Consideration over the iPad Vs W8 Tablets discussion
One of the most discussed articles lately has been the "Windows 8 Vs iPad; features comparison".
And it's a major discussion almost on every sites, because it's clear Microsoft isn't just releasing a new OS for desktop and laptops here, but is trying to shift to a completely new paradigm to compete in the iPad and generally ARM tablets territory.
Many have raised compaints about the fact we are comparing a totally new OS (W8) that isn't even final, with something that is old (iOS5) while a new version is under work and will come at the same time of W8 release.
Now, while we have still to see what iOS6 will put on the table, I don’t think it will be a major shift from the existing OS and surely not as big as the one done by W8.. because it’s not in Apple style, because iOS works and sell good as it is and because Lion is gearing towards iOS but they are still completely different paradigm.
Having said that, I think we need to make a distinction between W8 on ARM and W8 on x86 architecture:
- The latter is not really in the same league of an iPad. It’s simply a completely different beast, with the major advantage of being a full complex OS having an incredible quantity of legacy applications and a raw power that is miles away from any mobile platform. The same power and legacy will be its disadvantage, because x86 can’t simply guarantee at the moment a power efficiency/battery life comparable to arm platform.. and legacy apps will not play well until updated with a supposedly touch centric interface. x86 Tablets are not going to compete directly with the iPad, at least not now.
- W8 on ARM, however, tells a different story. This will be the real contender in the same ground where iPad and ICS tablets are and will play. While WOA will loose the legacy apps compatibility, it will gain on the ground where iPads (and Android tablets) are winning: battery life, touch centric interface, central market for apps, general speed of the system and so on
If it will be able to deliver on that, the only advantage the iPad platform will have against Windows8 on ARM is apps availability. I mean Metro apps obviously. But we are talking of Windows here, not WP7 or Honeycomb.. I’m sure the Metro apps available at W8 launch will be quite a lot. Developers go where users (and money) are.. and while on WOA you will have (mainly) only Metro apps (IMO), those are the same apps developers will make for EVERY W8 equipped laptop, desktop, computer in the world (just different architecture, same app). That's a huge market, considerably bigger than iOS market.
And last but not least, the big advantage W8 will have against all its opponents, is the consistency between PCs, tablets and phones. One interface common for all users. Almost same apps available on all the devices. This will be the great card they can play to raise interest in consumers and have them in MS ecosystem.
Using iOS today is totally different from using MacOS. On W8, the general interface (read: the one mainly used by average PC users) will be THE SAME, no differencies, no learning curve. That’s the elephant in the room Microsoft is pushing, IMO.