been laid out. It’s not for lack of trying.”
It should be noted that Microsoft has been dragging its feet in delivering the once ubiquitous Office Suite of applications for iOS which is now letting competitors (Like Pages/Numbers/Keynote and Google Apps) thrive on the now dominant iOS and Android touch platforms. Expand Expanding Close
Serving as the lone hero for Microsoft’s compromise PC-tablet (the Surface Pro even has a fan, you know, like a PC), the Microsoft co-founder cited users’ growing frustration with the software and hardware limitations of the iPad as we move further into the post-PC reality.
“We’ve combined design cues from the world of high fashion with the unbeatable typing experience you expect from Logitech to bring a new level of self-expression to iPad protection,” said Mike Culver, vice president of brand development for tablet accessories at Logitech. “TheLogitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio and Logitech Folio give you more than just a protective case for your iPad, they add a distinctive accent to your iPad that reflects your personal style.”
Logitech worked with world-class designers to identify chic fabrics and a bold color palette and combined them with a clean design. As a result, both the Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio and Logitech Folio are offered in a range of colors from Electric Blue and Sunflower Yellow to Mars Red Orange, and in an array of on-trend fabrics from matte leather to finely woven cotton.
“By developing color and material options that evoke our senses and speak to our individuality, Logitech has made owning an iPad unique again,” said Beatrice Santiccioli, world-renowned color expert and designer. “I brought my knowledge in color and design to Logitech to help inspire the selection of materials and develop a color palette that builds a strong emotional connection to people’s lifestyles.”
Don’t want the keyboard but still want the case? Have an iPad mini? The Logitech Folio is keyboardless, fits both iPads, and costs $70.
Early reviews for Microsoft’s new Surface tablet have been released this evening, giving us a look at the company’s supposed “saving grace.” According to the pundits who got their hands on it early, things aren’t looking too good for Microsoft. Many are complaining about a lack of apps, awkwardness of the Windows 8 RT operating system, and a buggy platform. It sounds like the iPad will remain unchallenged by Microsoft…for now.
It does the job of a tablet and the job of a laptop half as well as other devices on the market, and it often makes that job harder, not easier. Instead of being a no-compromise device, it often feels like a more-compromise one.
There may be a time in the future when all the bugs have been fixed, the third-party app support has arrived, and some very smart engineers in Redmond have ironed out the physical kinks in this type of product which prevent it from being all that it can be. But that time isn’t right now — and unfortunately for Microsoft, the clock is ticking.
My 48-year-old eyeballs have no trouble telling the difference between iPad Retina text and the Surface’s ClearType — but overall, the Surface’s screen is one of the best I’ve seen on a tablet.
The screen, incidentally, is 16:9, an aspect ratio designed with Windows 8′s panoramic interface in mind. It lets you see more apps without panning, and is well suited to the feature that allows you to snap a widget-like version of one app on the side of the primary program you’re using. Microsoft thinks Surface buyers will use the tablet mostly in landscape mode; it works in portrait orientation too, although the aspect ratio leaves it looking like a small-but-tall magazine.
In the end though, this is nothing more than Microsoft’s tablet. And a buggy, at times broken one, at that, whose “ecosystem” feels more like a tundra. There’s no Twitter or Facebook app, and the most popular 3rd party client breaks often. The Kindle app is completely unusable. There’s no image editing software. A People app is supposed to give you all the social media access you’d ever need, but It’s impossible to write on someone’s Facebook wall through the People app, Surface’s social hub; the only workaround is to load Internet Explorer. Blech. Something as simple as loading a video requires a jumbled process of USB importing, dipping in and out of the stripped-down desktop mode, opening a Video app, importing, going back into the Video app, and then playing. What.