Apple fail should be a lesson
Apple is good at addressing design oversights. Will Microsoft be as adept?
The Retina iPad, for example, violated Apple’s design creed: products should get thinner and lighter — aka, cooler. Not thicker and heavier.
But Apple fixed this quickly (six month later) with the iPad Mini trifecta: thinner, lighter, cheaper. And the iPad, reinvented as the Mini, has been a runaway success.
Now that Microsoft is in the business of making tablets, can it act fast when it commits product-design sins?
Surface is not a success — yet. The Surface Pro is too big and heavy (and expensive), according to IDC and plenty of other observers. (It is a tablet, after all, despite Microsoft’s valiant attempt to categorize it as a PC).
And the RT model is hampered by performance and an unpopular operating system, and it’s out of sync — like the Pro — with the market shift to smaller tablets.
NPD DisplaySearch told CNET this week that Microsoft will bring out a 7.5-inch tablet that sources say may be $400, or possibly cheaper. But that tablet will happen later, not sooner, according to DisplaySearch.
That’s a problem, because both the RT and Pro, I think, are going to languish in the coming months. And I have a feeling that products like Acer’s leaked $380 Iconia 8-inch tablet will not fill the void.
And let’s not forget Android. I’m guessing that vendors like Asus and Hewlett-Packard are going to look increasingly to Android for cool, inexpensive designs.
Microsoft appears to be serious about doing the Apple thing — where it designs both the software and hardware — and wants to make Windows 8 tablets a success. But will it be able to emulate Apple’s successful hardware formula? A quick (very quick) refresh would be in order.
The clock is ticking.