Oct 28, 2016 — by: Mark Reschke
Categories: Competition, Mac Mini, Mac Pro, MacBook, OS X, Special Events, Tim Cook, MacBook with retina display

Surface_studio_imacOn Tuesday I wrote an article with the premise that Microsoft, from their marketing arm to product offerings are mirroring Apple amazingly well, surpassing Cupertino's technologies in many ways. Immediately, Apple apologists were decrying the Surface Studio as a wannabe, gimmicky iMac, and that the price was unjustifiably high.

Yesterday Apple launched the all-new MacBook Pro, with innovative touch bar, complete with built-in Touch ID. The new technology looks well refined and thoroughly thought out. Touch bar makes sense in hundreds of different use cases and the rest of the MacBook was given highly effective refinements throughout. Apple may have stemmed any creative pro tide away from it's notebook shores with the new MacBooks, but there is still trouble within Apple's desktop offerings. The competition knows it and is attacking in full force.

Microsoft is hitting at the heart of Apple's traditional creative desktop Macs at just the right time, as Apple has been amazingly slow in updating their macOS hardware. Surface Studio provides a 28-inch multi-touch display, pen tool capabilities and an all new Adobe partnership-based Surface Dial. The hockey puck-like device allows for color wheel selection, to useful tool recall and deployment. It's a device that emerged from carefully studying the creative professional while looking to deliver tools that enhance their workflow and creativity. Surface Studio and Surface Dial show attention in bringing innovative – and useful – tools to market. While the iMac provides a great display with built-in Mac, both it and the Mac Pro are now well behind the curve of creatively useful innovation.

The immediate response I received from Apple apologists is that Surface Studio starts at $2,999, with minimal hardware specifications. This is the exact argument PC users claim about Apple, in selling costly (yet effective) innovation to market. Loyal Mac users can't have it both ways. The fact is, price is not what drives professional creative types one direction or another. Rather, it is the tools that allow them to do their job in the most efficient, creative, most seamless way possible that drives purchasing decisions. Creative professional's computers are not toys or hobbies, they are their livelihood. At the end of the day, a thousand dollars one way or the other (that will be amortized as a business expense anyway) does not matter. If Apple or Microsoft, or any vendor, has the right tools, then those are the tools that will be purchased. 

There are others decrying the fact that Surface Studio is a Windows box, therefore making it worthless. This comes from people who have not likely used a Windows PC for some time. Longhorn and Windows 8 are gone. Microsoft has learned from their mistakes and Windows 9, errrrt, Windows 10 is the most solid OS they have ever made, with developers tools taking advantage of Microsoft's sofware–hardware combos. Crying "But it's Windoze!" no longer holds much weight.

On the desktop, the unthinkable has happened. A lackadaisical Apple has left the back door open for Microsoft to come in and entertain Cupertino's core creative market. Until Apple greatly advances the iMac and Mac Pro, Apple's creative desktop market is vulnerable.

Recent rumors have hinted at an iMac and Mac Pro update coming in early 2017, giving both systems a leg up over its competition. I certainly hope so, because Apple's desktop Macs desperately need it.

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  1. Jozsef Scheiber ~ Oct. 28, 2016 @ 5:45 pm

    I have a 5K iMac. What's wrong with it? Works FAST! with everything I throw at it. The screen is still the best of class (P3 gamut). I agree with Apple...my iMac is not a compromise...it is purely desktop...which is what I need in my office. I have a 13" MacBook Pro for travel. A 10" iPad for "couch browsing"…without compromise! I think you got caught up in the "it's NEW!" frenzy rather than looking at the versatility of "NO COMPROMISE!" #
  2. Cold ~ Oct. 29, 2016 @ 4:28 am

    I am too very worried. I'm worried about Apple's lack of focus, but I'm just as worried at the Mac faithful who are dismissing Apple's disinterest, and Microsoft interest in the creative market. This Surface Studio is something that Apple really ought to have done by now, and I can't deny it's looks very compelling. Sure it has its drawbacks, but the innovation is clearly there and whatever we creatives end up using in 5-10 years time, it's not a fricking 'touch bar', it's more likely something closer to what Microsoft have just announced. Microsoft have clearly researched and listened to what creatives want. Apple, well I don't know what Apple is doing. #
  3. rolev ~ Nov. 20, 2016 @ 12:27 pm

    TGaap should be writing for MS columns not for a Mac site. #
  4. Spyinthesky ~ Nov. 26, 2016 @ 5:49 am

    Ok let's start with the fact that you are right in saying Apple is being sluggish with Mac hardware and general development. However 'Mac appologists' I guess that's a lazy childish way of writing off all alternative views to your own buying into the 'anti' brigade that you and appealing to. Might be better to argue the points intelligently that they raise. Fact is the surface studio is an interesting concept that I don't write off but truth is that is appeals only to a very small demographic and foes nothing to answer the often understandable criticisms that pros make about Apple hardware. It is mostly style over substance and let's be honest if Apple had launched such a machine it would have been roundly written off as a distraction and gimmick. It is expensive, lacks true power and expandability with a touch screen that dome claim already has a slight lag, brand new and will only deteriorate over time. Designers also like clear screens so in non touch use will be a cleaning nightmare for many. Fact is this machine has little to do with its own usefulness will make little to no profit and is fundamentally a lot more to do with enthusing potential users to more practical Microsoft and Windows users and improve the brand overall. In that regard it is clever tactics as a loss leader and certainly something that Apple needs to pull its finger out in combating with new exciting products that show, urgency, focus and actual interest in their computer line. #

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