updated 09:10 pm EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
Seen as pushback against Microsoft's Surface ads, yet features Microsoft apps
Following on the heels of two new "Your Verse" iPad ads, Apple has begun emailing prospective buyers touting the iPad's "office" apps, including both its own "iWork" apps as well as Microsoft Office for iPad -- even though the campaign is seen as a pushback to Microsoft's recent ads for its failed Surface tablet in which it points out that the Surface's accompanying keypad cover and laptop-like OS as productivity selling points.
The mailing offers equal promotion for Apple's own apps alongside Microsoft's Office for iPad, though it points out that the three "iWork" apps (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) can be downloaded for free with all new iPads. Microsoft's apps are also free, but require a yearly "Office 365" subscription to do more than just view Office documents.
The iOS App Store is also holding a limited-time sale until August 14 on a number of productivity apps such as Fantastical 2, Clear, Scanner Pro, Notability and others. In light of a mini-trend of higher-ed schools relying less on tablets and more on ultrabooks, Apple is taking a different approach from Microsoft's "the Surface is both" strategy, highlighting that iPads are more than just passive media-and-games consuming devices but not attempting to cannibalize its own MacBook Air or MacBook Pro products.
The email notes that "iPad is the perfect way to be more productive than ever. Its powerful apps are designed to take full advantage of the things only iPad can do. So you'll have everything you need to do what matters most," a reinforcement of the idea that the tablet can handle all the basics and more when a full notebook is deemed too heavy or bulky. A good example of the idea is the difference between working on a slideshow using a large notebook versus the iPad in the economy section of an airline flight.
The campaign is fighting attempts by Samsung and Microsoft to paint their tablets as true productivity tools compared to the iPad, which does offer an emphasis on portability, games, video and other entertainment uses. Apple initially engaged the "Your Verse" ad campaign to fight that perception, showcasing iPads being used productively and recreationally in a variety of situations, but sales to consumer have still fallen from expectations over the last two quarters. Ironically, sales to enterprise of the iPad has continued to rise, and is expected to carry on doing so in light of Apple's recent partnership with IBM.