Because the Surface runs a desktop OS, albeit one enhanced for touch, users continue to envision their Surface as a personal computer, a PC, burdening the device with decades of meaning and definition. In fact, Microsoft does, too: When a Surface reboots, the on-screen message reads "Your PC is restarting," Milanesi noted, not "Your Surface is restarting."
"It is not surprising the Surface commercials show people using the Surface in their non-conventional businesses, and end with 'I could not do that with my Mac,'" Milanesi wrote on Tech.pinions of Microsoft's emphasis on comparing the Surface to a PC.
Apple's ad is different. Rather than link the iPad Pro to "PC," Apple referenced "computer." That was intentional. "They never say that this is a 'personal computer,'" Milanesi said. Nor does the latter term resonate with younger users, she maintained. Ask an elementary school-aged child what an iPad is, and their answer will be "computer."
"A 'computer' is whatever window gets you into the Internet," Milanesi said. "And the new generation is more touch prone, more into apps, and might think about an iPad more as a computer."
And there's the rub. Apple and Microsoft can try to change the answer to the question "What is a PC?" all they want with devices like the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 4, but there is no evidence they've moved the definition. Or that Apple is itself convinced that a turn is imminent.
"There's no pressure on Apple to get out of the personal computer business," said Milanesi.
What will it take to change the concept of a personal computer, or a computer for that matter? More ads? More hybrids? More keyboards stuck onto tablets?
"Lots of kids growing up, that's what," said Milanesi.
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