Tag: Surface Pro

Cook will not cross a Macbook and an iPad

tim-cook-apple-ceoThe Grand Mufti of the Apple Cargo Cult, Tim Cook has pronounced that Apple will never cross a Macbook with an iPad, for that is an abomination against the will of Jobs.

Talking to the Independent,  Cook spake and said that a converted MacBook and iPad would have to make too many compromises.

Cook wants to build the best iPad and MacBook possible and while the gap between the iPad and MacBook has shrunk, this gives customers the best possible productivity experience on both platforms.

This comment might seem a little odd given that Cook said nobody should buy a PC anymore, because the iPad offers enough performance to become a daily driver. This is despite the fact that the Tablet market has been failing for the last eight quarters.

Curiously Cook’s ability to see what is before his eyes is not that good. He claimed that Microsoft’s latest hybrid, the Surface Book, isn’t impressive, even though his Mac Book Pro is a more expensive knock off of it.

The iPad Pro is pretty much a hybrid anyway. The 12.9-inch tablet comes with a pen and keyboard, and apparently has the CPU performance of the MacBook Air and the GPU performance of a MacBook Pro. The only major difference is it runs iOS rather than OS X.

Hybrids are shaping up to be the next big thing, so it looks like Apple is not planning to be a “game change,” when not until Cook changes his mind enters the market late and claims to have invented the technology.

Microsoft releases shed-loads of Windows 10 stuff

SurfaceSoftware King of the World Microsoft has shown off a  laptop, a line of Lumia smartphones, a new Surface Pro tablet Microsoft Band, all running on Windows 10.

Microsoft needs Windows 10, launched in July, to help it win a bigger share of the market for tablets and smartphones.

The Surface Book, will start at $1,499 and is twice as fast as Apple’s MacBook Pro. It will be available from October 26, with preorders starting on Wednesday.

The laptop has a 13.5-inch display with 267 pixels per inch and features a track-pad made of gorilla glass.

The company unveiled three phones at an event in New York. The Lumia 950 with a starting price of $549 and the 950XL which will sell for  $649  when they hit the shops in November,. The Lumia 550 will cost $139 when it becomes available in December.

The Lumia 950 includes a 5.2-inch display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor with hexacore CPUs. The Lumia 950 XL has a 5.7-inch display and a Snapdragon 810 processor with octa-core CPUs. The 550 has a 4.7-inch HD display and runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 210 processor.

The new Surface Pro 4 tablet – a larger but thinner and lighter version of the Surface Pro 3 – is priced at $899 and will be available from Oct. 26 with pre-orders starting on Wednesday.

Launched nearly a year and a half after its predecessor, the Surface Pro 4 features a 12.3-inch screen with 267 pixels per inch. It runs on 6th-generation Intel Core processor and has 16GB of RAM and 1TB storage.

Surface Pro 4 is 50 percent faster than Apple’s MacBook Air, Panos Panay, the corporate vice president for Surface Computing at Microsoft, said at the event.

Top Vole Satya Nadella said:  “We’re moving people from needing to choosing to loving Windows, and these devices promise to fuel even more enthusiasm and opportunity for the entire Windows ecosystem.”

Microsoft suffered its biggest-ever quarterly net loss in the three months ended June 30 after taking a $7.6 billion writedown on its Nokia handset business.

The company had said savings from the restructuring of the business would be pumped into its new flagship operating system, its fast-growing cloud business and its hardware division, which includes Xbox gaming consoles.

Microsoft also said its new tablet and smartphones will come with Windows Hello, an automatic biometric sign-in option introduced earlier this year.

The feature allows users to scan their face, iris or fingerprints to verify their identity and give them access to Windows phones, laptops and personal computers.

Microsoft introduced a Surface Pen, which has year-long battery life, 1,024 pressure points and comes in five colors with inter-changeable pen tips.

The 950 and 950XL handsets feature a 20-megapixel rear camera, have up to 32GB of storage, 4K video and use liquid cooling technology. Microsoft said storage on the phones could be extended to up to 2 terabytes using a memory card.

The Microsoft Band 2, which allows users to monitor their fitness and exercise regime, will be priced at $249 when it becomes available on October 30.

Unlike its predecessor, Microsoft’s entry product in the wearable technology market a year ago, the new Band has a curved display, which uses the Corning Gorilla glass 3, and has a barometer sensor to track elevation.

Microsoft said it was taking applications for a development kit for HoloLens, the holographic lens device that allows users to see 3D renderings of computer-generated images. The kit will be available in the first quarter of 2016 for $3,000.

HoloLens gives Microsoft a stake in the emerging market for virtual and augmented reality, which is also being targeted by Facebook’s Oculus.


Acer expects 10 to 15 percent drop in notebook sales

Acer issued a rather worrying forecast this week, as the fourth largest PC vendor announced it expects notebook sales to drop 10 to 15 percent in the first quarter of 2013.

The company attributed the downturn to seasonal factors, but it could be a sign that notebook vendors are in more trouble than ever. Windows 8 failed to boost sales, demand for Ultrabooks remains sluggish and next generation hybrids aimed to take on tablets have yet to materialise.

Meanwhile, tablets are doing great and they are expected to overtake notebooks in terms of unit sales this quarter.

Acer CEO Wang Jeng-tang said that the massive sequential decline is also a result of “replacement demand” for new products, such as smartphones and tablets, as well as some Windows 8 gear. Speaking at the sidelines of a corporate event, Wang told reporters that the notebook market had been turbulent over the past two years, reports the Taipei Times

Apple is still doing rather well, but Windows vendors are hurting.

Lenovo posted great financials a few weeks ago, but much of its growth was attributed to strong phone and tablet sales in China. However, Wang still sees some light at the end of the tunnel. He pointed out that Microsoft continues to promote its new OS and its Surface tablets, so demand for Windows 8 PCs could receive a boost. Since both the Surface Pro and Surface RT threaten to flop, Wang’s predictions sound a tad optimistic.

What’s more, Wang believes the tablet market will continue to be the main driver of Acer’s sales growth in 2013. Although any growth is welcome at this point, most of Acer’s tablets are affordable, Android based designs and Wang went on to say that the new Iconia B1 tablet generated huge sales last month.

However, the B1 is an entry level 7-inch tablet and it sells at a fraction of the cost of an Ultrabook. Acer plans to ship a total of 5 million tablets this year, up from 1.8 million last year. Up to 20 percent will be cheap 7-inchers. Acer also plans to ship two million smartphones this year, up from 500,000 last year.

It doesn’t sound like much and it isn’t. Like most traditional PC vendors, Acer failed to cash in on the mobile boom. Lenovo and Asus bucked the trend, at least to some extent, but PC giants like Acer, Dell and HP missed the boat.

Taiwanese OEMs are trying to diversify, slowly making inroads in the server space and they are still pushing tablets and tablets. However, growth in these segments is unlikely to offset the effects of the PC slump, at least in the short term. 

Microsoft's Surface Pro sells out in hours

Microsoft’s new Surface Pro tablet has sold out at most retail locations in the US. Over the weekend the 128GB model was in stock at Microsoft’s online store, but the 64GB is gone. Now though, the 128GB model is gone, too.

That the Surface Pro sold out doesn’t appear to be an indication of strong demand. Business Insider is reporting that very few tablets were in stock. Some shoppers complain retail locations like Best Buy and Staples only had a few units in stock, while some had none at all. Similar comments surfaced at the official Surface blog, with plenty of consumers venting their frustrations.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the Surface Pro launch was limited to North America and the rest of the world should get it over the next few months. The fact that Redmond didn’t stock up should be a source of concern. Either someone dropped the ball, or Redmond doesn’t expect the Pro to do very well at all. Early reviews paint a bleak picture indeed. 

Last month it emerged that Microsoft shipped 1.25 million Surface RT tablets, but the sell through rates were apparently around 60 percent. Perhaps Microsoft was just a bit more cautious this time around. In any case, it is just more bad news for Microsoft on the tablet front. 

Microsoft not planning any new RT devices this spring

It’s no secret that Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet is not doing very well and now it appears that Redmond will not introduce any new Windows RT gear this spring. It will focus on the Windows 8 based Surface Pro instead.

Rumours of new Windows RT products emerged a couple of months ago, pointing to a smaller Surface tablet and some sort of Xbox branded gaming tablet. However, the rumours were apparently unfounded.

Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg, Tami Reller, CFO of Microsoft’s Window unit, said there are no plans to refresh the company’s Windows RT lineup this spring. She said Microsoft is still focused on getting the five RT products announced in October into stores in large numbers.

However, Microsoft’s problem apparently has more to do with getting the tablets out of the door, rather than securing more shipments. As many as 1.25 million Surface RT tablets have been shipped so far, but analysts put the actual sales figures much lower, in the 680,000 to 750,000 range

In the short term, Microsoft will focus on Windows 8 tablets instead, including its own Surface Pro. Reller said more Windows 8-based tablets will probably be sold, compared to those running Windows RT, which doesn’t bode well for the RT platform, which was supposed to end up significantly cheaper than Windows 8 and generate more volume.

“We will scale over time, but right now we’re focused on making sure the designs that have been built do have commercial availability and commercial success, and we’ll stay focused on that for the short-term,” said Reller.

Also, many more OEMs are expected to embrace Windows 8 tablets over their lower end Windows RT siblings and demand for RT gear seems very low indeed. Samsung has already opted not to sell its Windows RT tablet in the US, but at least they chose to build one, which isn’t the case with many partners.

Even chipmakers don’t seem sold on Windows RT. Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs recently raised concerns about Windows RT gear. He said Qualcomm was not surprised by the muted demand for new Windows OS and it is taking a cautious approach.

Reller did not wish to provide any Surface RT sales numbers but it is becoming increasingly obvious that the tablet, and the entire Windows RT platform for that matter, aren’t gaining much traction. 

Microsoft worries its app ecosystem won't Surface

An SEC document filed by Microsoft has revealed the rough data its anticipated tablet, the Surface, will go on sale. There are no surprises here but it is nice to know.

According to the filing, the Surface devices will start to appear in shops upon the general availability of the Windows 8 operating system, launching 26 October this year. The earliest previews of Metro suggested a tablet-friendly design but the world and its dog did raise its eyebrows when the company announced it would be manufacturing its own designs.

Although the company is yet to officially confirm when the Surface will be hitting the shops, save supply hiccups and unexpected last-minute faults, we would say an SEC filing is a pretty accurate picture of the company’s roadmap. 

The ARM-based Surface for Windows RT is set to get a look in before the Surface Pro – the traditional Wintel combination – appears, reports PCWorld. The company is sure to irritate some of its partners by working on and manufacturing its own designs, and it has recognised this. In the filing, Vole admits that its Surface products will “compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform”. 

However, Redmond must have felt pushed into the situation: although Microsoft is a software company through and through, it will have looked at the Apple, Google, and Amazon models and worried about being left in the lurch. Although Apple set the trend for tablets as a premium but essential, everday device (they’re not), Google and Amazon both recognised that the game isn’t in beating Apple, but winning on content.

Android and Amazon are fighting the battle in selling content. Windows Phone has not been particularly successful in building the most profitable or extensive ecosystem. Again, the filing reveals Microsoft may encounter a bump in the road with content. It reads: “In order to compete, we must successfully enlist developers to write applications for our marketplace and ensure that these applications have high quality, customer appeal and value”. Redmond is sure to be on a recruitment drive, and will have to offer intriguing incentives. Remember: it did well with the Xbox.

We can expect the Wintel Surface to be priced at a premium, while the ARM based Surface RT should take aim at cheaper models comparable on the market.