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12.12.16 | 1:02 pm

Microsoft calls new MacBook Pro a “disappointment”

Microsoft says it saw lots of progress selling Surface tablets and laptops in November, in part thanks to people abandoning the Mac. The company doesn't mince words: 

More people are switching from Macs to Surface than ever before. Our trade-in program for MacBooks was our best ever, and the combination of excitement for the innovation of Surface coupled with the disappointment of the new MacBook Pro – especially among professionals – is leading more and more people to make the switch to Surface, like this. It seems like a new review recommending Surface over MacBook comes out daily. This makes our team so proud, because it means we're doing good work.

I wrote about the making of the new Surface Studio all-in-one, and was sufficiently impressed by the product. While I've not reviewed the machine myself, reviews are generally good with some pointing out that the pricey Studio (ranges from $3,000 to $4,200) is a good buy for professional creators but perhaps less so for a mainstream audience. 

11.08.16 | 1:34 pm

Apple’s new MacBook Pro is already crushing competing laptops, says Slice Intelligence

The chart below shows revenue from MacBook Pro sales in the first five days versus sales of other best-selling laptops since their launch. Also notable is the Slice Intelligence finding that, in the first five days of sales, the new MacBook Pro generated 78% of all the revenue generated by the MacBook 12-inch over the last year and a half. 

Slice derives its results by extracting detailed information from hundreds of millions of aggregated and anonymized e-receipts, the company says.

10.28.16 | 1:56 pm

What Tim Cook said about putting touch screens on laptops in 2013

At an Apple press event in 2013, Cook stood in front of a slide of a road sign with a tangle of black road. He was talking about his competitors in the personal computer market, like Microsoft.

"The competition is different . . . they are confused," Cook said. "They chased after netbooks. Now they are trying to make PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs . . . "

Well, the only way to turn a PC into a tablet is by giving it a touch screen. And Apple did just that by adding the Touch Bar to the new MacBook Pros announced yesterday. It could go further and add a full-on touch screen to Macs in the future. Cook continued:

"Who knows what they'll do next."

Microsoft answered that question this week when it got so confused that it introduced a desktop PC (the Surface Studio) with a touch screen display.

10.26.16 | 1:41 pm

Microsoft looks sexy again, and, at the moment, a little more innovative than Apple

After seeing the lineup of products Microsoft just announced it's hard to deny that the company's hardware group has got its game on. Microsoft has brought the Surface design approach to the desktop with the new Studio all-in-one, which has a screen that kneels down into a "drawing board" mode on the desktop. The Studio can also be controlled with a new kind of rotary input device called the "Dial" that sits on the display calling up digital menus on the touch screen around its base. 

Apple is at a very different place in its history than Microsoft and its Surface line. But, I think, Microsoft gets points for taking some shots at offering people—in this case designers and other creative types—some new ways of doing their daily work. Microsoft, starting with last year's Surface Book, has been wooing the creative community that has long been Apple's domain. A year from now we'll know a lot more about how Microsoft has fared at winning those hearts and minds. 

In the meantime, the people in the Surface Group, led by Panos Panay, seem like they're having fun. They're taking risks, not just coldly calculating market wants and answering with incremental features that already exist in other products. Meanwhile, in Cupertino, Apple will hold a press event to announce some new Macs tomorrow. We're already fairly sure we'll be seeing cool new OLED touch bar that will digitize the line of function keys at the top of the keyboard. Apple is still a deeply innovative company. I'm just glad to see that Microsoft is making a game of it. 

10.26.16 | 12:12 pm

It’s good to be Adobe right now

It's always good to be Adobe, maker of arguably the best creative design tools out there. That's especially true in an environment where hardware makers like Apple and Microsoft are focused on making products that allow for really detailed, complex digital illustration. This year Microsoft bestowed on creatives a faster Surface Pro 4 while Apple gave us the iPad Pro and pressure-sensitive stylus Pencil. Now Microsoft has launched the equivalent of an artist's easel with its Surface Studio. That means even more places to get your creative juices flowing with Adobe's signature software.