Within the space of a month Microsoft and Apple have events upcoming, with both rumored to be the stage for new hardware launches. With both seeing declining sales are the next six weeks going to be crucial in the battle between tablet and hybrid?
The rumors of a new Surface Pro have been slightly tempered by Panos Panay's promise of a Surface Pro 5 only when Microsoft has something new to offer. That doesn't preclude a updated SP4 though. It may be a limited upgrade though, given what appeared on the Surface Laptop. A new processor might be the extent of Microsoft's ambitions, but then the SP4 is still the best hybrid you can buy, which might mean that this is sufficient to keep sales going for a little while longer.
Of course SP4 sales are down - is eighteen months old after all. Still it's a new phenomenon for Microsoft, sales being impacted by waiting customers eager for what is coming next.
For Apple it's a very different story. New iPad Pros have failed to halt the iPad's three year losing streak. Which means that whatever comes next has to be a significant improvement on what has gone before.
The current iPad does nothing to provoke buyer desire. It's an eBook reader, video player, email and Internet device to be used as a second screen when watching TV. Every iPad ever sold still fulfills that requirement. Why upgrade, especially when you're saving up for the rumored iPhone 8, which is going to cost a small fortune?
Your iPhone is always by your side. Your iPad rarely so.
Apple needs to make a new iPad which is more of a computer and less of a companion. Whether that appears at WWDC next month is another matter. When it does come it has to take the game to Microsoft, if Apple wants to maintain its computer business anyway.