Why the Surface is better than the iPad, But wont sell
Microsoft announced yesterday that the Surface is available in Australia. This is really exciting for me, Ive been a Surface fan since it was a concept that Microsoft occasionally mentioned and the only images of it were renders. As a fan of ambient / observational computing in general I think its a device that has the potential to blow Apple out of the water. While Cupertino focuses on making better (well, larger) devices for you to carry the Internet around on, Microsoft is continuing to improve their device that means the Internet is already where youre going. I really do think mobile devices will peak out between this year and 2012, and well start to see more focus on things like the Surface.
Unfortunately Microsoft has dealt a blow to the field. The Surface is retailing out here for $21,000. Compare that to $12,500 in the US, and in fact compare that to the RRP of the device in the US plus the price of a business class return ticket to Los Angeles to go get it, and you could be an owner for $18,500. This is unfortunately a highly visible stuff up, the only activity on Twitter around the #SurfaceAU hash tag was all about the Australia Tax (a facetious way of describing the frequent 100% markups on technology and content when it becomes available in Australia).
Once more of them are around (presumably in businesses) well start to see the benefits and general acceptance of the computer-that-exists-around-you as opposed to the computer you carry around with you. Im excited about that idea, but until it costs less for people than a second-hand Toyota Corolla does, mobile devices will continue to be the zeitgeist.