After much mystery and speculation, Microsoft announced a new class of tablet computers it calls Surface. With a magnetic keyboard cover, multitouch, and a slick OS, it’s a bold move from the mighty Microsoft. So, how does Redmond decide to introduce the Surface to everyone that didn’t watch the product announcement yesterday? Well, do you remember on The Simpsons when Homer buys a super-arty Mr. Plow ad?
On the ad’s YouTube page, Microsoft follows up the ad with this little poem:
A tablet that’s a unique expression of entertainment and creativity.
A tablet that works and plays the way you want.
A new type of computing. Surface.
This ad is cool and all (in sort of a grey, industrial, Prometheus kind of way), but my beef with it is that is so centered on the design of the Surface. It shows us a keyboard, it shows us colored keyboards, and it shows us a built-in stand. But after a minute of advertisement, I don’t really get what I am supposed to do with this thing. In short, I still don’t get Surface.
Though this is only the first ad of what will surely be a long-running campaign, I feel like Microsoft should have turned down the artiness and shown the thing in use. Demonstrate how it works, and how it works in people’s lives. When Apple rolled out the iPad, they eschewed 1984-style artistry and showed off pure functionality — which I think helped explain to the public what they were trying to sell.
Personally, I really want to like Surface, but right now I feel more confused about it than ever.
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