Today, Microsoft is a footnote-like niche among mobile device players, Apple’s iOS tops Windows on computers around the world (and Android OS tops both), Apple’s software is free, and Microsoft sells its own branded PCs and notebooks. And Microsoft is winning the TV commercial wars.
Apples vs. Oranges
A few years ago Microsoft saw the mobile industry handwriting on the wall and decided to double down on yesteryear’s technology with Windows-powered touchscreen PCs, as well as a line of its own branded PCs called Surface. Since then we Apple customers and Mac faithful have been insulted by Microsoft’s television commercials with some sleight of hand and Apples to oranges comparisons between Surface PCs and the Mac.
You see, the Surface models come with a touchscreen and a drawing stylus. The Mac does not.
Those television commercials put the Mac in a bad light, comparison wise. No, it doesn’t matter if most Windows PC touchscreen users never use the touchscreen. No, it doesn’t matter if Windows itself isn’t really optimized to be a tablet the way an iPad is. None of that matters because the commercials make the Mac look anemic and uncool, and the Surface touchscreen is the coolest thing since electricity.
Apple just introduced a new line of MacBook Pro models; two of which come with a slick Touch Bar with integrated Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The Bar replaces the archaic and most anemic Function keys from the last century with a touch sensitive strip that can be programmed to work differently with each application. That’s pretty cool and a year from now there will be hundreds of apps that use Touch Bar and it’s likely Apple will move the technology down to other Macs, too.
Here’s the problem. Products featured in TV commercials highlight the positive for one product vs. the negative for another similar product. Microsoft’s Surface has a full touchscreen; much like the iPad Pro. Meanwhile, Apple’s new MacBook Pro has a slender horizontal sliver of a touchscreen which pales in significance when compared side-by-side as I expect Microsoft knows already.
Apple’s design philosophy is not Microsoft’s methodology. The Mac doesn’t have a traditional touchscreen. The Microsoft Surface does, so any comparison of what a graphic designer or teacher or engineer or child can do on the Surface’s touchscreen will make the Mac look like technology from the last century.
Microsoft may have missed the boat on mobile devices and Windows Phone is as good as BlackBerry (whereby ‘good’ I mean anemic and near death) but the Surface touchscreen devices compare well, look good in a demonstration, and even sell well. All the Jonny Ive voiceovers highlighting the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar won’t change that.
Even the Microsoft Surface Studio all-in-one that competes with the iMac would make for a great comparison and TV commercial. It’s a giant tablet. Microsoft’s Surface has been crushing Apple’s Macs in TV commercials. That won’t change anytime soon.