An alternate universe – Marco.org
The diagonally-oriented camera is strange. In the one orientation it’s optimized for, it’s slightly annoying. In any other orientation, it’s almost intolerable. If I brought home a Surface and didn’t know this was a design decision, I might assume the camera was broken and return it.
The maps app is very sluggish and doesn’t use vector graphics, making it feel old.
iOS is so responsive and so liberal with animations that it has a very tactile feel, and rather than thinking “tap this button to open” or “swipe across this box to share”, conceptually, you just move the things on the screen with your fingers.
The distinction seems subtle, but it’s important. Every action on the Surface feels deliberate. It feels like you’re using a computer.
The standard gestures don’t help, requiring many in-from-the-edge swipes that not only aren’t discoverable but also frequently conflict with scrolling. My gestures often didn’t work, and it wasn’t clear whether there just wasn’t a hidden context menu at that moment or I just screwed up the swipe.
Most of the animations also aren’t helpful, with minimal spatial consistency. Many animations seem arbitrary, not hinting at anything behaviorally useful. Microsoft has applied animations and gestures in Windows 8 about as effectively as they applied color in Windows XP and transparency in Windows Vista: they knew that Apple had been successful with these features, so they made a checklist and just applied them haphazardly. “Apple does animations, so now we do animations! Apple does gestures, so now we have gestures!”
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The Surface is partially for Microsoft’s world of denial: the world in which this store contains no elephants and Microsoft invented the silver store with the glass front and the glowing logo and blue shirts and white lanyards and these table layouts and the modern tablet and its magnetic power cable. In that world, this is a groundbreaking new tablet that you can finally use at work and leave your big creaky plastic Dell laptop behind when you go to the conference room to have a conference call on the starfish phone with all of the wires and dysfunctional communication.
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