Kids want an iPad for Christmas – and nothing else

By Ed Sutherland on Nov 20, 2012

Listen up, parents. Your kids want an iPad. Don’t be swayed by the Microsoft Surface commercials or the Nintendo Wii U chatter. No matter whether your child is 6 or 16, the iPad is at the top of Christmas wish lists for 2012, a new survey has it. According to Nielsen Wire, the top four out of five most-wanted gifts for children and teens bear an Apple logo.

Even more intriguing are the changes in what Apple products are wanted this holiday season versus last year. If anything, the trend can be summed-up in one word: tablet… Read More

 

Oh, boy: Oprah tweets Surface raves from an iPad

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 19, 2012

Billions of marketing dollars can’t hide the obvious disconnect and lack of creativity plaguing Microsoft’s PR department. Windows Phone commercials are boring as hell, annoying, heavy on celebs and short on imagination. And now comes this. Oprah tweeting her love for the Surface this morning isn’t out of character: she’s well-known for endorsing stuff.

It reads: “Gotta say love that SURFACE! Have bought 12 already for Christmas gifts. #FavoriteThings”. She unfortunately sent that tweet, which Microsoft’s Corporate Communications immediately retweeted, from her iPad.

I know Oprah hosts regular giveaways of favorite products, but boy did that stupid PR stunt backfire. Besides, she previously professed her love for Apple’s tablet to the whole world. This is nothing if not way too clueless marketing on Microsoft’s part. Speaking of clueless… Read More

 

Steve Ballmer maintains the iPhone is overpriced, promises more Microsoft gadgets

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 15, 2012

The hardware arena is becoming an increasingly crowded space and that’s a good thing for consumers who want more choices. Not that long ago, tech giants used to sit on the sidelines and leave the gadget making biz to Apple and the iPhone maker happily exploited the opportunity, churning out music players, cell phones, wireless appliances, set-top boxes, tablets and computers.

But things have changed quite a bit. Nowadays, everyone and their brother wants to build hardware, software and services in a vertically integrated fashion that made Apple a popular choice among the consumers. Amazon now sells tablets and e-readers and is allegedly building a phone. Google has become a handset vendor thanks to its pricey purchase of Motorola Mobility. And with a recent trifecta of Nexus devices, the search monster has become a hardware force to be reckoned with. But what’s Microsoft up to? Read More

 

Display shootout pits the iPad 3 against the Surface

By Cody Lee on Nov 13, 2012

The experts over at DisplayMate have put together another display shootout, this time pitting the Retina screen of the iPad 3 against that of Microsoft’s new Surface tablet and Samsung’s older Galaxy Tab 10.1. The Galaxy Tab was really just thrown in for good measure here, the real shootout is between the first two.

Last month, a Microsoft engineer claimed that although the Surface has a lower resolution than the iPad, 1366 x 768 vs 2048 x 1536, its display can still outperform it. DisplayMate’s Raymond Soneira laughed off the claim, saying there was no way this was possible. And now he has the head-to-head tests to prove it… Read More

 

Ballmer qualifies Surface sales as ‘modest’, but there’s a huge opportunity

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 11, 2012

For all the talk about the Surface – and we’ve said some nice things about it – Microsoft’s foray into big league tablet computing has been marred with teething problems and lackluster sales. Arriving in a crowded tablet market on October 26, the Surface was praised for its industrial design and build quality as it was panned for its resource-hungry and buggy OS and insufficient third-party software.

The software maker did not release exact sales data and its CEO Steve Ballmer is dogging such questions in absence of a milestone like Apple’s three million tablet sales in three days. In an interview with a French newspaper, Ballmer qualified the beginning of the Surface sales as “modest”, which probably means way worse than expected… Read More

 

Fan-made ad teaches Microsoft how to advertise the Surface against the iPad

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 8, 2012

Instead of a boring teaser, the weird Movement commercial, a meaningless self-made drop test clip, cheesy making-of footage and a whole bunch of other all too easily forgettable videos, maybe Microsoft should have employed the talent of Forest Gibson? The guy clearly has a better idea of how to position Microsoft’s Surface tablet against the iPad juggernaut… Read More

 

Microsoft working on a 7-inch Xbox Surface tablet focused on gaming

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 6, 2012

This is really interesting. Hot on the heels of launching its full-sized Surface tablet to a mixed market response, Microsoft is thought to now have their sights set on the smaller form-factor tablet space, currently dominated by seven-inchers from Google and Amazon, in addition to Apple’s iPad mini that launched last month. Microsoft’s secret project for a mini Xbox, it’s been said, involves a custom-built ARM processor and high-bandwidth RAM designed specifically for gaming tasks… Read More

 

Microsoft clarifies Surface storage requirements

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 5, 2012

So we’ve known that the operating system powering Microsoft’s Surface tablet along with bundled apps eats up a lot of storage space. Earlier today, the software giant published an interesting support doc clarifying the exact storage requirements. Turns out out that a 32GB Surface RT leaves users with only sixteen gigabytes of usable storage space because the Surface OS and preloaded Office apps consume a whopping 16 gigs. I’m using the whopping adjective here because the Surface after all is a mobile device, not a full-blown desktop.

This is hardly a surprise to us geeks who’ve grown accustomed to Redmond’ resource-taxing desktop software but as it is, the situation inevitably begs the question of the gizmo’s prospect with average Joes who’ve seen the iPad and expect a 32GB tablet to at least provide 30 gigs of usable storage space. Also, we’ve got a nice new video below the fold highlighting the Touch and Type Covers for Surface… Read More

 

Maybe Microsoft should hire Forstall?

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 29, 2012

In the hope that this will have an instant meme value, I just came across this nice little clip of somebody demoing saving a document in Microsoft Word Preview on the Surface RT tablet. Go past the break to join the discussion in the comments… Read More

 

Microsoft’s Surface is more repairable than iPad 3

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 29, 2012

The repair experts over at iFixit pried open Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet (model number 1516) and awarded the device a repairability score of four out of ten (ten is the easiest to repair), thanks to several components being modular and replaceable without requiring desoldering. Plus, the battery can be removed “pretty easily”, iFixit notes.

This is better than a score of two out of ten for the third-generation iPad with Retina display, but lower than Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which has an impressive eight out of ten repairability score. Google’s seven-inch Nexus tablet is the easiest to repair among these tablets with a nice seven out of ten score. More tidbits and teardown analysis right below… Read More

 

iPad vs Surface boot speed test

By Jeff Benjamin on Oct 27, 2012

Just a few minutes ago, I pitted the newly released Microsoft Surface against the 3rd generation iPad with Retina Display. Keep in mind that neither tablet is a slouch when it comes to specs, and that this isn’t exactly a scientific test. Still, some of you might be surprised as to which tablet came out on top in a cold boot speed test.

I won’t spoil the results, but if you’re interested in seeing it for yourself, head inside and check out our iPad vs Microsoft Surface boot test video… Read More

 

iPad vs Surface: size and dimensions

By Jeff Benjamin on Oct 26, 2012

The Microsoft Surface launched today to quite a bit of fanfare. I just received my unit via FedEx a few hours ago. Although I’ve yet to actually power on the unit (such is the life of a tech blogger), I have thoroughly inspected its hardware.

In the following video, I compare the Surface’s dimensions and weight to that of the iPad 3. It’s an interesting look at two wildly different tablets on pretty much every level. Take a gander… Read More

 

Cook on iPad mini canibalization, Microsoft’s Surface and Apple’s position on tweener tablets

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 26, 2012

Apple CEO Tim Cook during yesterday’s conference call with Wall Street analysts briefly touched on Microsoft’s Surface tablet, which hit store shelves today, canibalization of its own products by the iPad mini and more. He also addressed his predecessor’s public dissing of smaller tablets two years ago, insisting that Apple’s position on the matter remains unchanged and stressing that the iPad mini, which has a 7.9-inch display, is “in a whole different league” than other seven inchers. Apple in fact, he said, “would never make” a seven-inch iPad… Read More

 

Microsoft’s Surface is here, high-tech ad proclaims

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 25, 2012

Look what just surfaced on Microsoft Surface team’s YouTube channel. This television commercial could be equally confusing to those who deemed the previous Movement ad too childish to begin with and perhaps over-the-top. One thing is certain: Microsoft is determined to make as much noise as possible about this tablet. The company today officially launched Windows 8 and will begin selling the Surface on Friday.

Apple the same day is scheduled to put its iPad mini on sale across 34 countries worldwide. Armchair estimates peg advertising expenditure for Windows 8 and Surface launches anywhere in the ballpark of $1-$2 billion.  I’ve also included a new making-of video for the Movement ad right below… Read More

 

Microsoft films its own Surface RT drop test

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 19, 2012

For today’s WTF moment, I present you this publicity stunt depicting the Surface RT falling from about 30 inches high and onto a hardwood floor, courtesy of Microsoft’s Surface Reliability Lab and straight via the Surface team’s official channel on YouTube. Unlike your ordinary drop test, this one has a twist to it, just watch. Spoiler: it survives the drop. Fortunately, Microsoft didn’t go as far to credit the gizmo’s vapor-deposited magnesium chassis for that.

Of course the clip is geeky – this is Microsoft, after all. The company is many things, but you can’t blame them from exploiting social media on a Friday to spread the word about their iPad contender. The Surface RT runs an ARM-based chip, it looks snappy, and its tile-based interface introduces a fresh new approach to tablet computing. I’ve also included another video that shows off some of the features, right past the fold… Read More

 

Expert laughs off Microsoft’s pre-emptive claim of Surface beating iPad 3 on screen sharpness

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 18, 2012

A Microsoft engineer in a Reddit thread made a bold claim that a 1,366-by-768 pixel resolution display on the Surface tablet is way sharper than the 2,048-by-1,536 pixel resolution Retina display on the iPad 3. The comment left some scratching their head, wondering if Microsoft found a way to bypass the laws of physics.

President of DisplayMate Technologies Raymond Soneira is an expert at these things: he previously dispelled Heatgate, recently rated the iPhone 5 as having the best display in a smartphone and now is back with a brief shootout concerning the Surface’s ClearType sub-pixel rendering allegedly improving display clarity beyond what Apple’s device offers… Read More

 

Microsoft’s Surface OS is a resource hog

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 18, 2012

We’ve been covering Microsoft’s Surface and other competing tablets quite extensively here at iDB because we believe Apple is not an isolated isle and it pays to keeping tabs on what your competition is doing. Now, a 32GB Surface RT matches a 16GB iPad 3 in terms of price, both costing $499. That said, Surface RT users will wind up having less storage space available because the operating system and bundled apps require a significant amount of storage. It almost comes close to installing a Windows on a PC… Read More

 

Microsoft: Surface screen outperforms the iPad Retina display

By Ed Sutherland on Oct 17, 2012

Microsoft is nothing if not an expert when it comes to spinning technology. Take for instance the software giant’s latest comments that its Surface tablet actually outperforms the iPad’s Retina display. You remember the Retina, the display with 3.9 million pixels and described by some as the best display ever for a mobile device?

Well, turns out the Surface’s 1,366-by-768 display is even better at something called “perceived resolution.” Microsoft engineer Steve Bathiche told a Reddit audience this week that the tablet’s ClearType technology can reduce the glare from reflected light. The Surface’s display reflects between 5.5 percent and 6.2 percent of light, compared to 9.9 for the iPad, according to the engineer… Read More

 

How the Surface was engineered

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 16, 2012

Following up on today’s Surface price list, pre-orders and a pretty nice commercial, Microsoft has also posted another interesting thingie which I think highlights how the engineering team went about designing  Microsoft’s iPad contender. Make no mistake about it: with the Surface, the Windows maker has raised the water line on its platform’s functionality. This tablet’s here to stay. It is at any rate refreshing to have a fresh approach to the tablet other than the boring iOS-Android duopoly. Microsoft also has a few other promo clips for the Surface, all included past the fold… Read More

 

Microsoft begins taking pre-orders for the Surface RT tablet, shipping October 26

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 16, 2012

A page briefly went online earlier this morning over at Microsoft’s online store, revealing possible prices for ARM-based Surface RT models. It wasn’t just a glitch in the system: Microsoft has officially announced it will begin taking pre-orders for the device later today at 12pm Eastern, 9pm Pacific. $499 buys you an entry-level Surface RT with 32 gigabytes of storage and a 10.6-inch display, but no Touch Cover – that’s an additional $119.

The Surface RT is initially available for pre-order in eight countries via Microsoft’s online store and is set to ship next Friday, October 26, alongside Windows 8 and three days after Apple’s rumored iPad mini keynoteRead More