I have been quite torn on Microsoft’s new product unveiling. Parts of them seem inspired and (perhaps) even well thought out, but overall it seems that Microsoft still is making the same mistake. Not only are they alienating allied PC vendors in a bid to win over Apple’s high end customers, they seem to lack an understanding of why Apple earned those users in the first place.
There is a great piece that reflects how I feel about Microsoft’s new products, by the talented Matt Birchler on BirchTree (rocking a beautiful new design to boot!):
The Surface Pro 4 was just released, and the PC world is basically losing its mind over it. It’s fast, has a nice screen, can be packed with RAM and storage (up to 16GB RAM and 1TB hard drive), and looks relatively nice. On paper, this looks like it blows Apple’s soon to be released iPad Pro out of the water. And while it is kid of crazy that you can get a tablet with those type of specs ($2,699 for those specs), it fails at doing what makes the iPad Pro so special.
Right on the money. At the moment, tons of people are fawning over the Surface 4 and the Surface Book (strange hinge design included) and forgetting that while Windows 10 is a big step up from 8 and 8.1, it is really more because it takes us back to earlier desktop friendly interfaces (ala Windows XP and 7) rather than doing a anything all that new.
Windows 8/8.1 weren’t great, but they certainly were new. They just were not particularly well thought out or easy to use. There is a reason Apple refuses to merge OS X and iOS. Microsoft might want a unified Windows brand, but they seem to misunderstand the compromises they are making by fusing it all together.
I suspect that, as mentioned in this piece, iPad Pro will triumph in experience regardless of specs. Matt nails this point in the piece during this particularly insightful portion of his article:
But Microsoft thinks that there is no need to change. They are throwing faster hardware at the same old operating system we’ve always had. They say that Windows 10 is a “no compromises” OS, but that’s not true. They can make live tiles show a little data and they can make buttons a little bigger so your fingers can touch them, but that doesn’t change the fact that Windows 10 is a desktop operating system at heart, and it comes with all the baggage of a desktop OS.