Surface Stories March 9, 2016

Microsoft continues its Mac assault in new Surface Book ad highlighting pen + touch [Video]

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.

Surface Stories March 31, 2015

Microsoft shifted its focus when it introduced the Surface Pro 3 last year to target both the iPad and the MacBook, but today the company announced a more consumer level iPad-like version of its tablet simply called the Surface 3 with the same $499 starting price as the iPad Air 2.

Google also unveiled a collection of new competitively priced hardware including new Chromebooks and a Chromebit HDMI running Chrome OS for under $100 … expand full story

Surface Stories December 22, 2014

iPhone 6 Surface Pro 3

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 full story

Surface Stories November 18, 2014

DISPLAY-mate-01

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 full story

Surface Stories November 17, 2014

Microsoft continues MacBook bashing in latest Surface Pro 3 ad for the holidays

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.

It certainly isn’t the first time Microsoft has put the Surface Pro 3 head to head with MacBooks in its advertisements. The company has been aggressively running the comparison ads poking fun at the MacBook’s lack of tablet-like features since it first compared the devices side-by-side live on stage at the introduction of its 12-inch Surface Pro 3 back in May.

Perhaps Microsoft will get back to comparing apples to apples when we get a 12-inch iPad Pro next year?

Surface Stories November 5, 2014

Microsoft Surface product placement in CNN election coverage fails as iPads revealed behind them [Updated]

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 … ?

Left image screengrab tweeted by Microsoft employee  Stephen Legler. right grab by IT developer @adamUCF

Surface Stories September 4, 2014

Ron Johnson at Apple store opening

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.”

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Surface Stories August 11, 2014

Oh dear. Just when we thought Microsoft might have gotten over its misleading Surface tablet ads attacking the iPad (and iPad mini), it has run three new ones, each attacking the MacBook Air (the other two are shown below the fold).

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 full story

Surface Stories May 13, 2014

Multitasking_Air

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.

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Surface Stories March 27, 2014

XTouch Commercial/Proof of Concept – make every surface tap sensitive from Vladimir Druts on Vimeo.

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 full story

Surface Stories September 12, 2013

Microsoft offering up $200 discounts on Surface with iPad trade-in

Microsoft has recently kicked off a new campaign that offers iPad users a $200 Microsoft Store gift card to trade-in their Apple tablet. While the gift card is applicable to any item inside of Microsoft’s stores, the company is positioning the offer as push for sales of the Surface tablet. The deal ends on October 27, 2013.

This campaign is just one aspect of Microsoft’s attempts at trumping Apple’s iPad. Over the past several months, Microsoft has been running TV ads that position Windows 8 for tablets the Microsoft Surface against the iPad. These ads have highlighted the multitasking capabilities of Windows 8, and have panned the iPad for the lack of a kickstand and USB ports. 

As for the Surface, the tablet has essentially been a flop, leading the company to take a $900 million write-off on the device. Nonetheless, the company will be upgrading the more-than-year-old tablet later this month. Apple, for its part, is expected to unleash its new iPads about a month later.

Surface Stories July 19, 2013

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 full story

Surface Stories May 23, 2013

Microsoft hits iPad again, this time about hardware specs, multitasking, printing

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!

Surface Stories May 22, 2013

Latest Windows 8 tablet commercial uses Siri to mock iPad ads, pricing, capabilities

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:

Surface Stories May 10, 2013

“It’s like giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell”

That’s what Steve Jobs said of iTunes for Windows when asked why Apple made its software for competing Microsoft users in 2007.

But times have changed. Apple continues to make/support iTunes for Windows desktop computing environments, but it doesn’t need Microsoft’s outlier tablet users who now represent the third largest share of tablet OS behind iOS and Android (by the way, don’t expect iTunes for Android any time soon either).

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 full story

Surface Stories May 6, 2013

Bill Gates and Conan O'Brian play an Xbox game at CES in Las Vegas

Frustrated with your iPad’s lack of Office and no physical keyboard? Probably not but that doesn’t stop Bill Gates from believing it.

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.

The problem with this notion, as we all know, is that no shortage of keyboard cases for the iPad exists and productivity users have long since found a solution for their Office needs.

Microsoft has been rumored to launch Office for iOS for a while now, but it is hard to recall why it matters anymore with so many other solutions available.

Check out the 7:30 mark in the video below:

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Surface Stories April 23, 2013

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Logitech makes some pretty amazing iPad keyboards and now they can pretty much say the cover the spectrum of what’s out there. Today the company announced new $149 Logitech FabricSkin Keyboards that look and act like the keyboard case that comes with the Microsoft Surface. Even better? These guys are waterproof so you can just wipe away the coffee that you just spit out.

“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.

They are available for pre-order at Logitech and will start shipping next month.

Full-sized image gallery, another video and press release follows: expand full story

Surface Stories October 23, 2012

Here’s what early reviews of Microsoft’s new Surface tablet are saying

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.

Wired:

The Verge:

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.

ABCNews

The Surface is full of potential, but until its software performance and apps are as strong as its hardware, I, unfortunately, will still drag both a laptop and an iPad through security.

TIME:

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.

Gizmodo:

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.

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