Microsoft has had a few commercials out within the last several weeks in which the Redmond, Washington company attacked Apple regarding needed improvements in certain areas of iOS.
Siri has often been the butt of these jokes, but the most recent one (before now) made fun of iOS users who like to play “Chopsticks” on their iPad piano applications (Garage Band chief among them). The latest commercial, however, shows the iPad’s supposed inability to juggle multitasking properly.
There are two gentlemen in the commercial: one is using an iPad, the other is using a Microsoft Windows tablet. The iPad user has to go in and out of applications to use new ones, while the Windows tablet user can perform multiple operations without losing his chat event with a colleague.
When the iPad user is asked, “How many strike-outs this season?,” the iPad user responds reluctantly with a frustrated look on his face, “I…gotta switch apps.” It seems as if, from the commercial, the two tablet users (and those with whom they talk) are scouts that are trying to recruit a baseball player. The colleague to whom the iPad user is speaking tells the iPad user, “the video’s going out,” referring to the difficulties created by the iPad app switching.
In the end, the iPad user is asked by the colleague with whom he is speaking, “Moe, how’re we looking?” (referring to the team’s chances of recruiting the player). Moe’s response? “Uhmmm…I think he’s in talks with another team.”
This happens immediately after the Microsoft tablet user pats him on the back and goes to talk to the baseball scout. It seems as if the iPad has not only made the team lose out in the tech war; it has also made the iPad lose out in life with the new potential recruit. The message is loud and clear: if you want to be successful in everything, get a Microsoft tablet.
I think that the Microsoft commercial raises a good question about Apple’s decision to forgo a focus on multitasking at large in iOS and the iPad. At the same time, however, the commercial does fudge the attack somewhat. After all, the iPad does perform some multitasking capabilities.
For example, the iPad will allow you to listen to music while you’re checking email, writing a note in the Notes application, and so on. If you want to listen to music while playing a game like FIFA 13 (one of my favorite soccer games), EA Sports’ FIFA game accommodates the music application and brings it to the game experience. EA Sports’ FIFA 13 app enhances the multitasking experience on iOS.
Now, let’s take something such as Microsoft’s beloved Skype application. iOS allows you to multitask here as well. For example, if you are in the middle of a Skype video chat, you can zoom out by pressing the home button to check your email, then click the small green stripe at the top of the screen to return to the video conversation. All the while, the audio capabilities remain so that you’re still in the conversation.
I don’t think Microsoft attacked Apple’s iPad because it doesn’t multitask; rather, I think Microsoft attacked the iPad because it doesn’t multitask the way the Microsoft Surface tablet does. In reality, the commercial shows more of the frustration of Microsoft than it does of the typical iPad user frustration with the iPad.
In short, Microsoft is saying, “We’re the better multitasker, so why is it that consumers love Apple more than us?” I hate to rain on Microsoft’s parade, but the tablet war has never been fought over multitasking. Microsoft users may take a liking to multitasking, but iPad users have decided that everything else the iPad offers is superior to the Surface tablet. Go figure.