Microsoft Surface optimize

Hands on: Microsoft Surface vs. Apple iPad

Which tablet should you buy: Microsoft Surface or Apple iPad? Patrick Gray compares the hardware and software of these two devices.

In my previous two installments reviewing Microsoft's Surface tablet (part one and part two), I deliberately tried to avoid comparisons with Apple's iPad. I've never been a fan of reviews that seem to spend more time on the competitive product than the product actually under review, and I wanted to avoid presenting the initial sections of the review as such. However, the iPad is the obvious dominant force in tablet computing in the consumer and enterprise markets, and anyone considering a tablet purchase is likely going to consider Surface in light of its primary competitor. So, how does Surface stack up?

Before getting my Surface tablet, an iPad 2 was my primary tablet computing device. I used the tablet in what industry gurus call a "content consumption" mode -- that is, to get email, browse web pages, read electronic books and newspapers, play the occasional game and, in a pinch, create an article or longer email.

The hardware

On the hardware front, Surface easily matches Apple's legendary build quality. The tablet is sturdy and sleek, and it creates its own business-like aesthetic rather than attempting to "out-Apple" Apple. While I find the position of the buttons sub-optimal, features like the kickstand and touch keyboard are vast improvements over what's available from Apple. Many in the technology industry, myself included, wondered if Microsoft could actually build quality hardware on its debut effort, and worries about Microsoft's ability in this area were largely unfounded.

Surface uses a different screen format than the iPad, opting for a widescreen layout rather than iPad's more traditional 4:3 screen ratio, which is similar to the difference between older televisions and newer widescreen models. This may be troubling to some, but I found it fairly easy to transition between the two screen sizes. Reading a book on the Surface feels like reading a large menu when held in portrait orientation, yet the wider screen seems a bit more natural for content like newspapers. My aging eyes are probably not the best judges of color and resolution, but the screen on Surface looks better than my iPad 2's screen, although I have yet to do a side-by-side comparison with the newer iPad's "Retina" display.

Software

The iPad took a fair amount of criticism on its release for being "just a big iPhone." That's an apt comparison, but it's also the power of the device. Rather than attempting to offer a full-fledged computing experience, the iPad keeps the iPhone's quick response times and lightweight operating system, while allowing for more content-rich applications due to the larger screen.

Surface offered an interesting and compelling alternative vision. The aim of Microsoft's tablet was to be easy to use and finger friendly, plus incorporate the best elements of a traditional computer, like running full-fledged productivity applications, which the iPad has never done well. Unfortunately, I don't think Surface managed to completely pull it off, especially when compared to the iPad.

For better or worse, the iPad sets the bar for the tablet side of the computing experience very high. Tap an icon for the average iPad application, and you're in the app and ready to work in milliseconds. Tap an icon for something as mundane as the email application on Surface, and you'll likely be greeted with the "spinning circle" while the app loads and a delay of a few seconds each time you delete or move an email. The delays are not long or hugely troubling compared to a traditional laptop, but they border on painful when compared to an iPad. Quickly reading, flagging, filing, and deleting email is a task I do all the time on my iPad, but I find myself avoiding this task on Surface largely due to these types of delays. As a pure tablet, the software on Surface moves at a snail's pace compared to the iPad.

The other element of the Surface proposition is that you can run full-fledged productivity apps, and each Surface RT tablet ships with the traditional suite of Microsoft Office applications. Surface "morphs" into a more traditional computing experience when working in the Office apps, complete with the familiar Windows desktop and familiar menus and icons rather than a touch-optimized product. I actually like this somewhat disjointed user experience; when I'm sitting down to write an article or jockey a spreadsheet, the keyboard and mouse are still the best way I've found to get meaningful work down. Surface makes a great laptop replacement for these types of functions vs. the watered-down replacements available for iPad.

Which to buy?

So, should Apple or Microsoft be the name atop you tablet purchase order? If your mobile computing vision centers around productivity applications, with occasional tablet-style usage, Surface might fit the bill. I find myself grabbing Surface if I'm headed on a weekend trip or short business trip where I'll have some time on the airplane to write or get some work done. The iPad hops in my bag if I'm planning on catching up on reading or email, or if I'm looking more for distractions than a productivity tool to write my next column.

I'm in the rather unique position of having both devices available, along with a slew of laptops and other computing devices. At this stage in its evolution, if I had to choose only one tablet, I'd pick the iPad. While it doesn't offer the productivity of Surface, it's a very complementary device to the laptop that's likely going to end up in my bag anyway. Until Surface can tighten up the tablet side of the user experience, it's certainly worth adding to a tablet evaluation, but probably not ready to dethrone the iPad in this iteration.

What are your thoughts? If you've worked with both devices, which do you prefer and why? Share your insight in the discussion thread below.

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About

Patrick Gray works for a global Fortune 500 consulting and IT services company, and is the author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology, as well as the companion e-book The Breakthrough CIO's Companion. Patrick has...

55 comments
trendsworld
trendsworld

Is iPad Heavier than Nook? for more information http://www.trendsfair.com/is-ipad-heavier-than-nook/ The researchers proved last month that the iPad is 20 percent heavier than the 9-inch HD Nook. This is the best difference we find when we compare the two tablets. We feel this difference when we hold the tablets in our hands for long period...

gt21cayahoo
gt21cayahoo

Thanks for a balanced article. I also think there are good reasons for using each devices. I travel a ton and currently travel with a laptop and iPad and really don't want to bring both. I really feel like the Surface will do this... when the Pro version comes out. I almost bought the RT, but the inability to access legacy programs was a big deal. Especially since I want to install iTunes which will allow me to stay in the Apple Ecosystem. Anyway, I am a bit overly excited about the Surface and started a blog to track my research before hopefully buying a Surface in January. Once I have it, I will chronicle my good and bad experiences. It is still a rough work in process, but below is a link to the site: www.surfaceipad.net http://www.surfaceipad.net/ Title Surface vs. iPad

lykosalepou
lykosalepou

It is not fair to compare surface with iPad. Surface is a real device that offers fun, productivity, and possibly replace the laptop. iPad is just a very very junior device that has killer looks.

jeremy.cissell
jeremy.cissell

Great Comparison. I believe the surface is gaining serious market share, but it will be really hard for any tablet to ever overtake Apple. Honestly I prefer the surface over the Ipad, but still prefer android to everything.

maszsam
maszsam

Since a lap top can do everything both can do. If you just like to carry around toys and/or have some propensity to always have some electronic device with you then that is your thing and nothing wrong with that. Other wise 99% of the rest of the world can do just fine with one laptop. Okay, I admit I have three, and 9 desktops hooked into 7 moitors, but then I'm in the trade. Trust me, I never get the urge to do anything/not work related on a computer if I'm out of the office. In fact I don't know any developers (maybe those under 30 and/or working less than 60 hrs/wk) who do. Now that I thought of that, maybe the people who "always want to have a tablet with them" are more in the range of entry level end users to sub power users, or 99% of the rest of the world. Probably/almost certianly got the numbers wrong, but thinking the point is good.

pethers
pethers

I also have found that the apps that you use in the metro interface are slow to open and slow to do basic tasks. They also have such limited functionality that you're better off using browser based apps - like Outlook.com over the built in Mail app for example. Sort it out Microsoft.

siegelr
siegelr

Good points. I too have had use of both tablets (iPad 2 and Surface RT), though somewhat limited for the Surface RT and conclude there is room for both; which is why I don't think an "apples to apples" comparison can be made between the two. A mobile professional like me will likely opt for both for the reasons you stated. However, my choice of Surface will be the Surface Pro to replace my 3lb laptop for everyday mobility and travel. Both units will likely find their way into my totebag. The RT is solidly built, the integrated kickstand, native MS Office (even with its limitations ie no Excel macros), the USB port and the microSDX which, at some point will be capable of holding terabytes (probably at a substantial cost) are the big selling points for me. Surface scores big as a result of these features, regardless of any current deficiencies which, I believe, will be ironed out over time and use. Simply the ability to hold my multimedia collection on a 64GB microSDX or Microsoft's cloud without sacrificing hard drive space and the ability to use a mouse with a tablet are huge. There is definitely room for both; like all mobile devices, it depends on the individual usage patterns--which should be the drivers for any mobile device purchase.

Trentski
Trentski

I used to own an ipad 2 and gettings things done was much slower Now I can flick between apps with the flick of the hand, and it feels fun to use The ipad on the otherhand, I always found boring

jagans65
jagans65

It never fails. Companies trying to hit a price point instead of producing the best darn device of its type has really gotten old to me. I for one, am sick and tired of buying something, then watching a bigger and better one come out a week later. Bean counters have taken over in every aspect of our lives and left a stream of disappointed buyers in their wake. When is somebody going to fire the damn bean counters, then in saving the money they would have had to pay them in wages, build something the way they really wanted to in the first place. You would have thought that MS would have taken a lesson with the Zune. What a POS.

martinwtaylor
martinwtaylor

I never really liked the iPad with its walled garden approach, lack of common file sharing and 'watered down' apps. The Surface is a joy to use but its greatest asset is the real productivity. Not only is Office included, but excellent SkyDrive integration, social media integration and Remote Desktop for when you have to use work resources. Desktop provides Explorer for proper file manipulation. The gestures are easy to learn and the battery life is most impressive. The iPad has been put away and the Surface is my new daily tool.

T3CHN0M4NC3R
T3CHN0M4NC3R

I have been fiddling Windows 8 around my desktop and also my old Acer 1825ptz convertible tablet. I find it's performance impressive to be able to run on such lowly hardware. Of course I'm not expecting to play Crysis on my tablet but so far, reading my mails, checking out my contacts via Peaple app, and replying messages via Messaging app in Windows 8 has been superbly well. The touch factor works pretty well too. But I think most people get mixed up between Windows 8 RT and Windows 8 Pro. The surface runs Windows 8 RT while the Surface Pro runs Windows 8 Pro. For the Surface with Windows 8 RT, I think it defeats the purpose of having Windows. It's like having a brand new platform in competing against iOS and Android while there is a better Windows 8 which has all the apps and capabilities of Windows 8 RT, all the productivity of Windows 7 and the performance of Linux/Mac OS. The way I see it, hybrid tablets will open the path to the future such as the Surface Pro, Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 and also HP Elitepad 900. IMO, these are the real future changing computing devices.

CETanner
CETanner

I have both the Surface and an iPad, I actually find myself using the Surface tablet much more now than the ipad. Grant it, there are more apps to choose from in the apple store, however I tend to buy the apps to get me through what I need. I'm not an app collector that seeks out new apps and just download them because I can. If it provides no valuable functionality then I don't bother with it. Surface compliments my laptop better because It does some of the things that my laptop does. Light weight duties, like file management, Box, Skydrive, and other light lifting windows tasks, not to mention the MS office products. I also love the surface interactive and live interface as opposed to the quickly aging ipad desktop. I'm not going to get rid of my ipad just yet, but if this trend of me using Surface more often continues, I'll probably sell my ipad and maybe even upgrade to a surface pro. Which might replace both my ipad and my laptop.

shsdarwin
shsdarwin

Realistically you should not compare the iPad 2 with the Surface. The iPad 2 is now superseded by 2 newer iterations, so a comparison would be better served using the latest model. However, I'm currently holding out for the Surface Pro edition. Would love to see how this one works. I'm using Windows 8 on a desktop and find it less then inspiring, but am hoping the OS is better suited to tablet computing. I have an iPad 3, and absolutely love the thing. But to have a solid tablet with the ability to run native windows apps is definitely an enticing prospect.

Nashphil
Nashphil

What makes a tablet a tablet? Right now, 10 point touch vs 5 point touch? Size? (tablets are too small!) Apps? (Everybody's got them) So, throw in the Lenovo Thinkpad Twist. Bigger screen - Finally! Light Real RAM and HD Keyboard And More.

prabirc
prabirc

Well have been using the iPad 1 for some time now, 2 years almost I would guess , give or take a couple of months. It has effectively replaced my laptop. It does most of what I need, send emails, check info on the web, download files, annotate , etc. it does most everything. It's fast, and is super convenient. Battery life is another plus. I'd say best device in its class. The trick is that what it does it does extremely well. I also read books on it, play the occasional game and it hasn't let me down once. Push the start button, and presto, it's ready to go. Brilliantly conceived , that's the genius of Jobs I guess.

lkarnis
lkarnis

Let's see, in hardware, no mention of the CPU used, the amount of memory, the amount of usable memory, the amount of SD storage (embedded or sockets), no mention of 3D video capabilities or screen resolution (differences) or overall performance... but the build quality is similar so what else matters? What about basic software comparison? Features? Speed / time to complete basic tasks? Video playback performance, web browsing performance, multitasking capability, etc.? Nope, no details there either. So the article distills down to... they both look nice and they both have an operating system so they are comparable. Thanks for the insights.

KBabcock75
KBabcock75

Apps is a huge argument for the iPhone or even Android above the RT. MS and their fans are saying just wait we will catch up but, will they? The Windows phone is doing poorly in the market and App development is slow compared to the competition, this could be a foreshadowing of RT's success. There are no real major programs on the RT except Office (at least parts of it) and it is a poor port from the computer version that is all but useless when using the RT as a tablet. All major companies are writing for iPhone and some Android. Based on this there is a very strong case that the RT will never gain traction and will remain a nitch player. I also agree with the analysis that a wide screen is a very poor choice for a pad device. It is very clumsy to use, this was known from some of the Android pads that tried it. 3:4 is the optimal large pad. I have found that the 9:15 does work on a 7" pad because the small size still makes it manageable.

pianoguy
pianoguy

The following review statement is quite telling, "At this stage in its evolution, if I had to choose only one tablet, I’d pick the iPad. While it doesn’t offer the productivity of Surface, it’s a very complementary device to the laptop that’s likely going to end up in my bag anyway." So, the iPAD isn't enough for serious (or prolonged or Office-type) work, which means you need another device that is--so a laptop or Surface. The Surface isn't a great tablet, but it will do if you had to throw in only one device but need Office with you. Hmm: sounds like you'd eventually tire of "two devices to carry on" and end up opting for the Surface. I don't think you'd miss that much (except, currently, the slew/fload/diaspora of iOS apps).

davidlfoster
davidlfoster

No. 1. Battery life. The real Surface (not the near useless RT one) is rumored to have an extremely short battery life. True or false? I'll tell you this - battery life is never a concern for me with the iPad. Never. I don't even have to think about it. Using a Surface must be like flying a glider - you are always conscious about how far you are away from a (air)port to land (charge) it. No. 2. With regards to the screen you compared the expensive Surface to Apple's cheapest bargain basic iPad (full-size). Is that fair by any stretch of the imagination? Are you telling me that as a tech pundit you haven't even looked at an iPad 3 or 4 yet? If you haven't, just how are you qualified to be writing this article since anyone even considering a Surface at its high cost would very likely also be considering purchasing an ipad 3 or 4, and not a bottom basement iPad 2? No. 3. You're a user of a Windows phone, and not one of their near immediately superannuated 7 models, but a spanking new 920. Believe it or not, you are in a very small minority. You consequently must possess a built-in bias no matter how much you deny it. iPhone users have accumulated numerous apps and working styles and workflows (iCloud is a big one now) and all of them just work, immediately, on the iPad. Actually better in most cases, because of the iPad's bigger screen and the fact that most iPhone apps work in an acceptable manner on the iPad. You make no mention of this. Call it the iOS ecosphere or whatever you want, but it is big and vast To ignore it in an article like this you must either be nearsighted or biased.

tony
tony

I have have a surface & ipad,If you are sharing the tablet with teens and other then the multiple profiles on the surface are a great feature. Had experiences on ipad of replies made to some of my work emails & facebook updates I never made having forgot to log out of it. Prefer surface myself.

aoporto
aoporto

The key differentiator between iOS and Windows RT is not just the number of apps available, but the quality of apps and usage scenarios they enable, especially for SMBs. iPad is the clear winner in this regard with many high quality apps for cloud-enabled productivity.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I, for one, look at how the entire device can serve me. Why have a dedicated ebook reader when I may want to write, check weather, use a database manager? Is the iPad heavier? I should hope so. Of course, I also expect it to do a lot more than a Nook, too.

DWFields
DWFields

Surface RT is essentially identical to iOS--except Windows based rather than OS X based.

DWFields
DWFields

Because a tablet--whether iPad, Android or Surface--can do something no full laptop can do; they can be used while walking. Yes, I do know that there are "convertible" laptops out there and for the most part they were very niche tools in very niche markets which until Windows 8 had effectively no available software that took advantage of that 'walkabout' capability. Even then they tended to weigh five pounds or more and cost in excess of $3K where both the Surface and the iPad start at only $500 or 1/6th the price So no, a laptop cannot "do everything both can do." If you just like carrying five pounds around under your arm to proclaim, "I'm better than all you fanboys", that's certainly your prerogative, but almost everybody else will just shake their heads when they see you.

martinwtaylor
martinwtaylor

I'm an IT Director and I like my Surface. It's a good tool for forums, blogging, general communications as well as doing serious stuff at work. Using Remote Desktop, I can even work on my servers. That's what I like about it, it can do almost everything I need.

martinwtaylor
martinwtaylor

I agree that Outlook.com has a richer interface, but I like the Mail app as it gives good notifications. I'm sure that in time the Mail app will be given more of the Outlook.com features. It does no harm running both.

martinwtaylor
martinwtaylor

Why would you be concerned at a 'bigger and better one' coming out after your purchase? Did you not consider its value at the time of purchase and decide it was worth the money? What difference does it make to an item's meeting your requirements and generating satisfaction what comes after it?

DWFields
DWFields

A much better choice, in fact, than trying to use Android for that purpose.

DWFields
DWFields

Would you be using a Surface tablet if you ran OS X on your laptop? Probably not.

DWFields
DWFields

to base that kind of argument on them. The iPhone didn't have any apps when it came out other than what Apple itself chose to put in; it took almost a year before they decided to let third-party developers write for it. Android, too, didn't have any apps worth speaking of when it came out, though they did open their SDKs much more quickly. Microsoft has already opened their SDKs for WP8/RT development and as such could realize a much faster growth of apps than you seem to expect. Which touches on the other part of that point: WP8 is different enough from WP7 and predecessors to totally eliminate the vast majority of their faults; however, WP8/RT must also battle the reputation that the old WinMob gained--and it takes work to reverse that kind of momentum. People really need to come into the Windows 8 ecosystem with an open mind--something of which very few seem capable. Even as a long-time Apple user for MacOS, OS X and iOS, I can see the potentials here--as long as Microsoft itself doesn't mess it up.

DWFields
DWFields

Then again, neither is the Surface RT. They are both supplemental devices while the Surface Pro will be yet another attempt to bring full-powered desktop computing to a tablet device--though this time with the advantage of offering true mobility capabilities as well. Of course, the Surface Pro will also suffer most of the same disadvantages of all those 'tablet' predecessors, too--short battery life only the worst of the bunch.

DWFields
DWFields

#1. Battery Life: He compared the Surface RT (the only one currently available) to the iPad. As they are both on reduced, supplemental OSes rather than full-powered desktop OSes, the comparison comes off very well. #2. Screens: While the iPad 2 is NOW the least expensive full-sized model, at the time of purchase by the writer I highly doubt that was true. I, personally, happen to still be using a first-gen model and I would certainly be comparing a Surface RT tablet to what I already have rather than spending twice just to compare to the most recent version. Some people earn money by writing and simply cannot afford to buy the latest and greatest every time something new comes out. #3. Phones: iOS is to the iPhone and iPad as Windows Phone 8 is to Windows RT--almost identical. The comparisons as such should be similar as well. While I will grant that the available apps for Windows8/RT are a little slim at the moment, they were for the iPhone/iPad when they first came out as well--as were Android apps. To make such complaints when quite honestly few people have even had the opportunity to support the new OS devices is simply facetious. It seems a lot of people see a potential that you simply want to ignore.

TNT
TNT

No. 1 - The straw-man argument goes nowhere. The review was of the Surface RT, not the Surface Pro, and the RT has similar battery life to the iPad. The Pro is so much more than the RT or iPad that its not fair to compare the two. No. 2 - Most reviewers agree that the retina display has a higher resolution which makes text appear sharper. Other than that, side-by-side comparisons show that there is little difference between the two in color, contrast, and overall quality of picture. Plus its widescreen, which even Apple is finally admitting is superior by making their new iPhone conform. No. 3 - Ad homonym attacks are never appreciated. Please refrain from attacking the person rather than their opinion.

doug.montgomery
doug.montgomery

Is there an Apple cloud based office suite? Office365 gets you office on your desktop, and office on your tablet. Web based, or running local. Add in skydrive, and you have continuity between your devices, and your data. If your company has Sharepoint... Apple isn't in that market. Cloud based productivity is not Apples strong suit.

DWFields
DWFields

All you have to do is look at what Android had when they started and at how, after 4 years, they're roughly equivalent in numbers with at least a few Android apps as good as their iOS equivalents. RT is more likely to see quality apps more quickly as it plays and lives off of the Windows ecosystem more readily.

TNT
TNT

I actually expected the apps argument to be presented in the comparison and was surprised when it didn't. You're right that iOS has far more apps available that Win RT, and even though MS promised over 100,000 new apps in the store by end of January iOS will still trounce it. That said, there is no Office for iOS. That's huge. It will take time for Win RT to catch up, but with developers being able to easily port their app from Windows Phone to Win RT tablets to Win 8 desktops I think the ground will be made up quickly. And while the Surface Pro is not really comparable to the iPad since its hardware is so superior, being able to run compatible Windows applications opens up a market far larger than iOS.

jagans65
jagans65

Im not, Martin. What bothers me is how often they come out with a bigger and better one, even if its not really bigger or better. I dont own either an Ipad or a Surface, because you can get so much in a laptop nowadays, and I hate smudged screens. I may get one once they come out with one that does it all better than a laptop, but I doubt it. Laptops are fine with me, and I like a full sized keyboard.

KBabcock75
KBabcock75

But when the iPhone came out it opened a whole new market with no comparable competitors to speak of. Android likewise was the first real option to the iPhone and was open source which helped its growth. Now, both platforms are well established, have large App environments and have good reputations. W7/8 comes to the party very late with few apps, no real advantages, same costs and the Windows reputation baggage to deal with. There is just no real compelling reason to select a W7/8 phone over the competition.

fhrivers
fhrivers

MS is already planning subsequent versions with less power-hunger 10W processors. But then again, Surface Pro is a productivity device first and foremost and it has better battery life and is more portable than most laptops and has more processing power than netbooks. Ultra-mobile productivity devices are the holy grail of enterprise computers. Road warriors love them and all we've had to settle for at this point is ultra-mobile laptops which when fully-equipped can easily reach a couple grand. The second option was netbooks which had excellent battery life and portability, but the performance stinks. Then there was a rebellion against enterprise IT departments in the form of the dreaded BYOD iPads and Android tablets. As an IT admin, I don't want any of that and Surface Pro is my answer. It's a great medium between the ultra-portable notebook PC and a netbook. Lastly, with the major push towards electronic health records, Surface Pro will blow up in hospitals and clinics where physicians and nurses have to lug or cart around computers and laptops. They can just walk around with the type cover and even scribble notes with the smart pen.

JohnOfStony
JohnOfStony

I must take issue with TNT on his point 2. A phone is only practical if it can be hand held which limits its width so if you want a larger screen you've got to go widescreen (or tallscreen in portrait mode). It's a simple geometric fact that for a given screen diagonal the maximum area is a square. As a 4:3 screen is significantly closer to a square than a 16:9 screen, it's got significantly more screen area - actually 12.33% more. What I fail to understand is this fixation with widescreen. You can watch widescreen movies on any screen; you just end up with black bars top and bottom on a squarer screen. I've heard comments like "but you're not using the whole screen!" So what? Do you only drive your car when it has its full complement of passengers? The advantage of having a car with more than one seat is that it's useful when you do need to transport a family. A 4:3 screen is useful when you have an app that needs more area - such as a web page. Let's look at web pages: most are longer than they are wide so portrait view is preferable. But with a tall screen, the width is restricted so you either can't see the full width of the page or you have to shrink it so that it's less legible. OK, we can view it in landscape but with a widescreen that means more vertical scrolling than with a 4:3 screen. I rest my case: a squarer format is much more practical for web surfing and gives more surface area for a given screen diagonal. So unless you find black bars intolerable when watching movies, the better option is 4:3. So well done Apple on your choice of 4:3 for the iPad

DWFields
DWFields

It's called the iWorks suite.

_Mr_West_
_Mr_West_

Comparing Surface vs iPad2. Note the '2' after iPad. v1 is rarely better than v2. How many people still prefer original iPad to iPad2? Once MS have developed their legs in the tablet industry I'm sure that they (MS) will take off and maybe even seize the tablet throne from Apple.

DWFields
DWFields

Sure, there are some decent Android apps, but when you find two apps with the same name and developer on both iOS and Android, more often the iOS app is the higher-quality app in both appearance and functionality. That said, I expect to see RT apps blow away the average Android app for the same reason--a much better infrastructure behind the OS offering a measure of security and interoperability with other Windows devices. Quality is going to be much more important for RT apps than quantity.

KBabcock75
KBabcock75

The iPhone was a watershed technology, no phone previously used the finger as an input device. On top of this simple innovation Apple got it right with a simple to use interface that offered features and capabilities not seen in any other phones at the time. This is why it rose so quickly. W7/8 is not such a product, it is a “me too” phone coping the success of the iPhone. For it to catch up it needs to be capable and cheaper (Android) or better then the iPhone. It is neither which is reflected in its poor sales. The market is speaking, it is only a matter of listening. The MS tablets, before the iPad, were niche market units that failed completely when sold to the masses. They were heavy, had short battery lifes, a poor OS interface, running programs designed for mouse keyboard use with a touch screen and finally they were more expensive then a laptop. Apple solved everyone of these issues with the iPad and again was rewarded by the market. The Surface faces the same obstacles as the WM7/8 phones, it does not off many advantages with multiple disadvantages for the same price. Again no compelling reason to buy.

grayknight
grayknight

it sounds like WP7/8 will never get any where, but if you look back at when the iPhone came out, there was already many mobile platforms that had more (Windows Mobile, Palm Pilots, Blackberry, etc.). So why bother coming out with an iPhone? Because technology was now at price points that would allow more people into markets that were previously niches. This was true for the iPad as well. There were tablets of various kinds before the iPad, they were just too expensive for most people to buy. Now that touch based hardware is nearly everywhere, this market is open for even more products.

grayknight
grayknight

in the past, but most newer sites and redesigns are pushing for fluid layout that works whether on a phone, tablet, or desktop with 4:3, 16:10, 16:9 screens at various sizes. So wider screens are becoming more useful. Also with the Surface (or most any Windows 8 tablet), you can dock an app to the left or right and have a 1024x768 (4:3, minimum) screen for web browsing.

michael.moore
michael.moore

CloudOn provides a cloud-based office suite that includes Word, Excel and Powerpoint with full document compatibility that can save files on Dropbox, Google Drive etc for universal access. Tha apps are slightly cut-down but still do things like "track changes", and all the formatting options you need - even format painting and it costs a whole lot of nothing! It currently lacks offline capability but there's a strong user push for it and these guys seem to listen!