Microsoft's new Surface 2 ad: Unlike iPad, it's for 'real work'

Plotting a rational path with a new ad featuring a teacher, Microsoft subliminally enhances the idea that the iPad is for play, not work.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read
All the hardworking kids have Surface, don't you know? Microsoft/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The lovely thing about Microsoft is that it's not giving up.

It believes in its products, and it will keep on telling you why they're good, just in case you haven't yet realized.

In its latest attempt to persuade you to buy a Surface 2 with Windows, there's again the clear suggestion that the iPad isn't what some like to call a "productivity" tool.

I struggle with this idea, as people seem to define their own levels and styles of productivity and many find the iPad is more than adequately productive for their needs.

Here, though, Microsoft continues with an educative theme. Just a few months ago, it advertised the Lenovo Yoga with Windows by telling students that they'll never be anything in life, unless they cast their iPads aside.

This time, we see a young, solid, if slightly fusty, teacher. He doesn't like change, but all the kids in his class have Surfaces.

Did they buy them? Did they get them for free? Is this a school in Redmond? None of this is clear.

Mr. Fusty Young, though, is clear about the Surface 2's big advantage: It has a real keyboard, so you can do "real work."

I am not sure of the precise definition of "real work." But I suppose it encompasses the idea of "the stuff that you used to do on a laptop and maybe still do."

Mr. Fusty Young is happy that his kids can also play with their Surfaces, but he's deeper. He wants to see them do their homework.

Apple, though, is often boasting about how much it's being embraced by educators. Just a few days ago, CEO Tim Cook offered that his company now enjoys 94 percent of the education market.

One can only assume, therefore, that America's education system has given up on "real work," preferring to delight in play work or fake work. This would certainly have future generations very well prepared for working in Silicon Valley.

The Surface is an interesting-looking product with a rational underpinning. It's the classic belief in the all-in-one solution for your needs, with a design that is unquestionably striking.

It still, though, must climb the mountain of irrationality which constitutes so many humans' innards.

But it will keep going until, at the very least, you get it. Well, understand it, at least.