Microsoft ridicules the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar in new Surface 7 advert

Touch Bar
(Image credit: Future)

In a new advertisement for the Surface Pro 7, Microsoft mocks Apple’s Touch Bar when comparing its own device to a MacBook Pro.

In the ad, which you can see below, the presenter points out that the MacBook Pro has “this little bar, but why can’t they just give me a whole touchscreen?” – a not-so-subtle jab at the Touch Bar and MacBook’s continued lack of a touchscreen.

The Touch Bar, if you’re not aware, is a thin touchscreen that runs along the top of the MacBook Pro’s keyboard, offering context sensitive buttons and shortcuts depending on what apps you’re using.

While it’s been included with MacBook Pros for years now, the feature is rather divisive, with some people finding it helpful, and others suggesting that it's just a gimmick.

Fair criticism?

So, are Microsoft’s jabs at the MacBook fair? In one sense, yes, as the Touch Bar hasn’t been universally loved by MacBook Pro owners – and in fact, there are rumors swirling that Apple will be dropping it from certain models in the future.

The fact that MacBooks don’t come with touchscreens, when many of its competitors do, is also a fair point. However, Apple would surely point out that MacBook Pros are traditional laptops aimed at professionals, so touchscreens aren’t that important.

In the ad, Microsoft also points out that the Surface Pro 7 comes with a stylus and detachable keyboard, and is therefore a more flexible option compared to the MacBook Pro, which is a traditional laptop which means, according to Microsoft, that “you’re kind of stuck with what you’ve got”.

It’s here that Microsoft’s points fall a bit flat. For a start, only some Surface Pro 7 bundles come with the stylus and removable keyboard. It also sells the Surface Pro 7 on its own, as a tablet – which the ad doesn't mention. If you buy the tablet-only Surface Pro 7, then you too are “stuck with what you’ve got”.

Also, the MacBook Pro has never been touted as anything other than a laptop for professionals, so attacking it for not being a 2-in-1 device isn’t really fair. And why would Apple bundle in a stylus if you couldn’t use it with the laptop anyway?

Microsoft also suggests that the Surface Pro 7 is more powerful, can run all your favorite apps, and is better for gaming.

Again, these claims don’t always hold up. The Surface Pro 7 comes in a variety of configurations, and while the highest-end models (which are also the most expensive) come with an Intel Core i7 and 16GB of RAM, and can rival the MacBook Pro, there are also other configurations that are decidedly less powerful.

Apple has also done a good job of making sure that existing apps run on its new M1-powered laptops, so a MacBook Pro should offer almost the same amount of apps as the Surface Pro 7.

On the gaming front, Microsoft does have a point. There are far more games available on PC than Mac at the moment. However, would we want to play them on a Surface Pro 7? No, to be honest. Even the highest end Surface Pro 7 couldn’t run AAA PC games.

If Microsoft meant mobile apps, then the MacBook Pro has an advantage. With the M1 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, you can now run many iOS apps and games natively on the laptops, opening up access to thousands of great mobile games that the Surface Pro 7 is unable to run.

We love it when brands get a bit feisty with each other, but we feel this ad is a bit of a miss. While the Surface Pro 7 is a perfectly fine Windows tablet, it can’t really compete with the MacBook Pro, especially the excellent new MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020), and its comparisons aren’t really fair – and don’t hold up to much scrutiny.

If you want a powerful tablet that can run Windows 10 apps and can double as a laptop, the Surface Pro 7 is definitely worth considering.

However, if you’re after a powerful laptop for doing creative work on, then the MacBook Pro is the clear winner here.

Via The Verge

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.