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The Surface...just Like Xbox, Ahead Of Its Time (Apple Rant Included)


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I personally feel after using my Surface for over two weeks that this product is ahead of its time.


Just like Xbox was ahead of its time, when Nintendo and Sony dominated the gaming world and all gamers were like Microsoft can't just buy their way into the gaming industry with a powerful PC.


And they did...


They introduced Xbox Live and had an Ethernet port in the device way before anyone even considered online gaming with a console. High speed internet was just rolling out and then they charged you 50 dollars to play online. They had something there and bought into it and now look at where they are. Now the features that Microsoft created and supported, which people and reviewers then called crazy, expensive, niche have become industry standards for gaming.


Similar to how games were becoming more multiplayer focused such as Goldeneye, WCW/NWO, sports games, Mario kart, super smash brothers, when Microsoft brought the idea of playing online. That niche market of multiplayer, at the time, became the driving force of the gaming industry is today with COD, Halo etc.  

Now the Surface...why would people want power or productivity in a tablet? Ask the millions of people who bought Apple office suite for Ipad, photoshop app, IPhoto, IMovie all for Ipad. The Surface is where the (at least) 10 in plus screen tablet industry is going. The current Ipad market is all going to the 7 plus inch screen format while the 10 in screen is going to be for productivity. I feel this is a great time to enter as now the focus shifting away from 10in screen form and going to 7in screen form, allowing for the 10in screen to be for productivity and the 7in to be for consumption and games. Similar to the niche market that wants productivity, a keyboard, a full OS, speed, flexibility in the tablet form factor. This is where 10 in plus screen market is going to... productivity, business, home personnel use etc.


 A few other examples...


Dare I mention Zune and it subscription based model.. now we have Spotify, Rdio, etc. Time will show that a merge of a laptop and tablet is what everyone wants and needs. The Surface with get thinner, faster and maintain a longer battery life through the iterations to come.

Microsoft is not perfect  but I trusted them with Xbox and their support for the software, and innovations lead me to believe that the Surface will follow suite as we are just scratching the surface (pun intended) of Microsoft vision of a unified ecosystem.


Now trust me Surface, Windows 8 and the Next Xbox are all going to integrate together, the tools and devices have been planted. I bet the Windows 8 store and Xbox store are going to be similar, if not based on the same architecture. 


RANT BEGIN ( First I am sick of all these doomsday articles of Windows 8 is in dying and Surface is cool but its not selling as much as Microsoft wants. First Windows 8 is an operating system it is not an expansion pack to WOW. The adoption rate will increase as people by PCs for school, home etc. Just because a new OS comes out people do not throw their PC is the garbage or run out to upgrade an old PC (especially when it is not touch screen). The 1st IPAD was a big IPOD touch with a handful of apps such as Netflix, 4 plus generation and minor upgrades later it is a platform.


On a side note I think Apple is in trouble as the magic that they had has gone with the late Steve Jobs, everything since has been pathetic tweaks (I think the punch everyone's been drink is getting a bit sour). I think Microsoft beat Apple to the punch of combining a touch and productive operating system. As Apple has been wasting incremental upgrades trying to make OSX into iOS with the gestures and such, Microsoft went all in with an operating system that can function in both environments, as when as ARM and mobile processors.


I am sorry for my Apple rant but I am fed up with the public notion that everything Apple does is revolutionary. Some of it is, such as the 1st iphone, app ecosystem and 1st and 2nd gen Ipads. Apple will follow suite with a "productivity IPAD" Look how long it took them to release a 128GB (with flash not SSD memory) for A NICE $799. Not expensive though, but a 899 or 999 for full PC in the form of a tablet.. too expensive. Total double standard and not the same type of device so stop comparing .. "the verge, engadget.. etc"


Today I downloaded a file from the internet, sent it to my home networked hard drive for backup, sent it wirelessly to my Canon/Brother (any) printer to print (oh not before hand writing a message on the photo), then dragged the file to my attached USB thumb drive to print at Target. I also plan to use the photo to write up Thank You and print them using a Avery printing template... all on my couch with a tablet.


Just think how you would (with Apps.. and cost) or if you could do this with an Ipad. This is why the Surface is in a different league.) END RANT


Well there is my rant, I will have more as I continue to read the internet, follow my tech news and use this wonderful tablet/PC from the future.


Thanks for reading if you made it this far!!


Great show SurfaceGeeks, I think you guys do a wonderful job sharing your opinions, advice and knowledge to all us Surface fans out there. Keep up the great work. And I love your tales from the Microsoft Store.. that should be a segment. Ha!

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@jez77 -thank you for succinctly summing up my thoughts regarding the Surface tablets.  When you strip away the hype and compare hardware and function the surface is superior to comparable tablets on the market.  I try to share my thoughts in public forums when I think it may make a difference.  I secretly hope that MS is downplaying the surface so the competitors disregard it as a competitor.  Your analogy with the Xbox is valid to an extent.  I think MS is making a multi-year/multi billion dollar commitment to its success.   In any case, I am very happy with the pro and rt's my family and I use.

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Thanks for your kind words. I agree that Microsoft is in this for the long haul, but they are in a special situation as they have to sell the idea to the OEMs and enterprise( in addition compete), something Apple does not need to contend with. I think they are really positioning Surface, Windows Phone and Xbox as one economy, one direction. By making their own hardware they can better regulate the interaction of Windows 8 with these devices. In addition they can have Surface and XBOX dominate and stock their Microsoft stores (which I think is the future as big box electronic store are in danger).


But regardless of their plans the Surface is real and I am very impressed with its performance and form factor for a 1st generation of hardware. Another thing, is that their reveal of Surface delivered a message that was maintained in the launch of both Surface tablets. I went back and watched the announcement, all items features and message was there at launch; which I feel in an industry that is a moving target is very commendable.


This year is going to be big when they announce the next Xbox and its integration with windows 8 and entertainment. Cross fingers!! Thanks again.

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  • 1 month later...

Nice write up. Go surface!!! I feel the same way. I left apple after being with them for 12 years. Love where big blue is going. Can't wait to see what's next.



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While I am not a fan of Windows 8 at all, I have come to like my Surface Pro.  We have also rolled it out to a few key executives.  I told them to keep their current laptop and Android tablet (No fruit based devices) for a couple more weeks and after that, they could either keep everything, return the Surface OR return the tablet and the laptop.  Every single one of them returned the tablet and the laptop and now only use the Surface Pro.


On Friday, I let one of them look at the Lenovo Yoga I am using and gave them the option to  turn in their Surface and get a Yoga, he chose to keep his Surface.  Funny thing is, they all seem to be using the pen a lot.  In fact they use it so much they keep losing them.  :)


The main complaint is the battery life and the no 4g connection.  If MS seriously wants to sell this hardware, they must QUICKLY address these two issues.  By quickly, I don't mean by the end of 2013.  They have already had enough time to address it some hopefully they will stop dragging their feet and get something out there for us! 

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Windows 8 is the first coherent implementation of a visual UI that adequately spans the screen sizes from a phone to a tablet to a computer to a gesture based wall display. The elegance of having a single UI can lead to enormous cognitive efficiencies for users. But, these are all predicated on sufficient uptake from those users and the belief that it will better their lives. The shift to GUI faced similar hurdles and at the time most thought the GUI was pretty but anyone who "really needed to get work done" would jump into command line and knock out some "work". My one caution in applying this construct to the current situation is that the GUI proved itself in new use cases before it evolved similar (arguably better) ways of doing the old command line "Work". The computer is a beautiful tool for accomplishing tasks for humans but as these machines progress the "work" we do with them evolves as well. The command line was great for the work people envisioned with those tools but graphic design, photo editing, music making and gaming all evolve with the new tools the GUI provides. The iPad was brilliant because it specifically stated its purpose was to fit between a laptop and a phone. To be a better experience at sharing photos, or browsing the web, or listening to music, or manipulating some 3D space object and most importantly to last all day and be small enough that you'll want to have it with you all the time. For many, they've found this to be useful in their lives. The so called NUI new user interface models can augment some of the "work" we do already with Keyboard+mouse machines but the real impact will be in the new use cases these UI's provide. Speech will be more about brainstorming, and conversing, and sharing and bouncing ideas off of a machine than filling out a PDF. Portable devices are more about being with all the information you want, all the time, rather than having to find a flat surface and a plug to boot up your computer to "compute". 

My concern is that Microsoft spent an inordinate amount of time attempting to bring along the functionality of the old use cases instead of absolutely nailing a narrow portable use case as soon as Apple proved there was a market and then including these "more powerful" use cases as the platform developed. The original post's example of taking a file and sending it to some external hard drive and putting it on a usb key to take to target and then to draw on something and put on labels is, (with honest respect) a very technically impressive list that just doesn't impress the average person. Its a Corvette for the middle aged man, a plumage display of complexity that just never impressed the girl to begin with. Regular people want to have their photos in their bag to show their friends at a coffee shop or email it to them by pushing a button, they want to flip through a book or play a game, or listen to music or a movie. They want to enjoy doing those things in a visceral way not show off many different printers they can hook up to their tablet. They don't want to "compute" they want to see their grandkids birthday photos. They want to talk to their grandkids not "triage some email" or knock out a pivot table on the latest Q2 numbers. Traditional computers have had a couple decades to get good at the use cases they evolved with. And they may never really leave us. But you won't get buy in from people if you don't prove to them you understand this new form factor's reason for being. And if you don't get the first date you'll never get to impress her with all your vlookup skills. 


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Funny thing is, they all seem to be using the pen a lot.  In fact they use it so much they keep losing them.   :)


One annoyance is that there is nowhere to put the pen while the Surface is charging.  I bought this case http://amzn.to/11flO9H, which has a zippered pocket, and I stopped misplacing my pen.  (Be sure to use Dave's affiliate link at HSS :))

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My Surface Pro is on charge 90% of the time, so I too had the issue of what to do with the stylus. I finally came up with this incredible hi-tech solution: it's called a shirt pocket............................... :D

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