Microsoft is offering Apple’s Macbook Air owners up to $650 to trade in their Apple laptop and make the switch to the Surface Pro 3. The deal is available only to consumers who purchase the device at a Microsoft store in the U.S. or Canada, and the offer is valid until July 31, 2014. Users wishing to trade in qualifying MacBooks will receive a discount on the new Surface 3 tablet, which is advertised as a high-tech go-between that blends the lightweight portability of tablets with the high functioning desktop capabilities of a laptop.
Microsoft debuted the redesigned tablet at a May event in New York. Starting at $799, the tablet can be paired with a case that transforms into a keyboard, and is being touted as superior for gamers, entertainment junkies, students and professionals. If there was any doubt before, it is clear from this and other marketing campaigns that the broad reach of the device is aimed to rival technology by its competitor Apple.
Released officially June 21, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is slightly thicker than the iPad Air in its .36 inch magnesium case. The ClearType display boasts high-resolution at 2160 x 1440, approximately a 50 pixel lead on competitors. With 8 GB of RAM, this tablet-top does meet the tech specs called for to accommodate all of the multitasking and versatility needs of a desktop user in a package that contends with Mac’s iPad and MacBook technologies.
The Apple Airbook, the newest release from Apple’s line of ultra-thin laptops, serves as sturdy but lightweight portable computer. The most expensive MacBook Air, which has 13 inch screen and offers a 256GB solid-state drive, underwent a price reduction in April and also received a boost in processing speed. The lowest end MacBook, at 11 inches, underwent a price reduction along with the rest of the line, making its cost comparable to Microsoft’s Surface 2.
Experts speculate tablets are forcing computer professionals to up the ante in laptop performance in order to remain relevant against the growing tide of tablet lovers. The high-end model MacBook Air, with its 13 inch screen and 256GB SSD (sold-state drive) for storing files and applications lists for $1,199. The more economic 11 inch model compares to the $1,130 price tag of a Surface 2 when outfitted with the same capabilities (keyboard, memory and processor, etc.). The newest iPad Air has a storage capacity of 120GB, a .29 inch case, and a 9.7 inch screen that offers 2,048 by 1536 screen resolution with only 1 GB of RAM (compared to the Surface 3’s 8GB).
Mac computers account, according to sales statistics, for only 13 percent of profits at Apple; this statistic is a direct reflection as to why the sale of tablets is so vital to computer companies right now. Microsoft appears to be trying to encroach on the user demographic who wish that laptops could be more convenient and discreet, but also wish tablets were more functional and productivity-centric. Apple’s iPad and iPhone broke sales records in the fourth quarter of 2014, and this is the consumer base to which Microsoft’s generous, deep-discount of $650 is offered for those willing to make the switch.
Microsoft’s Surface is being marketed as the only tablet on the market today that has the ability to completely replace the need for a laptop. With a larger, 12-inch display, included stylus and the ability to run full software suites, such as Microsoft Office, the Surface 3 is an updated take on the popular Surface and Surface 2. The tablet-top will come with a kickstand, multiple ports (including full-size USB 3.0, Mini Display Port, and microSD™ card reader), and the optional click-in keyboard that gives the device a colorful flair and attracts many college-age end users. Surface Pro 3 promises to deliver portable power and productivity.
Users who trade in MacBooks will receive up $650 off a new Surface 3, and Microsoft hopes that this offer will help the broad base of loyal Apple consumers make the switch to the Microsoft brand. Apple is slated to roll out new products during the annual Keynote address in the fall of 2014, so time will tell what other new products and incentives this friendly competition between computer giants creates in the meantime.
By Mariah Beckman