My daughter had finally saved enough money to upgrade from her iPod touch to an iPad mini, so off we went on Saturday to buy her iPad mini. While we were waiting for the Walmart clerk to come help us, a Microsoft Surface salesman (hitman) authoritatively told me the the Surface was a much better tablet and cheaper. This poor man had no idea that he had picked the wrong person to try and convince to buy a Microsoft Surface tablet!
So I started off by asking the Microsoft salesman if the Surface could run Microsoft Project. No it couldn't, but the Surface Pro could! Plus the Surface Pro can run the full Windows 8 operating system. There are two issues I have with this argument...
The version of Microsoft Project running on Windows 8 & on the Microsoft Surface Pro was not designed from the ground up to be used on a touch screen device, but instead was modified to run the hybrid/confused world of Windows 8. I use the Mac equivalent to Project called Omni Plan. Omni Plan has an iPad app in addition to the Mac app, and unlike Microsoft Project running on the Surface Pro, Omni Plan for iPad was designed from the ground up for the iPad's touch interface. The result...I am able to create an incredibly complex schedule on the middle seat of an airplane with my iPad mini just as efficiently as I could have on my Mac with a 27" monitor and a mouse. Can you say the same thing about Microsoft Project on the Surface Pro? If you can, great! But there is still the small problem of cost difference. A Surface Pro is going to cost ($899 for the Surface plus $58 per month for Project via Office 365) around $1500 total for the first year, while an iPad mini running Omni Plan is only ($329 for the mini+$50 for Omni Plan) $379.
The Microsoft Surface Pro running the full Windows 8 operating system is not a feature. The creation of really high quality mobile operating systems has changed the game for full personal computer operating systems. It has blurred the line between mobile and PC. Touting the ability to run a "full" operating system is no longer something to brag about. What people care about is what you can do on the operating system you are using. In the case of Windows 8 running Microsoft Project on a Surface tablet, if it isn't just as efficient to use with a touch interface as it is on a full PC then it does me no good on the middle seat of a long flight.
So it seems that Microsoft is still stuck in the world of 2006, where technical specs and running a "full" operating system still mattered to people. I'm so glad I live in the present, where all I really care about is getting things done.