MIT Technology Review looks at the innovation differences between Microsoft and Apple.
This week, one giant technology company looked like an innovator, launching a sleek new suite of forward-looking hardware to help media professionals work more effectively. Another added a row of buttons to an existing computer. In the past, Apple would have been the former—for the moment, at least, that role has shifted to Microsoft.
Microsoft also launched a new set of tools to create art in 3-D, which the company imagines people will view using its Hololens. Or, perhaps, a VR headset, given that Microsoft also made good on its promise to help make the devices ubiquitous. It’s been working with HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer, and promised that all will soon all ship VR headsets for $300.
Apple, meanwhile, showed off its latest hardware offering on Thursday: an updated version of its MacBook Pro laptop. With—drum roll, please—a new row of buttons.
Apple appears to be stuck in a rut. As we’ve explained before, it seems to be struggling to look far beyond its existing products. Instead, it’s simply adding new features to already successful devices rather than reinventing our relationship with technology.
None of this is to say that Microsoft will succeed. Its new products are squarely aimed at the creative professionals that would typically buy Apple products, and winning them over will be a tough fight. But the status quo can only be challenged by products that don’t fit the existing mold. Just look at the iPad, which many thought would never go beyond a niche product when it first launched.