When Microsoft sits its Surface tablet beside an iPad Pro it makes a marketing blunder. Comparing its Windows 10 PC with Apple’s mobile device lends credence to the fact that the iPad is a computer. Microsoft marketing is doing themselves a disservice while bolstering Apple’s product relevance – if just by entertaining the comparison.
Apple’s iPad runs mobile software and mobile apps. Full versions of Microsoft Word and Excel are not running on iOS. Full versions of Photoshop are not available on the iPad. This distinction, while true, isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Apple. It depends on how productive you can be with the current functionality of mobile apps. For many, like me, the extra features of full apps are not always necessary to be productive. There are excellent alternatives to popular apps, for example, Pixelmator is a wonderful Photoshop replacement. Google Docs and Sheets as well as Apple’s own Pages and Numbers are viable alternatives to Word and Excel. At work I open Word and Excel files on my iPad using mobile apps and save them back to Word and Excel without anyone noticing.
In addition to having useful alternatives to popular PC applications, you have a bevy of productivity enhancers on the iPad that may or may not be available for Windows. I love Wunderlist (recently purchased by Microsoft) to keep my projects organized on my iPad. For writing I love iAWriter – possibly the best writers application ever. And note taking has never been better than Notability. I can walk into a meeting with my iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil and take notes just like having a pad and paper.
Email is just as easy on an iPad as it is on a PC and web surfing is arguably superior on an iPad. I haven’t brought my ‘full’ computer on a business trip in years – just my iPad – and I can stay in touch with the office just as easily.
Directly comparing the iPad to Surface, Microsoft has placed an idea in the minds of future customers that the iPad, while lacking some of the bells and whistles, might just be enough of a computer. For many, there are advantages to having an iPad without the weight, bloat and expense we know we get with a full Windows PC.
Essentially, Microsoft is acknowledging that an iPad is coming closer to the performance of a full PC with its latest advertisement. It’s also letting consumers know the iPad now comes with a keyboard (I’ve been using an Apple bluetooth keyboard for years with my iPad 2 and now the iPad Pro). They’ve put their primary product up against Apple’s mobile device. A marketing blunder if ever I saw one.