You may have heard that Oprah recently decreed that the Microsoft Surface tablet is one of her "Favorite Things" for 2012, and that it "feels like a Mercedes-Benz"- but that she tweeted her praise from an iPad. With that kind of mixed messaging out there, it's been difficult to know if people are really adopting the Surface.
So when T324 owner David Daniels poked his head out of a client meeting and asked if the staff would like to review a Surface tablet, we pretty much mobbed him.
The client David was meeting with had brought his Surface and showed it off to us with European restraint- he didn't have the drank-the-KoolAid mania of an Apple fanatic, yet he was clearly pleased with his tool.
Seeing the Surface, the common sense and utility of the built-in keyboard cover and kickstand make you wonder, "Why on Earth didn't Jobs do this?" The Surface we checked out had the "Touch" keyboard cover with pressure-sensitive keys rather than the slightly thicker "Type" keyboard with actual physical keys, but it was obviously easy-to-use and intended for people who just like keyboards.
We were impressed by the interface design and the review its owner offered that he much preferred it to his iPad.
The consensus of our team was "WANT!", including staffer Suzanne who has probably never said that about about any technology tool ever.
This looked like a tablet we could use to do actual work, not just read Salon, and have a reason to carry around besides entertainment. One of the philosophical mandates of Apple that has manifested as design and marketing choices is that "our way is the right way, and if you don't like it, it's because you don't get innovation."
The idea that Apple products are "intuitive" is predicated on the idea that some users find them intuitive and those that don't are just wrong.
But for the majority of users, a Microsoft or an Android environment feels more comfortable, and lots of people really want a keyboard, not a greasy screen, to type on. Could it be possible that Microsoft got it right with this device, and the iPad was just the first iteration of the tablet form factor that will be universally adopted?
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