Unless you've been living under a rock the past few months, it has been virtually impossible to escape Microsoft's Surface ad campaign. TV, the web, and probably soon, radio and direct mail Surface SPAM will be entering your life. The Redmond software giant is using a massive portion of it's $1.5 billion advertising budget to promote Surface. However, advertising budgets do not equal sales, something that Microsoft does not seem to understand. Surface sales continue to fail even the lowest of expectations.
Microsoft launched the Surface under a campaign known as "The Surface Movement" containing youth oriented Dubstep music, with young and attractive business professionals, all dancing with Surface tablets. This ad campaign failed miserably, so Microsoft is trying a new approach. This week the campaign shifted to an all out attack on Apple's iPad. Two ads have been released so far, but they are attempting to use Apple's ad format in an effort to discredit the iPad as limited and dated when compared to Surface. The main issue with these ads is they approach the viewer as if it were 1990, assuming the public is truly ignorant about what make tablets work.
Apple, Inc's World-Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) is fast approaching, and while Apple CEO Tim Cook has allued to having no new hardware arriving until this fall, software will be the big focus for Apple's annual developers event. A new version of Apple's mobile iOS and desktop OS X software is going to be shown, but perhaps more important than these fundamental pieces of Apple's ecosystem is iCloud. The future of computing, how we access and manipulate data is rapidly moving to server-side solutions, or "cloud" architecture, and Apple has been falling behind its competition at a rapid rate.
Google and others have taken an aggressive approach in developing a wide array of cloud services and tools, wasting little time in building robust ecosystems. Google, clearly out in front with an impress user base, has built a formidable Microsoft Office competitor in Google Docs. But Google's cloud platform has gone well beyond email or users loading and creating documents stored online. Google's entire cloud platform covers development for data mining, custom cloud storage, Enterprise search and much more.
By all media accounts, Apple's Maps app was an absolute disaster, at least at launch. Apple should have either announced the product as a beta solution, launched it later as a production level product, or never launched it at all. Truth be told, I've used it from day one, well over 100 times and it's never steered me wrong. But going far beyond the hysteria that Apple Maps was going to lead you into a dark cave of death instead of your intended destination, Apple achieved a major victory with the launch. Google was forced to pony up and deliver a quality iOS maps application. Apple would be wise to play the same card on Microsoft.
AirPlay is one of the coolest features found on an iOS device, and since Mountain Lion, on your Mac as well. Of course that is if you have a newer Mac. If you have an older Mac you were out of luck until AirParrot came to the rescue by giving older Mac's the ability to mirror their screen to an AppleTV. While AirPlay is cool, it is in need of an update. 1.0 versions of software rarely have everything people want. Version 2.0 releases add missing features and fix annoying bugs. Following is my list of features and bug fixes that Apple needs to build into AirPlay 2.0 to make it über-cool™.
Safari is Apple’s default web browser for both the iOS and OS X. The Mac version of Safari is a great browser with an almost complete feature set. It continues to be my main browser, even while keeping a watchful eye on other competitors like Chrome and Firefox. While Safari on the iOS is still a good browser, its simplistic nature gets in the way at times.
Apple designed Safari for the iOS to be simple and easy to use, but sometimes a simple browser can get in the way. When one wants to save a file, view the full webpage by default or switch between tabs easily, mobile Safari becomes hard to use instead of easy. If Apple can solve these problems, it will greatly improve the browsing on the iOS. Until then, there are alternatives which can help.
If you've been following the AppGratis drama, you may believe that poor Simon Dawalt, CEO of AppGratis, was not only blindsided by Apple, but that Apple isn't justified in what they've done. AppGratis, is yet another victim of Apple's ruthless behavior that makes no sense. I don't revel in the idea of being the contrarian, but Apple isn't the ruthless monster it's often made to be, nor does it treat its developers like garbage.
Can the Surface eventually be tweaked and nuanced into becoming as successful as the xBox in the world of tablets? According to Microsoft’s Chief Operating Officer Peter Klein, that's the plan. Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco earlier this year Klein stated "We aim to evolve this generation of Windows to make sure we have the right set of experiences at the right price points for all customers." Klein was arching his comments to include Surface and the entire direction of the Windows platform, both hardware and software.
We all love it, the iPad mini. Its form factor makes it far easier to tote around than its larger sibling, the full size iPad. The iPad mini is lighter weight, can be held in one hand and does everything the iPad does. However, the iPad mini's one drawback is its display — it is not a retina display.
Maybe that doesn't matter so much for folks with good eyes like millennials. However, for older geeks like myself, being able to clearly read a web page, tweet or email without eye strain is very important. The lack of the iPad mini's retina display is the reason that all three of us at Three Guys and A Podcast have not purchased the iPad mini. Matter of fact it is the ONLY reason, and we don't think we are alone. We believe many others are sitting on the fence waiting for Apple to announce the iPad mini with retina display. Until then, we will just wait.
A strange phenomenon is taking place in the world of mobile. Smartphones continue to move to ever-larger screens, while the world of tablets moves smaller. Will one device rule them all? Not likely. But in the realm of tablets, the iPad mini is taking control of the wheel, while the 10-inch iPad is rapidly taking a back seat. With the torrid pace of small tablet expansion, the iPad mini lineup and its pricing structure won't be far behind.