How the iPad could beat Microsoft at their own game – with a little compromise

Windows 8 is trying to be a ‘touch-first- operating system. Yes, it still has the Desktop, but let us not forget that the Desktop is an app within a touch environment and not the other way around. Touch comes first.

With Surface, Microsoft are pitching an ultra-portable device on which to use Windows 8.

Also, let us not forget that the Surface RT was released before the Surface Pro. Yes, that could have been because they wanted to test the hardware design on a less important product – but I think that Windows RT represents what Microsoft would eventually like to move towards – an ultra=portable, longer battery-life, consumer orientated touch-first device. The traditional computing market is a shrinking water hole, after all.

The iPad is already an ultraportable, long battery-life, consumer orientated device. The difference is that it uses a touch-only interface. But what if Apple added mouse or trackpad support to the next iteration of iOS? They would then have a device which fit Microsoft’s core vision and already had the best developer support.

Yes, you may argue that Apple will not want to do this because the iPad is not designed to work with a mouse or trackpad – but we are only talking about adding support for a pointing device – a interaction only one stage removed from direct contact with a finger. It is an already familiar feature of most other computing devices. It may not work well with some apps – but everything you could do before with your finger, you would still be able to do with your finger so it wouldn’t hinder anything. It would only add an extra means of input for when accuracy in word processing or image editing was desired – which SOME developers might welcome (not all, but some).

My point is NOT that Apple NEED or WANT to do this – the iPad is massively successful without it and they have their other x86 systems for those requirements. But if they did, it would seem they would have achieved Microsoft’s vision of ARM-style computing before Mircosoft could ever get traction in the niche they are trying to carve. It could be so easy to ruin their vision and leave near-enough trapped in the ever-shrinking x86 market.