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.