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Small Business View: Microsoft Surface V’s the iPad

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In the white corner we have the new Apple iPad aka Retina Ipad. In the Red/Green/Blue/Orange corner we have the new contender, Microsoft Surface. This will be a main event pay-per-view type battle of epic proportions. The stage is set for a head to head late in 2012 / early 2013 when Microsoft releases its tour de force on the world. Alas for now, all we can do is compare the stats and speculate on the experience.

[box title=”First Strike: Technical Match Up” color=”#095a9b”]
[list style=”arrow”]

  • Screen Size: iPad 9.7 inch vs Surface Pro 10.6 inch
  • Resolution: iPad 2048 x 1536 vs Surface Pro 1920 x 1080
  •  Internal Memory: iPad 16/32/64GB vs Surface Pro 64/128GB
  • Weight: iPad 652 grams vs Surface Pro 903 grams
  • Ports: iPad standard connector vs Surface Pro USB 3, Mini Display Port, microSDXC card slot
  • Design: iPad basic slate design vs Surface Pro built in kickstand and keyboard soft touch screen cover
  • Surface spec sheet[/list][/box]

[box title=”The Hard Yards” color=”#095a9b”]I have an iPad, purchased just after the first version release. I loved it. I basically had a bigger version of my iphone and all the apps I could wish for. Then as my usage grew I wanted it to do more. This is where it started falling down. I quickly hit that barrier where instead of assisting my en devours, the ipad hindered them. Many people talk about using their iPad for work and its place as an important business tool. Personally, I could never get there. It had nothing to do with Flash, it had everything to do with the disjointed way Apps worked, essentially sandboxed from each other. What I really wanted was for the iPad to work like my Windows computer. Have an accessible file system and some standards/continuity in software apps.

In my opinion the Microsoft Surface is going to be better than sliced bread. All the ease of use of the iOS user interface with the power of a full Windows system behind it. The Apple iPad showed us it was possible, and now the Microsoft Surface is going to take us to the next logical step. Almost limitless capability across the largest desktop platform in the world (Windows).Microsoft Surface tablet

Windows 8 will soon be out, displaying its Live Tiles on LCD’s far and wide. It’s going to be a big change for a lot of people, computer guys included. But there is one thing we can look forward to after the pain, a single user interface for all our computing devices. Our laptop, tablet and phone will all operate the same way and be fully synchronous without the use of 3rd party apps to tie it together. This will equal greater efficiency for everyone. Right now I have  Windows computers,  an Android phone, an iPad and a HP Touchpad. Jumping between devices is not the fun you might imagine. I’ve had clients roll out iPads only to discover staff were unhappy with the ‘non MS Office’ experience. Don’t roll your eyes, progression is great, but when we need to do something (like write a report) we want to do it fast and efficiently. This is soft of the same thing experienced when moving Outlook users to Gmail. Small business doesn’t have time to be at the bleeding edge of technology. Although nimble, they cant afford the time investment to train everyone to use 3rd party apps.[/box]

[box title=”There Can Only Be One” color=”#095a9b”]At the end of the day I think the Surface will come out the winner. Microsoft will leverage of its expansive customer base to promote a slate which is just like their computers. We need to forget about the half baked attempts of Windows 7 slates, they were a pitiful display by the OEM’s. This is why Microsoft has made the Surface in-house, taking the battle right to Apple.

I can see it already.

With an iPad I get asked questions like “so how do I open my word documents” and generally the response is a convoluted explanation of cloud file syncing and basic instruction in an iPad app for document editing.

With the Microsoft Surface the answer will be “With Word 2012, just like your laptop”. Who can’t be impressed with that?[/box]

[note color=”#FFCC00″]After reading this article you might think I’m a Microsoft ‘fanboi’ but I’m not. I’m just being realistic. Credit where it’s due. Apple innovated and brought us the iPhone and iPad, but now I think Microsoft will tip over that proverbial apple cart.[/note]

Surface for Business Use