Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 switches targets from iPad to MacBook

There's an old cliche that it takes Microsoft three tries to really nail a product. Like most cliches it's as true as it is untrue, but with the just announced Surface Pro 3 it really does look like Microsoft finally understands their product and its position in the mobile device spectrum. Because of that, it also looks like Microsoft is changing targets from the iPad to the MacBook Air. So what does that mean?

It can take a while to really understand a new product category. Arguably it took Apple until the iPad 2 and their "we believe" campaign to really "get" their own tablet.

Microsoft's early mistake was the split their focus and make the untenable claim that the original Surface was "no compromises". Everything in this world is a compromise. People know that. So the minute it didn't act perfectly as both a laptop and tablet, desktop and mobile, Microsoft became a liar — and that was almost instantaneously.

With the Surface 2 Microsoft shifted focus to mobile and went after the iPad trying to show the features they offered that the iPad lacked. However, people who wanted iPads expressly did not want those "missing features", including and especially desktop-style Windows. Windows on a tablet wasn't a feature, it was a liability.

Worse, Microsoft heavily promoted the Surface on TV shows in a way that made it look ridiculous as a tablet. Hey, Hawaii Five-0, a suspect is getting away on foot! Wait, let me take my Surface out, put the keyboard down on the hood of the car, open the kickstand, snap in the screen, and then— Crap! Suspect got away!

With the Surface Pro 3, however, Microsoft seems to have learned a lot of lessons. Most importantly they've learned that, when you're making a device that sits between the tablet and the laptop, you're better off targeting the laptop. The Surface has a better chance of establishing itself as the next generation laptop than the next generation tablet because Apple's already taken that space and there's no much air left in it. Laptops are still wide open.

In that regard the Surface Pro 3 has a lot going for it, including its convertible nature which might appeal to people who occasionally want a tablet — adjusted now to an iPad-like 4:3 aspect ration albeit at a beefy 12-inch size — but need a keyboard handy. The stylus and digitizer — no longer Wacom but still pressure sensitive — will appeal to artists and drafters and sketchers.

That leaves only one major gap for the Surface when it comes to being a laptop: the inability to run OS X. Not everyone needs or likes Apple's desk top operating system, but no one should underestimate how important it has been in moving even incredibly well designed Mac hardware. OS X is good. (And it can be a triple threat, running UNIX and Windows-via-Bootcamp as well.)

That won't be a deal-breaker to anyone already ensconced in the Windows world, though. To anyone who might have been planning to buy a Windows Ultrabook or laptop. Even if all the Surface Pro 3 does is help Microsoft take a bite out of the slowing PC market — much as both the iPad and MacBook Air have done for Apple — it could be doing a very important and necessary job for Microsoft.

It could be doing the same job some of us have theorized and iPad Pro could do for Apple. (Apple has tested and not liked touch-screens on MacBooks.)

Mobile is an incredibly young, incredibly mutable, incredibly exciting market. We're going to see wearables smaller than phones, phablets between phones and tablets, and devices like the Surface Pro 3 between tablets and laptops. In the car/truck world, we're going to see motorcycles and compacts, SUVs and minivans. We're going to see that mobile device spectrum filled out in every shade and hue before things settle down and shake out. That's what makes it so exciting.

Microsoft has amped things up with the Surface Pro 3. I can't wait to see what Apple's got planned next. How about you?

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 switches targets from iPad to MacBook

99 Comments

typo in paragraph 4. lessons.

It seems like MS know what they're aiming for by now, that's good to see...they're establishing a profile. Much prefer that over other fast follower companies.

I love your comment and think its right on. Ever since Microsoft released WP7 it was evident that they wanted to compete and not copy. I and anyone should have respect for companies that have a history of innovation.

Agreed... The Surface Pro 3 is a very well positioned tablet/ultrabook hybrid.

Too bad Rene appears to know so little about the Surface 'line' that he makes utterly ridiculous comparisons between the iPad and the Surface Pro when the Surface (sans the Pro) was/is the device designed/marketed to compete with mobile SoC-powered devices like the iPad, Galaxy Tab/Note, Asus Transformer etc... NOT the (Intel i-series powered) Surface Pro.

Most ignorant is the claim that the Surface Pro 3 has 'little of a software ecosystem' when it's fully capable of running not only apps developed for Windows Modern UI (touch UI) but also almost Every Single Windows Application Ever Written - As In, Millions Upon Millions of REAL Desktop-Level Applications.

Anyway... I enjoy using my iPads but I certainly understand that iOS' inability to support desktop applications, or anything more than a finger, capacitive stylus, some trackpad-less BT keyboard seriously hinders its use as a true laptop replacement... and that's where the brilliance of the Surface Pro comes in to save the day, as it's essentially the best of both worlds.

"Like most cliches it's as true as it is untrue, but with the just announced Surface Pro 3 it really does look like Microsoft finally understands their product and its position in the mobile device spectrum."

Not sure that is true. It is still an expensive ultrabook that won't work well on a lap and that is not really replacing a tablet at all. Add the mandatory keyboard, the docking station and the i7/512GB SSD option... What you get is a compromised ultrabook, a compromised tablet (with little of an software ecosystem) for the price of a 15" Retina MacBook Pro (well over $2k). Or the price of a better 13" MBA plus an iPad, even with 4G.

There will be a niche for it, but selling it as a better laptop (and making all these comparisons to the MBA, the most mentioned product during the presentation) when it is really not, is not what I would consider "understanding their product". Or, to say it a bit more bluntly, this is the umpteenth rehash of Windows XP Tablet Edition running on some hardware that would cost a fraction without it. It left people cold for 13 years, don't see this changing.

I came to say this, almost exactly. It has a nice, high-res display and other advantages over cheap notebooks. I'm a bit less down on its price for reasons like that, but otherwise I think you nailed it.

I don't see how losing Wacom for the digitizer is going to help things either. That was actually one of the surface pro's selling points.

If you're comparing it to MacBooks, why are you mentioning the docking station? You only need that if you want it to replace your desktop as it allows you to easily attach dual-monitors, keyboards/mice, external drives, etc.

What do you mean "little of an software ecosystem"? It's Windows 8, it can run software from the 90s. It's even possible to emulate OS X and run Mac software, if someone really wanted to.

Have you used it to see if you can use it in your lap. Panos appeared to sit in multiple positions and it looked sturdy due to the magnet the snap directly onto the front of it on the keyboard.

Well, a MBA has USB 3 and Thunderbolt ports (capable of attaching tons of external devices in a second), the best in class backlit keyboard and the best trackpad in the industry. To get somewhere close to that, I would need some means to make it happen, MS's solution for extensions is their dock. And you would certainly need external keyboards and pointing devices to get an experience that is somewhat comparable.

I said it has a limited software ecosystem "as a tablet". There is pretty much nothing in terms of touch-only Windows 8 apps. Even MS has better "touch-first" (as they call it) software for iOS than for their own machines. Using Office on the Surface without a keyboard and mouse is pretty much impossible.

I have used the Surface Pro 2 in my lap and it was impossible. Of course, I have not tried version 3 yet, but this is what the Ars Technica hands-on says:

"It's not quite the same as using a laptop, though. For one thing, the unfolded kickstand and the keyboard cover combined expand to take up a wide swath of one's lap—the whole apparatus extends nearly to my knees, and I'm not a short person. Those with less expansive laps may need to do a little maneuvering to fit the whole thing. You're also going to have to keep your lap mostly level. If one of your legs is raised higher than the other, the kickstand and keyboard become more wobbly again."

If that sounds like something you would want to pay two grand for... go ahead :-)

Starting price is $799, which is cheaper than a MacBook Air, even with the keyboard. As for what's better, that's up to individuality.

I read somewhere else that starting price + keyboard price > MBA price.
The opposite of what you're saying, that is. :p

Well, $799 plus $129 is certainly not less than $899... and the MBA does not even go as low as an i3. But we have heard about Surface problems with basic additions before :-)

Lol, my bad. I didn't realize the MacBook Air's starting price was $899. I must have been thinking about the Pro.

There is significantly more screen space on the 12" SP3 than the 11" MBA, there is even more space than the 13" MBA because of the resolution and aspect ratio. The specs are closer to the 13" which is why it's been compared to it.

Ok, you win. That was my first time visiting the landing page for the preorders. So, they're viewing it as a competitor to both? All three?

Well, they want to make it so people don't need both a tablet and a laptop, so that takes probably both the iPad and the RMBP. As for the MacBook Air, I think it compares with the weight and thickness in a device? Idk. I had to do a math test during the press conference, and haven't watched it yet. :P

The main comparison to the MBA in the presentation was to place the Surface Pro 3 (and keyboard cover) on a balance scale with a MBA and iPad Air on the other side to show the SP3 weighs less.

I guess they didn't want to go so far as to name it the Surface Pro 3 Air. :)

Surface does not compete with any MacBook. Very few Mac users are going to switch to Windows because of this product. Surface competes directly with PC ultra-books and Microsoft's own hardware "partners".

As others have already pointed out, this is essentially an extension of the Tablet PC category that has been around for many years. It is a niche market that will ding the ultra-book market and make no discernible impact on the tablet market. Even if Microsoft can ship 4-5 million in the next 12 months, it's very unlikely they will make a profit.

Never said it is going to steal a lot of MacBook users away. I think Microsoft wants to compare it to the MacBook Pro because of their similar internal specs, but showing that the Surface Pro 3 has features the MBP doesn't have.

And yes, it is a niche product. But that doesn't mean it won't sell well (it probably won't sell that great, though). I mean, phablets are niche, and look at the sales of the Galaxy Notes!

FWIW, phablets sell well in some economies, because for people who never had a computer it is really x devices in one (computer, tablet, mobile phone, camera, audio and video player etc.) Add to that an eventual subsidy, or at least paying in installments, and it becomes a great value, making some compromises fully acceptable. The average price for phablet devices in BRIC countries is below $300.

The Surface does not benefit from the same value equation. It can't replace a professionally used laptop (the ergonomics are simply not there without adding a lot of peripherals), it can't replace a tablet used for media consumption (too heavy) or a tablet used for productivity (lack of touch apps). It certainly fills a niche, e.g. people drawing or taking handwritten notes. No doubt, but this is a much smaller niche already - add the fact that for a full Windows installation and to run advanced apps, you will want an i5 and 128 GB minimum... And you look at prices north of $1k. That is approx. 40% more than people pay for laptops on average today.

If people like it, I am fine with that. I just really do not see this being a big niche, and not necessarily being more successful than the two previous attempts, as it is just more of the same. What has really changed? The stand and the marketing concept.

This isn't designed to be a phablet. It is designed exactly to replace a "professionally used laptop".

It is designed for a content developer who wants to toss a single device in their bag, take it to work, dock it, get work done, go to the coffee shop for lunch, get work done, take it home, dock it, get work done.

It has port parity with the MacBook line (at least for the Windows world). Your point about cost is perfectly valid. There is no mistaking that this is a premium product (if you own Apple products you're probably familiar with the concept). It is well designed and well built (especially compared to the cheaper laptops prevalent in the Windows world.) But professionals are willing to pay for that.

If you want to hold it for three hours watching the latest Marvel movie you're going to get tired. Hell my arm gets tired after an hour or so of unsupported reading on my iPad Mini. So you rest this one on your lap 15 minutes earlier than a Surface Mini... :: shrug :: I don't see that as a problem.

In fact, this has a kickstand that would probably come in fairly useful in that contingency. I still had to balance my iPad Mini with my hands while resting it somewhere...I didn't get a "kickstand" until I purchased a cheap tri-fold case for it.

The only downside that I can see is still the possibly not-yet-perfected detachable keyboard system. If that's still awkward in the lap then it becomes much less valuable. I will reserve judgement on that until I hear more about how well it performs.

"It is designed for a content developer who wants to toss a single device in their bag, take it to work, dock it, get work done, go to the coffee shop for lunch, get work done, take it home, dock it, get work done...professionals are willing to pay for that."

Pros will pay for separate devices: desktop and/or laptop AND a tablet. Again, Surface is targeting a very small market. The tech has improved over the past decade, but this "hybrid" is exactly what Microsoft has been failing to convince consumers to buy for over a decade.

MacBooks sell well because they're great laptops that have been refined over the decades. iPads sell well because they're great at tablet functions. You don't use a screwdriver to pound a nail or a hammer to turn a screw. Both are limited in function, but both do their respective jobs well. The Tablet PC compromises both laptop & tablet functions. How long before Microsoft figures that out?

Sure. Pros can and will pay for separate devices. But many developers I speak with don't *want* to anymore.

I have a desktop, (personal) laptop, a tablet, and a phone. That is at *least* two too many devices. Getting my phone to be able to do all of it is still a pipe dream. But I'm holding on dearly to that.

They should first stop trying to put other devices down to promote their own. It's negative way and it will never work. "see our device is better than iPad and has more features" ... This campaign sucked like anything. Now they're targeting Macbooks... Negativity. Wrong path that is, Microsoft.

I'd dare say that 'used to' is the key term here. Maybe the reason they don't anymore is that it annoyed people and didn't reflect well on the product.

Then again, it could be because they're the market leader now (mobile-wise) and feel they don't need to go that route anymore. I could be wrong.

Honestly, that kind of promotion is pretty sad to me. When Samsung does it to Apple products, I cringe every time even though I MUCH prefer Android to iOS.

What needs to happen is Microsoft needs to better position their product in the eyes of the consumer. What exactly IS this suppose to do? Why would I want to buy this when I could by a real Ultrabook, a Chromebook, or a MacBook? Shoot, why buy this over a regular Walmart laptop?

The Surface PRO works best on tables. When work needs to be done, it's to sit on a table and use the stand. Typing on this is best used when using a table. Perceptually, this tablet would not be ideal with typing outside, on planes, or anywhere where a flat surface is not readily and conveniently available. Addressing this perceptual issue would be a start for them I think.

Also, because of the design of the tablet and the OS itself, and the positioning of the Surface line for years, people will still compare this to their iPad tablets anyway considering, to them, the MacBook is most comparable to Ultrabooks, not tablet hybrids.

In other words, the Surface and Surface PRO are confused products and the Surface PRO 3, if Microsoft is going to position it as a laptop, will not help Microsoft anymore than the Surface PRO 2 did. It still has no idea who the target market is and the product is positioned horribly right now and solves no real issues being had by anyone.

...of course, all of these are simply my own thoughts.

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The Surface Pro 1 was horrible on anything but table, as was the RT 1, I very much agree. The Surface 2 and Pro 2 improved on that, but still not as good. The Pro 3 has improved GREATLY. I mean, it isn't like a laptop, OBVIOUSLY, but I don't see the iPad standing without holding it, or buying a case...

I would argue the number of people that want a great tablet that can do some productivity is much larger than the reverse. The reason tablets took off is because people realized the things they were doing on their laptop (web browsing, email, video, Facebook, etc.) could easily be replaced by a tablet. I'm not sure how many people who use a PC primarily for productivity really care if it has tablet like features.

Apple should double down on making the best tablet experience possible and adding just enough productivity features into iOS that it can be a laptop replacement for many people. iPad Air is one pound and has no fan. Surface Pro 3 with keyboard cover is around 2.3 pounds and it has a fan. I know which device I'd rather carry with me.

You're totally wrong. It's 1.76 pounds and the fans not only do they not make sound as it is proven in most hands on but it also remains cold while in standby.

It's 1.76 pounds without the keyboard cover. A fair comparison to the MacBook Air would include the keyboard cover. Once you do that, Surface is 2.3 pounds.

Wow. And howmuch does your iPad keyboard weighs. If the keyboard weight is really that important for you then just don't carry it. Unless your iPad has a weight-less keyboard, of course (and I'm not talking about digital, the Surface has one too as you would expect).

PD: They also included the keyboard cover when they compared it with the Macbook. With the iPad it's just pointless. It's lighter than the Macbook Air with keyboard and notthat much heavier that the ipad with a FULL intel core i3/5/7. And let me tell youmy bag doesn't get hot for carrying my Surface Pro 2 so that you know.

I know which I'd carry too. The iPad can only do about 10% of the productivity work I need to do. I need a laptop for the other 90%.

I own a Surface and a Macbook Air. To me the Surface 3 is in some ways a step back. My Surface is quite a useful video playback machine, with the widescreen format making it more useful than my iPad for this reason, and the kickstand and easier ability to transfer files to it also being useful. Going to a 3:2 aspect ratio minimizes that advantage. Also, a 12" tablet is all but useless. I have used tablets of that size back in the Windows XP days, and they are just too unwieldy. It is hard to picture a use case that wouldn't be better served by a touchscreen ultrabook. Tablets are meant to actually be carried, if you just move one from place to place by car, a laptop will do that job just fine. I think even the half pound difference between the iPad Air and earlier models makes a huge difference in usability.

I'm not sure, if it's fair to compare the Surface 3 to XP tablets from back in the day. Sure, screen-wise, the Surface 3 may be the same size. But, once you look at the weight and dimensions, they don't even compare. As for usability, XP had nothing touch-friendly about it. At least, with the Surface Pro 3, you get the Windows Store and Metro apps, alongside the desktop and legacy applications.

Oh, I'm not saying that XP tablets didn't have plenty of other major issues - an OS badly suited for tablet use (and I am in the minority that much prefers Windows 8 to 7), weight, battery life, etc., but the size alone is enough to make using it as a tablet quite difficult. In tablets, you reach a point where bigger isn't better (I think this is true even in laptops, but even more so in tablets, a 15 inch tablet would be even worse).

Surface 3 is clearly an improvement over earlier Tablet PCs (including Surface 2), but it's target market is the same. Yes, Microsoft will sell more of this version than they have the past 1.5 yrs. But is this category of device suddenly going to sell as well as MacBooks? I doubt it.

If you watched the streamed presentation yesterday, there was at least one moment when the cameras turned towards the audience. I saw many glowing Apple logos. Does anyone really think that will be different at next year's Surface presentation?

Yeah, I remember that scene. And, to be honest, I see it being the same, next year. I do expect the Surface Pro 3 to have a respectable amount of sells, but I don't expect too many tech journalists to suddenly switch machines.

Somehow I doubt Apple will be responding to Surface. Apple sells more iPads in one quarter than Surface has sold over its lifetime.

This is my ideal work computer. Given that I work with System Center 2012 R2, Windows is a must, and the Surface is turning into something great. Sure Windows 8.1 still has major flaws like the half-assed touch interface called Metro, but at the moment, I don't see a better portable workstation. I'll always be able to remote into it with my personal MBA too. The price tag is pretty hefty, especially to match the specs of my MBA, but there has never really been an eye-catching Windows laptop/tablet like the Surface. It is a fully capable workstation for most people, and to have it in a portable tablet form-factor with a high-res touchscreen and seemingly good build quality is incomparable right now.

If Apple wants to enter the world of touchscreen OSX, there will need to be some fundamental changes, and that's probably why they've shied away from it so far. Like every other product market Apple is in, they are polishing their work while competitors pounce on these new ideas. While the Surface may not be the best conceivable portable laptop/tablet at the moment, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

Apple does not "shy away" from touchscreen OS X because of the changes required. They don't do it, because it is a dumb idea. Touch on a conventional (truck) form factor is useless, and putting all the 1980s complexities into a modern (post-PC if you like) device is even worse.

Not saying Apple is "there". iOS is nowhere a final product, iCloud isn't etc. This all is true, and it will remain like that for a while. But at least they try to reinvent things and move forward, MS only tries to shoehorn what they have into whatever they think they can market to remain relevant. A fully specced out Surface 3 is a device that costs $2k, has no relevant "touch-first" software, won't fit on a lap or an airline tray (as you can't really use it without a keyboard), won't run all day, can't be charged from USB ports... I can't think of a single problem that this solution solves. And I can't think of a single reason why Apple should go down the same trap door.

Envision a MacBook Air 12".
Give it a touchscreen.
Remove the keyboard. You have an iPad.
Drop it in a dock, screen facing you. You have an iMac Mini.
Attach external devices to the dock. You have a multi-monitor desktop.
Reattach the keyboard. You have a MacBook Air again.

Make it so it runs iOS when a keyboard / trackpad / mouse aren't docked. Make it run OS X when they are.

One device. A few accessories. ALL computers you could possibly need.

The Surface Pro 3 is the same thing, but running Windows. I would *kill* for a MacBook Air convertible. (Ok I would kill digital dragons for one.)

BTW, you can easily spec out a MBA 13" to be close to $2k. MBA-13 i7/8GB/512GB is $1,749.00. It also has no relevant "touch-first" software.

The points about Surface Pro 3 not being able to use from a lap or airline tray are mostly innaccurate (the Surface Pro 2 at least had a really awesome interaction with a stylus and an on-screen keyboard which I assume the 3 continues). Even assuming that the Microsoft Keyboard is too large, you could park it on the kickstand and pair a much smaller Logitech keyboard to it.

You only see it as a trapdoor since Apple hasn't done it yet. Once they do, you'll be cheering them on. Those complexities just need to be reinvented for touch, ad surely these companies will figure it out sooner or later. You miss my point-Windows is a necessity for a lot of things in the business-world, and compared to other Windows laptops, this is by far a standout.

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"...it also looks like Microsoft is changing targets from the iPad to the MacBook Air. So what does that mean?"

It means that Surface 4 will be targeting iWatch.
You heard it here first.

The simple fact that Microsoft and other companies have to resort to marketing their products in the manner of pushing someone else down to lift themselves up, is absolutely indicative of how much confidence they lack in their products. Rather than resorting to behavior like this, why not just expose, and bolster the many wonderful things that your product has to offer without bringing someone else down, and let the consumer decide from there? The whole thing is tiring and blatantly appalling.

I know! Why couldn't they just focus on their product as it is? Maybe for the TV ads, they'll have side-by-side comparisons again.

So what about the "Mac vs. PC" campaign that Apple had? Or is it only lacking confidence when its not Apple?

Personally, I don't mind when they do comparison campaigns. However, I think the surface pro should never have targeted the ipad, that was for the surface RT to target. Either way though, I don't mind negative campaigns as long as they are funny.

I for one am very impressed I currently own an iPad air and an iPhone as well as a few MacBooks, the in the end being able to consolidate most of these is such an innovative idea, the iPad though it seems like a nice tablet and it offers a great experience for media consumption but thats all it will ever offer, I am happy to see microsoft make its stake for the throne once more, and hopefully i can just switch back soon.

I disagree about only being for consumption. I know of several doctors that use an iPad. I also know of at least one business that uses an iPad as the cash register. There are many creative types that blog or write books on the iPad (only with a keyboard though).

The iPad isn't always ideal for content creation, but it is a capable device for some uses. I wouldn't want to try to use it for everything though.

I wonder why Windows users still haven't figured out, after all these years, that Apple MacBooks run Windows. This Surface thing is about the least value for money that I have ever seen in the history of the tech market.
I wonder what the write-off will be this time.

It isn't the Surface 3, it is the Surface Pro 3, early in your article I can't tell if you are talking about the surface 2 or the Surface Pro 2. Two different devices

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I liked the surface pro 2, but the 3 appears to be a slight step back. 4:3 and no longer using Wacom seem like bad ideas. We will see how it turns out, either way, I do like the idea of the product.

The Surface Pro 3's screen aspect ratio is NOT 4:3, it's 3:2... more comparable to that of the MacBook Air 13's 16:10.

Rene stated it 'all kinds of wrong' in this 'article', then again, what's to be expected given that he also appears NOT to know the difference between the (Mobile SoC-powered Suface (iPad/Galaxy Tab/Galaxy Note/Asus Transformer competitor) and the Surface Pro series (Ultrabook/MacBook Air competitor).

MS, is trying to create a product category which can replace your laptop and tablet, similar to like phablet, which can replace your tablet and mobile. But like in both case you get a bit compromised product.
With Surface, its hard to sell it as a tablet, so now they are attacking Macbook Air, which is getting awesome year by year, probably will replace pro.
Macbook pro target audience are those who wants a good laptop experience, good battery life. I think surface delivers good on battery (now, after 2 years), but still hard to sell it a laptop. So, it will suit for those, who wants both laptop and tablet but couldn't afford it.

I agree with dreyfus2. I'm happy with my iMac, MacBook Air, iPad 2, iPhone 5S. They all serve their different purposes and they do it really well. Why would I ever want to touch my computer screen? I hate that. I have the best touchpad in the market by far and it's insanely great. On the iPad it's all about touching the interface so that's a different game as the apps are built for this.

The article here is subjective and it should be. I don't have to agree with the writer. But the writer needs to do one more rewrite. So many typos should not be published. There are fewer typos in the comments, where I would actually expect them. You can do better.

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The challenge I see is I still would want my tablet.. It's not light enough, small enough,and not cheep enough to eliminate it.. Taking a 12" 'tablet' everywhere, when I can nab my iPad mini and put into my coat pocket? just cannot compare.. weight still becomes an issue as well..

I don't need a 'workstation' to go with me everywhere..

If you're 7'2" and not bothered by the unstable nature of the heaviest part of the device being supported by a kickstand and have legs and lap long enough to accommodate the length of the device from kickstand to the bottom of the keyboard, go right ahead. Just don't move your legs at ALL because the slightest twitch can possibly send the whole thing crashing to the ground. As a LAP-top, Surface is horrible. Placed on a table or desk, it's fine, but unless you're occasionally using it as a tablet without any keyboard at all, why not just get a desktop or a REAL laptop that is a FAR better design to be used on your lap?

This is still nothing I'd spend 2k on just like I wouldn't spend 929 on an iPad. That said, an MBA just isn't in the ball park for me. The screen is a deal breaker.

If I have 2k to spend on tech I get a MacBook Pro. Runs windows too. There's no benefit to me for the surface to be used as a tablet. And it still needs to be said that metro apps are crappy limited and basically are a joke. Desktop users hide this crap. It wouldn't matter if my monitor was touch, the whole metro side of things is useless. Can anyone name a metro app worth using in windows 8?

As much as I like the look and idea of the Surface Pro 3, I have to completely agree with this. Especially, at the 2k price point, it makes NO SENSE to opt for the Surface, when you can go for the MacBook Pro and get an infinitely better setup and in a lighter (I think?) chassis.

There are plenty of decent Modern apps. All of the social networking apps, standard productivity apps, mint.com, etc. I often snap a Pomodoro app on the side of one of my monitors when I need to go "head down" and focus.

The reason most Modern apps aren't used in desktop mode is because you generally have more power. Honestly, with the forth-coming update to run Modern apps in mini-widows I believe I would move full-time to some of the Modern apps. (I've already swapped to the modern versions of Mail, Calendar, Skype.)

I believe you will continue to see OS X 10.10 move toward a flatter (more modern, perhaps) UI style. I don't think you will see Apple go as far as Microsoft did. But I, for one, would *love* to get a few of my iOS apps running in mini-windows inside a seamless emulation layer in OS X. (Calendars 5, I'm looking at you.)

There are two keyboard covers: a soft one and a hard one. I for one am glad they decided to try to go after the MacBook Air (a netbook-esque laptop) more than the iPad.

more expensive than apples prices...weird, MS fans used to call every product of Apple a rip off but somehow these are worth it. Also, Surface 2 came out late last year...again, apple would have been blasted for releasing the next product in this time frame. Whats sad, is these surface products are useless.

I'm sorry but my fear is that a lot of people are going to buy a Surface on the hype generated by the media only to find that Windows 8 sucks. Microsoft seems to be trying to craft hardware that will make Windows 8 palatable. It's not the bread. It's the crap in the middle of the sandwich.

Well, not everybody thinks like you nor prefers the same things you do. Whereas you dislike all things Microsoft, someone else may actually like the concept of the Surface.

The same way you prefer all things Apple, someone else may absolutely despise Apple and their products. The same goes for Android. Don't assume that everyone is like you. I'm sure not.

I know plenty of people who say that exact same thing but substitute "OS X" for "Windows 8". I use Windows 8.1 on a daily basis 8+ hours per day for professional software development and there are very few things wrong with it once you've put a week in to become comfortable with it.

I had the same approximately one-week learning curve with OS X before I came to adore nearly everything about it.

The Surface 3 is not a viable laptop replacement, due to price but especially if it is trying to replace a Macbook Pro. I'd buy a new Macbook Pro before I'd ever buy a Surface. I'd do even better buying a re-conditioned Macbook Pro than a Surface. And against a Macbook Air? Forget it. No Macbook user is going to replace their Macbook Pro with a Surface 3. Microsoft has lost it. The best chance they have selling these is to wake up from the trance and reduce the price because at the prices they are selling them for, the needle isn't going to move, particularly for fashion conscious executives and business people.

Microsoft is targeting to replace the MacBook Air not the MacBook Pro. They are mainly targeting people before they purchase a MacBook Air towards a Surface Pro 3, they may, and I emphasize may, get some with older first-gen Airs but no-one with current or the previous release or those with MacBook Pro's.

It took them longer than I thought it would but looks like Microsoft has won (for me), this is the tablet that people wanted in 2010, this is why people were initially laughing at the 1st gen iPad. All this time I've constantly repeated that whomever releases this tablet first wins my money because I wanted this for as long as I can remember.
They took the best elements of MacBook Air 11, improved some things e.g. build in kick stand, kept that perfect size, separated the keyboard by adding/producing a great cover. Damn, I have no love for Windows but this Surface is a beauty. It was really that simple and I was certain Apple would introduce all of this by now, by comparison this makes a normal notebook like MacBook Air look stupid those days.
I'm sooo glad that I skipped iPad Air last year and recent MacBook Airs but I knew that spending that amount of cash ($700-900) on either of them was a mistake that I couldn't justify nowadays. iPad is a very slowly evolving product while MacBooks are legacy devices of the last decade and neither of them doesn't even come close in offering what it should in 2014.

I think you made a few issues. You call it sometimes the Surface 3, and not the Surface Pro 2. The Surface RT and Surface 2 are the TABLETS that are productive, while the Surfaces that have the "Pro" name run the full Windows, and can run a lot of these tasks.

I think Microsoft was trying for the RT devices (the Surface RT & S2) to compete with the iPad, while the Pro devices were trying to compete with laptops, and for people to just own that, versus both a tablet and laptop.

I think now that they increased the size on the Pro line, people can now see that these are the "computers", while the regular Surfaces are the "tablets".

This post has so many errors, considering the fact that iMore and WPCentral are both part of Mobile Nations, you'd expect a bit more information correctness between the two, gees. Whilst OS X has it's pros, it's the same OS since 10.0, whilst Windows is now doing something new and interesting with the industry, likely why Apple have declined to 4th position today in the Computer market.

I agree with you. I used Macs from 1995 till 2013, now I own a PC I built, a Surface Pro 2 and a Windows Phone. The only Apple devices at home is an Apple TV and my wife's iPhone and iPad. Apple has not done anything exciting with Mac OS X. Microsoft is trying new things with Windows and this I find exciting. I wish Apple would start thinking different again and start creating crazy new things.

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At the end of the day no matter how good the hardware it still runs Windows 8. You either like Widows 8 or you don't. I have a Pro 2 and if work did not purchase it I would really be upset. I hate it. It is just an attempt to make a Swiss Army Knife and it just sucks. Use my MBA 99% of the time. Now that Office is on iPad I find my self using it unless I have to compose lengthy text.

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Funny thing is Microsoft never targeted the Pro line of Surfaces against the iPad. It is tiring reading Mac sites stating this as fact.

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Agree. Microsoft is simply trying to build an expensive Netbook.
You know, to ride the crest of the Netbook wave. It's HOT.

The killer thing abt MBA and MBP is it's almost flawless trackpad experience. I would love to see how MS has improved that in Surface 3. A compelling and a well thought out product nonetheless from Microsoft.

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