Microsoft Surface vs. Apple iPad: The winner is?

Microsoft has now officially jumped into the tablet market again. They were one of the first but clearly Apple has taken over with a vengeance. Microsoft will try again with the Surface. In typical Microsoft fashion, the tablets whole name is pretty long. It’s called the Microsoft Surface for Windows RT and the Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 Pro. If Steve Ballmer’s last stand does not prove to be a success. It may also be his curtain call as head of Microsoft. It seems at one point that anything that Apple did Microsoft would just copy and make better. The trend started with the Apple II which Microsoft countered with DOS.  However it has been a long time since we have seen them do that well. Sure they had the Zune. While I was one of the few people that liked the Zune better than the iPod it did not compare to the droves of people that loved the iPod.

Apple ignored the home console while Microsoft took steps to take over the industry with Xbox and finally accomplished this goal with Xbox 360. On the flip side, Microsoft ignored the smartphone industry that it once dominated with Windows Mobile. Today it struggles to even find a foot hole.  Apple embraced the market. Apple not only made people use a smartphone it made it cool to own one. Apple did the same thing in the tablet market. Microsoft was first in the industry with Tablet PC but never innovated. Apple stepped in. Made it easy to use and cool to own. Microsoft is taking big steps to enter the tablet market again. I think that Surface is a real tablet that may have a chance to grab some market share.

For the Surface to do well its going to need some help.  It’s 1st going to come down to the price point. iPad is not cheap but it is more affordable than most other tablets that are Android based. Apple has the type of success that is not going to go away over night. It’s suppliers are not going to be able to put up a fight if Apple wants lower prices on a part. Microsoft on the other hand is a software company first and hardware 2nd.  The Xbox is made to sell software games and as of late media content. It’s no wonder that Microsoft did not have pricing information or availability at all about the Surface.

The 2nd thing that Surface needs to do well is a store. Not just any store. A store that is easy to use, full of content and has a majority of its applications priced at the golden 99 cents mark. For any of that to happen the developers need to trust that consumers will buy this hardware. Thus far the Devs do not trust Microsoft. Their mobile app store is a nowhere close to the size of the Apple’s AppStore or Google Play.

Can Microsoft pull it off? Well let’s see HP, Motorola, RIM and Google have all failed. That said not one of those companies are as dominant as Microsoft is.  Windows 8  will take over most PC’s by the end year. It’s a given. There is not a 2nd option. Apples Mac’s are just too high priced for most people. With that “Window” of opportunity Microsoft will push Surface for all it’s worth. iOS 6 on the iPad is sweet but Windows 8 will be more familiar as more people have no choice but to use it. We still have to wait to see what Google shows us at  Google I/O 2012 but I’m pretty sure it won’t be as connected to the PC market as Windows 8 on Microsoft Surface is.

Surface is made out of  VaporMg.  Pronounced Vapor-Mag. The casing is created by molding metal and depositing particles that creates a solid finish. The casting uses magnesium that let parts be molded as thin as .65mm. So that is why the Surface can be strong, 10.6″ and still weigh in at 32 ounces. Surface also has Corning Gorilla Glass protecting the front. iPad is lacking any protection at all and is has a smaller screen by almost a full inch. The Surface has dual microphones and a very sharp front camera. Rumor has it that it will be 8 megapixel camera. As it stands now, iPad only has a 5 megapixel in back and a VGA camera on the front.

While some might say that the  Surface is an iPad copy, I disagree. While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and Apple should feel flattered. It should however not feel mocked.The Surface is it’s own device and should do well in the market. Although iPad will continue to dominate. The winner in this fight will be the customer. Competition is the mother of all invention not necessity.