But I have a different perspective on Microsoft products. Not because I’m an Apple guy, but because my father is a Microsoft Certified Developer.
For months now, my father has been extolling the virtues of Windows 8 to me, showing off the cool new features and the Metro interface. I like it, I really do. But the same question I have is the one that he’s been wondering himself: how does it work without touch?
For my father and millions like him, it doesn’t. Well, it does, but not really well. The UI isn’t intuitive, and no one can figure out how to move from Metro to the Start button — which may or may not exist, depending on the situation. It’s a mess frankly, but now we have at least one answer, and it’s the Surface.
Right now, it’s the prettiest piece of vaporware I’ve ever seen. I mean, there’s this big event with lots of people all excited and talking about the product. But there is no release date and no price. What kind of hype machine is that?
Besides — remember the Courier? I do, because not only did I want one, I thought it was brilliant. Back then we didn’t know what the iPad could do because it wouldn’t be in anyone’s hands until April 3, 2010. The Courier was talked about, and everyone thought it was the next big thing. It wasn’t. It never happened.
The Surface is definitely a step in the right direction. For one, it does exist. From what I understand, the ARM version will be competitively priced and the Intel version will be in the Ultrabook range. What’s that mean? That Intel one is going to be around a grand, and we can hope the ARM one is under $500. If not, it’s DOA. Sure, people will buy it, but not the 67.1 million that have bought an iPad so far.
But here’s what I really want to happen.
I want the Microsoft Surface to come out and blow everyone out of the sky. I want it to be priced under $400 for the ARM model and $800 for the Intel version. And it’ll come with Windows 8, which will work flawlessly and make everyone forget Vista ever existed.
Because competition breeds innovation. Let’s face it; Microsoft just one-upped Apple with that Type Cover (but they also stole the magnetic cover design from them too, something which I bet we’ll see a lawsuit over at some point). I bet the concept made execs at Apple do a full-on facepalm, because it solves a problem that everyone has with the iPad — typing without an external keyboard isn’t awesome. It’s not horrible, but it’s not suitable for daily work, not for the most part. Microsoft just made it work.
If Microsoft does succeed with this thing, the next iPad is going to be phenomenal. Then the Surface will one-up Apple. Then it reverses again, each time with the consumer being the overall winner.
I want Microsoft to succeed because it means that Apple is going to innovate more as a result. And I can’t wait to see what they come up with.