The words “Apple” and “iPad” were never spoken during Microsoft’s unveiling yesterday of the company’s new tablet device, the Surface, but they haunted just about every facet of the presentation. First, there was the unusual, Apple-like secrecy surrounding the event — reporters were given just a few days notice that a “major announcement” would be taking place in Los Angeles, and only informed of the specific location just six hours before it was set to begin. (I overheard one reporter from San Francisco saying that he was only able to make a hotel reservation after he’d landed in L.A. that morning, because he wasn’t sure where in the sprawling city he’d have to be.)
When the Surface was finally revealed, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and a few other executives tripped over themselves fetishizing the tablet’s design, repeatedly emphasizing words like “seamless,” and “elegant,” and “perfect.” And much time was spent obsessing over the cutting-edge engineering that allowed for “vapor magnesium” casings that were both unfathomably thin and impressively rigid.
It was plainly obvious that Microsoft was gunning not only for Apple’s hefty market share, but also its zeitgeist-seizing mojo. The one question on all our minds, however, was whether any of us would get to actually use the Microsoft Surface. READ FULL STORY