Last week, Apple and Microsoft had dueling product launch events. And in the tech version of this “Who wore it better?” contest, the winner seems to be: Microsoft.
That’s right. At least in the microcosm of last week, Microsoft has made Apple look like the square, after lifting the veil on a 28-inch touchscreen all-in-one desktop called the Surface Studio that immediately had tech enthusiasts drooling. Over a desktop.
One could argue that this is an apples-to-oranges comparison. Microsoft, while on the rise again, still benefits from lower expectations than Apple. Introducing a new product, such as the Studio, is almost always going to be more exciting than upgrading an old line. But there is a common thread here, which we can use to analyze how these companies are thinking about the future – even more specifically, the future of touch and computing.
Touch itself, as a technology, isn’t new. But Microsoft did a good job of framing its incorporation of touch with the Studio as expansive, liberating, and a universal way to unlock potential. Who doesn’t want to think that they have a symphony, novel, or artistic masterpiece inside them, just waiting to be unlocked by the right new tools?
Apple, on the other, seems to have uncharacteristically flubbed its audience pitch. Speaking to analysts after its event, it seemed that “current MacBook Pro owners looking to upgrade” was the main audience Apple was going for.
That’s practical – Apple laptops sell well. It’s not inspiring, though, is it?