October 24, 2013
Tuesday was a big day this week because it was the day that the new iPad Air and Surface 2 came out. Tablets are very legitimate productivity tools, which is why I track these releases so closely. Here are my very quick thoughts on the new iPad and Surface.
You can run MYN tasks in the Toodledo app on the iPad. And you can run simple versions of mail, word processing, spreadsheets, and so on—all this makes the iPad a valid productivity tool. The newest iPad (called the iPad Air) released this week got a number of new tweaks like a much faster processor. But I feel its main new feature is its very low weight. It now weighs about 1 pound (down from 1.5). This sets a new standard on 10-inch tablets. Why does weight matter so much? One-handed operation. And the more a tablet feels like the paper items it should be replacing, the more new ways it will be used as a workplace productivity tool. So yes, weight matters.
Plus, the iPad continues to have the upper hand on the quantity of apps available—and of course tablets are all about apps.
Microsoft Surface 2
Microsoft’s new Surface 2 is faster, thinner, and lighter than the old Surface RT it replaces. And while third-party Windows tablet manufactures offer more Windows computing for less money, I still appreciate the keyboard cover and kickstand on the Surface. And I appreciate its overall sturdy build. The new Surface 2 has gotten good reviews too:
Of course, Surface 2 comes with desktop versions of Microsoft Office applications like Outlook, Word, and Excel. Having a desktop version of Outlook on-hand (it’s part of the new Windows RT 8.1 release that ships with Surface 2) is especially important to MYN-Outlook users. So that sets Surface 2 apart from iPad for those who need Outlook.
But if you need more desktop applications beyond Office on your tablet, Surface 2 is not for you either—you’ll need a Windows tablet with a full version of Windows. And in that case you should wait for a month or so and get a Bay Trail based tablet from Dell, Asus, Lenovo, or some other PC manufacturer using that latest Atom processor. Many of those will be cheaper than Surface 2.
Notice I am not mentioning Surface 2 Pro. In my opinion the Surface Pro is too heavy to be called a tablet—you cannot easily hold it with one hand. And the latest release of that model this week has not changed its weight much. This new release did increase battery life to a respectable 6 or 7 hours (up from a nearly useless 3 or 4 hours in the previous iteration). But I still feel that if you need powerful computing for travel you should get two devices. Get a 3 to 4 pound Ultrabook, or similar laptop (with a 13 or 14 inch screen) for serious work and a very light tablet for media consumption and light work.