Barney's Rubble

Smashing the iPad

Doug buys an iPad, but he's looking forward to the Surface.

I'm now officially an objective observer in the upcoming war between Windows and iPad tablets, having shelled out 500 of my hard-earned Barney dollars for an iPad.

After owning an iPad for more than a month, the fact that it's barely been used in a house with two adults, a 16-year-old Apple fan and a 5-year-old girl tells you something. The bloom is off the iPad rose.

The 5-year-old loves Bugs Bunny on TV and Angry Birds on her brother's iPhone. The 16-year-old loves his Xbox 360, Netflix, Macbook and Greek classics in actual print. No e-readers for him.

So I have the Apple tablet all to myself. Here's what I think. The iPad camera is awesome, but the onscreen keyboard is still just an onscreen keyboard. It isn't a computer, so my lap remains covered with a trusty but imperfect workhorse -- a Dell Latitude E6500.

That may change when Microsoft actually ships one of the new Surface tablets it just announced. These have a few things going for them. The OS and hardware, like the Xbox, are completely controlled by one vendor. Our Xbox hasn't crashed yet -- plus it's simple as pie to use and works great with third parties.

More important, these Surface machines are full PCs. They have full PC OSes, run full PC applications and, best of all, have real keyboards.

And the Windows 8 machines, running on Intel, are managed just like Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 machines today: through Active Directory, Windows PowerShell, System Center and all those great third-party management tools we depend on.

The iPad, as great and revolutionary as it is, will probably never have this.

And Apple will probably never turn the Mac into a tablet because it already has the iPad.

If its endgame is the enterprise, this is a masterstroke on Microsoft's part, wouldn't you say?

This came to me all at once. At first I thought tablets were Apple's game to lose. The iPad was slicker and more stable than anything Microsoft could do and had the wow factor.

Then I remembered a year ago watching a Microsoft employee spend a full day pounding away on a Windows 8 tablet without a hitch. If it was that stable then, how good would a Microsoft-made machine be almost two years later? Imagine an iPad-like machine that works as a full computer. Nice.

If my theory turns out to be right, will the critics who have done Steve Ballmer all the wrongs admit their errors? Nah?

Am I on to something, or did Microsoft send me a big box of Kool-Aid mix? You tell me at [email protected].

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

Featured

  • Microsoft Hires Movial To Build Android OS for Microsoft Devices

    Microsoft has hired the Romanian operations of software engineering and design services company Movial to develop an Android-based operating system solution for the Microsoft Devices business segment.

  • Microsoft Ending Workflows for SharePoint 2010 Online Next Month

    Microsoft on Monday gave notice that it will be ending support this year for the "workflows" component of SharePoint 2010 Online, as well as deprecating that component for SharePoint 2013 Online.

  • Why Windows Phone Is Dead, But Not Completely Gone

    Don't call it a comeback (because that's not likely). But as Brien explains, there are three ways that today's smartphone market leaves the door open for Microsoft to bring Windows back to smartphones.

  • Feature Update Deferral Mix-Up in Windows 10 Version 2004 Further Explained

    Microsoft last week described the confusion it is attempting to avoid by removing the client graphical user interface (GUI)-based controls to defer Windows 10 feature updates, starting with version 2004.

comments powered by Disqus

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.