Stuart Breckenridge

How Microsoft Has Become the Surprise Innovator in PCs

Farhad Manjoo’s article, How Microsoft Has Become the Surprise Innovator in PCs, has some fundamental flaws. He writes:

The hybrid Surface Pro — the inheritor of that first Surface’s vision, the latest version of which was released in May — hasn’t just become a moneymaker for the company. It was also the clear inspiration for the Apple iPad Pro, which supports a pen and keyboard but still feels less like a full-fledged laptop than Surface does.

Why would you compare the iPad Pro to how much it feels like full-fledged laptop? If you want a full-fledged laptop then get a full-fledged laptop! And while you’re at it, define full-fledged. Does a full-fledged laptop need to have an Ethernet port, a Display Port, and some USB connectivity? If so, is a MacBook Pro with USB-C only connections not a full-fledged laptop?

I have an iPad Pro and a MacBook Pro and I don’t ever feel the need to define my iPad Pro in terms of its laptopyness. Similarly, I don’t compare a MacBook Pro to either an iMac or Mac Pro.

Farhad continues:

And in the spring, Microsoft showed off Surface Laptop, which sounds humdrum enough; in shape and purpose, it isn’t much different from the MacBook Air, Apple’s pioneering thin and light laptop. But Microsoft’s machine has a better screen than the Air, and, more important, a future. People loved the Air, but Apple doesn’t appear to want to upgrade it, so Microsoft stepped in to perfect Apple’s baby.

I’d argue that the Surface Laptop’s competitor is the MacBook, not the MacBook Air. The MacBook has a slightly smaller display but a higher PPI, USB 3.1, and is significantly lighter. That said, the MacBook doesn’t have a multi-touch display and the integrated GPU isn’t as good the one in the Surface Laptop.

Also of note: the article makes no mention of other PC makers. Is the implication that Asus, Lenovo, HP, et al., are simply not innovating at all?


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