Microsoft Surface optimize

10 reasons I can't wait to get a Microsoft Surface tablet

Will the Surface tablet alleviate some of the shortcomings of existing tablet offerings? Veteran tablet user Deb Shinder thinks it will -- and she's eager to put it to the test.

Microsoft unveiled the Surface on June 18 and caused some strong emotions to ripple through the tech world. Many IT pundits were impressed; many potential users were excited, and some of Microsoft's hardware partners were... terrified?

I've had several tablets, including an iPad (with which I was captivated at first, but I quickly grew tired of its limitations), a 7-inch Android (Samsung Galaxy Tab), and a 10-inch Android (Tab 10.1). I like the tablet form factor, but so far none has been compelling enough to keep me interested. I find that my smartphone (Galaxy Nexus) serves the purpose about 80 percent of the time when I'm on the go -- in much more portable fashion. And when I need more than the phone, I really need more than a tablet, too, so I end up taking the laptop.

The Surface, though, promises to be the tablet I'll actually use. I can't wait to get my hands on one. Here are some of the reasons.

1: We'll have freedom of choice

With every other tablet, you take what you get -- and what you get is an operating system that's more like a phone OS than a PC OS. That's a good thing, in that it makes for a touch-friendly experience suited to the mobile use of the tablet. But it's a not-so-good thing when you need to get real work done, because the mobile apps often just aren't as full featured and capable as desktop applications.

The Surface will give us freedom of choice: We can select the less expensive, presumably less power-hungry ARM version running Windows RT or the Intel version running full-fledged Windows 8.

2: Membership has its privileges

If I choose the Intel version of the Surface, not only can I run the full Windows 8, I get Windows 8 Professional edition. That means my tablet can be a member of a Windows domain, just like my desktop and laptop. It can be managed by domain group policy and function fully as part of my work network. Try doing that with an iPad or Android tablet.

3: You can switch between touch and desktop

If I choose the Intel version of the Surface I'll also get another layer of freedom of choice: I can choose to use the touch-friendly "Interface formerly known as Metro" or I can use the familiar desktop UI. The touch interface is great for on-the-go tasks, such as reading email, looking up info on the Web, checking in on my Facebook friends, and viewing a video. But when I want to get some work done, I still prefer the desktop.

With a Surface Pro, I can have whichever environment best suits what I'm doing at the time, and it's easy to switch back and forth between the new Start Screen and the traditional desktop. Of course, when I'm using the desktop, the laptop form factor still has some advantages -- and that brings us to the next two things I love about the Surface.

4: It's just my type

The tablets I've used in the past have been great for content consumption but less than ideal for content creation (unless perhaps if you're creating drawings). One of the biggest surprises at the Surface announcement event was the keyboard that's built into the ultra slim cover. It turns the Surface into a usable content creator on par with a laptop. Sure, you could use an external keyboard with other tablets, but you had to carry it around separately. The Surface keyboard/cover fits onto the device and adds very little bulk or weight.

The idea is so great that Apple has, umm, borrowed it, based on its new patent application for a "cover attachment with flexible display" for the iPad.

5: We'll get a kick out of it

With other tablets, you have to buy a special case/cover or use makeshift methods to make it stand up, whether for typing or to watch video. The Surface has the kickstand built right in. It's not a new concept; several smart phones, such as the Sprint EVO, have incorporated kickstands, but this is the first tablet to feature one as part of the design.

It's a little thing that makes a big difference, especially when you need your tablet to emulate a laptop for heavy-duty typing.

6: The pen is mightier than the finger (sometimes)

Leaving the keyboard behind and getting back to the slate experience, tablets lend themselves to being used like their paper namesakes. But to truly emulate that experience, you need a pen. Sure, using a finger to flick through photos or scroll down a Web page is a great experience. But when you need to do precision work, such as drawing or handwriting, that just doesn't cut it. And neither does a mouse or keyboard. Ask anyone who has ever tried to draw a detailed diagram or jot down a handwritten note of more than one or two words with an iPad or Android app. It's not a pretty sight.

The HTC Flyer might not have flown off the shelves, but its digitized pen input won it some loyal fans -- even though it was competing with the much slimmer, sexier Galaxy Tabs in the 7-inch tablet market. The Surface Pro includes support for digital ink input that will be welcome to those who want to use the tablet like a tablet.

7: Bigger is better (up to a point)

Judging by the trends in smartphones, we want our mobile devices to get thinner and lighter, but at the same time we want larger screens. Smart phones have gone over the 5-inch line now, while tablet users seem to have divided into two groups: those who prefer the more compact 7-inch versions and those who like the 9.7- to 10.1-inch size exemplified by the iPad and Samsung's larger Galaxy tablets.

With the Surface, Microsoft is gambling that users will prefer just a little more screen real estate, and I think it makes sense -- especially for those who will use the Surface with its keyboard and stand to emulate a laptop. The 10.6-inch size shouldn't make much difference in portability but will give it an edge in usability.

8: It's expandable

One of my big gripes with the iPad -- and one of the reasons I gave mine away and switched to an Android tablet -- was the lack of expandability. I couldn't add a flash memory card to increase the storage space; instead, I was expected to shell out hundreds of dollars for a whole new device if I wanted more local storage space. I liked that (some) Android tablets let me add micro SD/SDHC storage, but expandability was still limited.

One of the things I like best about the Surface is that I can expand storage with micro SD/SDHC and even SDXC (a format that can support up to 2 TB capacities, as compared to 32 GB for SDHC) -- and it has full-size USB ports (USB 2.0 on the ARM version, USB 3.0 on the Surface Pro). Now that's exciting. It means I can plug in any USB external drive and also use any other USB peripherals I can use with a Windows 8 desktop or laptop.

9: It comes in colors...

...Or at least, the cover/keyboard does. Okay, this isn't a great big deal maker/deal breaker, but it is nice to be able to make a little (or a lot) of a statement and differentiate your Surface from all the others. I have to admit the hot pink, electric blue, and carrot orange aren't my thing, but I like that I can have either black or white. Microsoft was wise to put all the color in the cover, rather than making the tablets themselves come in vivid colors as some laptop vendors have done. If that screaming bright hue seems like a mistake six months later when you have a new job in a conservative office environment, you can buy a new cover much less expensively than you can replace the whole device.

10: This is only the beginning

Microsoft has made a big splash with this first version of the Surface and it already has features we only dreamed of before in a thin, light tablet. But rumor has it (based on the company's recent job ads) that Microsoft is expanding the Surface team and is already hard at work on the next version.

Microsoft has a history of vastly improving on its v1.0 products, so I'm looking forward to getting in on the ground floor of something that will only get better. I also think Microsoft's foray into the tablet market will inspire other vendors to work a little harder on making the tablet experience better in order to compete. We've heard that Apple may be planning to copy some of the Surface's features, such as the keyboard built into the cover and stylus input, and Sony's new Experia tablet is said to be going the keyboard/cover route, as well.

Meanwhile, the Surface will be our first chance to experience the full benefits of the Windows 8 touch-centric interface, and I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Your take

Do you think the Surface will meet your needs better than other tablets you've used? Share your opinion with other TechRepublic members.

More on the Surface

About

Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MCSE, MVP is a technology consultant, trainer, and writer who has authored a number of books on computer operating systems, networking, and security. Deb is a tech editor, developmental editor, and contributor to over 20 add...

202 comments
myangeldust
myangeldust

So I checked out Surface RT at a mall near me. Well, not so near but whatever. I let the sales dude talk all about it. Then I manhandled it. Then I asked questions. Very light and easy to handle. The touchscreen is more responsive than my convertible's. The OS (RT) has some predisposed window positions. So when you do split screens each app will reconfigure themselves to display all relevant info - no scrolling around. Flipping through open apps is a breeze. The touchpad responds like an onscreen keyboard but you can feel where each key is. The typepad is sooo much better. Either one snaps on/off easily. The kickstand feels solid (I will rarely use it). I plugged in my personal flashdrive and RT displayed the contents via the desktop. The SD micro slot can accomodate any GB-size card, even post-64GB ones. So you can buy the $499 model and add 64 to the existing 32GB (the card shows up as a separate drive). The dude said it will also see share folders on other networked PCs. So it will probably see my Windows Home Server folders. Here's the clincher: apps you buy for your Surface RT work with any Windows 8 machine. Windows 8 machines can use RT apps AND Win7 apps. RT cannot use Win7. But wait there's more... RT can use Windows Phone 8 apps (not 7.x). Hold on, when you buy software you can install it on both RT and Windows 8 machines. You don't have to buy two copies (as if we do, hehe). So it will be software that works on both machines and simultaneously. Extras? RT comes with Nokia Maps which doesn't require an online connection as it downloads entire continents at once. Imagine what you can do if you pair that RT with a Windows Phone 8 purchase! Why is this information missing from all those reviews on mags, blogs, and YT videos? Because everyone is soooooo hung up on testing it through the eyes of an iPad or Android owner that these Surface-only features are simply overlooked. Even if you simply HATE Microsoft or whatever. RT on it's own merit is ahead of iOS and Android in mobile tablet functionality (USB, yo!) and CAN already be found on Asus, Samsung, Dell, and Sony tablets and ultra-convertibles. Surely, you can't be hating on those other manufacturers.

myangeldust
myangeldust

I have a HP Touchsmart convertible. Business on the front, party on the flipside. I use it more in laptop mode - keyboard and touchpad. Sometimes I use it as a tablet but Windows 7 is HORRIBLE in that world. (Like XP Tablet Edition before it.) Try pressing that START button and navigating through all those programs. D'oh, tiny menu choices! I can modify the screen but it would just interfere with my work in laptop mode. Eeww, giant icons everywhere! So I plan on upgrading to Windows 8 Pro (I have 7 Pro now). All my programs will be in live tiles, easy access. As the programs are upgraded they will be easier to operate in tablet mode. I might use it this way most of the time after that. Of course, my convertible is a full computer with full OS. The Surface RT is another animal in terms of power use, instant ON, quick load apps, weight, etc. Reaching for an RT or iPad or Galaxy Tab seems more likely on a casual basis. Like reaching for my smartphone only with a bigger screen and USB! People at home with a desktop will probably get a Surface RT. People whose main computer is a laptop might choose to replace it with a Surface Pro or upgrade their convertible to Windows 8 or 8 Pro. Business will likely get Surface Pro or upgrade their existing tablets and convertibles with 8 Pro.

chdchan
chdchan

Hey, I often missed some failures or flashing alerts by not noticing the bar on the bottom. Could anything be improved for this key issue in the OS?

ladislaver
ladislaver

I am using iPad with the only useful program "Keynote" for teaching children aged 5 to 9. It's great if I need to show some picks, or play movie, but that's about it. I like to play Angry Birds on it while riding subway. I will be one of the first one to get The Surface. As to iPad memory expandability issue, I bought 500 GB GoFlex with Wi-Fi build in. It is practically the same as having iPad with 500 GB memory. I am hoping that The Surface will blow iPad away; I am tired of AppleĀ’s arrogance.

hometoy
hometoy

Right now there seems to be 3 categories of computers (not including servers); [1] desktop, [2] laptop and [3] tablet. The desktop is for serious or heavy lifting and large screens, but has been waning of late because the power differential between desktops and laptops have shrunken to almost insignificant levels. Thus desktops are disappearing in favor for laptops. Laptops are for portability and "work anywhere". Because their power capabilities have increased to almost the level of the desktop they are largely replacing the desktop and becoming the "primary" computer for individuals. It provides all that is good with desktops, plus portability desktops cannot duplicate. Tablets have been "consumer" items; people consume on them but don't build on them. In part this is due to capabilities being like the early days of laptops... pay more for portability but loose it in power. Also the limitation of the OSs available (iOS/Android) makes it still feel like a toy. But all of that is changing. Surface and Windows 8 will bridge the OS gap between tablets and laptops. I predict that Tablets will continue to grow at the expense of Desktops and Laptops will become the primary computer. OF course the Surface and Windows 8 is going to stretch this even further and land in-between Tablets and Laptops.

hkeeter
hkeeter

Debra makes some great points and they are the reason I laugh at people that think microsoft is a dying company. The fact that it will integrate into a domain, and give close to laptop productivity will make this a big hit in businesses. Lets not forget who makes the majority of purchases of computing devices, it is the businesses that far out way the consumer, especially at the price point of most tablets. With full Win8, you can also turn the Surface into a communications device, using say skype to conference in or make take calls. This might have a major impact on laptops as well.

myangeldust
myangeldust

With current tablets there's always been this Optimus Prime conundrum: When in robot form where does his trailer dissappear to? (Always imagined it hanging out with other trailers just off screen or visiting a lady-trailer at the park.) But the Surface has everything you need built in. It's all there! I gots ta have me one of those! All Microsoft has to do know is create a home version of their Server OS so I can tie it all together with my desktop, laptop and HTPC. Nerdvana!

joecamaro
joecamaro

I'm still trying to figure out the surface. It looks like a laptop that you can't put on your lap because the kickstand won't work. If you use the keyboard, you'll end up in an uncomfortable position (such as placing the computer on a desk that's too high). The tablet aspect looks OK, but as a laptop, I think that it won't work.

perce
perce

Where have you been all this time. Covers with keyboards have been around for ages . For example see tablets-world.com. I use a 10 inch cover and keyboard with my 8inch tablet which gives me a reasonable size of keyboard. The cost is less than US$20.

dhuhtala
dhuhtala

I've been using Win 8 Pro on a Samsung tablet for a week. It was a disappointing and frustrating experience. I'll wait for Win 9. Win 8 and it's dual personality makes the Android and Apple tablets look mature and robust.

hrosita
hrosita

I have a Samsung 7" tablet and I do like it but like the previous comments, it is very limiting, hard to read, and the touch responses are sometimes eratic. If the Surface ferforms as advertised, I will get one for Christmas.

TCHPGE
TCHPGE

I am definitely pre-ordering/camping/whatever for the Surface PRO. But unless the Microsoft App Store suddendly explodes with useful applications that will run on the ARM-chipped Surface RT, the Surface RT tablet will have only the barest number of "Windows" applications running. With the audience this tablet is targeting, I can imagine the confusion that can ensue. "I have XXX Windows 7 application at home. I thought Windows 8 is mostly an User Interface upgrade. What do you mean I have to buy a special version of XXX Windows application for Surface RT? You say this _could_ run on Surface PRO? When is Surface PRO coming out? I'll wait." I use things like Tablets and live with the lack of software because it's form-factor and instant-on. But if I can also run software that I run on my laptop then Microsoft has really tapped into a vast larger-than-Apple's-App-store software library. This existing Windows library _is_ the ultimate Killer App. But without that Killer App and Kindle Fire/iPad's strength for parents and grandparents who are satisfied with a rich yet walled garden, I'm not sure how strong the case can be made for SurfaceRT...

bwhiting
bwhiting

I read and hear conflicting reports about when the Surface will be released? How much will it cost? These are the questions I need answers to now so I can budget for it before it arrives...any creditable new on the answers?

tomatsalvair
tomatsalvair

I think it's quaint that the author "gave away" her iPad, and has been able to try so many devices. Who among has the luxury to go out and test every new device on the market and play this continual leap frog game with technology? The truth is, unless we're independently funded, or wealthy, we have to make our best judgment when we buy a device, and then stick with it. The issue with these devices is that each one contains 50-80% of the technology and ease-of-use we need, and we're always eyeballing the "next release." These releases aren't in sync with our buying time frame, and unless we want to swap vendors and devices every 90 days we're stuck with what we buy. From a peace-of-mind standpoint, make your best choice, then we content with it until you wears out, or wears you out.

drfaisal
drfaisal

Ditched iPad for Fujitsu Tablet/PC running Win7 for better productivity... and now eargerly awaits Surface. Wished it was made available during the annoucement date... sighhhh

dapaine
dapaine

Deb Shinder produces the premier blog for Windows users at WinNews.com. As a fan and follower of Deb -- and a Tech Republic member as well -- for years, I am stunned that this information was hidden from your readers. Credit where credit is due!

JohnCGalloway
JohnCGalloway

I am (by the definition of at least one friend) what one would consider to be an Apple fanboy. I have an iPhone4 and work on an iMac most of the day. And yes, I do love them both to bits (in as much as one can love a machine or a bit of software.) Anyway, that aside I have to admit that I am excited about the above development. The idea that maybe one day (soon I hope) I will be able to play total annihilation (and such) on Touch Screen is almost to good to believe in.

macdonald-bell.blair.a
macdonald-bell.blair.a

I agree the surface should present an interesting opportunity to provide a microsoft compatability missing from both Ipad and Android, however comments on the android are not all that accurate, 1. inbuilt keboards are commonaly available for android devices such as the asus transformer prime, etc and are available as "attachments" 2. pen type devices are available for most tablets, albeit they are like using a fat crayon. The real test will behow soon the required application base to support this new entrant is available, microsoft will have to play a lot of catchup to provide a set of apps that can match either the Ipad or Android. AS a final thought in the tablet space its all about the battery. If the tablet cannot support at least a 8-10 hour cycler between charges then a small form factor laptop/netbook presents a much better option I am sure that all will be clear in the next six months I should add I have no doubt that I will aquire a surface as soon as they appear.....

ohms
ohms

I like the design with the keyboard and its the next way to go. Especially if keyboard designs go really tactile and slim. I think it would be supercool if designers and engineers could create a touch keyboard only - made of gorilla glass. With the interface, it could also display gaming layouts or customized layouts, oher than full-sized standard keyboard.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

Point 1 - you can buy the cheaper ARM version and be TOTALLY locked in the Microsoft Shop, or the dearer full blown PC level one and be only half locked in to the Microsoft Shop. Point 2 - Most of your other reason are already met by a range of other touch centric notebook computers out there that have sturdier keyboards that will last longer and may even end up cheaper than the Surface. Most have swivel monitors that can fold back down on top of the keyboard - my doctor has been using one for over two years. I'll have to concede the bit about Domain Connectivity, but that only comes into play IF you want or need it to hook into a domain due to work needs; but some of the other systems already available do this too. Those who want one for personal use will get little or no advantage out of that. What we're really seeing here is a list of how a touch centric notebook can be more useful than a touch centric tablet, except it's being marketed as a top end tablet and not as a notebook.

enricolisk
enricolisk

Creating content on-the-go is fine, we all have been waiting for this. Syncing what's done onto the cloud, finalizing it on the laptop should be seamless. Are we getting that? What about Battery Lifetime? What do you do with all the horsepower without the juice.

CaptainGoodnight
CaptainGoodnight

"The idea is so great that Apple has, umm, borrowed it, based on its new patent application for a cover attachment with flexible display for the iPad." Lets see.. Apple filed its patent "Cover Attachment With Flexible Display" on 8/11/2011, that's 10 months before Microsoft announced its Surface tablet. http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=22&p=1&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=%2820120802.PD.+AND+Apple.AS.%29&OS=PD/20120802+AND+AN/Apple&RS=%28PD/20120802+AND+AN/Apple%29 So please explain how Apple can "borrow" this Microsoft idea long before Microsoft announced it?

JJFitz
JJFitz

I have Win 8 on my home desktop. The Remote Desktop App connected to my Windows Home Server very quickly and very easily. That's one way to get to the folders. The Win 8 desktop also shows my Home Server folders but that's not an RT feature. I have a folder view app on the Metro Tiles menu but I don't remember if it showed my Home Server files. I will check tonight.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

RT is NOT capable of joining a Windows Domain or using Active Directory, but can use a VPN. Also the lower level MS products in recent years have not been nice about joining local networks either, so it is an area of concern to many. The Microsoft stated network capabilities for Win RT are only WLAN and Bluetooth.

JJFitz
JJFitz

I have been using Win 8 on my Fujitsu convertible tablet for several months and I have seen a noticible performance boost. It boots up in 20-25 seconds. Programs open much quicker. Switching from the Tiles screen to desktop is a breeze. I too used to use my tablet in split personality mode. -stylus and finger input in pure tablet mode and keyboard and trackpad in laptop mode. Now I find myself merging the two modes when using it in a laptop configuration. Sometimes I slide the screen and pick tiles with my finger in laptop mode. Other times, I use the trackpad, arrow keys and windows shortcuts. When it is in the dock and connected to an external monitor, I leave the desktop on the large monitor and the tiles on the tablet monitor - best of both worlds. Good luck.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

but if it's the MSIE bar, I don't know if it can be moved. I know you can do that in Fire Fox.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

arrogance in telling you HOW your system will work.

myangeldust
myangeldust

All of these devices satisfy different needs. Desktops for ultimate productivity. Tablets for ultimate portability. Servers for ultimate processing. Laptops are a blend of the aforementioned traits but NOT the end solution for any single one. There isn't a catch-all machine... yet. One thing we can learn from tablets is "niche computing". While the Surface is basically a PC. Other tablets go from simple e-readers to bigger-screen smartphones. Perhaps it's a good time to bring back the "Internet appliance". Android and iOS (and WinRT?) type systems for people who want the feel of a desktop or laptop but not the complexity. Getting apps, system updates, and virus protection would not be an issue for users of these "computers". Google's Chromebook seems like a move into this area. Though price and privacy seems to be an issue with this machine.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

so you don't have to wait. But the Ultrabook will give the screen better protection, allow you to sit it on your knees, a more robust keyboard, and more versatility too.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

and Microsoft indicate it will sell for the same price as some better touch centric notebooks that are already out there.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

results with a Packard Bell Butterfly, Asus T91MT, Acer 1825PT as a touch screen laptop with the swivel and close down facing up screen or several other straight type notebooks with touch screens for about the same money as the Surface Pro.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

as the indications from Microsoft is that the Surface Pro is going to be at a notebook price since it's essentially a touch screen notebook with a detached keyboard. In short it's not really a tablet at all.

Skruis
Skruis

but Apple still sold it by the millions.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You're comparing a patent application date with a product announcement date. It's logical to assume that if MS applied for a similar patent, it did so before the product announcement. Do you know if or when MS may have applied for a corresponding patent? Without that information, we can't make a valid comparison.

david.paige
david.paige

Anyone can get a patent for improving an idea. That's why there were so many patents for submarines when they were first patented. I think tech companies who are running into potential patent land mines should take the technology, "improve it", and file for a new patent, citing, of course, the previous, not so good patent as prior art. Then, they can say, no we aren't violating your patent, here is ours. Pound sand.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Most RT users will be on home and public networks. If you're on a business network you simply buy the Surface Pro and you're good to go. We're talking about the RT right now because it's on sale. On the RT, there's a menu to connect to nearby wireless networks just like any other computer. Via the desktop you can call up that Network window which displays other computers on the network. Then it's all about shared folders and passwords and whatnot. Two different devices - RT and Pro. The Pro will come later. It gives you a lot of prep time to come up with ways to trash it. Remember, the real reason MS makes hardware is to spur development in a particular market. There are 5 manufacturers with Win 8 and RT devices right now. Primary objective accomplished.

chdchan
chdchan

Whenever it comes to critical alerts, they should pop up at center of the screen.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Don't all companies making operating systems tell you how "your" system will work? None of these companies have asked ME how I'd like the system to work, EVER. The only OS that doesn't is the one you developed yourself.

ladislaver
ladislaver

And Apple is not telling you what to do? Why is there then expression "jail break" used with some of the Apple products?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

happen with the MS Surface. What got me is the way a lot of people are claiming the Surface is a new concept and these are all new things that the others don't do, I was simply putting the reality factor closer to home with a bit of truth about there being nothing innovative about it.

CaptainGoodnight
CaptainGoodnight

Here are the known facts: 1) Apple filed for an application on smartcover + display + keyboard patent on 8/11/2011. 2) Microsoft announced Surface with smartcover + keyboard on 6/18/2012. Based on these known facts alone, can you still say Apple filed their patent because they borrowed the idea from Microsoft? No. Lets review again exactly what Debra said: "The idea is so great that Apple has, umm, borrowed it, based on its new patent application for a cover attachment with flexible display for the iPad." There you go. Debra basically implies the idea of a smartcover plus keyboard is so great that Apple filed an patent August of *last year* by borrowing this idea Microsoft announced June of *this year*. Please explain how that was possible. Does Apple has a crystal ball to see into the future? If so then it must true that something magical is happening at Apple's headquarter. @Palmetto_CharlieSpencer : "It's logical to assume that if MS applied for a similar patent, it did so before the product announcement. Do you know if or when MS may have applied for a corresponding patent?" Sure. It is possible that Microsoft has also filed an application for a similar patent but USPTO has not yet published any such patent application filed by Microsoft. Assuming USPTO publishes (not approve) patent or trademark applications online on a first come first serve basis, the fact Apple's patent application was published already means that any similar patent application by Microsoft was most likely filed after Apple did. Do you agree that is a logical assumption? Once again. Let's look at the **known facts** without speculating on what patent applications Microsoft may have filed and then read what Debra said. Do you think she could have done a better job by investigating details of Apple's patent? Perhaps just take a peek on USPTO's web site and take a look at the filing date of the patent application? I'm not a blogger nor a news journalist. But whenever I read any news articles about new patent applications or approved patents, the first thing I do is head to USPTO's web site and try to read about them before posting any comments. Sure I would not understand all those patent application completely but at least that helped me avoid making comments such as "the idea is so great that Apple has borrowed it....." without checking relevant facts.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

it, but you may be able to buy some third party app to do it for you.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

a couple of others to test things for clients as most are on Windows XP Pro with a few still on Win 98SE and couple on Win 7. had one guy ring up and ask if I could blast Win 8 away if his new notebook came with it. I said I'd have to look at it as I'd not heard if I had other Windows options for him on it and could only promise him Linux if I had to wipe the system. He had me come out and put Zorin OS 5 on with the Win XP GUI on his old system, and the next week I was called back to do the other two systems in the business. He found it a lot easier to use than Win 7 - I dread how he'll react to Win 8. But he does nothing exotic and uses only basic business software. I switched him to Libre Office on Windows months back. Oh, almost forgot the Win 98 SE system I've got for playing my older games - it's a P3 550 mhz. I work with what I have to in order to make the client happy. But when Windows doesn't cut the mustard, it's Linux that has to bear the task. I suspect many of the older clients will be asking me to put Zorin on when they look at new systems and only see Win 8 available to them. Already got two who are mighty upset as the new system only come with Win 7 Home Premium and it's a real hassle to use their in house wireless network due to Win 7 Home Premium NOT having any real network capability.

myangeldust
myangeldust

I don't have trouble accessing those features. On a few occassions I've disabled most of the factory settings and it came back to haunt me as toolbars and malware have on to attack the same. Unfortunately, there are normal people using Windows and Mac (no one is using Linux) and these must be "child-proofed" for their own protection. So you're a Unix/Linux user? Linux user, supporters-actually, are a funny bunch because they spend most of their time bashing non-Linux systems. But I always get the feeling that to do their actual work they use a Mac or Windows because Linux is useless on the office desktop. I'm getting deja vu writing this response.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

of options you can choose to have included or not, and you get to choose if the default is on or off in a fairly easy way. Many of the security and settings options that used to be easy to set in Win 98 are now almost impossible to find and some are even not accessible to the user at all (and I mean the Administrator level user) because Microsoft don't want you turning the default settings off as it means THEY have less control of your system. Microsoft builds in hidden users that only they can access and where you used to be able to find them and change the password or set them inactive, you can't do that to all of them now.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

One thing about Apple is they don't coerce other companies to make things just to suit them and then claim they didn't do it. Microsoft claim they don't do things while they go about doing what they claim they didn't do. Both are as bad as each other most of the time.

myangeldust
myangeldust

There are two types of patents in this case. The original which is an actual invention with schematics to build it. Like the first telephone, television, etc. Then there's the new kind which is basically a concept. Now all a company or individual has to do is develop a concept like Apple's "cover attachment for flexible display", for example, without ever having to physically invent the device. It could be that Apple is working on this (my interpretation) monitor on a flexible cover and wants to prevent anyone from beating them to market. Or Apple knows it's possible to build such an accessory and plans on suing whoever ends up actually building such a device. Apple's lawsuits against Samsung are based on these "concept patents". If you're a futurist or visionary (sci-fi author) you can create a concept and DEVELOP it's form factor, behavior, and uses for a patent application. Anyone who creates that device will need to pay you a license fee. If the new rules had been enacted 100+ years ago Graham Bell would have problems patenting his phone because of someone else's concept patent, "Device that allows vocal or audio communication using electrical pulses running through wires".

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I read the original article. My eyes saw one thing, my brain interpreted another. I thought it said the reverse, that MS 'borrowed' from Apple. My apologies.