If Microsoft released their Surface tablets two years ago, I may have actually picked one up then. Both Surfaces — the Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro editions — lined up with what I wanted from a tablet years ago. But now that I own an iPad and a Macbook Air, I don’t see a place for a Microsoft’s Surface in my life.
The Windows RT version of the Surface is an iPad rival and that’s a dangerous proposition for Microsoft. They are pitting this ARM tablet and its app marketplace against the App Store and I do not envy their position.
Their Windows 8 Pro tablet is a much more interesting product because it’s more of an Ultrabook/Macbook Air competitor. This tablet is geared towards productivity with its built in digital pen input and x86 compatible OS. While both the ARM and x86 tablets support Microsoft’s new (and potentially innovative) Smart Cover and keyboard hybrids, I believe the x86 version seems to be better suited for that kind of input.
Despite what Apple and Microsoft may say, ARM processors are just not powerful enough for the kind of productivity that I want. They can put a lite version of Photoshop or Office, but until we get enough power out of those ARM processors, x86 is what I want for productivity.
To me, ARM tablets like the iPad are for consumption of the web, video, games and magazines. And until Microsoft, Google or Apple make significant leaps forward with ARM machines, they’ll remain consumption devices. But unfortunately as consumption devices, Apple reigns supreme.