Once again Microsoft appears to have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, this time repeating a key mistake from the Windows 8 era. Microsoft was on the path to a coupe, launching the seemingly excellent Surface Go well ahead of Apple’s launch of the next generation of iPad Pros. It also launched the Surface Pro 6 ahead of Apple’s launch, though with a much smaller lead. So where did Microsoft go wrong? NO LTE. Oh they promise LTE in the future, but futures don’t cut it in this case. This is exactly where Microsoft (and its ecosystem) screwed up back in 2013, and has continued to screw up in successive launch cycles.
Back in 2013 the excellent Dell Venue 8 Pro, and other Windows tablets, launched with a promise of LTE, and then it never appeared. Within the Surface line Microsoft has always either ignored LTE, delayed it for well beyond initial launch, and if it did arrive they made it hard to buy (i.e., targeted the business sales channel) rather than featuring it. Now we have Microsoft singing the praises of “Always-Connected PCs”, but they don’t walk the talk. For Microsoft, being “always connected” only applies to low-end ARM-based Windows 10 systems. And they so far haven’t even offered one of those themselves.
With Apple you just select WiFi-Only or WiFi+LTE as part of its normal sales processes, both online and in-store. And they launch (and generally ship) the LTE models concurrently with the WiFi-Only models.
I was completely ready to spring for a Surface Go the moment I could get one with LTE, and then yesterday Apple launched the new generation of iPad Pros. There are a few things that the iPad Pro is not good at, like software development, but for my daily on-the-go needs it is near perfect. And most importantly, I will have one in my hands, WITH LTE, in a couple of weeks. So the moment has passed Microsoft, and while you keep talking about being always connected Apple is doing a much better job of walking the talk. The Surface Go likely isn’t going anywhere, and I’m not particularly hopeful about the “Always-Connected PC” initiative either.