Microsoft Surface launch vs iPad launch - the mash up


Chris Keall

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (left) and Steve Jobs

Our friends at ReadWriteWeb have created the below video, which cruelly intercuts scenes from Apple's original iPad launch with Tuesday's Microsoft Surface event.

The idea is to mock Microsoft's at times ham-fisted attempt to ape an Apple-style event (and the clip below includes the excruciating moment when Windows chief Steven Sinofsky has a demo tablet crash on him; the speed with which he whips off the stage to grab a back-up suggests it's something that happened in rehearsals, too).

Microsoft's main problem was self-inflicted, however. 

Steve Jobs always built to a big finale where he announced the latest wonder product's price and release dates. 

Poor Mr Sinofsky was reduced to saying the Surface would be "competively price" when it was released ... some unknown time down the track.

So: a mixed event, which drew mixed reaction (see NBR's quick summary here).

Still, the Surface has hit headlines, and generated a lot of social media - which is more than you can say for most recent Microsoft initiatives. 

I can see the Windows 8-powered Surface Pro doing okay in the business market. I briefly used a Slate tablet running Windows 7 (yes, there are such things on the NZ market), and the ability to run full-blooded Windows apps on a tablets is incredibly convenient. A lot of Windows software is easier to wrangle with a keyboard; embedding one in the Surface's case looks like a genius move (providing the tacticle keyboard option is rigid enough to use on your lap - these little things matter).

Buy contrast, the iPad (various add-ons notwithstanding) is still centred around content consumption, not creation - something I personally find frustrating. Same goes for Android tablets. I'm still not sure if the answer for content creation-focussed users will be a Surface (or an iPad with keyboard attachment), or to carry around an ultrabook or laptop. But at least Microsoft's in the game.

In terms of the consumer market, Surface doens't have any hardware feature to worry iPad, and its app and content strategy (not to mention price) is unclear.

iPhone apps can be used on an iPad (even if some of them don't look so good on the bigger screen).

What's the situation with Windows Phone apps?

Windows Phone 7 [the current version of the software used by the Nokia Lumia and other smartphones in the Microsoft camp is different code, with some shared logic and resources (fonts, colours, logos, etc)," explains Ben Gracewood, a developer with Auckland based Marker Metro.

The next version of Microsoft's smartphone platform will improve matters.

"Windows Phone 8 will allow us to uplift large parts of the same code we use for Windows 8 and recompile (rather than re-write like we have to do with Windows Phone 7). It's not perfect, but it's a lot better," says Mr Gracewood.

And what's the sitation with Surface RT (running Windows RT) and Surface Pro (running Windows 8 Pro)?

"The exact same code will run across Surface RT and Surface Pro, zero changes required. All the Windows 8 apps we've been building will run on both," Mr Gracewood says.

2 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.

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2 Comments & Questions

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

The biggest difference between apple and microsoft is that Apple actually releases is products straight after. Select few actually taken them away from the event so they can blog real life useage to build demand.

MIcrosoft could really have said anything they want as it isn't an actual product until it is offered to the public.

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I am waiting for something that will dual boot android and windows. I want windows for business and something else for fun. I doubt Apple will provide one that will dual boot windows so it is more likely that we will get an android/windows option. In fact I think such devices are on the way - or so I have heard.

I use a high spec windows laptop with VMWare for business.

I use Kindle for reading novels (including outside in the sun). I want a good colour PDF reader for documentation and training courses and something to read electronic magazines - so either android or ipad will do that.

And I want a device that flashes up quickly to do work which is a smaller foot print than my PC.

I have a samsung G 2 phone - but its a bit small for pdfs for my older eyes.

So analysing all above and dual boot android - windows combo would be perfect.

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