Apple over the last decade has not been a company that is great at inventing new categories, it is great at knowing when to jump into a category. They did not invent the smartphone, but the moment teenage girls started clamoring for a Blackberry Apple knew it was their time.
That time is coming again, and no it is not in the watch or car category. It is in the PC category. There are a lot of rumors of two new devices coming out from Apple. One is a larger iPad which will support a keyboard and stylus. The other is the 12.9 inch MacBookAir. This is Apple’s SurfaceRT and SurfacePro. However, I don’t expect Apple to have the same struggles Microsoft did when launching these products. Microsoft Surface Pro 3 was the first in that lineup that is having success, so Apple will see this as a sign that the time is now.
As one of the few people that thought SurfaceRT and WindowsRT were the right products for Microsoft, an iPad Pro will be the same. A powerful product that gives you the productivity you need without the normal maintenance requirements of a full blown desktop OS. We have all seen people using a portable keyboard with an iPad, and they are doing this without Apple fully buying in. This can change that. The MacBookAir is already a popular PC, but this will be a much better machine with a higher res display and better battery life.
One company that knows what is about to come is Microsoft. They are going full in the Apple ecosystem. Their apps are now first and best on iOS, and just this week a preview of the next version of desktop Office came to OS X. For the first time an Office user will not feel like the wicked stepchild on their Mac. This is a big improvement. Microsoft is definitely now a software and services company. They are going to care less and less what platform you use those services on. Just this week we have seen partnerships with Samsung and this Office for Mac release.
There are going to be a lot of upset users who are all in on the Windows ecosystem. Windows will still be core to Microsoft, but don’t expect Microsoft to give their OS users any extra love. I also would not expect Microsoft to stay in the hardware game much longer. Why take a loss for each Windows mobile phone you sell when you can make money on other platforms? One thing is for sure, Microsoft and Google are in a full fledged fight for the iOS home screen!