Surface Stories September 4, 2014

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

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, 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

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


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