Dynamic duo: The iPhone 12 has already lost

When it comes to products that haven't shipped yet, Microsoft wins every time.


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Step aside, unannounced iPhone 12! Even though we haven’t seen you yet, you’re not 2020’s new hotness. What’s hot is this other phone that won’t sell in nearly as high numbers.

Sorry, the Macalope doesn’t make the rules. Or even understand them.

Writing for the Forbes contributor network and home for wayward opinions, Ewan Spence says “Microsoft’s Exciting Surface Duo Will Fight Apple’s Boring iPhone 12.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Sam.)

Has there ever been a future product from Microsoft that didn’t win? How could a foldable Android phone from Redmond be any different?

Pundits usually decry the iPhone as boring every year the outside doesn’t change. This year the outside is expected to change but thankfully Microsoft has stepped up to provide a new and completely unreasonable set of goalposts for pundits to claim Apple must hit.

But Apple is not in the business of making wacky new form factors that might be cool but are unlikely to appeal to a wide swath of customers.

Now there’s an even more provocative move… Microsoft is going head to head with Apple.

An update to the article the following day reads:

The unique form factor of the Duo will not always match up perfectly with an iPhone head-to-head.

You don’t say. That was certainly a rollercoaster of expectations.

In fact, the Duo will hardly at all match up perfectly with an iPhone head-to-head. The Surface Duo will start at $1,399. The iPhone 12 is widely expected to start at $649.

I think it’s safe to say more iPhones will be sold than Duo’s, but the perception here is key.

It really, really isn’t. Pundits went cuckoo bananas over Andy Rubin’s Essential phone and look where that ended up. Downtown Nowheresville, in the Toilet District, just south of Canceled Field.

The Surface Duo is running last year’s SnapDragon 855, so it’s going to comfortably lose any ‘raw performance’ comparisons.

Sounds very “exciting” compared to the “boring” iPhone that will be extremely fast.

Another “exciting” feature of the Surface Duo line is that none of them will have 5G. That is very “exciting”, the not having. 5G, of course, is a feature that members of the Forbes contributor network and Publisher’s Monkeyhouse Sweepstakes, including Spence himself, have spent the last two years saying Apple was missing out on. It was a big problem when Apple didn’t have it, now it doesn’t matter because “perception”.

This isn’t to say that Microsoft hasn’t made a cool-looking device. It has. But one of the reasons Microsoft has to go with a new form factor is that it has been an abject failure at selling devices in the modern smartphone market. It will sell a modest number of these high-priced devices and that will not impact Apple one bit.

The Macalope hopes they can build on this, though. Someone needs to be making smartphones that either don’t suck or just copy Apple. The old Microsoft didn't know how, but the new Microsoft could do it.

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