7 of 12Image
This is a full-throated, start-to-finish rave-up, in which Surface is "beautiful and functional and simple and honest":
If Microsoft delivers—which means that the price and the battery life should be competitive with Apple's offerings, and that keyboard lives up to its billing—it has a real chance of stopping the seemingly unstoppable Apple empire. Or at least slowing it down.
If it fulfills its promise, if Microsoft Surface Pro is $800 or $900 and can pull six or seven hours of battery life, then things will change. It's going to be hard, since they don't have the app ecosystem yet, but that will come eventually. Microsoft has the user base, the developer base, and the deep pockets to make sure of that.
The only thing Microsoft was missing until yesterday just was a better platform. Now all the pieces are in place for a well-fought war, just like the good old days.
Consider this the canonical pro-Surface argument until further notice.
Dyed-in-the-wool Mac guy Gruber could not resist putting in his two cents' worth, starting with a heaping helping of schadenfreude:
Watching the Microsoft Surface event video, I sensed uneasiness. Not panic, but discomfort. Some will argue that I’m simply spoiled by Apple’s on-stage polish, but Monday’s Microsoft event struck me as rushed and severely under-rehearsed. Ballmer offered nothing but blustering bromides, and nothing even vaguely resembling a coherent answer to the big question: Why? Steven Sinofsky was nervous and hurried. It didn’t help that his first Surface RT unit crashed before he’d done anything other than wake it up. There was a moment where he said Surface was perfect for sitting down, relaxing in a chair, and watching a movie. He sat in that chair for about three seconds before rushing into the next segment.
I found the presenters far less rehearsed and the presentation far less cohesive than an Apple event. (With the notable exception of designer Panos Panay, who was very solid on stage.) There was no story.
In the 1383-word post, Gruber continually returns to lengthy discussions of Apple's product philosophy and launch procedures and economics. Then, after a few paragraphs, he snaps back to the subject at hand with a start. "Ah, where was I again?"
He concludes with a bold prediction: "If I’m right, it’s inevitable now that Microsoft will acquire Nokia."
I'm filing that under claim chowder.
Harry is one of my favorite tech journalists of all time, precisely because he excels at posts like these. In the hands of a lesser talent, this would be a hackish list of cringingly obvious questions chosen for their SEO value. Harry, on the other hand, promises 23 questions and delivers the goods with each and every one.
21. What if Microsoft had begun work on all this a half-decade earlier?
Surface borrows its name, certain user-interface principles and perhaps some technologies from Microsoft’s pricey table-top computers. Those machines were announced back in 2007–here’s a piece I wrote about them at the time–and I suspect that the company sincerely thought they’d be everywhere by 2012. Instead, they never amounted to much. It’s tempting to fantasize about an alternate reality in which Microsoft skipped the Surface table research and proceeded directly to the Surface tablet. Instead of rushing to catch up with the iPad, the company could have rendered it less of a milestone by releasing a great tablet first.
Worth reading the whole thing.