Apple? I wish. Seriously. I wish. But a look at the future, a taste of tomorrow, usually does not come from Apple. Our favorite Cupertino company brings the future, but not always first. So, where did this first look at the future come from?
Fold Me, Baby
Samsung’s Galaxy Fold might be a glimpse of the future, but it’s obvious that the future has a few cracks in it. Literally. Fold doesn’t just fold, it cracks, and it’s priced like an iPhone 11 Pro Mac and iPhone 11 combined, so don’t expect the future to be full of folding phones.
Instead, the premium smartphone market may well be defined by Microsoft’s glimpse of folding technology– hinge vs. display– which does much the same thing but in an entirely different and somewhat old fashioned way.
Microsoft says the Surface Duo smartphone, which features two displays and a hinge, will run a Microsoft version of Android; likely stuffed with the 83 different apps Microsoft dumps onto Android and iPhone.
That’s iPhone and iObvious. What about the Mac?
Microsoft’s Surface Neo is much like a much larger, and in some ways, much cooler folding smartphone or dual display iPad. Imagine a touchscreen PC notebook with dual displays; like two iPads, side-by-side with a hinge in the middle. That’s the Neo.
Almost ignored is an opportunity that Microsoft may create with one of those second displays– a keyboard that works like a smartphone or tablet keyboard; almost available, on-screen, and not a physical keyboard in the traditional sense.
iPhone was mocked in the early years because it came with a keyboard only on the screen. What do all smartphones and tablets look like today? iPhone and iPads. And the keyboards are on the screen. Microsoft’s version of the future puts the keyboard back on the screen. The second screen.
Will Apple do the same thing on the Mac; a notebook with macOS, dual displays with a hinge, and the option of one display becoming the device’s built-in keyboard; a software keyboard with haptic touch capabilities to make it feel like a physical keyboard when it isn’t.
We have no details on Microsoft’s Surface Duo or Neo other than some slick videos. Apple does not do such video glimpses of the future, so we have to rely on the competition. In the case of folding displays and in-display keyboards, it’s Microsoft pointing toward a pragmatic future for the Mac.