The Surface represents the need to have a laptop in a tablet form factor. As much as the pure tablet-experience makers like Apple, Google, and Samsung believe or want us to believe otherwise, there is a niche market that the Surface is catering to. And for Microsoft, it has found a backdoor into what many believe to be a stagnant tablet market that is no longer innovating and growing at the pace it was a few years ago.
And this tablet market as we currently know it is only about 4.5 years removed from when Steve Jobs first introduced the original iPad on January 27, 2010.
If Apple isn't careful and Microsoft manages to gain any sort of momentum with the Surface, Apple could suddenly find itself looking like it had been standing still as far as user-experience is concerned and subject itself to arguments that Microsoft is making about how users want a tablet that can also perform as laptop.
Of course, Apple will continue to innovate and improve on the iPad. However, it does need to make bigger jump soon, if not to deal the Surface a knockout blow, but to give users reasons to consider the iPad as their primary tablet choice.
There is talk about new features such as windowed apps where two or more apps can simultaneously be used at the same time. Gimmicky but some would consider that to be improvement enough. There is also the possibility Apple will release its own iPad Pro with a bigger screen that professionals will find appealing.
Apple has to be weary that Microsoft often does its best work when it has its back against the wall. And it is willing to spend and lose a lot of money to compete. Look at the browser war as well as the console market. And even now, Microsoft continues to pour energy and money to Bing year after year with nothing to show for.
And with the Surface Pro 3, it does appear Microsoft has at the very least demonstrated that it can leverage its Windows brand and provide itself as an alternative to some users who want more than the iPad experience Apple now provides.
Without providing actual sales figures, Microsoft claimed the third edition of Pro has outsold precious versions. And you can bet Microsoft will continue to improve upon Surface Pro 4 and beyond and address shortcomings of precious models and give customers what they want. And this is something Microsoft is very good at.
Apple cannot dismiss the Surface. And I do not believe it will. Just as Apple appeared to have ignore the big screen segment of the smartphone market, it addresses that last week with the 4.7" screen iPhone 6 and 5.5" screen iPhone 6 Plus.
Apple will address the Surface threat as well. When and how is anyone's guess but the sooner Apple can address the Surface issue, the faster it show the market it can continue to innovate the iPad while proving critics wrong and even move further into Microsoft's lucrative stronghold, the enterprise market and wipe out any chance the Surface has of resurrecting its chance of gaining meaningful share of the tablet market.
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