Microsoft berates iPad on lack of USB, touts Surface 2 as solution

Surface 2 vs. iPad

Whether or not you like it, some` of the most effective ads are when you directly target your opponents. The past half year has seen Microsoft aiming its advertisements directly at both Apple and Google. Earlier today we saw an ad from the Scroogled campaign slam the Chromebook. Now we’re looking at another Surface vs. iPad ad from Microsoft that demonstrates the strengths of the product.

When it comes to ports there’s no doubt the Surface 2 is better than the iPad. Not only do you get a full sized USB port, but HDMI out is included as well. The latest video highlights how easy it is to do things like charging your phone or projecting out through HDMI with your Surface.

Have a Surface 2? Did the variety of ports factor into your choice over an iPad?


Reader comments

Microsoft berates iPad on lack of USB, touts Surface 2 as solution


Don't you mean the other way around? Those dongles are all x86 based. Just needs the manufacturers to release ARM drivers.

Yes, agree with you. It's up to the dongles manufacturer to release driver that support ARM devices. Up till now, it only support x86 devices.

And then there comes the android...

...as a bonus as many usb ports as you want all packed in sleek yet crappy ui. Honeslty microsoft should but those ad's against android tablet's (instead of picking on apple). They are cheap yet horrible. Pricewise I would buy Windows Tablet, but the apps... on the other hand much better usability. 

Bought the original Surface because of the USB ports and Windows 8 interface. Hands down better than the iPad, the apps are coming, not worried about the ecosystem growing, I know it will.

Especially if they can effectively bridge the gap between Windows Phone and RT, we should see close to 300000 by the time that happens...perhaps? =P

But, I thought there were plenty of weather apps. Everytime I look at the marketplace there is... Ah, I see what you did there...

The issue with this approach is it also alienates other OEM tablets for Windows that don't happen to have a full-size USB port. (like the Lumia 2520)

And thats good. Screw the stupid OEMs who can't be bothered to put a full size USB 3 port on a damn Windows device whose OS fully supports hundreds of USB devices.

Microsoft needs to call out Dell, Acer, Nokia and other OEMs on this as well, not just Apple.



I looked at the 2520 yesterday.  Beautiful tablet.  BUT the few times a year I use the USB port on the Surface are a huge help.  I also do not like the power connector on the 2520, the flat magnetic is so much more elegant and prevents the wife-in-a-hurry-ripped-connector-out-of-the-wall syndrome.

Nokia could have extended the width for the USB connector in one area or built a door.  Carrying an extra cable just ain't cool.

And the same problems exist with the iPad...

The keyboard that comes free (for now) with the 2520 has full-sized USB ports. If not, an adapter probably works fine for most cases. Point is, it still has external connectivity and file system to handle external storage, unlike iOS. Doesn't matter what form factor the USB port is.

yes and no, apples is its own proprietary port , thats a micro usb port i bet you can find it anywhere same for micro hdmi, and on top of that the free keyboard cover that you can get if you purchase now has two full size usb ports on it. Its free till dec 2 i think. 

Sorry but this another stupid ad. While iPad doesn't have a USB, what it does have is thousands of different accessories that you can use with it, which are not available for Windows. And apps that make everything easier.

I hate iPad as much as everyone else here, but lets get out of that box and look at things from a different perspective.

Some people (most people) would prefer out-of-the-box functionality, especially for something so basic. Even if they don't mind, it's still an extra OOB feature.

Also, it's not that uncommon to talk up your selling points and ignore the downsides in marketing. What would Apple do if they made ads like this? I guarantee they wouldn't talk about peripherals and Office.

I read your comment as:


Although the Surface is an all in one device with standard connections, with Apple, I have the option of buying tons of accessories that get it to do the same things.

Surface has one port. Apple doesn't even have that port and yet their one stupid proprietary port gives more options than a USB port. Again, I am not saying iPad is better. Let's get past all that fanboyism and focus on what people actually buy.

But one option it gives over the iPad, shown in the video, is that if you're using the iPad port for an accessory, you can't keep it powered. The lightning port is both for power and accessories, one at a time, unlike the surface. That's a valid selling point and will catch people's attention.

More options than a USB port? Go plug your 5 year old printer into an iPad.


I have seen a lot of iPads. I have never seen one with a periphial plugged into it.

Ha that's the dumbest thing I've read in a while no their proprietary does not give more options than USB

Focusing on what people buy is better business but definitely doesn't equate to better product.. By this logic, ford makes better cars than Ferrari, assuming ford makes more money that is.

More options to connect propietary accesories that only work with iOS.

And we better don't mention the old accesories incompatibility debacle that came with the New Lightning port".

yes and no, apples is its own proprietary port , thats a micro usb port i bet you can find it anywhere same for micro hdmi, and on top of that the free keyboard cover that you can get if you purchase now has two full size usb ports on it. Its free till dec 2 i think. 
true, but you must also put a yet behind that as windows tablets is new kid on block

USB = thousands of USB accessories. Webcams, gamepads, wireless mouse/keyboards, storage, cameras, phones, printers. You know, things that you want to plug into a computer and none of which will plug straight into an iPad without a dongle, much less work.

Granted there are thousands more cases, keyboard-cases and skins for iPad. But ... what else? Anything functional apart from a case with built-in bluetooth keyboard? ... yeah I didn't think so. :P

The thing is, what accessories do people want that are not taken care of by the Surface's keyboard, Bluetooth, HDMI, and USB? As far as I can tell, these things pretty much make an accessory argument null. Everything is just built right in out of the box. What else do people want accessory-wise?

I have both an iPhone and a Nokia 822. (the Nokia is better!!), and I was recording an assembly and my Nokia 822 was running out of space so I had to pull out my iPhone (but it was running out of battery) plugged it into my surface rt in my backpack and keep on shooting. Kudos towards surface! The USB come in use a lot!

I got a surface because I wanted a tablet for luxury and gaming without it being a joke for work...like the iPad is

It may not be possible without a huge software upgrade. USB is quite segmented, you can be either a USB host or a USB client, not both. That's why you can't plug your Surface into your computer.

There is USB on-the-go (which is probably what they're already using) but it still requires an adapter.

That would be spectacular and set Apple fans into a tail spin. BTW, my 14 y.o. niece has a iPhone 4, wants a NL1020 ( for the camera) and a Pro2 so she can edit on the go with Photoshop.

I know, I know, and that's great :-). I just thought that maybe that gear is a little bit overkill for a 14 yo, but I don't know her, so maybe it is just what she needs. Lucky girl anyway!

This ad isn't funny. If you're going on an attack, you have to be catchy. Logic doesn't sell a product, catchiness/trendiness/emotion does.

If logic sold products, nobody would have ever bought an Apple product.

Very true.. And therefore you realize Microsoft cant turn tides with any kinda marketing strategy.. Sales tend to be dominated by mob mentality. If a group takes to something, its grows around them.. All Microsoft can do is get enough surfaces out and ensure they are happy, overtime the numbers will grow. There is, in my opinion, no way anything anyone can do to get surfaces to sell a great deal more than Microsoft is able to..

I bought the original Surface RT because of a lot of things.  The USB certainly was a factor.  Also the detachable keyboard/cover, HDMI port, built-in kickstand, stereo speakers, dual mics, dual cameras, magnesium body, great screen, micro SD port, dual band wifi, Bluetooth, and Windows 8 RT all had something to do with the choice too.  Oh yeah, it didn't look and act like an oversized iPod.

I for one welcome the pugnacious tone Microsoft has recently taken in it's advertising. It certainly beats the dancing children in those god awful Surface ads.

Thank you, Microsoft, for making a tablet that is actually useful and productive! The iPad just has no use to me. As for lower app base? That's only a matter of time. ;) I can't wait to get mine!

um... Newton!!!  Colossal Apple Tablet Failure. They wrote off plenty tablets  there!  

But as apple eventually showed with the iPad, and Microsoft has showed with too many products to mention them all (Word, Windows Server, IE are a few examples) and as Joe Belfiore says, this is a marathon, not a sprint.  

Microsoft can make the surface slimmer over time.  The surface will have more apps over time, but can apple make an OS as stunning as Metro?  (Can anyone for that matter).  I think MS took the time to build a solid foundation and they are now building on that bit by bit.  Android was the first one to show that they could go from last to first and I believe MS has what it takes to make this a real 3 way race at worse or become the new leader at best.

I bought a surface 2 on day 1. The ports did matter to me because it adds many common usage scenarios that are missing from the iPad. And, I mainly use my surface not for work, but for entertainment and content consumption.

Do you not know what the word berate means?  The alleged staff, writers, and editors here set the bar very high when it comes to incompetence....

verb (used with object), -rat·ed, -rat·ing.
1. to scold; rebuke: He berated them in public.
Not fantastic word choice. Not completely incompetent.

I plan on getting one if not during this Friday during the holiday season. No question this is what I want. More functionality than an Android. I love my Android but this is what I need for better print, web browsing and Windows functionality

It's great that these devices have a USB port, sure......but the USB is limited by what the paltry apps on Windows RT can actually do.

I have USB MIDI keyboards, USB audio interfaces, USB condenser microphones....but Windows RT has no real digital audio workstation software, and the music software it has (Fruity Loops Groove) doesn't use USB peripherals either. I could buy a Dell Venue 8 Pro or Surface Pro, but none of that x86 software is optimized for touch except for the latest version of Sonar.

Sadly, I was JUST in a Microsoft store with that nifty-looking Blade music snap-on keyboard...but there was NO SOFTWARE FOR IT. Meanwhile, iOS has a kazillion different interfaces for guitar, vocals, keys, etc. It has virtual turntables, more than a few DAWs, and plugins aplenty.

So which tablet is the "getting stuff done" tablet again?

First of all apple doesn't have software, developers, well, develop that for them.. And they do that not because apple made iPad but because there are people who have bought them.. If people buy enough Symbian or meego or even asha phones these softwares will turn up there..
Please stop crediting apple for availability of apps! That's like crediting the government cause a school has produced the next Einstein!
Compare what iPad offers to what surface does out of the box, that restricts it to hardware, os and other services offered by the manufacturer. everything else follows where people go.. Justify how iPad is better minus its apps and ill buy it.

It's not just apps! That's a silly retort.

iOS had low latency APIs built into it from the beginning which is why only iPhones and iPads have this sort of software and hardware. There are a kazillion Android devices, but very few of them are capable of the same, so developers don't build the apps and thus there's no need for companies to make peripherals.

Windows already has a huge ecosystem of apps and peripherals, but they only work on X86 which Microsoft is trying to move away from. RT is useless in this aspect. 

You can get more done on iPad than on RT. 

yes and no, apples is its own proprietary port , thats a micro usb port i bet you can find it anywhere same for micro hdmi, and on top of that the free keyboard cover that you can get if you purchase now has two full size usb ports on it. Its free till dec 2 i think. 

just like the other guy said apple didn't do all that interest from developer did it, interest in windows tablets is growing, so all some one need to do is make a asio/midi type driver for rt and all those things will magically work. As far as software goes every single app could be ported to windows rt if developer would do so and they would actually be better as most those app on ios cant communicate with each other, and for instance drums sounds and sample from on cant work with the other, it wouldnt be that way in windows as there's a file system, and skydrive support

I've got a Surface RT and an iPad. Most of my files are kept cloud-side anymore, so USB doesn't matter. My tunes are in xbox and iTunes, and both of those will stream to me. I never use printers, but I'm an edge case there. The one thing I love the USB port for is jacking in a keyboard. I was an early adopter and got penalized for that... No free cover.

Oh well. I like them both. I'd rather use a broken iPad than a damn Android tablet.

iPad vs. Surface? Well, the answer is: Laptop replacement.
Funny to see my coworkers with their iPads in their laptop bags, next to their laptops.... USB, docking station, the ability to deliver a presentation at a customer site from my tablet while changing slides from my phone... Case closed. I don't have a tablet as an add on to my laptop. My surface IS my laptop...

Exactly. I can use my wireless headset on my Surface, and through the wi-fi I print to my printer.

But last I tried (haven't tried lately) couldn't hook up a portable disc drive to watch dvds or access data.

But it is getting there. Also, as more and more Desktop apps are ported to Windows 8 (Metro) the distinctions between the pro and Surface 2 will narrow. Already a lot I can do with my Surface RT that I can also do with a desktop program on my laptop.

I came here thinking Windows users would be more well rounded than iSheep or fandroids... I totally stand corrected. And BTW, this commercial not only mocks Apple but the users of those products. Considering Microsoft is playing catch-up, one would think they would want to convert some iPad (and android) tablet owners to their side... but this along with the Scroogled campaign makes MSFT looks desperate.

I have iOS/Android/Mac gear, and would consider Windows RT (even though the app selection wanes), but this does not persuade me one bit.

Personally, i like Microsoft's definition of a tablet more than Apple's. A tablet as a downsized laptop makes a lot more sense than it does as a supersized phone.
Im totally against the merger of rt and phone at the interface and functionality sense, do wish there is an automated setup to scale phone apps to rt though.

Umm, they may have a usb but the experience is just not as enjoyable as an Ipad. I have both, surface and air and the ipad is what i prefer.

Never understood these threads. If you like ipads, buy one. If you like surfaces, go for that. Whats the biggie? As usual, as a WP site, there are very few here being genuine or truthful, including (especially?) the staff. I like and develop for Windows Phone, love my 925 (perhaps not love) and worked at MS 11 years. But i dont want to have Steve and Stephens babies, think i can give fair dues to the likes of Apple, Google or whoever where its relevant. Its not that hard, try it...staff, that goes for you too.

I use LastPass with the Yubikey as a second authentication. Since my Surface 2 has a full USB port, I can use it to keep my passwords more secure if the tablet gets lost or stolen.