Even though we’re in the “post PC” era where smartphones and tablets are the new norm, I still find I use my laptop a lot. Yet I’m also dreaming about a different kind of laptop like the one Microsoft just announced that combines the past with the future.
The Surface Book is essentially a slimmer, better-looking version of the Surface Pro 4. In fact, the two are both able to offer similar performance for day-to-day use, though the Surface Book is practically Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s MacBook Pro and iPad Pro, and therefore an even more powerful machine than the Surface Pro 4.
In other words, Microsoft just made the laptop of my dreams. It has a touchscreen. It has a keyboard. It has a hot operating system. But I can’t wait for Apple to copy it given that I’m so anchored in OS X and iOS.
The Surface Book – and the Surface Pro 4 – essentially let users combine the best of both worlds. They’re tablets capable of running a PC operating system ready for both work and play. They’re light and portable, both in tablet and laptop modes, allowing users to easily operate them in a variety of conditions.
Apple, meanwhile, can’t offer the same versatility when it comes to its own products – and neither does Google. You have to choose between using either the Mac or the iPad. And no, just because the iPhone is a smaller iPad, that doesn’t mean pairing an iPhone with a Mac will fix this “problem.”
Tim Cook recently doubled down on Apple’s policy of not merging its operating systems. iOS and OS X will continue to coexist and serve different purposes, and that’s perfectly fine, even though the lines between the two ecosystems are rather blurry, especially when it comes to hardware.
The iPad Pro is Apple’s best iPad to date, capable of impressive performance – yet it won’t be able to run the Mac apps you might want to use for a variety of work-related purposes even though it’s optimized to run some powerful, touch-friendly, apps.
Meanwhile, the Retina MacBook is Apple’s ultra portable laptop that’s capable of running all the Mac Apps you want – yet it’s not as easy to use as a tablet and does not have a touchscreen display. As for performance, considering that the iPhone 6s is able to match the 12-inch MacBook’s scores in tests, we shouldn’t be surprised to hear the iPad Pro might actually outperform the laptop once it launches.
Apple practically has two devices that you’d have to buy to get the same set of features you’d get by purchasing either the Surface Book or Surface Pro 4. And you’ll get a better price from Microsoft too.
Apple is still telling consumers that you can’t merge a fridge and a toaster, like Microsoft started doing a few years ago – and thankfully Microsoft stuck with the concept. However, the Surface Book proves that it can be done, even if that’s not necessarily easy. Let’s not forget that Microsoft received plenty of criticism for its decision to unify mobile and desktop under a single OS. And maybe Apple might just come up with such a project when it’s able to do it right.
Therefore, my next dream is to see Apple’s response to the Surface Book: A device that merges the iPad Pro with the Retina MacBook while retaining the best features of each ecosystem.