Will the Surface 3 Become the “iPad Killer”? – The Unwind Soundbyte

On The Unwind Podcast, two friends and I discuss topics related to tech, games, gadgets, and geek culture each week. Here is a soundbyte where we talk about the newly announced Microsoft Surface 3 and whether it challenge the dominance of the iPad. This is an extension of my post about whether the Surface 3 can replace the iPad in the classroom.

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Why the New Surface 3 Just Might Replace the iPad in Classrooms

The term “iPad killer” gets thrown around pretty frequently these days, but the newly announced Surface 3 has a pretty good shot to be the device to take that title.

 

Previously, Microsoft had two versions of their Surface tablets, the Pro, which ran with full Windows, and RT, which ran a much more slimmed down version of Windows and, while it came with Office, couldn’t run most Windows applications outside of what was on their incredibly bare app store. RT was a disaster, and Microsoft acknowledged that with the announcement of the Surface 3.

 

At an entry point of $499 (the same as the iPad Air 2), the Surface 3, which releases in May, comes with the full Windows 8.1 operating system and will get a free Windows 10 upgrade when it becomes available later in 2015. While many schools currently opt to go with the iPad or Chromebook for the classroom, the Surface 3 will likely become a major competitor. Here’s a quick breakdown:

 

Device

iPad Air 2

Surface 3

Chromebook

Base Price

$499

$499

Varies

Operating System

iOS

Windows 8.1 (Full)

Chrome OS

Base Storage

16 GB

64 GB

Varies

Ecosystem

App Store

All Windows Applications

Browser Apps

Document Editing

 Pages, Office apps (Limited), Apple suite

Office (Full)

Google Docs, Office Online

Keyboard

Wireless Keyboard/Keyboard Cover (Sold separately)

Surface Keyboard Cover (Sold separately)

Built into Laptop

 

While it will be very compelling to integrate the Office suite of apps and OneDrive capabilities into teaching practice, the Surface 3 will need the accompanying keyboard ($129.99) and probably pen ($49.99) to take full advantage. Granted, iPad still has the best marketplace for education apps geared for tablet use, the Surface 3 will have all Windows based applications available. Speaking as someone who has owned every Surface device released so far, I can say that the Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 were the devices that Microsoft has been aiming for. Microsoft hasn’t done the best job at marketing towards teachers and schools in the past, but hopefully they see education as a market to focus on with the release of this new device.

A Microsoft Fanboy Tries the iPhone 6, Part 2: Am I Blue??

Am I Blue??

I have to say, my initial experience (well pre-experience) with Apple was almost enough to turn me off to this whole experiment altogether.

I went to the AT&T store, who informed me they were sold out and there was a week or longer wait. So I tried the Apple store. There was a line outside the store waiting for an iPhone. The thing released over a month ago, and there are still lines. I sure as hell never had to wait for a Windows Phone. I could rock up to the AT&T store the afternoon of a WP release and have no worries about getting one. I didn’t even have to wait on the line, however, because there wasn’t any stock of the 64gb model for AT&T anyway. I asked to back order/reserve one when it came in, but Apple doesn’t let you do that. You just have to show up every day until they happen to have one in stock. Ridiculous.

I almost decided to call it quits on this whole experiment, but gave it one more roll of the dice and went to Best Buy. As if it was meant to be, they hadtext2 gotten a shipment in only minutes before I arrived, and I was able to secure one. The girl helping me buy it asked what I was switching from.

“Windows Phone.”

She looked at me for a second, “Seriously??” – as if she’d never actually seen someone use one before. I’m used to this reaction though, and it felt like a fitting way to go out.

As she was taking my information, I already felt like a sheep. Everyone and their mother (mine included, Hi Mom!) has an iPhone. I’m no longer the different one that stands out with a Windows Phone. As I was about to leave, a guy decided to buy a low end Windows Phone. She gave him a sideways glance and said under her breath, “He wants a Windows Phone?!?”. I was a little offended, but at that point, I could no longer say I was a Windows Phone user anymore anyway.

I got back home and took it out of the box, again marveling at just how sleek and light this device is. I created an iCloud account (I’m probably the only one that used a Hotmail account to sign up), and I was off. I didn’t tell too many people about making my switch, so it was fun seeing some of the reactions of iPhone friends realizing I was on iMessage for the first time. Those who were aware of this coming switch I sent, “Am I blue??”. For those of you not familiar with iMessage, messages sent to other iPhone users show up in blue, while all other phones are sent in green. Those in on my experiment also knew that switching to an iPhone could cause me to fall into depression (I think I’m clever at least).

Text

People had a hard time believing I was using an iPhone. (My messages got deleted when I exchanged the phones, that’s why it’s from their perspective.)


I only had the phone for a few minutes before I got back to back calls, so it wasn’t until later in the evening that I had a chance to really play around with it. Before long, I realized that there was a single dead pixel in the middle of the screen. I had always been one to make fun of the “Genius” bar, so I figured it was time to see what it was all about. My iPhone wielding friend advised me to set up an appointment through the phone app, which I will admit, is pretty cool despite the fact I think it’s insane you have to set an appointment and can’t just go there and get help whenever (*ahem* like the Microsoft Store *cough cough*).

I set the appointment for the following morning and when I got there, checked in and was soon seen by a “Genius”. He informed me that I would actually have to exchange it where I purchased the phone, so I made my way back to Best Buy. I had no issue exchanging for a new phone (thankfully they had one left in stock), although the process ended up taking around an hour due to their slow systems (You would think Best Buy would have decent computers for their Point of Sale systems…). I talked them into giving me a discount for a screen protector, and got the glass Zagg Invisible Shield. I’ve been super careful with the phone, so I can’t vouch for how well it protects the iPhone screen, but the phone seems just as responsive with the screen protector on it.

I had all of the next day, Sunday, free, so I finally got some quality time with my device.

Coming up on Part 3 – Switching Over and Initial impressions