See? Microsoft is innovative. Apple is not. While that may not be exactly true, Apple’s new MacBook Pros with the built-in Touch ID and cool looking Touch Bar to replace the Function keys just do not compare well to Microsoft’s new Surface flagship.
TV Commercials, Meet Reality
Let’s back up a bit. Or, is it go forward? I’m no longer sure of the exact timeline, but Microsoft’s Surface Book notebook competes with the MacBook Pro line, and side-by-side comparisons indicate both are winners. The high end MacBook Pro is faster but a bit more expensive, yet it comes with uncharacteristically more upgrade options (2TB SSD storage; whew!). Go figure.
The key difference between the two– Apple’s vs. Microsoft’s professional notebooks– is not upgradeability. How quaint. Who would want to upgrade a professional device these days ()? Alright, that’s a different argument. The key difference is the touchscreen. Microsoft dropped their iOS-wannabe Windows a few years ago and went all in with touch on Windows 10, so the Surface models mean surface in the way that touchscreens are designed to be touched, although not necessarily used.
The new iMac competitor is called Surface Studio and it, too, is designed to be touched, a giant iPad-like device tethered to a system box, but clearly aimed at the Mac’s once stronghold, the creative market.
Surface Studio gives creative professionals what they won’t get with a new MacBook Pro. A fullscreen touchscreen with touch tools built in to the operating system. Oh, and likely bursitis.
When a joint is overused or injured suddenly, or when it remains under pressure for a long time, a nearby bursa can become inflamed. The sac fills with excess fluid, causing pressure on surrounding tissue. The first signal is pain, often accompanied by inflammation, swelling, and tenderness in the area. Bursitis is different from tendinitis, which is inflammation or irritation in the cord or tendon attaching muscle to bone.
Repetitive stress injury, meet the heavy lifting that doesn’t show up in the TV commercials heralding Microsoft’s new vision of the desktop PC. That’s why you don’t see many people using the Surface PC tablets-cum-notebooks as real iPad-like tablets. As tablets, they’re crummy. As notebooks, well, they’re in the category of personal computer which is selling better than traditional non-touch PCs, but nothing in that category is selling well these days, including the Mac.
Then, there’s the price tag. As mentioned, the Microsoft Surface Book notebook is comparable to a new MacBook Pro in all the ways that matter, but the Surface Studio with that giant 28-inch display is a direct competitor– of sorts– to the iMac in many ways, including price. Surface Studio starts at $2,999 but compares favorably to a 27-inch iMac with Retina 5k display, 4.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD drive.
What the Mac misses is the touchscreen.
Does the touchscreen mean true innovation? Does a touchscreen notebook and desktop PC mean Microsoft is beating Apple among creative professionals? As they say, the proof is in the taste of the pudding and what you don’t see much of these days are creative professionals that use touchscreen PCs, Microsoft’s or anyone else. Some, yes. But not the great unwashed masses of PC users. That tells me that Microsoft’s only hope to get back in the PC game after blowing the mobile device lead it had before the iPhone, was to double down on the differentiation game.
In other words, touchscreens on PCs don’t matter and have yet to stem the sales draught that’s been going on for years. You’ll know I’m wrong when Apple releases a Mac with a touchscreen. Instead, what is likely to happen is this. The iPad will become more powerful and replace ever more functions reserved for PC and Mac users. It’s cars vs. trucks. These days, a Mac is a truck.