Microsoft Surface vs. Apple iPad
A lot of people would accuse me of being an Apple hater, but I’m not though – I do own an iPod, I have bought my wife two versions of the iPhone and my daughter owns an iPod Touch so we do have our share of Apple products in our house. I just don’t see them as much of a device for the enterprise due to the appalling inability to run line of business applications. And I don’t like the lack of multi-thread capabilities either. They do make some very nice hardware though (although the rest of the world is catching up to them quickly). On that note, here are 10 good reasons why I would buy a Microsoft Surface tablet before I would fork out my hard-earned cash for an (overpriced, IMHO) iPad.
- Multi-user support. More than one user can use the device and have their own profile (just like a PC – are you listening in Cupertino?). Everyone gets their own settings, mail, contacts, apps – whatever. You simply do not have that kind of flexibility on an iPad.
- Multi-tasking. Running two apps side-by-side is an obvious advantage. You can text while watching a video or seamlessly cut and paste between apps. With an iPad, you have to close out one app to get at another which is a major buzz kill.
- Screen format. The widescreen format on a Surface (16:9) is great for watching movies. The iPad is still on the 4:3 format which I find very curious. Apple has the nicest screens hands down – why diminish it with such an old display format? Add the kickstand that is built in to the Surface and it’s great for watching vids.
- USB connectivity. Apple really misses the boat on this. I think they don’t want you to be able to up external content from anything other than iTunes and while you can, it is painful. What if you want additional storage? Can’t get that on an iPad unless you buy a bigger iPad. You also can’t add a printer, a mouse, memory sticks or any other external device. Very locked down and don’t think for a moment that isn’t exactly what Apple is shooting for. I get it, but I sure don’t like it.
- Live Tiles. I really like this about Windows 8. It takes the icon to a whole new level. It gives you a quick overview of information that is important to you and you can pin shortcuts to subsections of apps – very cool and very useable.
- Expandable storage. I sort of covered this in the 4th point but Apple locking me down to the onboard storage of an iPad is a showstopper for me. Not being able to grab music or photos or documents off of someone’s SD card is no fun and very short-sighted IMHO.
- Awesome search. The system-wide search in Windows 8 includes the ability to search for apps and for info within those apps all from the Start screen. In my use of Windows 8, that has become one of my favourite new features. The Share experience is similarly superior since all the apps cans intelligently share with each other.
- Office is included free. Totally a bonus for anyone who needs it.
- Desktop. For those who need to access their stuff in the usual and familiar desktop. Especially great when you have access to the entire file system instead of the lockdown that you find in an iPad.
- On-screen keyboard. The Surface comes with four completely different keyboards compared with the iPad’s one. That includes a full sized one with a layout identical to a physical keyboard. There is also a handwriting one and they can all be positioned anywhere you like on the screen. Added to the capability of having a physical keyboard plugged in to a USB port (see point 4) and the Surface has the iPad whipped when it comes to creating content instead of just consuming it.
There are many other reasons why you might choose a Surface over an iPad but that’s a pretty healthy start.
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