Monday, December 12, 2016

Mac Users Switching to Surface

Brian Hall (9to5Mac, MacRumors, Hacker News):

Our team gets so excited about meeting new Surface users and hearing their feedback, and we get to meet a lot more this holiday season! From Surface Pro, to Surface Book, to Surface Studio, to Surface Hub, we’re having our best holiday ever.


More people are switching from Macs to Surface than ever before. Our trade-in program for MacBooks was our best ever, and the combination of excitement for the innovation of Surface coupled with the disappointment of the new MacBook Pro – especially among professionals – is leading more and more people to make the switch to Surface, like this. It seems like a new review recommending Surface over MacBook comes out daily.


I’m one of the people that switched from a MacBook Pro to the new Surface Book.

The entire experience was dreadful for me.


As far as the actual product goes - I found the trackpad to be lacking. It just felt a bit buggy and non-responsive at times. I have yet to find a trackpad as solid as the ones that Apple ship. This became more apparent of time after using the product. Aside from the trackpad I don’t have too many complaints, except for things that are of personal preference (I can’t say I like the design / functionality of the snake hinge). I also realized, as mainly a pro user, that I don’t have much use / need for the touch screen or tablet portion of the device.

7 Comments RSS · Twitter

Bryan Pietrzak

You left off his punchline!

"Needless to say, I ended up returning the device and buying the new touch-bar 15" MBP a few days ago. Aside from how annoying it is to locate / use the touch-based Esc key, it's a really solid device."

@Bryan I also left off the part where Gassée returned his MacBook Pro.

Bryan Pietrzak

Not sure I see how that's relevant, but whatever. I'm not even sure anymore why you use Apple devices.

"I'm not even sure anymore why you use Apple devices."

Because he's a Mac developer? Because even though Apple is abandoning pro/prosumer users with increasing rapidity, the Surface may well be even worse for pro/prosumer users? Because of lock-in in numerous ways? Because while I'd love to get the hell off of Macs at this point, between lock-in and lack of current good prosumer alternatives, I haven't?

Just because Macs are currently the least worst option, IMHO, doesn't mean pro/prosumer users should be singing the praises of the current direction. (And there seem to be quite a number of pro/prosumer users I trust who have quite happily adopted the Surface and sing its praises, which does make think.)

As far as Gasse being relevant, seems like a case of a reasonably reflexive Mac fanboi running up against issues that led him to personally reject the Brave New World of Mac "pro" devices. I was unaware of that article, and found it pretty interesting, given who its coming from. He's obviously not going to switch to the Surface, but his dissatisfaction is a bit of a canary in a coal mine of why folks are doing so, albeit in a very tangential way, which is why Michael left it off.

Two things:

1. Reading his entire missive, his complaints really boil down to not liking the trackpad.

2. I bought a Surface Pro 4 a couple of weeks ago. I got $230 off of a core i7, 16/512. It is quite nice. It has quirks, and hiccups, but for its faults, you can see that there is a future path here for Microsoft. Try to guess what Apple has planned. It's not easy, and when they reveal it, is it all that exciting anymore? Touch Bar? Is that the future of touch input? I have been developing on the Apple ecosystem for long enough that my apple id is not an email address. Over the past couple of years, the "buzz" for development has definitely changed. iPhone development is still fairly strong, but not like it was iPad development is practically dead for all but the most vertical of apps (Medical, POS, etc). In fact, the last few clients have not even cared about an iPad version (just use the blown up iPhone version). I am actually starting to get into developing for Windows again after many many years away. Not switching yet, but hedging my bets.

Postscript : Even as recently as a couple of months ago, I never thought that Apple would abandon x64 and make ARM only Macs. Now I am fairly certain that is what they are going to do. They will ease in a transition with a low end laptop, and then there will be no choice. If I am still developing on the platform, I will buy the cheapest one that performs well enough for development. As it stands now, if my current MBP fails (2013), I will not buy a new one. I will either get a refurb, or scour the used market.

I considered going this route and brought my 2011 MPB into the Microsoft Store in Manhattan. They said they would give me $300 towards a Surface Book. While I did consider it, I decided against it because to me, $300 simply wasn't worth the pain of switching platforms. It's a massive undertaking. Especially as an audio "creative professional," it is a daunting undertaking.

I ended up buying a maxed out 2015 MBP from eBay and saved ~ $2000 versus a similarly spec'ed 2016 MBP. Happy as a clam.

I continue to use Windows 7 at work a regular basis, have Windows 10 installed in Boot Camp (which failed to install yet another update yesterday) and helped a colleague set up a nearly brand new Surface Pro a few days ago. While I really liked the overall design of the Surface Pro and particularly the kickstand, the trackpad on the Surface Pro was still frustrating to use and Windows usability on a high-DPI screen is still really atrocious (including first-party apps!); in the process of installing some software the entire OS including the home screen hung on me for quite a while. Tradeoffs are everywhere, and it's useful to have some perspective.

This of course ignores the third-party app market, which will likely be the very last thing that keeps me on the Mac assuming Apple's software quality doesn't turn around — even ignoring the apps I write/maintain myself, there are no Windows versions of most apps I use every day.

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