TechRepublic’s Half Assed Surface RT to iPad Comparison

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Half Assed

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TechRepublic has a post up this week from Patrick Gray that is billed as a hands-on comparison of the Microsoft Surface RT and the iPad. It’s a half-assed piece that’s full of apples to watermelons style comparisons.

For starters, when discussing the quality of the displays, Gray compares the Surface RT to the iPad 2. So that’s a tablet released very near the end of 2012 being pitted against the iPad released near the beginning of 2011 – and iPad that is now two generations behind the latest model. Lame.

Then Gray trots out a bit of tired, way overused, and misinformed nonsense about the iPad being a ‘just for consumption’ device (emphasis is mine in the excerpt below):

The aim of Microsoft’s tablet was to be easy to use and finger friendly, plus incorporate the best elements of a traditional computer, like running full-fledged productivity applications, which the iPad has never done well.

Bullshit. What are full-fledged productivity applications then? Over 90% of the Fortune 500 are deploying or piloting the iPad. That’s the heart of the enterprise arena there – so what,. they’re all using the iPad to watch movies and do some fun web browsing?

Local, state, and national governments are using the iPad. Healthcare professionals are using the iPad for everything from patient records to diagnostic usage. NFL teams are replacing their playbooks with iPads and have coaches and players using them heavily. The US Air Force and many commercial airlines are using iPads as electronic flightbags. Authors are writing entire novels on iPads, musicians are creating and producing entire albums on iPads.

The iPad has the iWork productivity suite, a number of apps that offer MS Office editing compatibility, cloud-based apps that offer access to Windows and the Office suite, and a huge array of great productivity apps from 3rd part developers.

Which tablet is the one that lacks for even half-decent app choices? The one that needs to pay developers to encourage them to develop for the disjointed half mobile / half desktop Surface RT? Hell, Office itself doesn’t even run on the ‘RT’ side of the Microsoft tablet.

Overall, Gray’s piece is a half-assed look at the Surface RT vs. the iPad, and a regurgitation of a delusional theory that Microsoft’s new tablet is somehow better for ‘real work’ than the iPad. Most reviews of it I’ve seen have left the reviewers not even wanting to carry on using the Surface RT after a day or two, nevermind getting any work done on it.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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5 thoughts on “TechRepublic’s Half Assed Surface RT to iPad Comparison

  1. Seriously? Okay.. Okay.. When I saw the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet last year, I thought “Wow, THAT would be great for businesses!”. Then after seeing how it actually worked AFTER using my iPad2. I was like “iPad is just much more convenient and efficient.”

    Is the iPad for everyone? No.

    But it IS for users who:

    Web browsing for news
    Watching YouTube
    Write, Read and Answer Email
    Writing MS Docs
    Making Powerpoint Presentations
    Editing Photos and posting them or printing them
    Recording music or making music
    Drawing art on paper and scanning it in for the web or coloring touching ups
    Drawing art directing into the iPad device
    Doing a podcast or recording meetings or voice notes
    Shooting short videos (under 10 minutes in HD)

    And much, much more. I dare ANYONE who writes a lot of notes and documents to use an iPad with Pages for one week and then get back to me with their experience, do so.

    Friends who do not have iPads and (Android fans) seem to think I work for Apple. Nope, I’m just a user and I like how the web literally makes the iPad a USABLE device to get content of MANY media formats on the web to share with the world in moments.

    With veetle.com users of both iOS (and Android) can have LIVE Video Streams anywhere they have a connection to the web.

    So to call the iPad “like running full-fledged productivity applications, which the iPad has never done well.”

    The iPad DOES where SURFACE slips up. Efficiency vs Not Quite Got It Surface?

    I’ll take Efficiency with the iPad.

  2. This is a crap comparison. Reminds me of the old PC versus Mac debates. Twenty years ago, PC users always sneered at Macs, saying they weren’t real computers. Didn’t bother me cuz I was doing design work, and there was no question Macs were superior for design. I’m still doing artwork, but now I do it on my iPad2. ArtRage is a fabulous app that I use for digital painting. If that’s not productivity, then I don’t know what is.

  3. I have not touched a Surface so I can’t comment on its merits or lack there of.

    I’ve been carrying an iPad for several years and, as a business executive, I’ve found very little business use for it outside of email, calendar and, recently, task management. I don’t care what people have managed to adapt to doing on it, its core design screams consumption. It is what it does best and the vast majority of its usage and success is based around it.

    This is not bullshit. This is the perceived needs of a segment of the market. In business, perception is reality. The perception is that after 4 generations of iPad, Apple has not made one single change that makes it easier to interact with business applications.

    Microsoft is going to come in and do what they’he always been strong at … cater to the needs of business professionals. Its a good strategy for them because they can’t go head to head with the iPad in the consumer space. Well, not without getting slaughtered.

    Its time for you all to accept that the iPad does not do everything well. And, while Apple tries to play catch up to Google in the maps space, others are going to slide into the niches and take market share.

  4. Quintin, I have to ask, “What business applications do you use that the iPad does not offer?”

    The iPad 1st Gen is old, still works, but is old. Good for reading and email.

    I’m not going to post links as it will be considered spam, so I will list apps you might find awful useful. But I inform you from an iPad 2nd Gen and iPad 3rd Gen perspective.

    Chapters
    AWESOME note taking, books and books of notes, passwords, logging, ideas EACH with their own book. Can be locked and can be exported page by page or the entire book.
    Export to email or PDF.

    Penultimate
    Great for sketching charts, graphics and diagrams. (Honesty, before this program was known to me, I wanted a Xoom. PenUltimate is the ONLY reason I purchased an iPad 2nd Gen and I’m not putting it down.)
    Export to PDF and email.

    ReaddleDocs
    File storage, note editing, host wireless file sharing, web server access and more. Honestly, it is truly awesome.
    Zip files, unzip files, email files, host a wireless file server.

    Pages
    Think MS Word

    Doodlecast Pro
    Record presentations with screen shots, make tutorials. Quick maps of the office, business app screenshot tutorials WITH your voice. Shortcoming: 10 screens per video.
    Export video, upload to YouTube.

    AudioNote by Luminant Software, Inc
    This is for recording voice at meetings, and you can actually write or type notes to mark the places of importance or draw or what ever during the meeting. Then when reviewing the sound file, you can tap where you wrote and it will hope to that section int he sound file.
    Try the free version if it is still available.
    Export to email. Drawback, audio file is in .caf. :(

    KeyNote
    Think PowerPoint

    KeyNote Remote by Apple
    This allows you to control your KeyNote presentation on an iPad via your iPhone (or iPod Touch 3rd or 4th Gen) while it is connected to a bigger screen. Not needed, but if you like to walk around during the presentation or use your hands to talk, this is an app worthy for such causes.

    Snapseed
    This is the ONLY photo editing app photographers need on the iPad (2nd Gen or 3rd Gen) to spruce up photos. this not NOT for cutting out the backgrounds or just changing ONE color on images, but adjusting. This not some cheap Instagram wanna-be. To me, photo-wise, it is better than Instagram.
    Export to CamerRoll, upload directly to social networks

    Idea Sketch
    This allows you to put brainstorms of ideas down and then organize them in the way they should be completed. Dynamic rearranging them as you see fit.
    Export to email or png.

    So, as you can see, the iPad 2nd Gen and 3rd Gen are WELL beyond ‘just web browsing, email and task management. I do not like to think of myself as a ‘power user’, but now i understand why friends call me that. I consider things toys or tools. The iPad 2nd Gen and 3rd Gen are tools that have made me much greener and more organized. Also, more social online, where I normally am dormant.

    The iPad 2nd Gen and 3rd Gen do not do everything well, but more efficient than anything on the current market.

    iPad HAD Google maps as an app. It is still a website. And who knows, Apple might just allow it back in. Who knows. maybe Apple wants to allow other map makers a shot while they try to make their own? With you saying that, that is like say “Yeh, without Google Maps, I’m lost all the time.” I never used Google Maps much on my iPad nor my iPod Touch. Garmin drives my truck. ;)

    But I understand the use of it by millions.

    Think about it and I hope this inspires you to look beyond the cliff of expectations and behold the Reality of what is vs Well it can’t do that well.