We’ve looked at the options that both MS and Apple provide. Let’s see how they stack up and compare…
Convergence – Bringing it Together?
A laptop is different than a tablet. Aside from the form factor difference, there are differences in the hardware that may or may not make implementation of common features possible.
Microsoft is planning on creating one OS that will be run on a just about any computing device. With this implementation plan, they don’t have to worry about what a specific platform can or cannot do. The OS provides the feature set. The hardware either does or does not support it and the user has to work around the lack of support, if necessary (as in a laptop that doesn’t have a touch screen, for example). This makes development of both software and compatible hardware easier, but puts the burden on the end user to figure out how to make it work for them.
Apple has decided to bring specific features from their mobile platform to their stationary (as in not iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch) platform. They understand that the platforms and devices function differently and have designed the implementation of common feature sets differently so the user doesn’t have to work around them as much. The burden here is on Apple to make it all work, not the user to figure it out.
I’ve been in software development most of my career. Both Microsoft and Apple have made conscious business decisions on how to approach mobile computing. While I’m not gonna “fan-boy” this in any way; or even bash the other, I really do have to say that the forcing your user to work around the lack of hardware components or features isn’t exactly the right way to do business. The only “person” Microsoft seems to have helped is either itself or their hardware partners. The end user, seems out of luck, if you’re using Windows 8 on anything else other than a convertible Tablet PC, which has the best of both worlds.
At the end of the day, the question you have to ask yourself is whether there’s value to bringing the two platforms – tablet/smartphone and desktop computing – together at all. I can see a benefit to building synergy between the two; but what I don’t see value in, is the blurring of lines to the point where one option is effectively eliminated…at least not right away.
It may be that desktop computing gets replaced with tablets and perhaps a cool AI like Siri; but doing that in two to three OS iterations is going to cause a bigger problem that it resolves, at least in my opinion.