Microsoft starts Ad Battle against MacBook Air

Microsoft seems to believe that the most inspired method to compete against Apple is to make some comparison ads, obviously in its own benefit. Thus, the company has decided to launch a new campaign in which to emphasize the differences extant between its Surface Pro 3 and the MacBook Air. It is no use to say that the ads claim that the Microsoft computer is much better than Apple’s.

The ads have been suggestively named Crowded, Head to Head and Power. They present two friends (we can just hear not see them, ok just their hands) having a dispute over the qualities of the gadgets they use. In the ad entitled “Crowded” the Mac possessor says that he has touch screen feature as well and then puts his iPad on top of his MacBook. Then the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 user writes something on the screen with a digital pen. In response to that the Mac user gets out a traditional pen and pad. Towards the end of the ad the Mac user realizes that he has to carry around too many things in order to solve his problems. At this point the Surface user utters the worlds “You are more powerful than you think” making an unveiled-mocking reference to the motto that Apple uses to promote its iPhone 5S.

The second ad, the one entitled “Head to Head” is targeted towards the putting face to face the specs of the two gadgets. So, we find out that both gadgets have storage of 128 gigabytes and a random access memory of 4 gigabytes. Not much of a difference till now, is it? But the next second the Surface possessor focuses the viewer’s attention on the touchscreen tablet, the amazing detachable keyboard and obviously the digitizer pen. The advertisement ends with the warning “Do not attempt” when the other person in the video tries to separate the two parts of his Mac laptop computer.

In the advertisement entitled “Power” some other features of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 are brought into the public’s attention. Thus, the ad reveals that the new Microsoft gadget has mini display ports, USB and Kickstand.

The advertisements are funny to watch however they do not reveal which are the strongest features of the Surface Pro 3. When it comes to specs the Microsoft gadget is pretty similar to Apple’s MacBook Air. The advertisements pretty much fail to convince iPad and MacBook possessors to abandon their beloved gadgets and replace them with Surface Pro 3. Not to mention the rather costly price of the Microsoft gadget, which can vary between 799 and 1,949 US dollars.

Microsoft is not at its first mocking Apple advertisement. Several weeks ago, Microsoft presented the Cortana versus Siri commercial in which it ironized Apple’s personal digital assistant. In the commercial Siri is not capable of performing the task the user asks it do to. In the meanwhile Cortana proves to be very effective.

On the Microsoft on-line store one can find a chart (unfortunately scarce in details) in which the features of the Surface Pro 3 and that of MacBook Air 3 are compared. The chart points out that the Microsoft gadget is lighter and slimmer than its rival. It also mentions the detachable keyboard and obviously the dazzling multi-touch screen.

Amazon Fire less Attractive for Customers than Apple or Android

Amazon has decided to enter the fierce battle on the mobile phones market with its Amazon Fire Phone. The phone has some very qualitative components that should make it a serious competitor for other smart phones in sales in stores across the world. The Amazon Phone is a nice gadget but it can rival neither Apple nor Android. It is a good option for Amazon fans but there are few chances for Android or iOS users to leave their gadgets behind for this new comer.

The Fire Phone has the appearance of a big iPhone having back and front panels made of glass. It also has curved angles and a narrow built. The Amazon logo is very distinguishable on the back. There are two speakers one at the top and the other at the bottom, which is quite rare for a smart phone.

However, the feature that differentiates the Fire phone is its sensors of the infrared LED type, placed at the four corners of the front panel. The sensors have the function to detect if the user’s head is close to the phone. This feature is called Dynamic Perspective and it should help users control their phones better and add 3 D effects to the phone’s interface. The users can see the data of each picture or video just by moving their heads right or left while looking at the phone.

Third party developers also have the possibility to use these feature to create their applications. In a game called “Lili”, users can have a perspective of the 3D world just by moving their heads in front of the real screen. It is a nice feature but unless it has a more important usage it will be forgotten soon.

Firefly is another unique characteristic of the Fire phone. The phone’s camera and microphone are uses in order to identify products, films, television shows, texts as well as music. The Firefly can be activated by pressing the camera button located on the left side of the Fire Phone. Then the phone is pointed towards the items that need to be identified. It can be aimed towards a business card in order to add the email address or the phone number without having to type them. If the application is used while in the process of watching a film, then it will trigger out useful information from IMDB. If the user aims the phone towards a product, the Amazon web page selling that product will appear on the screen.

Unfortunately, one can see from a distance that all these new, futuristic features were added to the phone just to boost the sales on Amazon. The phone interface always recommends the user to buy something. For example if a user returns to a previously heard song, the interface will offer similar songs to buy. The same happens with Fire TV player and with the Fire tablets. However, in the case of the Fire Phone, the entire action feels more invasive because the suggestions are there on a screen that has only 4.7 inch. Fortunately, the users can turn off the purchasing suggestions from the phone settings. There is always the Mayday icon to contact the Amazon customer service in case the user does not figure out how to get rid of the annoying suggestions. When tapping the Mayday icon, a video call occurs and an Amazon representative will be there to answer the user’s questions. Amazon introduced this feature on some of its feature in 2013.

The phone functions on the Amazon version of Android. The main screen has a carouse that presents the applications and the content in a chronological way, starting with the most recently used. The most favourite applications can be pinned and brought to the front. However, this is not a very efficient way of navigating around the phone. But the users have other options as well. If the user swipes up from the bottom towards the top, the applications can be arranged as the user wants to.

The Amazon Fire has a rear facing camera of thirteen megapixels. The videos and pictures taken with this camera are very sharp. But this is not something outstanding for a smart phone. The Amazon Phone automatically backs up every photo in the cloud. This might turn out to be handy when at an important event where lots of pictures are taken and the users might run out of space. The photos can be deleted without a worry because there is a copy of them which can be accessed later on. When compared with Apple this is a plus because Apple offers its users only five gigabytes of free cloud storage. When these are used the customer has to pay if he/she wants additional space.

People purchasing the Fire Phone also get a one year membership on the Amazon Prime. This means access to Prime Music, Amazon Instant Video and free delivery for certain items. The value of this membership equals the sum of 99 US dollars. However, this does not mean that the Amazon Phone is cheap at all. Buyers who do not want to sign a contract can have the phone for 649 US dollars or for 749 US dollar. The lower price is for a phone with only thirty-two gigabytes for storage and the higher price gives users sixty-four gigabytes of storage. Those who want to sign a contract with AT&T can have the phone for 199 US dollars (but only thirty-two gigabytes of storage are included) or for 299 US dollars if the user wants to have the storage space of sixty-for gigabytes. Buyers also have the possibility to pay the gadget in monthly instalments by making use of the AT&T Next payment system.

Amazon shoppers might find the gadget extremely useful. However, Apple and Android fans cannot be seduced by features like Dynamic Perspective or Firefly. Something more is needed to defeat these powerful names on the smart phone market.

A New Member for the Apple Board: Sue Wagner from BlackRock

A BlackRock member is going to join the Apple board after the retirement of Bill Campbell. Misses Wagner is not an ordinary member of the asset management company but one of its cofounders.

The appointment of this new member might add a certain financial clout to the company’s board. No one can deny the board’s expertise in acquisitions and efficient mergers. All these might point out the new direction of Apple’s businesses.

The electronics giant chairman, Art Levinson declared that Sue Wagner was preferred among others due to her excellent abilities to expand the present board.

Tim Cook, chief executive for Apple expressed his point of view about the hire. Thus, he said that in his opinion Misses Wagner was a pioneer of the financial industry and that he and his colleagues were pleased to have her as their colleague. They consider that her experience and proven success in setting up business in developed but also in developing markets would definitely be a valuable asset for Apple, especially now that the company expanded around the world.

Thus, the founder of BlackRock is about to join a team formed by the former manager of Genetech Levison, Tim Cook, the former chief executive of Millard Drexler, J Crew. Other members of the team are Al Gore, Rober Iger (once a Disney executive), Adrea Jung as well as Sugar Ronald.

BlackRock was founded in 1988. Since then Wagner has had different jobs and responsibilities within the company. Nonetheless she will still be a part of the firm’s board.

On the other hand, Campbell has decided to retire after spending thirty years with Apple, out of which seventeen were dedicated to his career as member of the board.