updated 08:29 pm EDT, Wed October 23, 2013
Frank Shaw blasts iPad event
Microsoft communications head Frank Shaw has blasted Apple's latest event and first impressions from attendees, claiming the "reality distortion field ... has extended beyond Cupertino." The executive argues that Microsoft's own Surface and Surface 2 devices represent cheaper alternatives to the new iPads, and, thanks to free Office software, are better suited to productivity tasks.
Shaw suggests it's "not surprising" to see Microsoft's competitors adding "watered down" productivity apps and "bolting on aftermarket input devices" in an effort to "convince people that their entertainment devices are really work machines."
"In that spirit, Apple announced yesterday that they were dropping their fees on their "iWork" suite of apps," Shaw added. "Now, since iWork has never gotten much traction, and was already priced like an afterthought, it's hardly that surprising or significant a move. And it doesn't change the fact that it's much harder to get work done on a device that lacks precision input and a desktop for true side-by-side multitasking."
The executive further criticizes journalists who have covered Apple's unveiling event, quipping that "perhaps attendees ... were required to work on iOS devices that don't allow them to have two windows open for side-by-side comparisons." He argues that Apple's move to offer iWork apps for free is simply "an attempt to play catch up."
Apple's new iPad Air ships for $499, in contrast to Surface 2's $449 entry point. Aside from the free iLife and iWork offerings, Apple also took a shot at Microsoft by offering the latest significant Mac update, known as OS X Mavericks, as a free download rather than selling it for Mountain Lion's $20 upgrade free, which was already a fraction of the Windows 8 cost.