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Could 2016 Be The Year That Changed Everything?

COW Blogs : walter biscardi's Blog : Could 2016 Be The Year That Changed Everything?
In the same week of October, Microsoft and Apple both debuted new products. In past years, creatives, especially Professional Creatives, would drool over the latest slick and cool Apple products. But here in 2016, the bulk of the reactions I found online and through direct communications were all about Microsoft.

It seems that Microsoft has decided to take advantage of the current stagnant nature of Apple in the computer world. Oh sure Apple introduced a "touch strip" calling it "new" but PCs have had a version of the touch strip for a few years now. And of course, Windows PCs have been available with full touch screen displays for years now as well. But Microsoft sees an opening to not only the creative world, but the general public through some very innovative and "Mac-like" products.

Apple has, rightfully, become a lifestyle company built around "things" with the centerpiece being the iPhone. The iPhone put Apple on a completely new track arcing away from computers and towards consumer goods. The iPad, the Watch, the AppleTV. All consumer goods designed to make the lives easier of those who own them. They're all mini-computers to be sure, but they're consumer items with more or less specific purposes. And consumers have rewarded the company well. So it appears that Apple's current position is the general consumer doesn't need much more than a laptop these days and they don't really want a touch screen. I personally believe Apple is just waiting for the death of the "computer" as an item in the home and you'll just use your phone / tablet / watch as all the computing you'll need along with a wireless keyboard to use cloud based apps via your TV or tablet.

Now how did Apple come to be "THE" lifestyle company to the masses? Well it wasn't through blazing computer sales. Apple computers sales ALWAYS lagged behind PCs. Generally far, far behind PCs because you could only get them from one company, they were more costly than PCs and you couldn't just build one easily of the shelf. Only "artists" would use a Mac because..... well we liked working with them and they were generally "cooler" than PCs.

That "cool" factor helped Apple when it was ready to make the leap from computer to lifestyle company. Enter the iPod. 10,000 songs at your fingertips and in your pocket. No matter what the competition threw at Apple, the iPod was too cool to beat and Steve Jobs was the ultimate cool salesman. The iPhone sent the company to the stratosphere and suddenly computers were no longer front and center at Apple. The iPads and MacBook Airs followed along with the Watch as the old bread and butter towers of yore faded to the background. But it was those cool computers that gave Apple the clout and the consumers the confidence that their innovative devices not only looked good, but would work reliably. And now we're at the point where Apple is no longer a computer company first.

I believe Microsoft sees an opening into the hearts and minds of both consumers and professionals alike by re-inventing the computer experience around touch screen. Consumers are already used to touch screen tablets and phones. While the Surface Tablet has steadily improved, sales are far behind the iPad, though Apple is no longer the dominant tablet maker with less than 25% market share as of Q2 2016. So by taking a step "back" and re-invigorating the personal computer experience with an over the top Surface Studio and more powerful Studio tablets, Microsoft has suddenly become the "cool" computer company. Their Surface tablets run full desktop software putting it on par with the MacBook Air. Microsoft has a buzz around their products that resemble the Apple buzz of old.

So taking a page from the Apple playbook, Microsoft could use the reinvigorated computer experience which includes Windows 10 as an entryway into the full lifestyle experience. The Windows Phone failed to catch on and the Zoom audio player never got anywhere. But the living room is probably the next great battleground with streaming video services and devices. If Microsoft gets the Surface re-launch right, they could re-introduce Microsoft as an innovated lifestyle company. Right now Microsoft, HP and other PC companies are getting noticed for innovation in the computer space while Apple treads water.

As for me personally, I have probably made my final Apple purchase as I'll trade in my current MacBook Air for a Surface Tablet. For my professional computers, the 27" 5k Retina iMac will be my final Mac for work. What will replace it remains to be seen, either a custom PC desktop or the Surface Studio.

Where does the computer and lifestyle space go from here? It will be interesting to see how this Apple / Microsoft story plays out over the next 2 - 5 years.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Nov 2, 2016 at 5:13:20 pmComments (3) Microsoft, Apple, Computer


Re: Could 2016 Be The Year That Changed Everything?
by Steve Connor
I think it would be a VERY smart move for Microsoft if they made some devices available for review on the COW.
Re: Could 2016 Be The Year That Changed Everything?
by Steve Connor
Nice article Walter, but Microsoft have been part of the lifestyle experience for many years with the Xbox, if they can drive more integration between this and the new Products then they will be in a great position.

So leading on from this, how do you see the touch interface working with Adobe products and Premiere Pro in particular?
@Steve Connor
by walter biscardi
"...but Microsoft have been part of the lifestyle experience for many years with the Xbox..."

As you say, they've been a part of the lifestyle experience but only for those who game and those who game on XBox. However in the discussion about streaming devices, XBox doesn't even show up. Roku still way out there, Amazon, Google and Apple bringing up the rear. So Microsoft can potentially use the opening of "cool computers" to either make the XBox a player in the streaming world or introduce their own version of a small streaming box which would honestly be a better idea. Or perhaps offer a superior streaming experience to your TV via their Surface. I actually have an old, small iMac in my living room that we use to stream all our music from. I would gladly replace that with a small Surface in the future. Yes I could replace it with an iPad now, but I don't want any more iOS devices, I want something that can also run real computer programs when necessary.

As for the touch interface with PPro and Adobe I have no idea yet. I like the option to use two hands when working with art and After Effects but I have no idea how that will actually work until I get a chance to really use it. I'm hoping to see one that's fully spec'd out in a Microsoft store and see if I can get some quality time on it. Would love to review a machine for the Cow but I don't see that happening unfortunately.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Craft and Career Advice & Training from real Working Creative Professionals

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Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.



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