Podcast: Tablets, Surface 3, Connected Cars

This week Bob O’Donnell, Ben Bajarin and Jan Dawson discuss the tablet market in light of the iPad’s 5th anniversary, Microsoft’s new Surface 3, and the opportunity for mobile OS vendors in connected cars.

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Bob O'Donnell

Bob O’Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a technology consulting and market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech.

31 thoughts on “Podcast: Tablets, Surface 3, Connected Cars”

  1. Bob – enjoy your podcasts and insights from your team!
    But I’m a bit confused about some of the comments in this one.
    You talked about an original goal of tablet devices being to allow for general purpose computing in a lightweight ultra-portable form factor with new natural input (incl touch) and later on the desire for many
    users to be able to do more with their (tablet) devices – also the need to
    justify cost of tablets against other computing devices in the home.
    I have no affiliation or bias to Microsoft in any way but I find the idea of what they are doing with Windows (and with Surface) compelling in their aim to bring true general purpose computing potential to tablet and mobile devices. It is mostly a theory at this point rather than something that has been achieved: Windows 8 didn’t get that mix right but Windows 10 appears to be correcting some of those errors and will get much closer to the goal (albeit a work in progress at this stage). Your comments generally seem to support the idea of Windows 8/10 except avoid discussing Windows specifically or making any linkage between those comments and Windows (not even the objectives).
    Clearly, if touch-based devices eventually replacing our PCs is a goal, then Microsoft seem to be on a path to achieving it with Windows 10 and Surface (Surface is, after all, intended to be a physical manifestation of Windows).
    A couple other comments that didn’t make sense to me:
    “Surface is a PC not a tablet”.
    You seem to dismiss Surface as a tablet due to being too big, too heavy and not having the apps.
    I don’t quite understand the weight or size issue – Surface 3 is lighter
    than the Nov 2012 generation iPad and only 25mm longer. Certainly the
    iPad Air (from Nov ’13) is lighter but the capabilities for achieving the goal of
    general purpose computing are very different. iPads are amazing devices with a stunning array of well developed and supported apps – but even iPad has to compromise in functionality in not supporting desktop software.
    Yes, the touch/pen optimised app selection in Windows Store is limited.
    There are, however, some (yes, only a few) *incredible* apps that show the potential of Surface as a tablet – see StaffPad that was announced with Surface 3. The developers note that Windows was the only platform that could do what they wanted in an app – but you cannot use mouse and keyboard with StaffPad so this is definitely an app designed exclusively for tablet use!
    “Surface keyboard cost should be included”.
    I understand this comment – except I don’t. I have never heard someone in your position say this about iPad even though a great many users see a need to pair their iPad to a keyboard. This need is demonstrated by the incredible variety of third party keyboards available for iPad – none of them as cleverly integrated as the Surface keyboard. Clearly one could make the same argument against iPad – or acknowledge that there are use cases which don’t require a keyboard and not punish buyers who don’t need it (or want to choose their personal colour). It will be interesting how Apple deal with this for the larger Apple iPad if indeed this product eventuates. The usage case you mention (reading sheet music) doesn’t require a keyboard. Maybe you would prefer a third party keyboard in a leather folio instead. Should Apple make you pay for their keyboard when you buy the big iPad even though you don’t need one or should they make it optional?
    The Apple Watch bands are not included in the pricing of that product. They are absolutely necessary to the Watch and keeping them separate allows buyers to get the colour and style to suit their needs. This is absolutely appropriate and I have not seen it criticised anywhere.
    Surface originally had two styles (Touch and Type) in a variety of colours. The ‘Blades’ concept introduced a while ago didn’t seem to go anywhere
    but introduced the idea that specialised keyboards might also be
    possible for certain other use cases. Keeping the keyboards separate was, and is, the right thing for the retailer and consumer to manage stock and allow personal choice and style.
    You are not tech bloggers who get caught up in the detail of current generation devices but people who reveal vision and insights into the future usage cases. The future will tell whether Windows gets it right and has a role in that – I’m just not sure why it gets barely a mention in your discussion here when so much of your discussion reinforces Microsoft’s vision for the product.

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