Microsoft once again fails to understand that, when it comes to tablets, Windows isn't a feature - It's a liability

Microsoft has been fielding some new anti-iPad commercials that, on the surface (see what I did there?) seem to take a page out of Apple's old "I'm a Mac" ads of days long gone by, or even Motorola's "Droid Does" campaign of a few years back. They show an iPad side by side against a Windows 8 tablet, and then demonstrate several areas in which they, Microsoft, think the Windows 8 tablet beats to iPad.

The ad shows Live Tiles, and contrasts them with the iPad's static Home screen. It shows multi-window computing, and contrasts it with the iPad's one-at-a-time app experience. It shows Power Point, and contrasts it with Apple's Keynote. They show the price of the cheapest Windows 8 tablet and contrast it with Apple's mid-capacity, full-sized iPad.

A second spot shows similar comparisons, but adds bullet points like built-in support for SD card support vs. requiring an adapter, and printing only to AirPrint-capable printers compared to printing to standard Windows-compatible printers.

Ads like these, comparisons like these, can work and work well. "Droid Does" helped put Android on the map. When it comes to tablets, however, they been tried before, and haven't proven successful in the least. In most cases, they've touted the advantages of a more desktop-like experience, and Windows is, perhaps, the most desktop of desktops.

And it's precisely what mainstream customers have resoundingly said is the absolute last thing they want on a tablet.

BlackBerry tried it with the Playbook. Various Android manufacturers have tried it with their Galaxy, Xoom, and other tablets. Hell, Microsoft made Tablet PC for years, based on full-on Windows XP or other releases. Nobody besides us geeks cared, not in any number, and not any more then than they do today.

For years mainstream customers have felt alienated by desktop operating systems.

For years mainstream customers have felt alienated by desktop operating systems. They've struggled with their archaic file systems and confusing windows management, their intermediated control schemes and their sheer complexity. And those frustrations are the last thing those mainstream customers want on mobile.

They want to pick up a device that they can understand. That doesn't make them feel stupid but rather makes them feel empowered. They want their apps, they want their media, and they want it without all the inhuman bullshit traditional computing platforms like Windows (and OS X for that matter) have been forcing on them for decades.

They want iPads.

Steve Jobs understood that. Even after helping launch the Apple II and bringing about the Mac, Jobs understood the need for ever simpler, ever more direct ever more mainstream computing.

Bill Gates once said what he envied most about Apple was Steve Jobs' taste. But Jobs didn't have taste in the fashionable sense of the word. He had product sense. He had the ability to look forward, past his own current product portfolio, beyond his corporate investments to date, beyond any brands he might hold dear, and see what his customers needed. He had sensibility.

With these latest commercials, Microsoft shows they're no closer to learning that lesson today than they were back with Bill Gates and the Tablet PC. They're still mired in Windows and in Office. They're so afraid of letting go of past success that they'll take future failure instead. They'll refuse to compromise on anything other than making the user experience horribly, needlessly, compromised.

The features shown in Microsoft's ad are compelling to existing Windows users who want to replace their PC and might be interested in or at least open to a tablet form factor. That's the audience Microsoft has, because it's the audience they've targeted.

To mainstream customers, tiles that change pictures seemingly at random are disorienting, multiple apps at once is stressful, Power Point is something best left locked in beige cubicles (even though Microsoft could make it, and all of Office, available for iPad any time they so choose), and the price paid up-front isn't always as important as the value obtained throughout the life of a product.

They go, they buy an iPad, they use it. They don't have to worry about RT or Pro, "Metro" mode or "Desktop" mode, and which version of the same named browser does what and when. There's no duality, no confusion, no feeling caught -- and yes, compromised -- between the OS that was and the OS that needs to be. There's just the iPad.

There's the escape of the Home button, the consistency of the Home screen, and simplicity of full screen apps, and the singularity of the experience. Those things, taken together, for the vast non-geek market, make the iPad the best personal computer they've ever owned.

it doesn't matter what something can do, it only matters what you can do with that something.

Instead of competing with that, trying to out do Apple at that, Microsoft, like almost everyone else before them, has fallen into the feature set trap. Here's the problem with that -- it doesn't matter what something can do, it only matters what you can do with that something.

These ads will help Microsoft convince some people to buy a Windows 8 tablet rather than an Android tablet or another kind of Windows PC. It won't convince the hundreds of millions of iPad customers and iPad-inclined customers to do anything other than to continue buying iPads.

To do that, Microsoft will need to find the testicular fortitude to let go of Windows. To let go of the desktop. To do on mobile what they did on gaming and create an a Xpad (or whatever) as courageously as they created an Xbox. (I'd use Windows Phone as a better, closer example, but shoehorning the name Windows into that product, good as it is, highlight the same symptoms of the same fear and creates a similar problem.)

In 2010 Apple showed everyone in the world how to sell hundreds of millions of tablets. 3 years later, there's no evidence that most competitors have paid the slightest attention. It's 2013 and Microsoft is still trying to sell a PC in a post-PC world, and a truck to a family that just wants a car to get around the suburbs.

And that's unfortunate not only for the tablet market, but for all of us.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 194 comments. Add yours.

SourBB says:

Oh the tablet race, I bought a PlayBook full price when it was released in the states and to much disappointment was god awful. I should of purchased an iPad but even if I had I don't think i would use it all that much. My iphone does everything a tablet can except for a few things but when those problems arise my Laptop is better suited. The iPad is a nice luxury but won't replace my laptop or PC, and I think that's what MS has going for it with the Surface, it is a laptop replacement but like the article said it doesn't target the millions that consist of the iPad audience.

nolajoe says:

randomly looking up something, or reading something, or showing off photos on the sofa with either a laptop or a cell phone is not enjoyable.

Leo141 says:

Hit the nail on the head. Awesome article. This is MS we are talking about. They will never understand.

axllebeer says:

Alright with all respect, and I mean that, as someone that has owned an IPad, currently uses the PlayBook as well as the Galaxy Note 10.1, and Windows 7, also Ubuntu, I completely disagree with this article.

The iPad is fantastic hardwear. The software is great for someone that is intimidated by a PC. But for anyone that can use a computer and gets an iPad thinking it's going to work anything like a PC or Android, or even the PlayBook is going to be in for huge disappointment. Of iOS, Android, and the PlayBook OS, the iPad is absolutely the worst PC replacement. The complete lack of a file system was the main reason that I ditched it. Tied to iTunes to use as desktop sync software or any alternative rather than the way every other device works in the world is not the way to move into the future. It is going to hold them back as time goes on. Just try moving files off and on an iAnything and you will see what I mean. It's simply unforgivable in 2013 for anything to work this way.

My opinion. But if it works for you then that's great, really. It's a great work of art the way they have designed it. It does "just work" (most of the time). But for what I use a tablet for, the iPad is by far the most difficult one to use. I won't be getting a Windows tablet either because the price point for the pro is insane. And I already have a PC, so it's not needed. I suppose if I had nothing at all then I MIGHT consider it.

Jim Brunzelle says:

AMEN!

I Have an Ipad and honestly I don't like it all that much. I use it as a glorified E-reader and to watch movies on a flight/bus/train.
Complex desktop OS? Convoluted file structure? If you want a computer that's made idiot proof and will wipe your ass and tell you its ok when you can't figure it out get a mac. When you want something you can set up how you want it, get a PC.

I will honestly NEVER buy another apple product after my last run in with mac tech support. My friend bought a mac air and couldn't get it to even find his home network (using his stock Verizon modem/router) calls me over and its showing up on our phones, and his old laptop. He had called apple and they told him you have to buy a mac router for it to work?!?

Quick little firmware update on the old modem and it worked fine. But for tech support to be a SALES set up?? Sorry never going there again.

41BP says:

Both of you seem to have no idea how to work. You're both stuck in the mid 90's with Microsoft thinking. The fact that OSX is Unix based, it is and always will be a more powerful system. Even though OSX has made it the absolute best UX in a PC.

axllebeer says:

Sorry but you lost me at not knowing how to work.
But I'm personally still pulling for QNX. :)
Just to add, I do 95% of all my computing on a mobile device. Windows is very frustrating and that's why I'm relying on BBRY and Android for now to get things done.

Rene Ritchie says:

You're geeks, like me. That's the problem. We buy millions of tablets. We don't buy hundreds of millions of them.

Apple didn't make the iPad for us. They made it for the 4x members of our families who aren't geeks.

lucky8919 says:

I totally agree with you, I'm a geek and I don't have an iPad because I consider it limited, but my brother isn't a geek and for him is a really beautifull device that is responsive, works perfect an completes all his entertainment needs, such as watch movies, listen music, browsing, social networks, follow sports results, etc

adamwade says:

I'm trying to figure out why this makes you so *angry*. If its just silly, then why are you not laughing at Microsoft instead? To be honest, it feels like you are trying to convince yourself with this commentary, not anyone else. The level of anger and bitterness really makes it look like that, just maybe, those ads got under your skin a bit because they might be a little right on the money. If there is no threat as you keep saying, then there is no reason to get so upset as you clearly were in writing this.

Gazoobee says:

Just as another data point ... I read the article and didn't detect even the slightest hint of either anger, fear, or any kind of "upset."

Methinks it is *you* that is doing the "reading in."

The two guys commenting above about how Apple is basically the devil personified clearly have some really serious bias, anger, fear and frustration going on, but not the author of the article IMO.

PS - Excellent article as always Rene, I think you might be one of the better writers and have possibly the best "vision" of most tech pundits around today.

west3man says:

I think the dropping of "bullshit" in the article confirms the tone that some opus picked up. If not "upset," then "fed-up."

axllebeer says:

Agreed. But as a defender of Apple I understand René feeling put off by the adds.

Alberto Mendoza says:

Rene, I completely agree with you. Although I am an engineer, I have been in administration for quite some time and lost my geek powers :) I love Apple products for I can get them to do what I need in a blink, I owned a Galaxy SIII and had to ditch it for I could not find my way around it. And one more fact, My 2 year toodler literally throw my SIII away for she could do nothing with it, while she on her own can figure out my iPad and iPhone in seconds!

iSRS says:

"He had called apple and they told him you have to buy a mac router for it to work?!?"

That is entirely not true, regardless if it was what you were told. My mother has a Verizon FiOS router. Works fine with all her Apple products (Air, iMac, iPad, iPhone, iPod).

On the flip side, when I (a geek who knew the issue was on my ISPs end) called my ISP once, and they walked me through everything, they told me to get a Windows PC. That was just some idiot on the phone that was, in all likelihood, not a geek. So basing a company, etc. on the experience with one phone rep, that is likely not nearly as versed in technology as we are, is not a fair assessment.

kevinbhayes says:

No offence, but I simply don't believe Apple support said that. I'll bet that what they really said was something along the lines of "if you bought an Apple router, I'd be able to help you get it to work." i.e. they can't support non-Apple stuff.

mls14 says:

Please send me your ass-wiping, idiot-proof iPad if you're done with it.

PS - no surprise that a Verizon router is a piece of crap that won't work unless you do a firmware update...

41BP says:

File system , file system, file system. Blah blah blah blah blah.

I stopped reading your post right there. You know what file system I use. Dropbox. Why, because its all backed up, it's available to me everywhere. There's a $5 app called Goodreader. Done. There's your file system.

If you think that Androids shit mess of files is anywhere near good. I can say that you have no f'ing idea what you're talking about. It's the most inefficient system out there.

axllebeer says:

"There's a $5 app called Goodreader. Done. There's your file system"
Now plug your iDevice into a real PC and try to access it. I think you missed my point.

Gazoobee says:

You just don't know what you're talking about. There are many ways to access the true file system if you want to, but you are a fool for wanting to.

Your posts are also chock full of exaggerations, misdirections and misunderstandings. I'm sure you are an expert on some things and have used computers for a long time, but you simply don't know squat about this stuff. It's plainly obvious in every comment you make.

axllebeer says:

Okay yes I can access it. But it's useless. Everything is connected to one app or another and and the content of those apps isn't accessible with ease if at all from another device. Not sure why it's foolish to want to do this. Sorry I have apparently offended you for some reason, but I've never found a way to do this. And after 6 months of trying, I gave up. Shouldn't be that hard. I'm ready for a lesson on how it's accomplished. Educate me, I love to learn.

west3man says:

Axllebeer is right on the money here. Rene has echoed this point, which is me reason I was surprised by the content and tone of this article.

I completely get the value and accessibility of simplicity. I love that my mom and grandmother and god-kids take to iOS devices so easily.

BUT my mom wants to use her real laptop for some stuff her iPad can do but doesn't do well enough or comfortably enough. Sorry but file systems are useful for a reason and that reason hasn't been eliminated by Dropbox.

I wanted to copy and later delete the pictures and podcasts from my iPad. I've had one since the original debuted. And I'm still experiencing hiccups trying to do simple stuff like that.

My mom doesn't want to be bothered with it. And I don't blame her. She used the device in the ways best suited to her needs and then, she uses Windows.

People love iOS but I have believed for some time that the simplest devices' OS'es eventually try to become full-fledged, Windows-like operating systems. Or maybe "Windows-lite" is the right word.

And that's not snark. Because that's exactly what Microsoft TRIED to make.

So, it's not that we don't understand. We just disagree with you, Gazoobee.

And, btw, I still love my iPad, despite its limitations.

axllebeer says:

I would've kept the iPad because it's great at a lot of things. But that would have taken me to a total of 3 tablets and a PC. Pretty sure my wife would've killed me at that point. So away went the iPad as it had the highest resale value and the lease options for my needs. I had the Mini really liked it. But at end of the day it was the hardware and the apps that I loved. For me, I just couldn't get past the limitations of the OS.

41BP says:

Everything for me is in Dropbox. I don't have to plug anything in. I don't even have to have any hardware that I own to access it.

The app I was speaking of is more of a offline utility. I can organize everything I need in it. But it's still always in Dropbox.

CORYK333 says:

He/she didn't "miss your point"....it's that the "point" you made was garbage.

axllebeer says:

Ok whatever. We all have different needs and different wants out of our devices. You disagree with me? Well I dissagree with you. Fair enough

scottjl says:

Incorrect, you can access Goodreader's "filesystem" from within iTunes, or even wirelessly, copy files in and out just file.

There are also plenty of apps that let you access the iOS filessytem without it being jailbroken, and if you've got a jailbreak you can do even more.

The point of iOS is to let you forget all about having to manage files. KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid.

ugahairydawgs says:

No offense, but if you are someone who knows what Ubuntu is (much less uses it regularly), then you are not in the target audience for iPad to begin with.

Most people with a large degree of tech knowledge and a desire to have deep control over all aspects of an OS is always going to be put off by iOS devices.

axllebeer says:

No offense at all. I realize iOS is not for me. Just because I don't own an Apple product currently doesn't mean as a lover of tech I don't follow what's happening in the Apple space. And when the iPad came out its exactly what the market needed. I think comparing the PC to the tablet will evolve in opposite ways. The PC started very complicated and has become much easier to use over time. The ipad was the start of the tablet boom and was very simple to use still is. Now in order for the tablet to be successful long into the future, it needs to become more complicated to be able to be a true PC replacement. That's what Microsoft is doing here. There will still be a place for devices like the iPad, but as we change as a society so will change what we want products like these to do for us.

MastrMeatWad says:

Agreed. I love my ipad. My wife loves our ipad. The ipad is not a PC. I understand this is imore and this is an article written by an apple fan, but fandom always includes some denial and a sense to 'defend' to the end. To be upset with MS for a commerical which is pretty funny is just silly. There isn't anything that will sell more than an ipad so why the need to appear upset over a commercial? Fans of the ipad should be more upset that after 3 iterations and the inclusion of the ipad mini there are still key features that should be added to the device as well as the OS.

lvavila says:

I don't fully agree with you comments but I see and understand your point of view. Your only flaw (that caused me to reply) was "The software is great for someone that is intimidated by a PC". That kind of comment (kindly) discredits you. I'm a Visual Studio c#/C++ developer whom loves 3-4 linux distress and have moved from WIndows to Mac (running VMs of course to code c#). Apple's iOS is an appliance OS and not to be compared to a desktop OS. Your comment is like comparing a BBQ to a toaster. Its not that user are intimidated by a BBQ but a toaster has a niche, certain use, certain user base, different experience & different results.

Those whom want a computer and are thinking of an iPad to server that purpose have certain needs (and many times unknown by them). Email, browsing, pictures, maybe camera & occasional games. I don't think those whom don't know what the difference is between a PC and iPad have high Photoshop, AutoCad needs. So that disappointment thing you talk about is off.

I have 3 iPads. My iPad1 is perminately velcrowed in the kitchen and serves as our iHeartRadio & iTunes stereo. My 2 years is learning 123 & ABC. My wife reads like no other on her iPad mini. I learn how to fix my pool pump and stream Cox TV to the Garage or to watch a game out by the pool. Why would I need a PC to do that? Could I? yes. But why? Right.. Im intimidated.

One final note. If I'm at a customer site and I need a "file system" I bring my Macbook Air...

This was my first read of the day and a few of your lines got me started. Have fun reading that book with your WIndows 8 machine and file system. ;)

axllebeer says:

I appreciate what you have said and you made some great points. My saying that that iOS is great for people intimidated by a PC doesn't mean that I think it's only for those people however. I was just stating that if one is leery about a computer and wants a tablet, there is no better option than the iPad. My point is that it's straightforward and if it provides you with what you need then the straightforward approach is good.

axllebeer says:

Just to clarify, I hate windows. I also won't be getting surface. I have it on my lattop, I DON'T want it on my tablet.

Sohail Shaikh says:

Totally agree with you... perhaps Rene need's to think differently. I have a iPhone 5 that i use for work and used to have a iPad that never worked for what i wanted to do... Yes it has all the apps but they are compromise. Now i use the iPhone and Surface with windows 8 and have never been happier.

Windows is not a liability ... its the best feature a tablet can have.

Scophi says:

axllebeer says: "the iPad is absolutely the worst PC replacement."

Tablets aren't PC replacements. They weren't designed to be.

axllebeer says:

Well, IMO it is. And the iPad wasn't designed as a PC replacement, but the Surface is Microsoft's answer to making that possible. Its not going to work for them, because the idea of no computer in the house at all (except the tablet) is still to scary for some people. That & the price. But still its a good attempt.

Scophi says:

You say, in your opinion, tablets are designed to be PC replacements, but then say the iPad wasn't, then say the Surface is, then say it won't work, then say it's a good attempt.

Not sure how to make sense of that. I think we're both almost saying the same thing...

axllebeer says:

I think that tablets could be what replaces the computer some day. I don't like the Surface personally, but I understand where they are going with it. When the iPad came out, its wasn't designed as a replacement for a full computer experience. And that's great because it wasn't supposed to be, that's not what it was designed for, correct. But now its success has turned others attention on how to compete with the success of the iPad. What can they do? Create a full computing environment with a great touch interface. The Surface is a full computer with touch overlay. People aren't ready to accept it because its still a newish concept. One of the things that I agree with Renè on is that Microsoft needs to get over the past and plan for the future. But, I personally think that another company, Google perhaps, will get it done before MS.

Remember, the touch interface race was kicked off by the iPhone. And not too many years later, virtually all Smartphones have migrated to a full touch interface. Its only logical to extrapolate that the computer is next on the list to go all touch.

Scophi says:

Gotcha. Thx for the clarification. I mostly agree.

I think tablets being a replacement for a desktop depends greatly on what you do with a desktop. I think a good percentage of people never really needed the full power of a desktop, but that's all there was to buy. Then laptops came along and some people moved to those. Now tablets are here and some people are saying, "Ahh, that's all I really needed in the first place."

In other words, tablets aren't a replacement, but a correction for misaligned technology.

But there are still those that want and/or need desktop machines. I consider myself among that group, even though I am currently using a laptop. Sometimes we choose desktops for productivity purposes. Sometimes it's for overall power and peripheral capability. And sometimes we just like the sit-down desktop experience...keyboard in lap, mouse at the ready, and a couple of large monitors on the desk directly ahead. For us, a tablet will probably never be more than a playful accessory or expensive paperweight. I gave away my iPad last year.

Having said that, I do think that tablets will continue to grow in power and capability. I don't think MS is behind the curve, but rather ahead. They have been truly innovative for the first time in their history (well, maybe the second) and have leap-frogged the competition. Now, that's not saying they got it right. Many adjustments will be required and if they listen to the crowd, they may make it work. But I think they are definitely moving (them and us) in the right direction.

Tablets will continue to merge with laptops and apps will become much more productive. I predict (he-he!) that tablets will eventually become the default form factor, even for business. The choice to buy a desktop will be based solely on preference and desired experience. Eventually, even tablets will run large multiple monitor setups and multiple peripheral devices at will.

axllebeer says:

I completely agree with what you just said. That's pretty much what I've been trying to say in my many posts with this article. You described it much better thank you.

Scophi says:

I don't know about better. Longer, perhaps. Thx!

Travis Butler says:

You say "In other words, tablets aren't a replacement, but a correction for misaligned technology." as if it were a relatively unimportant thing. Instead, I think it's the key to the actual successes in the tablet market.

Can an iPad replace my desktop/laptop? Not hardly! You're completely correct to point out the limitations. However, I think you're completely wrong to dismiss the value in those limitations. No, an iPad can't do everything a desktop can do, by any means - but what it can do, it can often do better than a desktop/laptop, precisely *because* of its limitations. It's a relatively foolproof computing appliance that requires almost no maintenance, and is flat-out simpler to use in many respects. And that has value. Even to many geeks like myself. I like having a simple, reliable machine that I don't have to worry about, thank you very much.

I disagree strongly that making tablets 'more like laptops/desktops' is the proper direction, at all. Making them more complex means losing the simplicity and reliability that is their main advantage, and that I would argue has been the secret of their success. (The reduced size/weight and improved battery life from running simpler software doesn't hurt, either.) Trying to be everything to everybody results in a compromised mess; I say, let tablets be tablets, let desktops be desktops, and let each of them do what they do best.

Look at the Surface. The standard iPad is already pushing the limit of something that's comfortable to hold and use, from a size/weight standpoint. The Surface is much larger, thicker and heavier, because it needs a faster processor and more screen area to run Windows software. And yet, it isn't enough, because the screen is cramped and hard to read when using non-Metro apps. In addition, to run Windows software, you have to put up with all the hassles of managing and maintaining a full desktop OS. (I won't even go into the by now well-documented schizophrenic nature of Windows 8 and the desktop/Metro split.) After doing all that, you end up with a machine that loses the advantages of a simple, limited OS; that's too heavy and clumsy to be a good tablet; and yet is too limited and compromised to be a good laptop.

And this isn't just limitations of the hardware, either. Some Win8 tablet fans excuse the current size/weight by claiming that new CPU generations will let future Win8 tablets get closer to the size/weight of iPads; the thing they conveniently ignore is that the same process improvements will apply just as much to simpler tablet software - allowing even better battery life, better performance, or even smaller/lighter tablets.

There are fundamental conflicts that won't go away just by throwing hardware at the issue, either; tablet portability and handheld use favor small screens, while desktop OSes favor a larger screen, keyboard, and pointing device. The Surface's Type Cover is a cute compromise, but it makes for a poor laptop (not usable on anything but a flat surface with enough room for the whole awkward stack) and a poor tablet (cover has to be a certain size to fit a typeable keyboard, and that constrains the size of the tablet). These are fundamental ergonomic issues that won't go away, short of another revolution in input that matches the way capacitive touch let phones get rid of hardware keyboards.

Scophi says:

I think you misunderstand my intent.

"You say "In other words, tablets aren't a replacement, but a correction for misaligned technology." as if it were a relatively unimportant thing. "

I never implied that was unimportant, merely that it's what's happening. I meant exactly what I said. People are moving to tablets in droves, not because desktops are no longer important, but because the market is rebalancing to include a new form factor that people find attractive.

(Misaligned technology = The technology people have doesn't match the technology they want or need.)

And I wasn't dismissing the limitations of tablets, simply pointing out that some people will prefer tablets and some will prefer desktops...based on their needs. For example, I don't need a tablet, so I don't have one. But everyone's needs are different and for many a tablet is perfect.

Finally, I never stated that making tablets more like laptops is the proper way to go, simply that it's what's starting to happen. Tablets and laptops are merging. That seems to be what people want. Portability and simplicity of a tablet, functionality and power of a laptop.

That's why Windows 8 is indeed a good product for the current environment. It offers both mobile and desktop UI. Does it need work, yes. But it addresses the desire people have for their new mobile devices.

Whether that is a good thing is not for me to decide.

Travis Butler says:

"(Misaligned technology = The technology people have doesn't match the technology they want or need.)"

Yes, exactly. And I think you're right that the tablet explosion is because of that. Which is why I think you're wrong to toss it off in passing, because I think that's a key factor in why Windows tablets have failed in the past, why they appear to be failing now, and why I think they'll continue to fail in the future. I think Windows technology - or, to be fair, desktop computer technology - is something that large numbers of customers didn't want or need, but they lacked an alternative. Now they have one that does most if not all of what they need, without the hassles of desktop computing - and they're going for it in droves.

Which is why I agree with the thesis of the post. Making tablets more like desktop computers loses a - if not *the* - primary reason the current round of tablets have succeeded when so many Windows tablets failed in the past.

"Finally, I never stated that making tablets more like laptops is the proper way to go, simply that it's what's starting to happen. Tablets and laptops are merging. That seems to be what people want."

Why do you think so? That seems to be what *Microsoft wants to sell*, because that keeps their huge investment in Windows alive, and the Windows PC manufacturers are going along for the same reason. But I have yet to see any indication that the general public wants to buy it - or that anyone beyond a group of tech pundits, and people who hang out in the comments sections of tech websites, actually wants to use it.

In fact, every bit of evidence I've seen so far points in the opposite direction. Surface sales have been anemic in the reports I've read. In anecdotal data: at local retailers, Asus' Windows tablets (RT and Clovertrail/Win8) are sitting on shelves and filling the returns section. Samsung canceled plans to release WinRT tablets. And I've yet to see any positive sales reports on any of the various hybrid models.

In other words, I don't see any "desire people have for their new mobile devices" related to Windows 8, and plenty of indications that consumers do NOT in fact want them.

Scophi says:

Why do you keep insisting that I am dismissing or tossing aside a point? What words of mine gives you that impression?

You seem to be going out of your way to miss my point, which is odd given that we're pretty much saying the same thing.

swarlos says:

One thing the add doesn't mention is the horrible amount of out of box storage you get with the windows 8 tablet. Why would I want something that only gives me about 30% of the advertised space to use?!

axllebeer says:

Agreed. Totally deceiving.

TechyMexican says:

and the ability to expand with an external hard drive and Micro SD. Oh the horror.

kevinbhayes says:

There are limitations with external storage - with Windows RT tablets anyway.

axllebeer says:

Can you even run applications directly from the SD card? Is that one of the limitations that you are speaking of?

adamwade says:

Wow did you really just say that without sarcastic intent?

Or are you just so imbedded in the iJail ecosystem that you don't know better? (And FYI I am writing this on my iPad, my iPhone at my side, and in front of a TV with AppleTV.)

Windows devices have UNLIMITED storage. It's called an SD slot.

And you know what is just insanely neat? That you can just put any file - anything - music, video, documents - and just use it with the device! Instantly! You don't have to use a program on a PC to translate it, and then transfer it to your device. That's the biggest joke going, that its such a PITA to get anything but iTunes content on iDevices and practically impossible to do without a PC doing time consuming tasks. And documents? iPad works great as a PDF or CBX viewer but that's about it (and like the dark ages the best way to get them to your device is emailing it to yourself).

I love my iPad - but it's limitations are severely apparent. It's good for web browsing, but even that is limited because of artificial, needless Apple BS (no Flash). There is no technical reason, it's just that Apple is in a perpetual peeing contest with another company. I'll never actually use my iPads full storage capability because anything but streaming is such a severe pain in the butt it's not worth it - for the times that I care about, say, watching a movie I just pack a portable DVD player. So much easier (plus I can still web browse on my iPad).

I've read this site for several years now, and this is easily the most unbalanced article I have ever seen. Sure, the people who can't even use an ATM machine but can use an iPad to Skype with their grandkids aren't the audience of those commercials. I am - as much as I like my iPhone and iPad, my next tablet and phone purchases are increasingly likely to not be Apple products because the limitations are becoming far too much, and the apathy of Apple fans for them is increasingly desperate. Arguments that were mildly understandable in 2007 are laughable in 2013. But then again, this is the audience that bought a phone that couldn't send MMS until 2009 (even when crap phones from 2003 could - and for the record, I refused to buy an iPhone until this was possible, and it doesn't matter if it was because of the forced sole carrier or not - Apple allowed it).

Apple may be the innovator, but everyone else is catching on to the game now and stepping it up. You get a heck of a lot more for your buck with an Android phone these days, and Apple is retaining people based on their reliance on the closed Apple ecosystem, not so much the features and abilities.

Rene, I normally find you fair and even - but in this case, there is an anger clearly in your writing (so much so I won't be surprised if this article disappears by tomorrow) - but I think you might want to question why it upset you so. If its such a silly competitor ad, laugh at it - you seem so angry and bitter here, and I think it's because you may just be realizing those commercials may have had a point. Waxing about Jobs and his control-freak-in-an-elegant-design nature isn't going to distract from this inadequacy as time goes on. And I think this commentary shows that even someone who writes on an Apple fan site is starting to realize it.

abazigal says:

Complexity sounds like a good selling point on paper because you can boast of having more features and people tend to equate more features with better overall value.

However, the problem then comes when a consumer isn't getting more of what he wants, but instead ends up with more issues that he has to contend with. For them, complexity isn't a feature. Simplicity is.

You can way lyrical about how your windows tablet laptop lets you use thumbdrives, supports mouse-input, supports multasking and so on, but for the people who bought an ipad, the Surface still fails to attract them where it counts the most - the user interface.

Why was the first iphone such a success despite lacking obvious features like 3g and MMS? Exactly because it sported a revolutionary UI that allowed people to interact with their phones in ways never thought possible, so people were willing to overlook these shortcomings.

Same with the ipad. These are the people who don't want a Windows interface. They like being able to activate apps with the push of an icon, how the very nature of apps lets them complete tasks more easily compared to traditional windows programs, how the app store consolidates every app out there in one central location, and so on.

So the ipad can't run flash, lacks a filesystem, can't attach files in mail etc. These don't matter so much in the bigger scheme of things. For all we know, people may enjoy IOS more exactly because it doesn't support flash and has no file manager.

adamwade says:

I think some of you are downplaying the ongoing development of the "mass market" that some of you folks make sound like Neanderthals making scratches on cave walls. My mom never used the Internet until this year, and just got her first computer. Yet she has fully understood for years how to take pictures with her phone, take the SD card out, and go have those pictures printed at Walmart. And she just doesn't understand why my "fancy phone" can't just do that.

Just the fact that the public will always be behind the geeks in these matters does not mean that they are not growing more sophisticated. Windows 8 isn't much more difficult to use than iOS, and as time goes on the limitations that Apple gimps their products with matter more and more. And that's the kicker - it's not that they can't, it's that they won't because they can charge $100 for a lousy 16 extra GB on board instead of just giving people a microSD slot to have unlimited, convenient storage and file mobility. Sure, that little (but expensive) dongle they have (which they almost hide behind the counter) can do photos, but even there it's just a software gimp they won't let you use it for music, video, etc.

Seriously guys, the general public isn't as dumb as you think, and they are getting smarter - Apple products are consistently premium priced, but other venues are offering more abilities that DO matter. Wake up guys - doesnt matter if its windows 8 or android, the numbers don't lie - the iPad needs to step up its game and get with 2013, not being stuck in Jobs paranoid 2008 mentality.

Gazoobee says:

Your mum is the kind of non-technical user Rene is talking about but from an older generation. The same kind of user, (but not so old), wouldn't ever want to "print out her pictures" for example.

There is also the issue of capability. Where I work I deal with a lot of folks who use laptops and the Internet in their daily work, but they still don't truly understand it. They *can* do all sorts of things that they've learned to do with these laptops over the years, but it still stresses them out trying to remember how to work the file system and the browser etc. They still prefer to use the iOS and find it much less stressful even though they *can* work the desktop as well.

Not one of these people has anything less than a Masters Degree so they aren't dumb either.

sangs says:

You must not have read a lot of Renee's previous articles regarding anything produced by Microsoft. Because they're all shrouded in strong anti-Microsoft sentiment. This one is tame by comparison. It's his site and his opinion though, so you don't have to agree with it.

adamwade says:

Shrouded, yes - but this level no, especially over a few ads about things he says no one cares about anyway. He doth protest too much, this time.

thomasmorkeberg says:

Worst BS I've ever read.

Couldn't disagree more. I have a iPad, but it does absolutely nothing that my phone can't do. And it's horrible if you want to get work done. This is where a full windows 8 experience in tablet form is perfect.

Most iPads are used by kids for gaming and Facebook. IPad is perfect for that!

Richard Nieves says:

I disagree that the iPad can only do everything that's one the iPhone. There are several apps that are only ipad -centric (idraw is a great example) there are also several apps that are way easier to use on a tablet than a phone such as garage band, iMovie, iPhoto, many 3d games ereaders cad apps office apps and more. Yes those can be done on an iPhone but its much easier on an iPad. I think this trend will continue.

Now, do I agree with the article? NO! I think desktop features are very important in a tablet!! I don't think it matters windows or Mac or even android, but the market is still desperate for a good desktop experience on mobile. Microsoft didn't do what they needed to win that segment. What they don't realize is, while people do want their tablets to do more, they don't want two different environments. One integrated one done right, that's not confusing, or two seperate ones both with desktop like functionalities but different implementations is ideal. The current way has you Forced to use both, especially on a tablet. I think android and ios have the opportunity to capture the market. Give the iPad (or android tablet) file management, an ad card reader, more print options, more hardware power and push big software companies to start developing more productivity apps as well as even more good games! I would also slightly alter the iPad os similar to how android does on its larger tablets.

Also, how has blackberry and android tried the desktop market and failed??? Both are mobile os's and blackberry failed due to lackluster software and android does sell some tablets well, they just need more tablet apps to compete!

SejongCamus says:

And there are huge numbers of people who agree with you, evidenced by all the Surface tablets that are being sold, and the Tablet PCs being sold before them.

You missed his point. The VAST MAJORITY of people aren't buying tablets because they want a traditional computer. They're buying it because there are many things they'd rather not do on their computer - read: almost everything that doesn't involve a full keyboard and mouse for serious work.

You're a minority, and you're unaware that you are. It's surprising to me too, as I'd fall in your camp - consider myself a geek, intensely use my technology, but that's like 3-5% of the population, and the other 95% isn't trying to intensely squeeze every bit of utility out of their devices, demanding a keyboard and mouse and complexly configurable GUI at all times.

Rene Ritchie says:

If you liked using desktop Windows (or OS X), you're not the main market for the iPad. (And you didn't read the article before commenting :) )

Apple didn't sell hundreds of millions of iPads by appealing to the hardcore PC user. They did it by doing the opposite.

If the iPad is too limited for you, you're not the customer they were aiming for.

adamwade says:

So the iPad is for Neanderthals, Neanderthals don't care about the features in the ads you aren't upset about - so why are we here talking about this?

kevinbhayes says:

Why should anyone take you seriously when you resort to calling people "Neanderthals" instead of presenting a logical argument? It's childish and you won't be taken seriously. So why are you here talking about this?

adamwade says:

Follow the discussion, guy.

I am not calling them Neanderthals. That's basically what Rene is doing, saying the mass market is full of people who just aren't smart enough to understand Windows.

He keeps saying "iPad isn't for us (the geeks), it's for them" and about how these people are so inept they are confused by every other computing device.

I disagree with both of those points, and for Apple's sake hope the future of the iPad isn't pinned on that market, because the people he is referring to who the iPad is supposedly "for" are one and done buyers who don't feel the need to get on the upgrade treadmill unless their device breaks.

Why am I here? As an owner of several iDevices I feed this site for news and interesting discussion - and was bowled over by how over the top this commentary was and how I do not think it reflects reality. I have an iPad and an iPhone, and increasingly exactly for the reasons those commercials demonstrate it's more and more likely my next devices will not be iOS. But I'm being told they aren't for me, anyway, they are for people who don't know how to use a computer...the Technological Neanderthals who supposedly are the majority of the iPad market.

iSRS says:

My company is (for now) all Windows (XP still. in the migration to 7 process). When I work remotely? I don't even bring my laptop anymore. I leave it locked up, connected to the work ethernet network.

What do I use? A combination of my MacBook Air, my iMac, and, especially when I am traveling, my iPad. I would argue I work on my iPad more than the physical HP laptop I am connecting to. I use Citrix and get right in.

You CAN get work done on an iPad. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different ways to do so.

vianar says:

On my iPad I have notes I have kept from school that I still access regularly, I have over 100 text books, I take notes at meetings (hand written, typed or both), I have written and edited papers, created presentations, accessed secured company files remotely, I read ebooks, create and edit personal family movies, edit photos, surf the net, creat and manage emails, interact with social media, video chat with family and friends, play the occasional game... All this without crashing, having to fumble through setting, or being randomly sent back to the home screen. W8 is not there yet. Plagued with frequent crashing and being randomly sent to the home screen, some settings are only accessible in metro while others only in desktop mode, apps only working in one mode or the other not both and don't get me started on RT. The time needed to invest in keeping it working takes from actual work. Only the ignorant would believe that the iPad is only for games or kids. It is an excellent content creation tool which has made my life easier. Also, I use the iPad2, just imagine what can be achieved with the performance advantage of the more recent versions!

darrenlowjq says:

You label others ignorant while showing your own ignorance as well. Windows 8 on my Asus Zenbook has yet to crash once on me since I upgraded from Windows 7 on launch day. We have come a long way since Windows was a laggy Blue Screen of Death prone OS. Windows 8 is akin to Project Butter on Android, it has made my bootup times shorter and running programs smoother.

Similarly, the settings app in iOS is getting rather convoluted and I might make a case for Apple to decentralise the various settings into individual apps. Not saying the way its currently implemented in W8 is good by any means, but recognise that iOS isn't perfect either. W8 is a transitionary product and is likely the reason that settings are not centralised. Similarly, the settings app in iOS is getting bloated as Apple continues layering on functionality on an OS that was never built to run 3rd party apps. Neither are perfect and both have a long way to go.

vianar says:

Sadly I speak from experience. I have used W8 on three different machines and each behaved similarly. If this did not happen to you then great and I hope it never does because it was extremely frustrating. I am keeping an open mind and will reassess when W8.1 comes out. Also, I do not believe Microsoft intended W8 to be a "transitionary product". While all OS's evolve over their life I feel Microsoft was confident W8 was ready for consumption and RT was the low end tablet spinoff. My complaints with W8 are just that, my complaints based on my experience. My point regarding iPad utility were to provide proof to some of the above commentators that the iPad can successfully be used for content creation. No offence was intended.

darrenlowjq says:

Sorry to hear about your poor experiences with Windows 8. I do wonder if your experience was like that because of upgrading from older machines that didn't come stock with Windows 8, as many people probably have due to the upgrade promotion that was so cheap. Mine seemed seamless though. Guess either you were unlucky or I got lucky with our respective experiences.

Not knocking the iPad, I agree that some content, like writing, can be effectively generated by an iPad and to dismiss it out of hand shows one's ignorance. Just saying also that some content, like Excel spreadsheets or more complicated programming tasks cannot be done.

I'm not sure how Windows 8 can be seen as anything but transitionary. We will probably never know how the Windows team sees the product internally, but they will have to be chugging the MS koolaid if they are to think that Windows 8 is a finished product. That said, I do think 8.1 will probably be a course reversal from their original intended destination and a re-assessment of the product would be wise.

Travis Butler says:

In the case I've experienced recently (and yes, I know the plural of anecdote is not 'data'), it certainly wasn't a case of upgrade woes. This person, who I've consulted for almost 10 years now, recently wanted me to help her move her files from an old WinXP laptop to a new Win8 laptop. Trying to adapt to Win8 was a mess for her. (Her desktop ran, and still runs, Win7, so she's very familiar and used to the most recent OS; it's not a case of calcified XP.) Everything was awkward and uncomfortable for her, to say nothing of her husband who's even more technophobic. When I went by earlier this week, she admitted to me that she almost never uses the laptop now, because it makes him too uncomfortable if she accidentally leaves it logged in with her account and settings.

What does she use instead? The iPad she got at about the same time as her laptop. For her needs, the iPad does the job better, with less fuss and hassle. She loves it because it's simple.

Gazoobee says:

I disagree completely. The iPad does almost everything *better* than the iPhone. It's the iPhone that's "old news" and an almost irrelevant device to me.

As for work, I do tons of work on the iPad and so does everyone I know. I think you are guilty of looking at things through a particular lens here. You seem to only know kids who have iPads, and so see them as a device for kids. Where I work there isn't a single person under 35-40 or so and we all have iPads and use them all day to get lots of "real work" done.

urkel says:

Apple Blogger once again fails to realize that their individual workflow is not the ONLY way to get things done.

Its a sensationalistic headline followed by closed minded nonsense and in a year where Apple has yet to show us ANYTHING worth getting excited about then its just sad that this is what Apple blogs have resorted to.

SejongCamus says:

Good thing Samsung, Android, Google, and Microsoft come out with entirely revolutionary industries every 6 months. What's Apple got -- the iPod, 7 years later the iPhone, 3 years later the iPad? Epic fail.

Look - seriously, Samsung keeps coming out with little feature additions to their phones that are nice in concept but never really work that well, so people tend to not use them. Other than slapping a bigger screen on the devices, there's nothing anyone else has come up with that has changed everything. Not one of these companies has done that with any product in the past 10 years. Incremental additions at a snails pace.

How many years I had flip phones that claimed to do web, email, had cameras, could sync up w my computer, play music, but never really worked, or thought through it so poorly that (e.g., Samsung), they'd give you phones that worked as a music player but had a headphone jack that wouldn't fit near any set of headphones manufactured since 1985, and no adapter in the box or store.

That's the kind of world you want to live in? Again?

Just because the tech bloggers and Wall St analysts are saying stupid things about Apple not reinventing 5 industries before breakfast every day, doesn't mean you have to say stupid things too.

If Apple comes up with nothing but evolutionary stuff for the next 3 years, then I'd agree with you. But let's get realistic about who else we really feel is capable of showing us things "worth getting excited about", and pay attention to how long it really has taken Apple to reinvent our way of life (ie, takes a half decade on average).

Or you can stick with Samsung and Microsoft defining the way you'll use technology for the next 20 years, if you like that. Makes me shudder.

And Google Glass will not catch on more than Segway did. Know many women who want to use it? Know many non-geeks who wouldn't be embarrassed to wear it in public? Even my Luddite grandmother who can't find a file on her computer couldn't take her hands off my wife's iPod when she first saw it, kept saying how beautiful it was. Straw on camel's back for me, I bought Apple stock then, about 7 years ago. People like you were still saying the same old stuff then and every year since then. And now, here you are.

Gazoobee says:

" ... Samsung, Android, Google, and Microsoft come out with entirely revolutionary industries every 6 months. "

I've worked in the computer industry since before there were personal computers and have witnessed the entire rise and fall of all three of those companies and you're just overwhelmingly, ridiculously, insanely wrong here.

I dare you to list each and every "revolutionary industry" these companies started (remember that's 3 every six months for 20 years or so!).

No one who truly knows the industry would utter such hyperbolic nonsense and no one will take you seriously if you insist on spouting this kind of crap. You might as well have started off with "I'm a 12 year old kid who likes to exaggerate ..." instead.

vianar says:

I think he was being sarcastic....

Rene Ritchie says:

You're talking about yourself there, not me.

I'm geek. I have no problem with Windows or Android on a tablet. I used Tablet PC for fracksake. But I realize I'm the minority.

Apple realized it too.

The iPad isn't for us. It's for the much larger market that wants the opposite of what we want.

adamwade says:

And that much larger market won't be upgrading their iPad every year, they will be fine with their original device perpetually unless they break it. Apple thrives on the "gotta get the newest model" mentality over quibbling features that mean nothing to the mass market. So if that is truly the intended audience, they have shot themselves in the foot because it will be impossible to maintain that momentum once the market is saturated. They need to appeal to Geeks, because they are the ones who buy new models every year or every other year.

kevinbhayes says:

Their sales say opposite. There aren't enough geeks in the world to make up Apple's sales numbers.

adamwade says:

Having fun following my comments and making pithy replies that make no sense? Flattered I am.

You missed the key word "saturated". That's when an initial push of a product goes mainstream, and just about everyone who wants, can acquire, or finds usability for a device or product has bought one.

The smart phone market is saturated - and this is exactly what has happened as Apple has continually lost market share. The same thing is happening with tablets as we speak. If al those people they sold them to are truly the types of buyers he says, they won't be buying again until their device is broken. Apple needs the geeks to maintain momentum for each new hardware release, because the higher res camera and faster processor aren't going to make those people think they need to upgrade.

So basically Rene is arguing that those people are the market, which Apple better hope is not true or they won't be able to maintain this momentum now that those people have their devices and are "one and done".

Swift2001 says:

I am very sure you're not looking at sales figures here. The tablets overcame the PC in sales this quarter. Here's a story: I had an acquaintance, a guy who's never had a computer in his life. He liked my iPhone. He saw my Mac, and loved it; but he was intimidated by it. He'd say he could never use one. I'd say he could. But he didn't believe me. He got an iPad, and he's on it all the time. He loves it. I got some tech support calls, but not after the first month. There's a huge number of him in the market, not so many of us.

Christian90s#AC says:

I also have to disagree with this article. I work in retail and when people come in looking to buy a tablet they are usually turned off when they learn about the limitations of the tablets vs. a full laptop or desktop. The Windows 8 tablets come the closest to giving them the desktop experience they are looking for with the portability of a tablet.

kevinbhayes says:

Are you sure you aren't steering them by presenting them with a list of "limitations" that may not be limitations for them? I see retail sales people do that all the time.

I once talked to someone who bought a PC instead of the Mac because the sales person said "notice how we use PCs for our cash register here and not Macs." I asked the person if he wanted to use his computer as a cash register and he said no. So I asked, why didn't you buy based on your needs rather than the guy at the store? I got a blank stare.

CORYK333 says:

What kind of opposite bizarro world are you living in where people are passing up on IPads for Win8 tablets??

ungibbed says:

Having already owned a 64GB iPad 2 (which I still rock even now with my iPhone 5), The BlackBerry PlayBook seemed rather interesting to me. I also had a BlackBerry phone at the time so I could use it to its full potential. There were many neat features that I loved. Capturing video, the little 7" had used stereo microphones and its camera really did embarrass the video quality of my iPad 2 with stills and full 1080p video from both front and rear cameras.

Other features that were quite impressive were the front facing stereo speakers and its display was very impressive.

Much if the original problems that affected it were dashed in the 2.0 software update but it still had a huge problem. The CPU it used was not a good choice for a full featured OS design. Despite how well it may have been designed. It had a Texas Instruments OMAP dual core processor running at 1 GHz with a full GB of work RAM. If you ever had to restart it which most needed to from a memory leak, it took nearly ten minutes to boot depending on configuration and the other vital problem was its lack of apps. There were many too tier games that often came free courtesy of BlackBerry and having the ability to mirror your tasks and appointments to your phone (BB only) and if you had a 3G or better 4G BB smartphone, you could browse the Internet via your mobile connection which came in very handy when certain websites such as mobile banking did not allow the full web experience if Safari was detected.

In the end, it was the sluggishness that made me part with the PlayBook and stick with my iPad 2 even to this day.

Many Android based tablets have come close but with features, comes a nightmare of menus and force close dialogs. Often a few I tried setting up and configuring straight out of the retail box!

The iPad nailed what should be a tablet experience and often enough despite the age of my iPad being generations old. Is still fun to use and play on after all these years. I've never gotten a chance to use a current model as when I bought my iPad 2, I took the best future proof method I could. The 64GB model even today delivers a great game experience as well as being a wonderful digital photo album. The perfect notepad for quick reminders, and great device for email mirroring important things flawlessly to my iPhone.

On a side note, my father (who isn't tech savvy at all) bought an iPhone 5 as it was the only smartphone that made "sense" to him after spending so many years with his original iPad. A definite iOS plus!

thesorehead says:

There's no denying that "the market has spoken" - people want iPads. The reasons for this are many and varied, but there's a lot to be said for simple, elegant and consistent design as well as a limited feature-set.

Where I disagree is that "the escape of the Home button, consistency of the Home screen, and simplicity of full screen apps" is a design unique to iOS. Android and Windows have both of these now. MS and (to a lesser extent) Google are in fact "competing with that" at the same time as including features beyond what iPad offers.

Where MS is failing to convert iPad users to Win8 tablets is mostly in awareness. Most iPad users just aren't aware that Win8 tablets actually can do everything (iOS exclusive apps excepted) that an iPad can do, and they do it in roughly the same way and at roughly the same speed. That's a hurdle that ought to be tackled - Apple has been resting on its laurels for far too long.

Gazoobee says:

"Where I disagree is that "the escape of the Home button, consistency of the Home screen, and simplicity of full screen apps" is a design unique to iOS. Android and Windows have both of these now. "

Um, actually ... neither Android nor Windows has a "home button" nor a consistent screen grid of apps etc.

Isiah Meadows says:

I believe that you are mistaken completely on the first point and partially on the second one.
1. Windows 8 and RT tablets both have a Windows key that basically acts like a standard home button, and Android has its own equivalent marked by the house-shaped icon. I'm willing to send a screenshot of my Android tablet if necessary, but a standard Google search should suffice for either one.
2. Both Windows 8/RT and Android have a consistent grid, but they are more relaxed than iOS in filling it. Windows has live tiles that sometimes take a 2x1 area, but never go any larger than 2x2 as far as I've seen. Android, too, has a consistent grid size, but its widgets usually take up more than a single grid square. They usually don't go above 4x3, though (phones generally have a grid of about 4x3 or 4x4), but the larger size also has to do with a generally smaller grid as well (The Windows Phone UI consists of a continuous scroll of 2 grid columns).

abazigal says:

But can win8 tablets do it as well? From what I see, the majority of windows apps continue to be bloated with features that few people ever need, and serve only to clutter up the UI and confuse the user.

On my ipad, I can use either educreations or showme to record a screencast of myself teaching a lesson, save it and upload it online effortlessly with just the tap of a button. When I, a teacher, was tasked to create a ppt presentation teaching a grammar concept, I didn't bother fiddling with the animation settings in powerpoint (which took my colleague almost an hour to grasp). I simply recorded myself teaching it on showme (a process taking 5 minutes), uploaded it, downloaded it onto my mac from the website, embedded it into the ppt slide and set it to auto-run.

I also appreciate the simplicity of apps that allow me to compartmentalise and break down what I need to do into small, individual tasks. I find I actually prefer this to the current desktop way of trying to turn the internet into a 1-stop portal where you can do anything and everything. Maybe it's just me, but I find it easier to focus when there is just one full-screen app open, rather than multiple apps and windows all jostling for my attention on a computer.

This won't apply to everyone, but I am simply pointing out that for me at least, these are concrete examples of how my ipad is making my computing workload easier. I don't need the full power of an i7 processor or photoshop-level apps. What I do need instead, are apps that simplify and streamline the tasks that I need to do in my job as a teacher, and in this aspect, the ipad has been well worth every last cent I paid for it. :)

Isiah Meadows says:

One, I feel your pain with PowerPoint (My dislike started with 2007). Two, I wouldn't be surprised if developers are taking the wrong attitude towards the Windows tablets being more desktop oriented. Developers are a lot more simplistic in their apps geared towards Android tablets than they are towards desktop programs, but if they would treat the Windows 8 tablet PC's more like tablets than PC's, that would already solve a lot of issues. The apps made by Microsoft for Windows in general are a lot simpler than those of developers (there are exceptions, especially with Hotmail and MS Office). Skype is very simplistic, even though it is pretty powerful in regard to video conferencing. Google+ Hangouts is much simpler, but it still is nowhere near as competent. I have a free version of Visual Studio (for developers), and it is very simple and streamlined for that kind of program (unlike Eclipse, its main rival that happens to be free...difference being that Eclipse is less Windows-specific).

Let me reinstate my point here: the issues arising from lack of simplicity isn't Microsoft's fault; it's the other software companies' fault.

Bobby Salvin says:

The premise of this article is ridiculous, that people don't want the Windows desktop. Maybe people only want tablets for fun, but can't they be made to be useful too? There is actually a continuing legal education class that lawyers can get CLE credit for called the ipad for lawyers. I took a short version of it once because I was curious. It was all about learning the means for being productive on an ipad, starting with how to get your Windows files onto a device without a USB jack. The presenter admitted that the ipad was not practical for document creation; it was mostly good for using various documents you've already created elsewhere. So I have a Windows 8 convertible tablet, and I don't need to take a course to learn how to be productive on it. It has USB ports so I can plug it into display monitors in a courtroom for a Powerpoint presentation, and I can lift the tablet off the keyboard to stand and holding my computer at the same time. Who knows, maybe the author is right that for some reason the general public does not like all of this utility, but it is a damn good computer. And when you leave the desktop for the new Windows 8 tablet style apps it converts to a mode where it functions a lot like an ipad. The author remarks that the various makers of Android tablets have failed, but last I heard, there are now more tablets shipping with Android than any other mobile OS. When Microsoft designed Windows 8, they were actually making a product in response to competitive pressure for once and designed the most versatile version of Windows to date. I for one, think that the public does want products that do more rather than less. Microsoft does actually have this author's concern covered with Windows RT. That is, after all, a version of Windows designed solely for tablets that is not backward compatible, but all of the critics seem to dislike it even more than they dislike Windows 8.

rohitsingh says:

"To mainstream customers, tiles that change pictures seemingly on their own is disorienting, multiple apps at once is stressful.." - Are you sure you are talking about mainstream users and not pot high retarded teens. Have you ever tried snapping your twitter feed or live scores for a game on the side while working. Glance-ability of information is one thing that windows 8 does MUCH better than any other OS.

"...make the iPad the best personal computer ..." - Really!! While I agree the iPad is, beyond doubt, the best 'portable entertainment device' in the market right now, dont you think calling it a computer is stretching it a little too thin. Lets be honest, the iPad is simple, its convenient but at no point, anywhere, it is flexible or powerful enough to be compared even with the most basic definition of modern day computers.

Lets criticize MS for what these are, ads that are probably a little too desperate, but calling the OS stressful and confusing is where you start putting your tech credibility into question.

CORYK333 says:

"pot high retarded teens"........and it was said in all seriousness, smh. Damn hippies with their bell bottom jeans & funny cigarettes!!!!!!

TheDarKnight says:

Good points, but "pot high retarded teens" ?? LMAO, awesome man.
Apple geeky fanboys always say that windows is hard to use, while there are million of daily windows users and no one complains from what I see.

LeLee092 says:

"To mainstream customers, tiles that change pictures seemingly on their own is disorienting, multiple apps at once is stressful, Power Point is something best left locked in beige cubicles (even though Microsoft could make it, and all of Office, available for iPad any time they so choose) "

really? this isnt Harry Potter, or an old person looking at GIFs through tumblr..
I dont have Windows 8, but I do have a WP8, most people that I show my phone too (young and old, android and apple users) find the live tiles to be refreshing and useful, and adds a pop to the screen. None of them found it disorienting.
Multiple apps at once is useful, most people multitask between their computer and their phone anyways (play game or look at twitter on their phone, while watching a movie on the computer for instance) how is that stressful?
And powerpoint (and office in general) is a necessity, for a student or anyone who has a real job..which is most of us
Oh and Microsoft doesn't make Office available for iPad for the same reason Apple hasn't made an official itunes app for Windows 8. Its just business strategy, neither of them are going to give the competition their main selling point

It's true most mainstream users will still buy iPads for numerous reasons (reliability, comfortableness, ecosystem, status amongst peers). That doenst mean that Windows 8 is disorienting, stressful, or only for nerds and 9-5 workers.

Rene Ritchie says:

Live Tiles violate usability because they're not dependable. Icons are icons because they're iconic. Always the same image, always in the same place. It creates instant recognition and becomes muscle memory.

If a Tile's picture changes, that's broken. You now have to hunt for what you're looking for.

It's a feature that demos great, but is worse for long term usage.

(I know people who turn all that off, effectively making titles into icons, for just that reason.)

adamwade says:

Which is great - turn it off, and both sides get to eat cake. No choice on iOS, which is precisely the point - no choice.

rohitsingh says:

"Live Tiles violate usability because they're not dependable. Icons are icons because they're iconic. Always the same image, always in the same place. It creates instant recognition and becomes muscle memory. If a Tile's picture changes, that's broken. You now have to hunt for what you're looking for."

Imagine the horror of a non-geek iPad user if he were to use his lock-screen as a photo-frame by mistake and the picture changed. Considering that the image was never supposed to change, by your definition its either broken or someone replaced their iPad!!

"Them stoles my iPad, its not the same piwcture!! Its changing, again and again and again!! Oh my Gawd!! There's ghwosts in my iPwad!!"

The poor fellow would eternally live in fear of a ghost apocalypse. Just saying, thats what your reasoning of "changing pictures are too complicated for the masses" implies.

opmaexcharles says:

I have been reading imore for months, but am for the first time motivated to comment. I know this is an Apple site, but the writing here in this post is 'Fan-boy-esque'.

Saying "the people have spoken they want iPads" is really saying, anyone who dares compete against Apple, stop, get out of the way, no one will want your product, the iPad is the be all and end all of tablets.

I have an iPhone 5, I've had every iPhone and I love them; but I do not need a larger phone that does not make calls.

Two months ago I was in the market for a mobile device that I could take from client to client (I am an economist). An iPad would have been great, but if someone has data for me to see I can't plug in a USB drive, also, I'd like a keyboard. Enter Surface Pro. I love it. The windows 8, while a pain to adjust to, now serves me just fine. Also, I love the information and the tile display. The stylus is also extremely accurate.

It sounds as if the author is just mad people are competing against Apple and pointing out that the iPad does have flaws:

No USB
No file system
No 2 apps on the screen at once
No PowerPoint

I could list more but its 2:45am here on the east coast. The magic of competition and the free market is that is pushes people and companies to innovate. Perhaps this will push apple.

Erik lechuga says:

I don't know why I need an iPad when my iPhone 5 does the same stuff, ill rather have the surface. I do have an android tablet now it does a lot more than an iPad. So in a phone I like my simple iPhone but in a tablet it's not with apple. Have people ever wonder apple products you need desktop or laptop to make it work, from putting music. Apple needs computers regardless of people saying the laptop or desktop is dead. They will live as long as you have an apple product to connect it with. And most people have a window base computer than anything thing apple puts out as a computer. I won't own a computer from apple period. A phone yes I'm just to simple on that I'm old school. Tablet wise give me flash I don't like limits on that area, computers of course a pc all day.

SejongCamus says:

Then you have to wonder how so very many iPads continue to be sold and virtually none of everything else, including surface, if they're so deficient?

I'm a geek too. I like things like USB ports, file systems, multiple apps on the screen, full PowerPoint for my Dilbert work, but we're like 3-5% of the population. 95% of people don't carry around gadgets to connect to their tablets, phones, etc all the time to do odd, interesting and unusual things with them.

If you ask the 95% of non-geeks out there how many pixels they want on their screens, what kind of ports they want on their tablets, if they want FireWire or USB 2.0 or USB 3.0, if it matters to them if they have a "file system", they'll not even know what you're talking about.

We're a minority. People want technology to stop being complex. They want it to be simple -- like, childishly simple and effortless. They're getting that through phones and iPads that let them avoid using their computer for all but the tasks that demand complexity and intense engagement (PowerPoint, multiple apps on screen at once so can cross reference info).

That's what mainstream humanity wants.

Rene Ritchie says:

Calling something "fanboy" means that you're upset with it but have no cogent argument you can frame to the contrary.

I didn't say "Apple rules, Microsoft sucks", I laid out reasons why, in my opinion, Microsoft is choosing the wrong way to market against, and ultimately compete against, Apple and the iPad.

I want them to do better. I want them to make better. I don't feel like they're doing either right now. They're a Microsoft divided against themselves. Locked to the desktop even as they know mobile is the future for the masses.

What I think you're missing is this:

Those are only flaws to a very few people who'd probably be better off with trucks (traditional operating systems) than cars (mainstream operating systems) anyway.

To the vast majority of humans on this planet, those are features.

Trappiste says:

The prblem in Rene's take is that, like so many blindly-Apple-fanaticals out there, he tries to convey iPad as being something it is not. iPad is not a PC replacement, nor is it meant to be one. You can hardly do anything on an iPad. iPad is a media-consumption device and a device for browsing the web. Why? Because that is what many people do a good deal of their time on a computing device. But iPad is nothing more than that. it does that well because it tries not to replace a computer, it tries not be a tool, but rather a toy. Toys are cool, of course, but we also need tools.

A windows tablet, a pro-tablet in particular, is *a computer replacement* since it brings a computer into a new, easier form factor and UI. You can do work on it. Yet it is stil la tablet as well. *This* is revolutionary.

iPad is a big 2010-era smartphone. A W8 tablet is a tablet computer. These are apples and oranges!

People need computers, will be needing for quite some time, because people need to do more than just surf the web or watch movies. Yes, it sometimes happens. MS is addressing this market, moving this market into a new way of doing things -- and is alone in doing so.

I have yet to see a family or community that would have been able to replace their home computer(s) with iPads. iPads are only supplementary devices. MS knows that. And thank god for that, because the world needs non-toys too.

SejongCamus says:

I agree. I just wish MS could start building products with actual humans in mind. It's like they don't get people at all. Apple can't and never will totally replace the value MS brings to doing real work, but I wish MS wouldn't make it feel so constantly mildly frustrating to use their stuff, anticipate people's micro-needs better.

kevinbhayes says:

An iPad is a PC replacement for many. Just not for you. Why can't people understand that? My in-laws have stopped using their computer and only use their iPad. They're not alone. When you consider the majority of customers only use a computer for email, web, facebook, and a few photos, you'll realize that the iPad can do all that. So, yes, it is a PC replacement.

Myself, I could never replace my computer with an iPad, but I'm not everybody.

Isiah Meadows says:

I agree completely there (although I don't and never had an iPad). I know of a lot of people who really love their iPad, but most power users I know of, short of a few iOS programmers, strongly prefer something resembling a PC. I wouldn't call it a PC replacement, because it doesn't have nearly the functionality needed for me to consider it as such (and most people I know in that category you're talking about don't, either). It is really convenient for those kinds of things, and are also why people will pay for Chromebooks (which ironically have less functionality than typical Android tablets shy of much easier to get superuser permissions unless you install and dual boot a Linux distro). Most of what I use my Android tablet for is that kind of stuff as well, and is the reason why that market does so well.

Leo141 says:

I hate and despise win8. I can't believe people will defend that trash from M$. To all those disagreeing with Rene.... Go troll on wpcentral please. Apple will outsell iPads to Microsoft's crapware and there's nothing you M$ trolls can do about it.

tim_hale says:

Microsoft and the others are bringing specs to an experience fight.

There comes a point where, regardless of what the power users use, the hardware becomes good enough for most people most of the time. After that, many companies start on bells and whistles in software and most people aren't interested in, or feel intimidated by that. We can argue about the number of Playbooks that will fit on the head of a pin forever, the numbers speak for themselves.

Isiah Meadows says:

Reason why I rooted my Android tablet and installed CyanogenMod on it. I didn't like all the bloatware it came with (it has an IR blaster and came with an app for it, but I don't have cable, and the app wouldn't let me go on without inputting one in...not to mention that it had a second app store run by Samsung pre-installed side-by-side with Google Play). Much easier to get what I need than to hassle with stuff I don't need and can't delete.

pradnk says:

Awesome post...liked the writing.. (first time visiting the site!).
Best line: "To mainstream customers, tiles that change pictures seemingly on their own is disorienting"! Very true!

Faraz Riaz says:

Rene, my brother, it is just advertising. You have taken it way too seriously. I find the iPad to be more frustrating, because of the limitations. The iPad is good for people who are hooked in the Apple’s eco-system. You need to use a Windows 8 pro tablet to understand the difference. You need to be in that situation where you need those extra features to fully understand the difference. I have installed some very old games on the “Surface” and the experience has been magical. Those older games are more rewarding than anything available on the app store.
The brilliance is when you need to work you can pop the “kickstand” and do some real work at a great pace. Now seeing how well Microsoft built the product I find it difficult to see the place for the iPad.

MastrMeatWad says:

Thank you. It is rare I run into an article on imore that takes itself to seriously and puts down other OS's and devices. Just poor taste in my opinion.

Cormango says:

I think you missed the point of the ad. The ad isn't aimed at those with tablets. It's aimed at those who don't have a tablet yet. Microsoft has changed tactics as they are going after emerging markets and new customers, which is something they have failed to do over the past decade.

The "mainstream customers" you are referring to don't exist. You're simply referring to North Americans. The truth it, Apple is not the dominator. They won't be. They never will be. But that's ok because it's NOT their business model. They don't want to be the open company. They want to control the experience. And there's nothing wrong with that. But saying the maintream customers all want Apple? That's just ignorant and obviously not true. I'm disappointed and wish I never read the article.

I think you're getting a little emotional over an advertisement. Of course Microsoft would enlarge their product to look the same scale as the iPad. Of course they would highlight what the Windows 8 tablet would do that the iPad can't. Whay wouldn't they? It's just an advertisement to highlight the best features and I think people need to move on and accept the fact that Microsoft has delivered a great tablet experience. No, it's not for everyone and nobody cares if you switch from the iPad or choose Windows 8 or Android. It's your choice just like it's my choice.

I've used them all as it's part of my job to reccomend a corporate strategy. We're going with Windows 8 Pro for our tablets because they provide the best of both worlds. And to be honest, I use my Windows 8 tablet the most out of all my tablet devices (iOS, Android, and Windows 8) because it IS the hybrid that I've always wanted. I can use it like my iPad and when I need to be productive I can dock it for the full desktop experience. It does everything I need it to do and it does it extemely well. In fact, I actually went out and bought a Lumia 920 (I used to be a full time iPhone user). But I have not become an Apple hater because I switched. I think we should enjoy having this type of competition. I truly believe there is room for 4, 5 and maybe even 6 mobile oeprating systems. In 2-3 years from now everythign will be web-based and cached anyway. Native apps are just here to fill the gap. BlackBerry knows it, FireFox knows it, Apple knows it, Google knows it, and Microsoft knows it.

So try them all and pick the one that's best for you. And stop complaining and comparisons. I think Microsoft did a pretty good job with thier latest advertisements. They simply took the page from Apples history books, which is kind of funny, isn't it?

Cormango says:

You know what, this article really pissed me off. Almost as much as you were pissed off at the commerical. There is absolutely no reason to write such a biased article about your opinion and then try to slam that down the throats of the readers. This article is an embarassment. People who choose a mobile operating system, device, phone, do it because they like it. Suggesting that that the mainstream are Apple fans is like me saying the majority of Americans are Bruins fans. It's just simply not true. And it's not even an opinion. It just doesn't make sense. Awful article. You're being a troll.

Rene Ritchie says:

How is my article biased? Are you biased because you disagree with it?

I think there's room for a lot of competitors, and a lot of different takes as well. I just think Microsoft is poorly articulating that here, and I'd really like them to do a better job.

MastrMeatWad says:

Seriously? Of COURSE it is bias. I agree with Cormango.

Cormango says:

The keyword there "I think". Biased, yes. Apple is king of marketing and deceiving people. They tell you what you want and how much you're going to pay to have something at a premium even though it already exists. But yet Microsoft is the criminal in your mind by playing a similar game. Except this time they're using mostly fact with few skewed figured. It's nonsense and you know it. But who cares? I sure didn't. People with half a brain can figure out that it's simply marketing. Your opinion is yours. But I think this time you should have kept it to yourself. Because you just made people care... But not the way you had hoped.

I think this article was written to do exactly what you wanted. Cause an uproar of comments. That's usually fine. But for some reason this article just hit me the wrong way.

I usually enjoy your articles. I read all MobileNation sites. But I've never seen anything quite like this...

Isiah Meadows says:

No offense, but if you hadn't used phrases such as Windows being a "liability" (used in the title), Windows being an "inhuman [censored] traditional computing platform", or being "compromised" in the Windows 8 GUI, it might not have been taken as being nearly as biased.

(Also, I'd like to place a fact check: where you said "Windows...is the most desktop of desktops", practically any Linux distro would probably be even more so, considering how dependent it can get with the shell compared to every other operating system I can think of outside of the open source BSD-based ones.)

shoey5 says:

Live Titles disorienting users, that's just silly. I could semi agree with Surface RT but not with the Pro. I have one along with an iPad, Android (Asus) Prime, and even a Playbook. I've used the Surface Pro a lot more than the other 3 units combined. Reason being, there was always something lacking about using Apps for real world work tasks. Now I'd say the Surface Pro is more of a hybrid laptop but MS did do something right, I can run Apps I use on a daily basis and I don't have to settle for Apps trying to be real programs. I'm talking things like Citrix, Remote Desktop, Office, Photoshop, SharePoint..and along with all the Work Apps within my company. Hell, even taking a breather from Working is better in playing Diablo III over Angry Birds! The Touch Cover was just genius, unlike the Asus Prime with the keyboard dock, it's just effortless to attach/detach.

Surface Pro is a taste of the future, I think Tablets (as we know them) are going to go the way of netbooks, Technology is just waiting for low power components to catch up in processing to running real world Operating Systems/Apps. Eventually you're going to see what Microsoft has already started with merging Desktop/Touch in their OS coming to OSX, Linux...

Rene Ritchie says:

18-wheeler difficult for mom or pop to take to the grocery store? I disagree, I've been hauling interstate for years...

(That's the same trap most of Apple's competitors have fallen into. Mistaking themselves for the larger market. You could use anything. Not everyone is as comfortable with computing.)

shoey5 says:

Actually it's more like using a Hammer instead of a wrench to drive a nail into a wall. The Surface Pro may not be as thin and light as other tablets but it's definitely no 18 wheeler... unless you're talking about processing power?

I agree with hauling interstate for years, I hate it, that's what attracted me to the Surface Pro. It's a quarter the size of my work laptop at the same power and usability.

birdsoft says:

Here's the problem with that. The only example you and a lot of commenters keep using is mom or grandma. Are we basing the future of computing on what grandma can handle?! It is a very closed Steve Jobs way of thinking.

Even my 8 year old daughter understands some of the Windows ideas that you are trying to lump into this "computing comfort" that supposedly plagues the 'mainstream'. I dont think this uncomfortable group is necessarily the majority and you should probably re-evaluate your opinion on how smart the majority is since MOST of them have been using and understanding Windows based computers for decades.

I have basically all iOS devices and these commercials were effective in at least making me think about reconsidering for next time. Effective advertising.

Isiah Meadows says:

In the case of Linux, I could argue that Android is trying to close the gap from the other side (bring mobile up towards desktop rather than bringing desktop down towards mobile). Live tiles in Windows 8 were inspired a lot by widgets in Android. Android has had its own file browser for its entire existence. Windows 8 adopted a less window oriented GUI (which is ironic because those were its namesake), and started making it more touchscreen friendly. The Android team has been working with the Ubuntu community to make a truly feasible simultaneous dual boot of the two operating systems (which would be fantastic on a 10-inch tablet). Also, the latest release of Android (4.2 Jelly Bean) supports a multiuser environment. Windows 8 can switch between the two mainly because of backwards compatibility and it doesn't sandbox the same way Android does (it is much stricter on access control than Android, and Linux distros as well).

I could still go on a long time about this, but I think I overdid my point a little (too lazy to condense this...).

pnayo92 says:

This article made me want to throw up. Did the head editor seriously just write an entire hate article on Microsoft, spawned by their own vision and a dopey commercial? Is this serious? This article annoys me almost as much as that commercial annoyed Rene. Almost.

dandbj13 says:

Time travel. It’s the only thing that explains it. I have been trying to wrap my mind around all the nay-sayer arguments in these comments, and time travel is the only thing I can come up with that makes any sense. Every nay-sayer comment has been made without regards to the last three years. It is as if the majority of the people in this thread do not know about the iPads existence, and what it has accomplished in the market since its arrival.

Comments about the iPad’s inability to do real work, or replace a PC for a large number of people, or how Windows is the answer for tablets, or the like, are completely appropriate in a fanboy debate speculating about how the iPad might do in the marketplace, absent any real data to support it. But the iPad is here. We have the data. Despite all the supposedly, superior options available, the masses are voting with their wallets, and in every satisfaction poll that comes along. The iPad has won, and it keeps on winning. This is not about whether or not the iPad will be successful, or if it is useful, or if it is more than a toy. That has already been settled, millions of times over. What Microsoft, Google, and their fans should be asking is, why is the iPad so successful, and what are the lessons they can learn from it.

Commercials that denigrate the iPad, at this point, seem to be very wrong-headed. People love the iPad. What competitors have to do is show that they have a product that can take the user to the next, unforeseen level. The things that Microsoft is touting in these ads are things that they have been trying to promote as advantages since they first started out with tablets. All these arguments and gimmicks failed then, and are even more pathetic now that people have chosen something different.

You don’t have to prefer the iPad for yourself. But you do have to stop pretending that the last three years have not happened. Otherwise, time travel is the only explanation for the arguments I’m seeing in this thread, and in the Microsoft ads.

peterb77 says:

dandbj-
You bring up a valid argument, but perhaps we should look at the smartphone market. A few years ago Apple was winning the smartphone market, no one was even close. Fast forward a few years and Apple is chasing android. Don't you think that the same scenario could play out with tablets? Hardware to hardware no one beats Apple, but it on the software front that I think Apple loses ground. I love the the simplicity of iOS, but eventually people want more. More flexibility , more functionality. I'm not saying Apple is in danger of becoming bankrupt, but if they don't want to repeat the mistakes made in during the PC era I think they should consider what they people want vs. what they think people want.

Isiah Meadows says:

That, I'm pretty sure, happened before the iPhone was taken over. What shocks the heck out of me is that no one has really provided an Android alternative to the iPod Touch yet (the Samsung Galaxy Player was an attempt, but they never really tried to advertise it, and now it is in high demand by a specific demographic that would have eaten that up).

Isiah Meadows says:

Well put. At least Google isn't sitting around everywhere trying to see how to slam their competition all the time (and they are openly against that crap as well, both in advertising and patents).

jlb21 says:

And of course the ad is flat out wrong. You do NOT need a "special apple printer" to print from your iPad. As long as the printer is on the same wifi network as your iPad it works fine. I have no troubles printing to my HP Photosmart printer right from my spanking new iPad Mini.

adamwade says:

I'm sorry you are misinformed. Your HP printer has AirPrint, or whatever they call it, which is Apple sanctioned to use with iDevices. You cannot just print to any printer that is on the same WiFi, you just happen to own a model that does so. So yes, your printer needs to be Apple-sanctioned (and the manufacturer to pay a fee to them) to be able to just print.

kevinbhayes says:

Agreed, Apple should dump AirPrint and go with the standard Mac printing engine. In my house, I use ecamm's AirPrint software on my Mac that lets iOS devices print to any printer, to a PDF on my Mac, etc.

adamwade says:

Or on windows devices where you just connect it to any WiFi printer once like any other laptop or desktop device and click print.

Gazoobee says:

What makes me laugh is the whole idea of "needing to print" from your iPad. If you seriously want to print out stuff form your iPad (or any tablet), more than once in a blue moon, you are "doing it wrong."

I work in an environment where we've deployed many hundreds of iPads, (multiple models) over a multi-year period and one of the biggest reasons we've done so is that you actually *don't* have to print at all. I troubleshoot these devices on a daily basis and offer advice to users and do introductory lectures etc. and no-one has even asked to be supplied with an "iPad capable printer" yet. Not one.

If you think you need to print, for the most part, you don't "get" iPads at all in the first place.

mrobertson21 says:

Respectfully, it seems that manufacturers NOT named Apple just can't win in the eyes of Apple bloggers. Microsoft is sticking to their strategy, and they aren't dead yet. If they went with the casual user approach, they would get crucified on here for being too much like Apple. This "damned-if-i-do, damned-if-i-don't" thing is so prevalent today. When non-Apple manufacturers do Apple-like commercials (highlighting experience over specs), Apple bloggers call them "creepy". Highlighting specs is called "out-of-touch". I wish you guys would pick one.

kch50428 says:

The inverse is just as true... the company named Apple can do no right in the eyes of non-Apple tech bloggers.

CORYK333 says:

Same can be said about 90% of brand-centric blogs in the tech category.....shots by Android blogs at Apple, shots by Apple blogs towards WP/Android, etc... (To make matters worse, a lot of Android sites/users have started to favor certain OEMs & if you thought Apple-vs-Android flame wars were bad, go check out some of the Samsung-vs-HTC-vs-Moto nonsense going down)
** The most ridiculous thing about it all is that something such as phone preference is one of the most biased/hateful things on the web lately. When in fact it should be FAR from that.

Isiah Meadows says:

The irony of that lies in who DOESN'T get involved: Google and the Android Open Source Project, the people who made the firmware in the first place.

Jenna Jameson says:

I'm getting sick and tired of "geeks" telling me what my iPad is, what it isn't, what it replaces and what it doesn't replace.

Seems like every anti-Apple zealot out there is trying to convince me of the following.........iPad is not a replacement for a PC, and the only device out there is a Surface. That may be true, but a blanket statement like that is idiotic, shallow and myopic.

It may not be a PC replacement for YOU, but think about Joe Consumer for a minute, or the masses. They use a PC for access to the web, store some pictures, create some Word docs, play some games and manage email. They are not concerned with the so-called limitations of the iPad, as the sales numbers clearly speak to that. They do the everyday tasks quite well in a ultra portable device.

Have any of you clowns noticed the drop off in PC sales? Think iPad popularity has anything to do with that?

Call Joe Consumer whatever you want. But Joe speaks with his wallet and clearly he is speaking louder than others out there, especially MS.

adamwade says:

The drop off in PC sales is because everyone has one now and we are past the point where you had to upgrade your PC every other year to just be able to run current software.

The same things were said about iPhones, until Android overtook it. Yes, with tablets Apple finally created the market everyone had been trying to for quite some time. Just like it essentially created the modern smartphone market. But just like the phones, talk to us in three years when, if Apple doesn't get their head out of Jobs paranoia and start adding microSD and allowing more free movement of data between systems, when iPad is like the iPhone - for the truly dedicated geeks who simply must have design over function.

I own an iPad (on it as I type), an iPhone, and an Apple TV - and I can tell you, it's looking more and more like my next devices will not be Apple. But oh yeah, today we are being told that Apple devices aren't for us but for Neanderthals now who don't "know no better". Yet the iPhone is increasingly elite product. Man you guys will paint things any way you can to look good even if it means contradicting yourselves.

The Joe Consumer is also the type that would be just fine with an iPad 1 or 2 - it's the geeks that drive the "gotta have the newest version". If Apple is relying on them to keep iPad going, then they are in for a rude awakening when they realize that those people aren't going to fork over half a grand or more a year for features that don't matter to them like a slightly better camera or processor.

Gazoobee says:

"The drop off in PC sales is because everyone has one now and we are past the point where you had to upgrade your PC every other year to just be able to run current software."

This is simply incorrect. Wishful thinking at best.

Perhaps in your mind this makes sense and so seems to be true to you, but in fact you are just making it up. I've heard a few others speculate in this way, but I have never seen any proof or even a strong indicator that this is true.

adamwade says:

So it's incorrect because you, personally, have seen no evidence? It's like with the guy complaining about internal storage capacity, I'm not sure if you are being sarcastic or not.

It's been going on for a more than a decade as PC manufacturers have gone belly up in the consumer market. There used to be a dozen name brands, now just a small handful. Gone are the days when a new version of Internet Exploiter came out and you had to have a new PC to run it, and only the gamer market is on the perpetual upgrade treadmill (and even there it has slowed considerably). You can do pretty much anything on the Internet on a PC from 2003 as you can in 2013, might just be a little less snappier. In the 90's until the turn of the century, you pretty much just had to buy a new PC every two years.

Has the iPad helped that along the past couple of years? Quite possibly. But anyone who remembers the days of even your grandma having to upgrade to a new PC every few years can tell you it's far different now. I have a laptop from 2009 that I have done a few minor upgrades to and it can still run virtually everything out there including most of the newest games at least with mid-range settings if not better. A four year old PC that I will be using for several years more unless I drop it. I used to upgrade very 18-24 months. And if I don't need to, as someone who is generally on the geekier end of the spectrum, you can darn bet the average joe consumer isn't, either.

Gazoobee says:

"So it's incorrect because you, personally, have seen no evidence?"

No, it's incorrect because NO ONE has seen any evidence of it. I notice you didn't point to any in your long retort either.

adamwade says:

Yawn.

Sorry not in the habit of Googling for people, even my mom who just got her first Internet connection learned that within ten minutes.

Here is a link to get you started, which references other articles as well.

http://mobile.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/04/12/why_pc_sales_are_d...

No one, huh?

Gazoobee says:

You're reading the data incorrectly, and its' "Slate" for cripes sake.

Isiah Meadows says:

Last time I checked, the Slates are Windows tablets (that didn't start at 8, by the way). Windows 7 Slates existed before the iPhone 4 and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich were ever dreamt of. Also, the first Slates ran XP.

squirble says:

When I look at these commercials I don't think Microsoft is targeting new tablet buyers but rather current iPad owners. Let's take a real world example. I work as an Systems Admin at a law firm. We gave all of our attorneys iPads. They love them but they always want to do more than what the iPad can do. They want to use Word as it is on their desktop. Not going to happen. Pages is a good alternative for certain situations but you don't have the plugins that you have in Word. They want to connect to our document management system. There is an app for that and it's really easy to check out a document. Then you have to use Pages to make edits and it's not so easy to check docs back in. Excel, PowerPoint our secure file transfer site that uses flash, docuement review programs, access their home drive (private network space). Some can be done but require training and some can't be done at all. FYI attorneys don't have time for training.

This year we are seriously considering getting Windows tablets because it gives the attorneys exactly what they want. Their desktop in their hand. They will be able to do everything on their tablet that they can do sitting in their office. No alternative apps. No new way to do things.

I think Microsoft is going after the people who already own an iPad and are showing them that their tablet does everything that the iPad does and more. It's not a feature or 2 but a full complete OS (Pro version). Windows 8 is a very nice OS. I've been using it since RC and haven't had any issues with it.

maxhunibekim says:

Hi there. As a user who as of about a year ago switched from Windows and WP to Macbook Pro and iphone 4s, i have decided to go back to the beautiful windows and get rid of both Macbook and iphone.
My macbook worked fine for couple first months and since then its so laggy (it has hi specifications so thats not the problem). If i'm using an app connected to internet and want to browse stuff on browser its seems almost impossible while on windows u can run 100 pages at the time.
On my iphone i had to manually enter each of my contacts numbers twice to be able to get the callers names appear when they call me (i was so pissed to spend all that money and lack a fundamental ability that every simple phone in the world has since the existence of mobile phones); it was the only way as i never got any feedback on asking for help. Last but not least, there is no "turn 3G on/off" button on my full-unlocked iphone 4s and i can only rely on wifi. Checked and tried various stuff to resolve this issue and yet nothing... So should i stick to this? NO! Im getting rid of stupid expensive apple products. Never again for life
PS. Claiming that the windows surface isnt better than ipad given it can offer full OS experience means to either be stuppid or ignorant (with all do respect to everyone)

Selsandy says:

If the iPad is SOOOO BAD, can some one explain to me, why is the U.S. Government, Military & and Airlines around the world using them in such LARGE numbers and not Android or Windows??

omniusovermind says:

The one big hole in this argument is that MS has positioned themselves to be well ahead of everyone in the tablet sector for one significant reason - Intel. Intel is within months of releasing a CPU that will run like an ARM chip in terms of battery life and fanless operation while at the same time having processor power that can power full sized x86 applications. What this means for MS is that they'l be able to unleash full windows 8 OS on tablets rather than what ARM based OS's like iOS or Android which are confined to "apps" can do, but at the same time enjoy ARM based tablet features like portability and longer battery life.

Think about that for a minute: When you use your PC, you aren't confined to the limitations of "apps" so you don't bother with them. Because x86 applications are still far more powerful and functional than apps. What MS/Intel are on the brink of doing is putting the power and functionality of full x86 software in a tablet form factor. Futhermore, a x86 OS is much easier and less troublesome when it comes to connecting to 100's of peripherals. This is exactly why MS has moved to a touch screen friendly full OS.

cardfan says:

Fine argument. If we didn't have that Metro bloatware mess to contend with... I'd take a windows tablet that didn't compromise on tablet features..battery life, high ppi screen, performance, etc. For that form factor though you need a limited light OS such iOS or android.

Gazoobee says:

What's with all the pro-windows guys on this thread anyway? Was this article advertised in some windows forum somewhere?

This post above is pure fantasy. Wintel "dogma" at it's finest.

The sad little myth that intel has a chip that can compete in power/performance with ARM and that it's "just around the corner" has been around for years now. It's not true. It's marketing speak from the company that's having it's lunch eaten by ARM. It's trash talk. Braggadocio.

Intel is years away from such a chip and ARM (especially Apple's ARM SoC's), are advancing faster with each iteration than intel. Intel would have to go at double speed just to keep up. It's not likely to pull ahead next year or any year soon.

sting7k says:

I think I have to disagree here. A lot of people already ran out and bought iPads. But even more people still do not own any form of tablet, including myself. The reason being there is no compelling reason for me to buy one. I just don't feel that they are useful. The iPad can't do anything my iPhone or Nexus 4 can't already do. And to me being able to fit in my pocket is a greater advantage.

Microsoft is marketing the iPad to everyone else who doesn't already have an iPad. Many who do not see it as a useful product and see it only as a big iPod/iPhone. The iPad is a dead simple computer. I've been hawking it to everyone in my family as they struggle with Windows. My grandma is in love with her iPad, she feels like she can finally use a computer and "the internet". The Playbook and honestly Android tablets are the same as an iPad; just big versions of a pocket sized device. The iPad has apps that are a little fancier.

Windows 8 Tablets/Surface is for the rest of us. It can function nearly as simply as an iPad. But it also can run Windows programs. Programs that the world still uses to do work. There are zero iPads at work. But just 2 weeks ago 4 people replaced their laptops with Surface Pros.

adamwade says:

And banking on those people who just want an easy way to get on "the Internet" is terrible for long term sales. Unless she drops/breaks it, chances are your grandma will never need to upgrade her device, ever. Apple thrives on the "gotta upgrade to newest version" mentality of hard core users, and if the iPad isn't actually for those hard-core users, then it's hard to see how this momentum could possibly be maintained.

Gazoobee says:

Actually, there is a huge, untapped market of folks who "just want to get on the Internet," and your assumption that they are all "grandma" (or seniors) is incorrect.

The truck/car analogy is still the best way to look at it. There are lots and lots of folks that aren't stupid, aren't old or technically illiterate, understand the basics of computers but still prefer to have a computer that works, without them having to know anything about what's under the hood, or fiddle with file systems and document management.

This market has been estimated in some circles to be five or six times the size of the current computer market.

jkeitz says:

I have an iPad as well as an Ultrabook with Windows 8. I love working with the iPad, but I also found this commercial very effective. Nevertheless, the simple counter for Apple is to run down a tiny fraction of the apps available to you on the iPad that are simply unavailable in the Windows store (and legacy apps run on Windows 8, but not in the Windows 8 environment, so it isn't as pretty as it should be). After that, compare the battery life, and end the commercial. Dead MS tablets...

omniusovermind says:

And by the end of this year, when you'll be able to buy a full windows 8 tablet that runs more powerful and functional full windows programs, the selection of which dwarfs the "App Store" without the battery life limitations of previous windows tablets... then what does the iPad have? I don't know about you but I'm pretty sure I'd rather have the full power functions of an actual program over what an "app" can do if I'll get to choose either once battery life differences are gone.

prlundberg says:

But the key is that legacy Windows programs are not touch-friendly. So they don't really matter much from a tablet perspective. Microsoft still needs a much stronger store. Not just apps either, the store experience is quite poor right now. If you don't know exactly what you are looking for you probably won't find it, and if you don't like a particular app good luck with your search for something similar. They need to open up the platform as well.

Dark_Blu says:

Honestly, if Microsoft cut the price of the Surface to $499 with the keyboard included, they'd sell like hotcakes to business people. No one is going to pay $900 for a Windows 8 Pro Surface Tablet that doesn't come with a keyboard. The iPad mini alone will outsell the surface purely based on price. Price is the big differentiator when it comes to Tablets. The assertion that consumers are willing to pay more for more features, was already proven wrong when Android Tablet manufacturer's over priced their Tablets and the iPad outsold them. Microsoft should have already learned this lesson from the first time they did Tablet PC's. As long as they are overpriced, few people will buy them.

prlundberg says:

They are not overpriced. They are Ultrabook specs and capability for an Ultrabook price. They are too expensive and their screens too small for most businesses to justify them. But that does not mean they are overpriced.

What Microsoft should have done was make the Surface RT business friendly. With RDP it's all most road warriors would need when they travel. But no VPN or groups mean it's not an option at all for most businesses.

cardfan says:

I think it's the other way around. Metro isn't wanted and is the liability. I've not run into one person that actually likes it. No one in my circle of friends or family wants windows 8. I use it for the OS enhancements but completely ignore and stay out of the Metro UI using Start8.

On the tablet end which Rene talks about: I don't consider tablets for anything other than entertainment. And the ipad shines here. They're fun to use. I understand some people can be productive or whatever on them, and more power to you if you're in that minority.

The problem with windows on a tablet is there's been nothing thin, light, great battery, and great performance. Deliver that product, and I'll get one. I think Rene is wrong in this regard. There's plenty of demand out there for such a tablet.

Think about it for a minute. What tablet out there running windows has been truly great? The Surface is too big, has poor battery life, poor storage, lacks cellular, poor screen, etc. Other tablets for windows have crap performance if they try to boost the battery life.

Think of the features people want for iOS. File system. More storage options. Widgets. More customization. Better multitasking. Be more jailbreak neutral. Ability to make other apps default apps. In other words, you want it more windows (desktop) like. Interesting...

omniusovermind says:

"The problem with windows on a tablet is there's been nothing thin, light, great battery, and great performance. Deliver that product, and I'll get one. I think Rene is wrong in this regard. There's plenty of demand out there for such a tablet"

You're right, and they'll be here by the end of the year. Do a search for: Intel silvermont

prlundberg says:

That's what Surface RT is for now. It meets all his requirements right now except resolution, and even there for entertainment it's arguably better because it's a native HD resolution and aspect ratio. I wouldn't call it "truly great" but if it meets almost all of the requirements he puts forth why ignore it? The problem I think is that he doesn't really know what he wants or what is out there and will just come up with more excuses if these facts are pointed out one by one.

Faraz Riaz says:

The “Modern UI” is brilliantly designed. It comes alive when you connect multi-monitors with it. The way it handles app switching is brilliant. Apple does make good hardware but the software always been boring. Apple has always been good with advertising and that has worked well for them. Apple’s success came out of Microsoft’s own ignorance.
But when you use a product like “Surface” you appreciate that extra stuff. You start to love everything else it offers. You love the browsing experience and, the different experience. I don’t care about the battery life because the experience is brilliant.

prlundberg says:

Wow you people get bent out of shape easily. This kind of commercial is exactly what Microsoft should have been doing in the first place instead of their "song and dance" nonsense that showed nothing of what Windows RT/8 can do. In case you didn't notice, the Metro/Modern interface is NOT traditional Windows. It's not even close. What the heck was so complicated and hard to understand about what was shown in that commercial? Believe it or not, people (and not just geeks) do want the things shown in that commercial and Microsoft demonstrated how simply it works.

I now have a Surface RT and it has become a laptop replacement for me while also meeting my tablet needs. It's not perfect, and it doesn't replace a home PC. But to make comparisons of what was shown here to early XP slates and traditional desktops is a ridiculous reach. Microsoft is attempting to give us everything we want in a tablet OS PLUS the ability to use the desktop when it is better suited for the task AND removing the requirement for specialized apps and hardware for basic peripherals. And up until now they have failed miserably at demonstrating that.

west3man says:

This convo is nuts.

Too much attitude and emotion. Too little reason.

I'm seeing really cool-headed, thoughtful commenters attacked for pretty much nothing when these are some of the people most open to considering a contrary opinion.

Anyway, I'm surprised Rene wrote this after the way he's criticized iOS - not because WE MUST LOVE OR HATE A THING but because the opinions he has here seem to contradict those he made about ios needing to adapt and evolve.

Dev from tipb says:

Eh. Maybe. But you make an assertion, and then draw conclusions without proving the assertion. The iPad is clearly a huge success, but it does not necessarily follow that simplicity is the sole, or even overriding, reason for its success. It may have simply being the first to market with a touch-optimized interface and great battery life. Simplicity aided Apple in delivering those things, certainly, but it may very well be that a significant niche only tolerates simplicity because it let Apple deliver on other features, and which craves a tablet that can provide more power as long as it does not sacrifice those other features.

Which brings us back to Microsoft. The iPad dominates almost to the point of being a default choice in the market. Against that, Microsoft not only has to make a great product, they have to clearly answer the consumer question "why should I buy this instead of an iPad." Creating something that apes the iPad's simplicity would fail that test, and doom Windows8 to be, at best, an also-ran competing with Android for the scraps left over from Apple. Microsoft has to do something more to gain any traction whatsoever.

With that in mind, they are trying to create in consumer's minds that the iPad's strength (simplicity) is also a weakness (lack of ability). They 100% agree with your statement that "it only matters what you can do with something" -- and they are trying to plant a seed in customer minds that there are some things that you cannot do with an iPad.

Will it work? I doubt it, but mainly because I do not think Windows 8 is the product to do it.

bdegrande says:

I have owned iPads since the beginning and own a tablet running RT (Asus Vivo Tab). and I managed a PC support area for many years. The entire history of computers has been about making them easier to use - from punch cards to terminals to GUIs, etc. Simplicity is ABSOLUTELY what makes the iPad matter - a three year old or a technophobe grandparent can use one. Windows 8 is not remotely in the same range of simplicity - there should be some indication of how to get to the charms, it is not at all obvious how to shut it down, etc, it is a step in the right direction, but it's not there yet. More importantly, it is just two big and too much of a resource hog for current tablet hardware - gobbling up half of a 64GB Surface Pro gives you very little room for applications, and a tablet should NEVER have a fan. This also has a big effect on battery life. A combination of more powerful hardware and a more efficient OS (Win 9) will make Windows tablets more useful, but they are not there yet, which is why I went for RT - at least the tablet runs cool and has great battery life and Office and I am in the minority that really likes Metro.

In almost every use case, I would prefer an ultrabook to the current Windows tablets.

dayoungtx says:

Ok,. Maybe this has been said already, but I think that Rene misses one point of differentiation here. I don't see the Surface as a "tablet" and therefore I don't look at it as a competitor with the Ipad. To me the Surface is a hybrid... its between a traditional tablet and a laptop. I have been using the Surface Pro for a couple months now and it has completely replaced my laptop AND has become both my main work engine at home and my main entertainment engine as well. I get the best of BOTH worlds. The key is that the Surface does things that the Ipad just can't and really won't ever do like network to my shared folder at work, allow me to use a USB port, work on two separate things at once.. seriously, once you've started watching a movie on a plane and had your email open at the same time, nothing is ever the same. Plus I can customize and organize my homescreen and I really find value in the live tiles. Do have access o a gillion apps, no.. Do I miss them, a little but I think Microsoft has really good product that should have widespread appeal - at least for business use.

lbaxter says:

Exactly! My opinion of what a tablet is supposed to be is a smaller/more mobile version of a desktop or laptop. As a consumer, I don't want something that is just a bigger version of my iPhone or iPod Touch. Those are both great devices for MOBILE use. There are those of us who want the functionality (and heck, even just a USB port and file system) of a PC without the size. With iPad, you don't get that, you get a large mobile interface.

Had Apple made a hybrid between iOS and OSX, then there would be an argument to be made that the iPad is superior to Windows 8 RT tablets. (The iPad IS superior for mobile use, but not for PC/Tablet use which is what I'm looking for.)

I'm just glad Microsoft has finally taken some jabs at the competition (if you want to get respect, you gotta take on the biggest, baddest guy in the yard). Had they just stuck to attacking the plethora of Android offerings, we might be calling MS a bully for picking on a weaker tablet OS.

Gazoobee says:

I agree that the Surface is really a hybrid laptop, that's actually why it fails so bad as a tablet. You literally cannot use it unless you have a table to work on for instance. It's useless in portrait mode too.

Also, just to be picky you can do all of the things you mention here as "cant's" on the iPad. It connects effortlessly to a WebDAV for instance. You can easily do many things at once, you *can* use the USB port adapter if you need a USB port, and you can also organise your home screen etc.

Obviously the Surface is for you as you seem to like the live tiles, but a lot of people on this thread that are criticising the iPad seems to be blissfully unaware of what it can actually do. Most don't seem to have ever even used one for more than a minute or two.

My advice to everyone here is that they should actually look into the facts before they spout off, but that's probably too much to ask. I think some must actually be paid commenters because it doesn't make sense that people who know so little about the iPad and hate Apple so much bother to come here at all.

temm says:

i really enjoyed the article and i couldn't agree more.

I'm wondering what all the users the bought RT will be doing when ms trashes it.

northcode says:

People DID want iPads. Remember when Microsoft introduced tablets YEARS before they were a glimmer in Steve's eye? Timing is everything. Apple timed their tablet and the feature set well and targeted a specific audience. The iPad is not a PC replacement. Surface is, and the time is right to introduce a REAL PC replacement. Surface lets you use it like a tablet or go into full PC mode. Choice is something Apple has never embraced and unless they do, surface is going to eat them for lunch.

Gazoobee says:

"Remember when Microsoft introduced tablets YEARS before they were a glimmer in Steve's eye?"

For the record, Apple had already created, shipped, marketed, revised and then ultimately removed from sale their *first* tablet before the "Tablet PC" was a glimmer in Bill Gates' eye.

oldtaku says:

Uh, no. Nerds like us want choice. Most people do not want choice. They are far more comfortable with just one easy way of doing things and not having to worry about it. That's precisely why Apple is doing so great.

Jenna Jameson says:

"Surface is going to eat them for lunch." Are you freakin kidding me? Dude, think before you post.

You missed the whole point of this article. You may not think aniPad is a replacement for a PC, but for millions and millions of other people besides you it is. Web activity, pictures, email and some games. Throw in some word documents and that is it.

Who cares what you think? Do you speak for the hundreds of millions of consumers who bought an iPad and have stopped using their PC?

Trodecke says:

I don't always see eye to eye with you Rene but for this particular article, you've hit the nail on the head, driven it through the board, and made it explode coming out the other side. You're spot on with all your comments. To further illustrate your point, I'll use my mom as an example. She's 73 years old. She's had a cell phone for about 10 years but to her it was an emergency type device, something to take with her on road trips to call for help if she needed it. She's been using computers for decades but is continually frustrated by them. When things don't work exactly the way she expects them to work, I usually get a call asking for assistance. About 2 years ago she "inherited" an iPhone 3 when my sister upgraded to the 4s. She took to it immediately and, to my knowledge, has never asked a question of anyone for anything, for any reason. As you've stated many times, it simply worked, and that's what she wanted. When I let her use my iPad so she could go online and pay some bills, once again she was able to use it without questions, without concern, without anxiety (other than she was afraid she'd drop it), and without reservations. It just worked.

oldtaku says:

I'm really astounded (though I shouldn't be) just how many comments completely missed the point of the article. /We are not normal/ and we're not the market.

Sure, you want complete control of all the fiddly stuff, I want complete control of all the fiddly stuff. But nerds are not the market they're chasing here. Choice and power just confuse most people. I have an Android tablet (rooted) for me, but I bought my parents iPads, which they love and my tech support burden is near zero. Icons (tiles) that keep changing on their own would indeed completely freak my Mom out.

MS is attempting to grow their market beyond the hardcore windows on desktop people, and bringing desktop to the tablet is not the way to do that. Remember, they sold tens of millions of iDevices with no cut and paste capability - and that was a constant flamewar thing in comments, but normal people mostly didn't care. Hell, most people with iDevices still have no idea how to do the cut and paste. They don't need it.

darrenlowjq says:

Actually the Surface is a manifestation of what I want, the ability to take a device, be able to run anything anywhere. When I'm at home, plug it into a monitor and its a fully featured desktop. Leave the house, I just unplug it and off I go.

Of course, the analogue to that in the Apple ecosystem would be to use the cloud to seamlessly sync files and use the appropriate devices at different times. However, Apple still hasn't fixed the broken mess that iCloud, Messages, and its other online services are. Until they do, the Surface is a superior product in terms of functionality, IMO. I'm just waiting on gen 2 to arrive with Haswell for much needed battery life improvements before I shell out for a Surface and my iPad will be downgraded to being a tethering device.

Of course, I realise that my use case for a tablet would differ from most people who are content with the ability to play games and surf the web, but I would like more functionality even on the go, and that's the market this ad targets.

grangerfx says:

Microsoft's most successful consumer product, the XBox 360, had a user interface that looked nothing like Windows. I agree with this article. Most people don't want Windows in any form on any device. That is something they may have to put up with at work but there is no way they would choose to subject themselves to that kind of hassle if they don't have to.

This is also why I can't fathom why Intel want to shove x86 compatible processors onto mobile devices. The big feature of x86 is backwards compatibility and that is actually a liability on a mobile device. When I bring this up with Intel employees they say "oh but it costs very little extra silicon for x86 compatibility" and so I say "I still don't want it. How about using it for a bit more cache or something useful instead?" But then I also did not understand Larrabee so what do I know?

Demond Mapp says:

By no means am I a computer geek but I am a man that loves toys! Electronic Toys that is and I love Apple products. They look awesome and they last long and some odd reason... USER FRIENDLY! My first BAD experience with Windows was the Windows Media Center operating system. There were so many bugs with setting up trash with that operating system that it made me mad. Then I had to Google search information online to figure it out. Then came Windows Vista that totally turned me away from Windows operating systems all together. It took me 6 months and $5,000.00 to replace two desktop computers in my house with two MAC BOOK PROs and AIR and the family thinks I am a God.

As long as Apple keeps making products that look good and are USER FRIENDLY to the non-geek person such as myself, I will keep buying there products.

The new Windows 8 tablets look cool but I know if I buy one that if install to many apps that it will slow down and will not perform as well. Much like any Windows Operating system. I am staying with Apple products cause they are the BEST!

Sorry Windows but you will never get me back!

Hoser Man says:

I know this has nothing to do with tablets by MS, but when I bought my first Ford with MS/Sync installed as an option, I thought then that there is nothing that MS can do right with non-computer operating software. Sync, even four years later in my wife's car, is still not perfected; its still clunky, multiple command level garbage which makes me wish that Apple had designed it for Ford. MS is a horrible "gadget" company and now their OS for computers is still not perfected.

NAMISH says:

For a specific market it certainly doesn't matter what something can do, but what you can do with it... but for majority, specs and features play a vital role in determining what to purchase. At least that's the way I see it.

I love the iPad and I love the Surface Pro... And I'd rather carry a Surface Pro with me than an iPad but that's completely based off of how I intend on using it for my needs.

chaitanya91845 says:

I cant help but get the feeling that someone got pissed off seeing the ads and is desperately trying to glorify the limitations of the iPad. I love my iPad, but the absence of a filesystem is annoying. I cannot spend a single day without using iFile. And dropbox is NOT a solution. Why do I have to be connected to the internet to access the files I need?

kevinbhayes says:

How many times can it be said that the file system is the biggest stumbling block with making computers easy to use. The iPad succeeded because it didn't have a user-accessible file system (among other factors) not in spite of it. People don't want their iPad to be hard to use.

I'm not sure what will convince some people that feature removal or limitation can be an advantage. If the iPad's massive success can't convince them of this, I don't know if anything can.

Ipheuria says:

I agree that Microsoft has the total wrong idea with their new OS and with their new Tablets. I do think that Windows on the PC is not as hard to use as many people make it out to be I use it every day as well as many, many, many people I know. Does it translate to a tablet, no, it didn't in the 90s and it sure doesn't now but Microsoft doesn't seem to know that even now. I respect that they are trying to do things different than the iPad but the problem there is that no one could possibly think the iPad is the "perfect" tablet. So instead why not do the same idea as the iPad and just look for it's weakness and make yours better? One thing no tablet device has dealt with yet is the limitation of space. You're talking about tablets ushering in a post PC era and yet without a PC where is everything going to go? I have friends with 32, 64 and even if they had a 128GB iPad without a computer it will eventually become full. Where do the pictures that our smartphones and tablets go? Tablets can't hook up to externals in order to offload the data and add to that the fact all apps being installed take up space both the program and the data the space limitation becomes very apparent. I know Winodws has USB ports so maybe it can hook up to an external to offload data so maybe that is what you should highlight. Instead they have already built a frustrating user experience by making people think that it's the same on the computer as it is on the tablet device and it's hard to come back from that.

BC 2009 says:

Great article Rene, but I think you made one error. I don't believe the first advertisement is comparing Power Point to Keynote but rather to Apple's read-only Power-Point viewer.

In actuality, Keynote has a much better touch interface that the new version of MS Power Point. The mere fact that Office on Windows 8 requires the desktop is indicative of the fact that Microsoft failed to truly make a touch version of MS Office. It's a shame because I was looking forward to a touch version of Office on iPad at one point. I was willing to pay $100 for such a suite if Microsoft improved on the touch user interface that Apple provided for iWork apps. Instead, Microsoft's idea of "touch interface" was to make the icons in the ribbon bar larger and spaced further apart. I am no longer looking forward to a touch version of Office because I no longer believe Microsoft truly understands how any complex app should operate in a touch environment. iPhoto is a clear example that Apple does understand how to make a feature-rich app friendly to a touch interface. I am more excited now for Apple to revamp the iWork apps and provide better compatibility with the desktop versions so I no longer see warnings that my documents may not appear the same as they did on the desktop.

TheDarKnight says:

“To mainstream customers, tiles that change pictures seemingly at random are disorienting,” all live tiles still show the app name or the app icon on the corner very clearly even when tiles are changing, it’s never disorienting, also you have the option to turn them off if you don’t like them and feel disoriented and about to fall or something.
“multiple apps at once is stressful” really ? You call that stress? How about switching back and forth between apps in iPads, isn’t that stressful?
How is it stressful when your screen is split showing video chatting with someone or just IM’ing them, and the other part showing your calendar (setting a reminder together) or a photo album (viewing shared pics on SkyDrive) or anything else.
Some of your points could be valid, but these two don’t make sense.
If Microsoft just showed the home screens of each device I think it’s enough for a lot of people to realize how windows 8 is more alive, interactive, capable and modern.
iPad are only good for entertainment, but other tables (windows or android ones) can be used for entertainment and more, and with ads like this people can realize that they don’t have to pay the big bucks for an iPad where there is really better alternatives.

Zaft says:

The ipad for me has been a pc replacement. My laptop is collecting dust basically. Everyone is different. I do hope apple adds some functionality to the core apps. For example i would like to attach a PDF from the mail app.

rukafitness says:

Thanks for the insightful article. Microsoft thinks that people live, breathe and eat Windows and that they love Windows. Most people associate Windows with work. Most people are frustrated with Windows. Most people aren't geeks and don't want to spend time tinkering with their computers. When they leave work, the last thing they want when they are relaxing is to be reminded of work. And, believe it or not, when people get home from work they want to relax. All this crap about the Surface "getting stuff done" is lost on most people. That's why they like their iPads. Surf the web, go online, watch YouTube, or television or whatever, from your sofa. That's what people like to do.

Microsoft doesn't get the baggage and bad feelings that comes with Windows. They should have taken a lesson from the success and acceptance of Xbox. But they are so entrenched in their "Windows everywhere" mindset they just don't get it.

baseballbert says:

Apple makes incredible products, have for years and will continue to do so. I've had iPhones 3-5, iPads 2 and 3, four gens of the nano and an iPod touch.

I now find myself using my Lumia 920 more than my iOS devices. Why? Because I can get more done, faster. While it isn't perfect, Office on WP devices is pretty functional and when you mix it in with Skydrive, it's pretty potent.

The app selection isn't there yet, but for the main things I need it for (email, text, calls, web browsing) IMHO WP is superior to iOS because I can get to information faster without having to dig through multiple layers of an app to get what I want.

Evernote is the best example of this. I can pin particular notes to my home screen and get to them much faster for meetings, client apps, etc. It is good on iOS and very refined, there are just more steps to go through to get to the I formation you want. This is where WP has the "glance and go advantage."

Pinning contacts to a home screen also makes it much faster to text, call, email or post to their Facebook wall. iOS works just as well, there are just more steps to take.

I am NOT saying apple is done or is failing, they will continue to do well. The point being that their competitors are beginning to put out things that have great features that are raising the functionality bar.

ronjiedotcom says:

Comparing 64Gb iPad vs 64Gb Asus. No mention of actual useable space? No mention of battery lives?

Also, is MS saying, to hell with Surface!?

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