If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them

The new Microsoft Surface Arm laptops are in the wild now and getting properly tested. The Verge did a full set of benchmarks that conclude with a few relevant points:

  • It runs a little faster than a MacBook Air and quite a bit slower than a MacBook Pro. These really are aimed at the MacBook Air.
  • Battery life is behind the MacBook Air’s. This isn’t a surprise, as I suspect they have a lot of experience with the MacBook Air.

Together, these two points make sense. They upped the clock cycle count to outperform the MacBook Air — which is an admittedly sexy headline for Microsoft — at the expense of some battery life. Regardless, I think it’s great news that people running Windows now have an option that’s competitive with MacBook Air performance and battery life. Now, if it just ran a better operating system…

Microsoft’s M1 Moment

Microsoft has made a big deal about releasing its newest lineup of ARM-based PCs, which appear to be testing in the same ballpark as the M3. With the arrival of the M1, Apple caught the rest of the industry with its pants down. To compete, Microsoft needed an ARM-based platform, which it had been working on for a long time but really wasn’t ready for prime time.

This new lineup feels like a response to Apple’s M1 chip. In terms of processing, they appear competitive with the base M3 chip in performance. Moreover, several manufacturers are getting ready to adopt this platform with hardware that will be released as early as next month. That means there will be tablets and PCs with similar attributes to Apple silicon but running Windows. Microsoft is branding them as Copilot + PCs, with an emphasis on AI (like everyone else seems to be doing these days).

The above link contains videos and links to manufacturers, so if you’re curious about this, I recommend checking it out.

The net result of this will be that we get a lot of new hardware that runs in the ballpark with the M3 MacBook Air. It will be running Windows, but ultimately I think the competition will be good for Apple, and maybe encourage them to take a few risks with the types of platforms they use with their M-series SoC.

A Tale of Two Tech Giants

Today we got news of Microsoft adding Split View, Do Not Disturb, smart folders, and more to the most recent version of Microsoft Outlook for iPhone and iPad.

Meanwhile, Google Docs lingers. I continue to be amazed at the impressive attention Microsoft gives to Apple platforms in comparison to Google. Several years ago, I would’ve been shocked by it. These days, I expect it.

This shouldn’t be surprising, given the two companies’ relative positions as the outside platforms. The days of windows versus Mac are officially over. That is not so true on mobile.