May and June have been very busy months for Microsoft and Apple, as the two tech giants unveiled their new-generation devices, including 2-in-1s that continue the successful Surface and iPad Pro series.
Apple’s increasing focus on the iPad Pro is living proof that Cupertino is now betting big on 2-in-1 devices, after the company originally ignored this market and even made fun of Microsoft for investing in it. And this is why Microsoft general manager for Surface Ryan Gavin says it’s very clear that Apple is copying the software giant, using its ideas on own products like the iPad Pro.
“Think about it, if we had been looking at [Apple] we wouldn't have made a product like Surface Pro or Surface Book. We have been learning and perfecting our products in the 2-in-1 category for years now, [but] when Surface initially launched everyone was skeptical, including them. And then they followed, and the iPad Pro is a clear example of that,” he said in an interview with BI.
And there’s no doubt Gavin’s right. Microsoft launched the original Surface model (called Surface RT) in October 2012, offering a built-in kickstand and a removable keyboard that allowed the device to be both a tablet and a laptop.
At that time, the Surface RT failed to impress, mostly because of the limited Windows RT powering it, but Apple’s CEO Tim Cook didn’t miss the occasion to make fun of Microsoft and saying that its Surface model was a mix between a refrigerator and a toaster.
Once the Surface turned into a successful product and more manufacturers joined the 2-in-1 frenzy, not only that Apple followed the trend and released an iPad with a keyboard, but it also developed a stylus very similar to Microsoft’s own Surface Pen.
Gavin explains that when developing new Surface models, “we don’t really look at Apple,” though he admits that the company typically pays attention to rivals. In the case of the Surface, however, it’s all about innovating, and right now, there’s nothing to see at Apple.