I feel compelled to add to John Gruber’s take on Frank Shaw’s blog post. I think John is being too charitable.
Frank starts with some twisty little prose, criticizing Apple for giving away iWork with all new iOS devices:
Surface and Surface 2 both include Office, the world’s most popular, most powerful productivity software for free and are priced below both the iPad 2 and iPad Air respectively. Making Apple’s decision to build the price of their less popular and less powerful iWork into their tablets not a very big (or very good) deal.
I am not a fan of snark, and this was snarky. Frank didn’t say, “throw in the iWork apps for free”, which is what happened. Instead, he implies that Apple raised the price of the iPad so that us hapless customers have no choice but to pay for something we don’t want. That might be considered true if the price of the iPad went up, even one penny. But the iPad Air added a bunch of new features, found a way to slim down significantly, and kept the price the same. Oh, and, we’ll throw in our productivity apps, too.
There was no decision to build the price into their tablets. That’s just snark.
And so it’s not surprising that we see other folks now talking about how much “work” you can get done on their devices. Adding watered down productivity apps. Bolting on aftermarket input devices. All in an effort to convince people that their entertainment devices are really work machines.
In that spirit, Apple announced yesterday that they were dropping their fees on their “iWork” suite of apps. Now, since iWork has never gotten much traction, and was already priced like an afterthought, it’s hardly that surprising or significant a move. And it doesn’t change the fact that it’s much harder to get work done on a device that lacks precision input and a desktop for true side-by-side multitasking.
Really Frank? How many tablets in the world have Word on them? How many have Pages? I would wager that any iPad productivity app will have more “traction” than any comparable Surface app.
And I use my iPad every single day, all without a single bolted on aftermarket input device, just the ones I was born with.
As to precision, I would love to see a side by side comparison of the iPad and Surface touch precision. I can’t imagine the Surface even coming close. Yeesh.