Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 11th Nov 2015 13:53 UTC

The reviews for the Apple Surface are coming in. There's two reviews at The Verge, one at the Wall Street Journal, and John Gruber's got early access from Apple as well.

The general gist? If you've ever read a Surface Pro review, you've read all the iPad Pro reviews. Well, mostly - the complaints leveled at the Surface Pro are being tip-toed around a bit now that they apply to an Apple product, of course, and suddenly, the magic argument "but it will get better in the future" is now completely valid, while the same argument is never considered valid for the Surface Pro (or something like the Priv and its early bugs).

That being said, all reviews dive into just how uncomfortable the iPad Pro is to use as a laptop - and the problem, of course, is iOS itself. iOS is a mobile, touch-first operating system that Apple is now trying to shoehorn into a laptop role. iOS provides no support for mice or trackpads, and the keyboard and iOS lack most basic shortcut keys, so in order to do anything other than typing, you'll need to lift your arm and reach for the screen to use touch. This is something Apple has mocked for years as the reason not to include touch on laptops, and now they release a device which requires it 100%.

This is what happens when you run out of ideas and try to shoehorn your cashcow - iOS - into a role it was never intended to fulfill, without being gutsy enough to make the changes it requires. The iPad Pro is clearly screaming for a touchpad (and proper keyboard shortcuts), but it doesn't have any, and according to John Gruber, it never will (a comment I filed away for later when Apple inevitably adds mouse support to iOS).

Microsoft's Surface may not be perfect, but its problems stem almost exclusively not from a lack in hardware capability or a faulty concept, but from Microsoft's Metro environment being utterly shit. The concept of having a tablet and a laptop in the same device, seamlessly switching between a tablet UI and a desktop UI, is sound - the only problem is that Microsoft doesn't have a working tablet UI and applications. Meanwhile, trying to shoehorn a mobile, touch-first UI into a laptop form factor is just as silly and idiotic as trying to shoehorn a desktop UI into a mobile, touch-first form factor - and Apple should know better.

Or should they? Paul Thurrott, earlier this week:

While the iPad Pro was in many ways inevitable, it also points to a crisis of original thought at Apple, which has been coasting on the iPhone’s coattails for perhaps too long. At Apple, the solution to every problem is another iPhone. And the iPad Pro, like the new Apple TV and the Apple Watch, is really just another attempt to duplicate that singular success in other markets.

Thurrott really hits the nail on the head. The iPhone became a success because Apple sought - and succeeded in - designing an interface and interaction model that was specifically designed for the iPhone's input methods - the multitouch display, the home button. Ever since that major big hit, they've been trying to shoehorn that exact same interface and interaction model into every major new product - the Apple Watch, the new Apple TV, and now the iPad Pro. However, if there's one thing we've learned from Palm OS (pen-first, mobile-first) and iOS (multitouch-first, mobile-first), it's that every form factor needs a tailored interaction model - not a shoehorned one.

When you're a hammer, every problem looks like a nail - which sums up Apple's new major product lines ever since the release of the iPhone, and the iPad Pro seems no different. It will do great as an iPad+, but beyond that? It's not going to make a single, meaningful dent, without considerable restructuring of iOS' UI and interaction models - and lots and lots of crow.

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(for brevity I will not quote anything)
I don't know where the 270 dollar amount comes from. IBM's official talk about this is "we cannot put a dollar amount on it yet but we feel it is costing us less in support". And of course that is true for new machines with a new rollout mechanism.

Tablets are great because "once you have them you don't replace them". The Apple support cycle for iPads is 5 years. 5 year old iPads cannot run the newest apps mostly because they cannot run the newest OS. In the pc world we have reached maturity where a new version of the OS runs faster than the old version. iOS hasn't reached that level yet so you need newer hardware to run the newer OS to run old apps. The newer OS is also needed to keep your devices secure (most people at home don't care, but business does). No Enterprise is going to upgrade all their devices to any new Operating System that, for whatever reason, doesn't suite them. What if iOS 9 has encryption, but iOS 10 would remove that? Enterprise would stay with iOS9 but they cannot because of security patches. Also, in Enterprise it works like this: does it run EVERYTHING that I run now? What? Only 8 out of 10 things that I want to do? Then we will not even consider it. (Even though the other 2 can be done in another way and the 8 would be greatly improved). It works the same on mobile apparently. If 1 app that you like now isn't available that means there is a No-Go.

Whenever two giants, like IBM and Apple, announce a cooperation that is potentially extremely interesting. This IBM/Apple Apple thing and the iPad Pro seem to be the way that Apple is trying to get into the Enterprise. It doesn't seem like a winning strategy. I found it telling that IBM is issueing macBooks, not iPads. There is a lot of potential here, but it doesn't feel like the push is working. This is just like I think there is a lot of potential in Windows Universal Apps but the push here might also not be strong enough. That doesn't stop me from enjoying Windows 10 and Windows Mobile, but when I see hardly anybody around me (or at Microsoft) use apps that is telling to me as well. Another two giants that I am going to look very closely at are Android/ChromeOS.

PC upgrade cycles have been increasing because there is nothing new that people do with pc's in recent years and because most software doesn't require more powerful hardware. This is exactly the reason that people aren't replacing tablets.

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