More than a decade ago, Bill Gates predicted that tablets would outpace PC usage in the United States within a timespan of five years. His timing was obviously off, but his idea was on the right track. Tablets have yet to outsell PCs, but it s easy to see how that could happen soon.
Bill Gates Prediction
Back in 2001, Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates also predicted that tablets would become the most popular forms of computers sold in the United states within five years. While Microsoft was definitely the king of PCs, they can t claim the same for tablets. They don t even have one on the market yet, despite Gates having made that claim eleven years ago.
Apple Was The First
Apple was the first to storm the tablet market, and that s exactly what they did —they took it by storm. It turned the other hardware companies into also-rans. Everyone talks about getting an iPad, but you don t hear as many people talking about Galaxys. They talk about the Kindle Fire, but it has more to do with the fact it can do double as both a tablet and a reader.
Have they already lost thepotential audience? Certainly Microsoft fans have already bought tablets, deciding not to wait until they could buy one with a Windows-type of software running it. After waiting this long, Microsoft needs to offer a compelling tablet. If they want to tap into the audience that Apple created, the Surface needs to be impressive. What they re offering is something a little different. It s a tablet, but with the addition of options normally found within laptops. And as an Apple product user since 1989, there is no way I would make the switch. I use my iPad with a keyboard/cover/stand. When it s set up, it resembles a laptop. I have all the ease of use that comes with an iPad including the iOS software, which I prefer to OS X. Amazon.com Widgets
What’s So Great About Microsoft Surface?
So what are these great features of the Microsoft Surface? For one thing it comes with a stand. It also has a removable cover. It actually features two different choices, one that has a keyboard imprinted on the inside of it with separations for the different keys, and another with actual keys. For people like me who are fast touch typists, Apple s screen keyboard is too hard to use. It slows me down. That s why I added a keyboard to it. It sounds like Microsoft has noticed that missing in the iPad and decided to make up for it. But the Surface still has a screen keyboard like the iPad, so there are different choices. Additionally it has a USB port.
I can t tell you how many times I ve wished for that on my iPad. Since there are people like me who use an iPad as a laptop, and others who use it more as just a large mobile device, Microsoft is putting two versions on the market, the Surface RT and the Surface. One will run on the upcoming Windows 8, and the other on Windows RT. Instead of expecting one device to fulfill both needs, they developed two separate ones. Those who have tried the Surface report that it seems a little slow and that the touchscreen gestures seem too difficult to remember and navigate. That just seems wrong for anything connected to Windows. Admittedly, things have changed a lot over the past twenty years in terms of technology. Once, PCs were considered the “go-to” devices for things like number crunching and if you wanted good graphics, you went with a Mac.
Yet somehow they re trying to keep up with Apple and are losing some of that speed they had been known for. However, what Microsoft is doing better than Apple is that they re making it easier to create and manage documents. Additionally, you can run multiple apps side by side, a feature that is sorely lacking on the iPad. I can t tell you how often I have wished for that. The most the iPad can offer is apps that do double duty, such as a browser that can double as a notepad. It s been mentioned that one of the struggles for the Microsoft Surface community will be with the apps. Since they re starting late in the game, they have a lot of catching up to do. For me, an admitted app connoisseur, that would be a huge drawback.
I have so much available to me now that I wouldn t want to “step down” with only a few apps while I wait for developers to catch up. The prices of these two versions of the Surface are comparable to what s already on the market, and that seems to be very puzzling. One of the reasons consumers end up with a PC instead of a Mac is because it is cheaper. With the expected release of the Surface being months away, we don t know exactly what the price will be yet, but they are saying it will be “comparable”.
If the prices of these tablets are comparable to the iPad, Microsoft will need another reason to coerce people into choosing the Surface over the iPad, Fire, or Galaxy. It appears as if Microsoft is breaking with its traditional definition of its “brand”, as a foray into the tablet market is quite a different direction for the Seattle based software giant. With Apple, their branding has stayed consistent. Visually, the devices are always extremely attractive, and they always feature an ease of use. The prices may be more than you would pay for something similar, but you know you re getting the top of the line. Tablets are supposed to be quick and easy, portable, and cheaper than a PC alternative.
Microsoft is failing at some of these, mostly in the software end. While they re doing great things that are needed on the iPad, they re failing at some of the things Microsoft consumers look for. What will the Microsoft community, their loyal customers, think? Will they be willing to abandon the iPads that they ve been using for a year or two to now pick up the Surface? Microsoft took a huge gamble by entering the battle this late in the game. The advantage comes from being able to compensate for mistakes that Apple has made in its product rollout.
They ve fixed and changed some of those things to entice more of the market. The disadvantages are that to do all of this, they are abandoning some of their branding principles, and by waiting so long to be able to identify the areas of the tablet that were in need of changing, it may already be too long of a wait. They might have lost the war before it started.