Those days are gone. Until recently, Mac sales remained at record levels for a few years, but the rest of the Windows PC and Chromebook industry had already adopted the MacBook’s style and grace; thin and light, fast and colorful. Even Microsoft has made inroads against the Mac.
Notebook? Or, Tablet?
Microsoft took the only course of action it could with the Surface line of PCs. Differentiate itself from Apple. There were already plenty of manufacturers pushing out notebook and tablet hybrid, but the Windows maker decided to set the reference standard with Surface.
No, Surface sells nothing like the numbers Mac puts up each quarter for the Mac, but there is a dent in Apple’s anemic response to the massive changes in the PC world. There is no Apple to apples comparison with a Mac notebook and a Microsoft Surface Go, but that is John Briggs’ Laptop of the Year.
Surface Go isn’t a bad little device, at the end of the day. At $400, it’s on the pricier side for a tablet, and certain sacrifices have been made for the sake of keeping the price down versus the souped up Surface Pro
The key here might be the $400 price tag for a diminutive device that isn’t a great notebook, certainly not an iPad competitor, but it’s good enough and priced right.
Go is less about pioneering a category for Windows 10 than it is simply adding a lower-cost, portable alternative to the mix. As such, the product hits the market with a fair bit of competition.
Other Windows 10 notebook tablet hybrids are priced less, so what’s the big deal?
Surface Go easily replaced by MacBook for most activities including light photo editing, writing, and communications.
Even $300 Chromebooks do that.
Power PC users won’t touch a Go, regardless of configuration, but Microsoft gets kudos for doing what Apple refuses to do. Change. Microsoft has been relentless with annual upgrades to most of the Surface line. Yes, it’s true that few of the low-end products are excellent notebooks of MacBook Pro class, but all have touch screens while the best Apple can do is a very large trackpad with more gestures.
The Laptop of the Year is sold as a $499 tablet, and as a tablet, it pales in comparison to even a $329 entry-level iPad. To use it as a notebook– Apple’s term for a laptop– you’ll need to add a keyboard and the price tag goes up accordingly; especially if you need more storage, RAM, etc.
What’s sad about this turn of events– a Microsoft Surface being named laptop of the year– is that Apple seems to have slowed down Mac development in recent years. The most recent updates are to the high end Macs– iMac Pro and MacBook Pro– both long overdue. MacBook Air and Mac mini haven’t received notable changes in many years.
Based on Apple’s growing dependence on iPhone, I am afraid we may never see Notebook of the Year affixed to a new MacBook again.