Apr
29
‘15
Surface, iPad, Podcast, Microsoft, tablets
Welcome to the first episode of "Control / Alt / Deluxe," a technology podcast for business owners, CFOs, and any other business "decision maker" who might not fully understand technology.  
 
In this episode we discuss and compare the Microsoft Surface against Apple's iPad.  While these two devices really are quite different, we find that they are often assumed to be direct competitors.  More than once we've seen a company invest heavily in iPads, when they really should have picked the Surface.  Of course, we've seen lots of the inverse as well.
 
Control Alt Deluxe is produced and sponsored by Promethius Consulting.  We're a computer support company in Indianapolis, IN.
 

Podcast Transcript:

Tony – Hello everybody and indeed, welcome to what we are calling, at least for now, “Promethius Consulting Radio.”  I am Tony Valle, a founding Partner at Promethius along with Aaron Toops, our VP of Operations.
 
As some of our most loyal fans know, we’ve done a little bit of a video series on our website, and we finally decided that we have so many useful conversations about technology, that we can share even more knowledge if we use the podcast format in addition to the video format.
 
The idea behind these podcasts is to spread some useful computer and technology information.  We are a local Managed Services company in Indianapolis, IN.  We support computer networks so we do everything from the day-to-day help desk operations all the way up to CIO and long term technology planning functions. 
 
Today, Aaron, I wanted to pick your brain about something I’ve been contemplating for a while.  In my mind, we see two main competing pieces of hardware in the “tablet” space: the Microsoft Surface and the iPad.
 
You know, often times we order all the hardware and software for our clients and for good reason.  But every once in a while we’ll have someone call us up and say something like “Hey, I just ordered 15 iPads for my field crew.  Can you make them work with my network?” And of course this isn’t always the best way to go.  So, there are some distinct differences between the iPad and the surface, correct?
 
Aaron: Definitely some differences.  I think even calling them competing products might be a little bit misleading. 
 
Tony: Oh for sure.  It’s probably more accurate to say that in the mind of a person who is not a “technology person,” the Surface and the iPad are probably seen as competing products.
 
Aaron: Yes, that’s the thing.  And they are not the same.  They are definitely horses of a different color. 
 
Tony: The Surface feels to me like it’s more of a full fledged “computer.”
 
Aaron: It’s a computer with tablet functionality.  With the Surface, it’s actually more akin to a laptop than it is to an iPad.  An iPad is really what we would describe as an entertainment tool.  There have been, though, some techniques for making an iPad more “business functional.”
 
It usually serves a single purpose though, whereas a Surface acts as a “stand alone device.”  
 
Tony: So an organization that’s all excited and wants to get something that feels like a tablet but needs to be a full-fledged computer, should maybe be leery of the iPad.
 
Aaron: Yes.  The major difference between the Microsoft Surface and the iPad is the ability to run desktop applications.  So if you have a regular “off the shelf” software application that you need to be running, and if it doesn’t have a specific iPad app built for it yet, you can’t run it on an iPad.
But on a Surface, you install the software just like you would on any old laptop and you’re good to go.  That’s the major difference between the two.  You can touch both of them.  They both generally operate the same way.  They both have marketplaces that sell cool whiz-bang apps for the devices, but when it comes to actual functionality with the software that we use on a day-to-day basis in the business world, the iPad isn’t going to be able to handle that while a Surface can.
 
Tony: As you know, I have a Surface.  In fact you helped me set it up.  One of the things I love about the surface is its flexibility.  It is this ultra-light little thing that, when I’m carrying it around in my briefcase, I have to check twice to make sure I have it.  It’s that light.
 
But you can also hook it up to a nice docking station that gives you dual screens, a full keyboard, etc.  It’s awesome.
 
Aaron: Yeah, it’s a really powerful machine.  It’s just as powerful as any other high end laptop.  And I too love the light weight.  I carry it around in my bag and I too always have to double-check to make sure I have it.  But what I love about it most Tony is how fast and responsive it is.  Yah know, you click the button and it’s on in five seconds and it’s up and running.
 
I find it really useful when I’m at home and have to play catch-up.  It’s so easy and quick to pop it open, check my email and quickly respond.  And it’s a great tablet too.  You can split the screens and run two apps at the same time, etc.   
 
Tony: I would say that my one complaint about the surface if I really have one is that it doesn’t really work well on the lap.  Maybe there is something defective with my lap?  I don’t know, but I have to set it on some type of flat surface. 
 
You know, with the old school laptops – even the tiny ones – you could set them on your lap and go.  That just doesn’t work for me with the Surface.  Does that work for you?
 
Aaron: That’s actually how I use it at home.  
 
Tony: You set it on your lap and not on some other type of surface?
 
Aaron: Right.  Often times you’ll find me between the hours of 8pm and 11pm with a Surface on my lap and usually in a split-screen mode.  Usually I’m doing some sort of reading or research while having something like Netflix on the other half of the screen.
 
Tony: So it’s working for you.  Maybe I need to have my lap checked.  
 
Well I think that’s a pretty good comparison of the Microsoft Surface to the iPad and it’s a topic that I’ve wanted to share with people for a while because we deal with a lot of both devices, and I know they are different but in a way that maybe the public doesn’t understand.