Windows Dev: iPad beginning of the end for Windows dominance?

Brad Wardell is CEO of Stardock and a well known Windows developer who has just spent 3 weeks with the iPad and been impressed with its instant-on capabilities for email, rss, web browsing, video watching, social networking, and otherwise consuming content to the extent he thinks it may spell the beginning of the end for desktop Windows dominance.

I love my ThinkPad T400. But when I go to it, I have to pray whether it’ll come out of sleep. If it does come out of sleep, it’ll be slow. Maybe it will be out of batteries. Who knows. What I do know is that it’s far too slow as a consumer device. Netbooks are even worse. It seems like such a little thing – instant on. But it’s the difference between a DVR and a VCR in terms of leap of effective functionality.

He also likes that developers can make a lot of cool $2 apps. His take away:

The 3 things I mention here are so outshine the Windows PC experience that if Microsoft doesn’t get off its duff and start addressing them soon then I predict Windows will become purely a content creation device whose content is primarily consumed elsewhere. There’s really no excuse that in 2010, Windows is in the shape its in (particularly with regard to instant on).

I use Mac far more than Windows these days, but if I'm not doing hardcore content creation, I'm closing the lid and picking up my iPad. It's just that convenient.

[Brad Wardell via Daring Fireball]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Windows Dev: iPad beginning of the end for Windows dominance?


Hmm...excellent point. Maybe Moses, eh...I mean Steve Jobs was right afterall. The iPad will start a revolution! Lol.

The iPad is just a media device, period. A very well done media device, but still just a media device. Unless it becomes more open and robust, it will never replace a computer. And OS X / Mac will never end Window's dominance: Microsoft's marketing strategies in the past has basically cemented it in the 90%+ market penetration.
Sorry Rene, but you're in the minority here. I still use my notebook for the vast majority of computing work I need to do, media, office-related, etc... and if you looked outside the readers of this blog I suspect you'd find that true for the majority of people.
And yes, just my opinion. :)

The sensation of "instant on" is what sets my MBP apart from my HP laptop. Whereas I NEVER shut down the Mac (although it occasionally runs out of battery during idle), my HP needs the shutdown if I want it to start reliably on the next attempt.
But even with the almost instant on facilities and high level of portability of my 13" MBP, I still tend to use my iPhone for Internet surfing, blog wiring, facebooking and emailing far more than I use my laptop. And they even share the same shelf for charging, so I need to go to the same place to get it.

@2- yes, but a media/email/web device is what most people need most of the time.
Still, I don't see Windows' dominance ending any time soon. But the referenced dev may be correct- that Windows gets used more and more to create the content that will be consumed elsewhere.

@2: Wardell isn't thinking about now. He's thinking about the future. As cloud services progress, as virtualization technologies progress, as web browsers become more capable, as machines become more portable, as processes become faster to compute, and as application services become consolidated - you WILL see a transition from the desktop to the portable, and within the realm of portable, you will see LONG lasting batteries, always on internet connections, and instant on devices. Just as Opera for the iPhone processes webpages on its own services before sending the rendered site to your iPhone, the same will evolve with more tasking apps. Desktop machines will become "specialized" for certain functions, such as desktop publishing, CAD, etc. Just watch. This is what it will come to. One consolidated piece of technology being the key to the rest of the world.

There’s really no excuse that in 2010, Windows is in the shape its in (particularly with regard to instant on).

That's what happens when you are on top for so long, that you feel there is no reason to innovate. It happened with Win Mobile, it happened with IE and it will happen with Windows. M$ is a company that lacks the drive and innovation that made it great so many decades ago. They are now a toothless tiger waiting for death.

NOOO! If Windows stops sucking donkey nads I won't have job security. Keep doing what you're doing MS. You're keeping us IT guys employed.

@ETron .. TRUTH!!!!!!!! Win has so many problems is has all our IT peeps backed up with tons of work.

What Windows users liked about MS was familiarity - we all suffered the learning curve to be able to use it's flawed, lacklustre interfaces; cursed it's various colored screens of death; suffered having to use it at work while we pined for our Macs at home - and then they changed it. MS is dead, long live MS - don't let the door hit you on the way out and good riddance.

Windows will still dominate with its cheap $400 E-Machine computers and you know what there is nothing wrong with that. I have family that would not shell out for anything over an iPod and they use the most basic cheap PC. People also like having a bigger screen in front of them.

In twenty-two years, I've never used Windows and never will. Glad to see you've finally awakened from your coma, Mr. Wardell.

"I use Mac far more than Windows these days, but if I’m not doing hardcore content creation, I’m closing the lid and picking up my iPad. It’s just that convenient."
That assumes you can afford or feel it valuable to pay for two computing devices, one general purpose computing/content creation and one for consumption. Many/most will either be unable to afford the pair or not feel the cost is justified.

I bought a Windows 7 notebook simply because it's faster and does more than the iPad and for less money. Mr. Wordell is just wrong. IMO.

For me the sweet spot is a 27" iMac and a 3G iPad. I'm a Civil Engineer and use Numbers in lieu of Excel and Parallels plus Windoze XP for my vertical market software. MacRumors has it that AutoDesk is even thinking of reintroducing AutoCAD for Mac. I "print out" drawings in PDF and export them to iPad to take in the field. It cuts down on the clutter of rolls of plans and stacks of papers.

If you have been on the web, you have used Windows indirectly. (IIS may be crap, but it runs a lot of popular sites.) If you have used most types of touch screen ATMs, or one of a half dozen gas station brands, or shopped at any number of point of sales retail operations, you have used Windows directly. Heck, if you bought something at an Apple Store form 2006-2009, you used Windows directly and even gasp signed on a Windows CE terminal.
And so what? Computers are tools. How some people confuse what they buy with some sense of personal pride never ceases to amuse.

The same way we laugh at people when they say 'iPhone killer'... it is hard not to laugh at this guy (and potentially Rene if he agrees) for calling the iPad a PC killer. If windows dies (95% of the world market) than the Mac (4% of the worlds market) will surely die with it..... sooooo what are we sayin here?

Exactly, my Windows laptop works perfect, instant on (especially from sleep) easy to use, great interface, decent battery life, and is light. Poor guy just has old tech.....

Brad Wardell have you listened about Windows 7 with i7? It will come out of sleep before you do.

Yes. I am sure you've never gotten gas at a gas station. Or used an ATM. Or shopped at a retail outlet. And that makes you oh-so-cool.

"I guess you think that the ipad will always be that size and that they won’t put it into a larger unit for home use."
I'm holding out for the 30-inch iSlab.

Yes. I think I want an ipad. If I do get one , my iPhone will play a lesser part. I've done papers , sent my modeling port via email , view a lot of websites for research right from my iPhone. An ipad will just take all of that over.
I need the new iPhone to have wifi hotapot functionality so I won't have to pay for a seperate data plan.

I use my iPhone more then I use my PC it's sad how many problems their are with vista. I see no reason to even use it just can't wait till I get my MBP in the summer. Once PC users see the Apple Tree I think Windows might actually step up. Till then were stuck having to go to the IT guys :)

I've used MS Windows since before the numbers were added to it, got completely hooked until 2007. It took me 22 years and a dozen PCs (speaks to longevity of the PC and my age!) to realize that what I wanted wasn't a computer but a tool. I didn't want to create a project every time I wanted to solve a problem; I just wanted to solve a problem. Since 2007, I have only seen the BSD on my lone windows machine that I keep two programs on that do not yet have Mac equivalents. That also goes for viruses, complicated network setups, backups that don't work, and programs that are so tied to the OS that when they go down, so does the OS.
As for the iPad, before it's release, I knew it would be my device of choice. Not because I knew what it did beforehand, but because I knew what I wanted it to do for me, and assumed from the history of Apple that it just would. Slowly, it is doing just that. I now use it more than my laptop, desktop, or iPhone. Just for casual stuff yea, but also for work, for looking at the news, a TV show, or even a recipe. The point is, it's fast, very fast. And easy. Yea, it'll blow away Windows, and it's progeny will blow away most all other standard consumer data devices within 7 years. And my guess is that Apple will build them unless someone else begins using the same model.

I'd still have to look at the numbers on this. The percentage of people satisfied with their machine speaks for itself.
If Windows was OH so terrible, people would not own it. People get what they want.
And I must agree with previous posters also, he must have either old tech or low end tech (think Dell $500 laptop) because my Asus laptop jerks right out of sleep like I just slapped it. But each their own opinion.
I just honestly wait for the day that Mac takes over. I'll be laughing when people actually feel the need to make a virus for it. Then Mac will become the new Windows.s (See Mr. Wardell, I can make silly predictions also! :D)

I'm happy with my iPad because it improves my quality of life each day, for couch, travel and other portability. It's 90%magic for me - but the other 10% is limitations and frustrations. I've seen the white frozen apple screen sometimes and I've wrestled with the on-screen virtual keyboard (now doing much better after I read's typing tips - THANK YOU, TIPB!) I have ''fat finger'' usage problems at times and wrestle with Apple arrogance choices in how things work, occasionally. Overall, it's well worth the occasional hassles. And my husband says if Apple creates an iPad with a 50% larger screen, he'll buy one. (Until then, he'll keep scrounging mine to play his favorite Blocks game app and check BBC News.)
I detect some myths of Apple uber alles in these discussions. I agree with the folks who say computers are just tools to get things done. Before I retired as a system programmer for IBM large systems, customer systems were doing ''bet your business'' 24/7 apps such as handling the processing that happens when we swipe a Visa card. The super servers are needed, but nimble front-end devices like the lovely iPad are making life better. Mine is well worth the money. I'm willing to work a part-time job during retirement, at age 63, to afford extras like the iPad.

@eTron, Please, as if OSX doesn't create work for IT. We have a small art department at the company I work for with only 4 Macs and they have created plenty of work for us. When you consider they all get used the same way, all are identical and only have a handful of apps, they have way more problems then they should.
No OS is perfect. Even if one was, the user wouldn't be. There will always be IT work.

Rob, MS Windows has always had numbers after it's name. I was there too. Reading your statements makes me feel like the last MS OS you ran was Win95.

Ermax, my bad, Guess I should have said 1.0. Actually, the current Win version I'm running is XP. I won't pay to go any higher any more, just tired of it. I'd rather wait for a mac version and trash the PCs.