There’s a semi-popular Mattel card game called Apples to Apples. It’s an interesting matching game which compares this to that, sometimes in a crazy way.
Likewise, we technology pundits often compare Apple to various technology competitors. Microsoft and Samsung do exactly that in their respective advertisements. Here’s the problem with such Apple to oranges comparisons. They don’t always work.
I’ll Show You Mine
My first example is the version of OS X which Apple managed to stuff into the iPhone, and later the iPad. While it may be OS X inside, it’s not a Mac on the surface. Apple recognized that the interface of handheld device should be different than a standard personal computer.
Allow me a moment to gloss over a comparison to Google’s Android OS. It should be obvious to all that Android is merely a clone of iOS (judging from what Android looked like prior to the iPhone).
Apple proved to be a disciplined company and kept the interface to iOS devices simple and straightforward. The old saying, “If it has a stylus, they’re doing it wrong” applies here.
Apple believes that mobile device computing (iPhone and iPad) deserve a different user interface experience than a desktop or notebook Mac user interface. What about Microsoft?
Windows Phone, prior to and after iPhone, was a mess as the Windows maker tried to cram in a complicated user experience onto a small device which was even more complicated to use. Apple’s mobile device paradigm changed the industry and Microsoft was required to follow with an updated Windows Phone interface model.
What about the tablet and notebook arena. Again, Apple remained divinely disciplined about what each product could and should do, how it should behave, and what users wanted and needed. Microsoft, on the other hand, was desperate to gain traction in mobile, so shoehorned Windows into a thin notebook, added some touchscreen features, and called it a tablet.
Yet, the tablet experience on Microsoft’s Windows tablets is far different from the tablet experience of an iPad. Yet, Microsoft has little trouble comparing the two in a typical Apples to oranges method in television and online commercials. Why? Microsoft is desperate, so has little need for exact comparisons, and must resort to bending the truth and shading facts to gain an edge, even if the ethics of doing so are questionable.
In such cases, Apple takes the high road of promoting a good user experience, while Microsoft lumbers along comparing Apples or oranges. “Hey, they’re both fruits, right?” Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro tablet notebook hybrids are good examples. They’re touted as tablets, but don’t measure up to what Apple’s iPads do as tablets. They’re also touted as notebooks, and acclaimed as good ones, but don’t come with a keyboard, and are thicker and heavier than many of today’s MacBook-like notebooks.
Apple remains true to the company’s core, while Microsoft remains ever so desperate for attention.