Microsoft blew it, The Surface Pro Should have been released first.
Before people starts trashing me on yet an other post about my disheartening feelings about Windows RT I should warn you that I'm not a Microsoft or Surface hater. I'm an Microsoft enthusiast, like many of you but I'm not a fan boy by any means, you may find me talking good as well as bad things about them. The reason why I'm an enthusiast is because they have played an important role in my professional development and my current career, but I know that as any corporation, they will be willing to trash me and their users down the drain in the best interest of their purposes and those of their shareholders (WP 7.5 user here) just like Apple would.
If you are a Microsoft (or any company) proponent and you don't have economic or personal interests, I'm very sorry for you, this is not an sports club, this is a company driven by dollars. I don't think this should be the same case for journalist and bloggers, who do this professionally, but as we can see, its rarely the case, sadly.
With that said, I love Windows 8, I'm fortunate enough to be an MSDN subscriber and I have been using it as my main OS sin the release preview was out and I'm currently on RTM, It is the best Windows version I've ever used and it truly takes the OS to a new era of devices and computing. That app gap thing has not been a problem for me because anyways, I'm a Windows user and I do 90% of my interactions on browser Window, which BTW is a quite pleasant experience in Windows 8, however, there are some great apps in the Windows 8 store already that I think will satisfy most users, except for some particular ones like flip-board.
So the Windows 8 software is great, but software needs hardware to come to life, and as much as we dismiss the specs war, we are still very far away from ubiquitous performance specially on low power devices, specs still play an important part of the user experience and I think Microsoft choose the wrong set of specs for RT devices (Dell is even coming with a Qualcomm S3 tablet, yes S3) and their own Surface RT while yesterday Apple releases the A6X processor that if they are true to their claim will have 2 X the performance of the A5X that was already similar to the Tegra 3 on compute power and more than Twice as fast on graphics performance, I will not be surprised if the A6X ends up been 5 times faster than Tegra 3 at all.
And the miracle did not happen, Microsoft was not able to make Tegra 3 relevant again, other than Java script benchmarks pumped up by software optimizations, its dated, It was a high end SoC last year but its done already.
From the early reviews we have seen It is clear that the main complain and what ultimately ruins the party is based on specs, The general consensus seems to be that Windows 8 has a great user experience that will improve with Apps but the performance of the Surface RT is just adequate, something that may be enough for basic computing needs and workloads but not for any type of serious productivity effort, this limitations however still are much less than the compromises you need to do with an iPad on that regard.
But this mixed bag of reviews are not what Microsoft or the entire PC industry is needing, the Surface is THE flagship Windows 8 device, not only for Microsoft but for the rest of the industry as well, more money is been put in the Surface launch than any other product launch for the Windows 8 lineup and people will inevitably relate other Windows 8 products with the Surface brand.
So why Microsoft did not decide to go with the Surface Pro first? If the Surface Pro resembles the experience I have with my similarly specs Windows 8 system from the performance stand point, It is clear that it should have been the flagship product from the get go. If you think about it the Surface RT is been marketed as a device that's suitable for productivity and leisure in equal ways, why didn't they just go with productivity as main focus?, after all, this is the clear advantage that Windows 8 has over the rest of the Tablet crowd while the store is still on its infancy. Could it be price? the Surface RT is priced as a flagship product anyways and close to x86 products that are way more capable but does not have the performance of a flagship device.
It is still unknown how well the Surface or RT devices will be sold, but it is clear that Microsoft and the whole industry needs this products to succeed, specially the Surface that is been put up front in the battle ground with less weapons than its rivals.