Microsoft

Microsoft needs to follow Apple's lead by integrating desktop and mobile

At WWDC 2014, Apple revealed that its mobile and desktop will soon be much more integrated, and Microsoft needs to follow suit.

Microsoft's move

This week is WWDC -- Apple's annual Worldwide Developer Conference. Apple showed off the features and capabilities of the upcoming desktop and mobile operating systems. One aspect that is subtle, but also very significant, is the way Apple is merging and converging the two.

The line between desktop and mobile has been blurred for some time now, but more so as a function of how mobile devices have usurped many of the primary functions traditionally reserved for PCs -- email, web surfing, social networking, etc.. What Apple revealed at WWDC was much more significant than whether or not your mobile device can or will replace your PC. Apple's vision for the future is more about making your mobile device and traditional PC one and the same -- obliterating the line between the two rather than just blurring it.

Mac OS X Yosemite is the next iteration of Apple's desktop operating system, and iOS 8 is the next version of its mobile operating system. What Apple revealed this week at WWDC, though, is that the two will share a number of capabilities, and users will be able to seamlessly flow from desktop to mobile and back again much easier with the new versions. It's an obvious evolution of technology -- one that Microsoft needs to take note of and implement for its own platforms and devices.

Apple revealed that the new OS X will allow you to start writing an email message on an iPhone and then finish it on a Mac, or start writing a document in Pages on a Mac and then continue to work on it from an iPad. That capability has already existed on some level, but Apple is making it smarter, more automatic, and more intuitive.

In previous versions of Mac OS X and iOS, Apple introduced a wireless file-sharing capability called AirDrop. However, iOS could only AirDrop with iOS, and Mac OS X could only AirDrop with Mac OS X. The new versions will allow users to share files wirelessly from a Mac to an iPhone or iPad, and vice versa, which makes the feature infinitely more useful.

Using an iPhone or cellular-enabled iPad as a Personal Hotspot is also not a new feature in and of itself, but it is another area where Apple is making the integration of desktop and mobile more seamless. Mac OS X Yosemite will automatically detect your iPhone and allow you to connect and use the Personal Hotspot with just a few clicks.

The biggest news, though, when it comes to the convergence of desktop and mobile, is how Mac OS X Yosemite will be able to act as an extension of the iPhone or iPad, even for phone calls and text messages. Mac OS X Mavericks already has the ability to send and receive messages in Apple's own proprietary iMessage service, but Mac OS X Yosemite will expand that capability to include standard SMS text messages. In addition, users will now be able to send and receive phone calls using the microphone and speakers of a Mac, making it a natural extension of an iPhone and simplifying communications while working on a desktop or laptop PC.

To be fair, Apple won't achieve its full vision with Mac OS X Yosemite or iOS 8. This is just another step in the evolution of the desktop and mobile operating systems. However, it's clear that the future will bring us a connected, integrated whole -- where desktop and mobile are extensions of each other that so that users can flow seamlessly between the two.

Microsoft has the foundation with Windows, Windows Phone, and the vast ecosystem of applications and services to accomplish the same thing. In fact, Microsoft has the potential to do it much bigger and better than Apple... if it is done right.

Your move, Microsoft.

About

Tony Bradley is a principal analyst with Bradley Strategy Group. He is a respected authority on technology, and information security. He writes regularly for Forbes, and PCWorld, and contributes to a wide variety of online and print media outlets. He...

27 comments
carlsf
carlsf

One problem we dont want our desktops looking a phone/mobile UI (FAIL)


We want our office workers tobe productive and WIN8 is NOT productive


Hence why we wont/dont use WIN8 in any shape or form

Hesse Legende
Hesse Legende

my advice is to get rid of Windows since Mac and Linux are both better

roygardner
roygardner

Here is why I hate reading all these comments.  No matter what the subject there are always many who are biased one way or the other.  Having been a user of all 3 (Apple, Microsoft, Android) there are trade offs no matter which you use.  Is MS doing a better job of integrating the desktop and mobile, that question I don't know the answer on yet but will as soon as I can upgrade my phone from a Samsung S3 to a W8 phone.  And, yes I had 2 iphones in a row as well and my wife still has a 5S which she has gotten to absolutely hate.  I have used Mac (I didn't particular like it but I can see it's appeal to some), I have used Windows from back in the DOS days when it was a pain and you had to have memory managers and all sorts of things to keep things working and I have dabbled with Linux in various distros over the years.


The point is, both companies have survived and I see no indication that they won't survive because of the free enterprise market and that is the beauty of our American culture.  Both companies are going down a similar road with the announcement Apple has made, the only question is which one will do better?  But one putting the other out of business is highly unlikely.


So IMHO it is time for us all to stop bashing the other because we don't like the way they implemented the touch interface or sharing of data or whatever it is that we feel compelled to complain about.  It's fine to point out this one can do this in a better way than this but why do we have to try and trash something or everything else in making our point.  


Like Windows 8 for example, true it is not for everyone but it is far from the disaster that many are trying to make it out to be.  Each and every platform has something that it can do in a better way than all the others and each has something it does worse.  But without each continuing to innovate, thereby forcing the others to, we would all still be using non touch devices or have to settle for a monopoly on how it is done.  Choice is what gives us this freedom, this power if you will.


People hate change but change is inevitable and it's time we all embraced that or stand still and get left behind.  I personally am looking forward to the W8 phone experience to go with my W8 transformer (no I did not buy a Surface).  I enjoy having the best of both worlds, laptop and tablet in one device!


It is time to embrace that each is different just like each of us.  It is time to stop the hatred, you don't have to like them but you also don't have to hate them or every person that does like them when you don't.

Saud Hassan Kazia
Saud Hassan Kazia

Why is it we never see a how apple should change....always microsoft android and others...you guys need to stop being so blatantly apple

vmituleci
vmituleci

    Good morning, I have read this article carefully and could not help notice that the author ( intentionally or not ) overlooked one important aspect . With Windows 8, it is essentially the same OS for any device ( smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop ). What Apple is trying to do ( it is well known that their implementations have been less than perfect ) is basically just starting on the path that Microsoft has already taken. As one other person has already stated, they have already started integrating apps with Android and Apple devices.

            Briefly said, Microsoft has achieved full integration of all major devices with Windows 8 and future versions of Windows OS will further refine this. Apple is way behind and will not be able to catch up ( as a software developing company, they are weak and very non-innovative ) until certain fundamental changes are made. Windows 8 is not perfect ( however, is it not by far a disaster, as some readers have pointed out ), but it is certainly a step in the right direction . And, as a first effort in a new innovative direction of software development, it can only get better with future versions of Windows. Just to make it clear, I am not a Microsoft fanboy or Apple hater.


             Thank you. 

drberrier
drberrier

What planet is the Author from?
Apple is way behind the curve on this one.
This article so biased it Reeks "apple fan BOY"

adornoe
adornoe

Oftentimes, it seems to me that, the tech writers are so behind in technical information, that they shouldn't even be writing any blogs or articles.


Apparently, the author above is unaware that, what Apple is heading towards doing, Microsoft is already way into doing today.  Apple is the one way behind in implementing integration for all their devices.


In fact, MS is so way ahead, that they're now actually writing applications to integrate the other platforms, like Android and iOS, into the MS ecosystem. Apple is still trying to get their different devices to communicate with each other.  Microsoft has already done that, and now they've moved towards making Android and Apple devices communicate with the biggest MS applications and devices and complete ecosystem. 

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I thought desktop and mobile integration was what Windows 8 was all about.  I also recall that everyone screamed bloody murder about the implementation, with many praising Apple for keeping some distance between them.  Did I miss something?

ewmicro
ewmicro

You are missing Apple's ulterior motive of moving iphone & ipad users to the Mac.

brodriguez@applevalley.
brodriguez@applevalley.

I take it you are either are not using Windows 8.1 (desktop and mobile) or don't know how they already work together. It sounds like you also missed the announcements about Windows 9, that's okay except, by your analogy Windows is already a move ahead.


As far as Android, I have had Galaxy S3 and currently have Lumia Icon - both for work. I'll take the Windows UI any day, but to each their own and that's why we have choices.

blatanville
blatanville

MS needs to integrate seamlessly with Android. Forget about Windows phone (it's the Zune of the phone world) and go with the winner.

ScottHumble
ScottHumble

Seriously?  I guess you haven't been paying attention.  I've been using, "continuity" through all of my Windows devices for quite some time with more and more enhancements all the time.  I'm glad to hear that Apple users will now be able to enjoy some of the same benefits.

kurt.eng
kurt.eng

@carlsf WIN8 is not productive ???? Maybe YOU aren't productive!

adornoe
adornoe

Better. always rises to the top.


Which OS is on top?
dpbakeril
dpbakeril

@Marc Erickson  So laughable as you're like so many others who would rather live and work on the last round of innovations, staying dummy-downed instead of taking the time to exercise your imagination and skills on the next generation of innovations in personal computing.  Customer's needs and wishes ignored?  As a customer my needs and wishes for a powerful multi-platform, multi-functional OS were answered with an innovative Windows 8.  It was then improved and expanded with 8.1 based upon the needs and wishes of its customers - just like all previous iterations of Windows have been.  Haters will hate (dislike) and stay stagnant.

boomchuck1
boomchuck1

@technetrepublic  The Windows 8 disaster?  I think you aren't using Windows 8.1 and you've formed all your opinions from reading like minded posts.  The OS works great, is faster than Win 7, and can be customized to work the way you want it to.  And with cloud storage you can pretty much do everything that this article gushes about Apple being able to do.

dpbakeril
dpbakeril

@adornoe  You're to kind in calling the author of this article a "tech writer" as the style this article is written stinks of biased media pundit and would give a true "technical writer" a bad name.

Tiger-Pa
Tiger-Pa

@CharlieSpencer  You are absolutely correct. Office 365 already does this as any app using OneDrive. The author needs to stop reposting old news. iTunes is still a major roadblock for Apple.

LiamDe
LiamDe

Let's also not forget that windows phone 8.1 also integrates your IE tabs into your phone that are currently open on any 8.1 device. If he is a tech writer he clearly focuses solely on Apple products and doesn't pay any attention to the rest of the tech industry that is moving faster than apple in nearly all aspects.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"... and can be customized to work the way you want it to"


Lemme see you stack the Start screen tiles in a column 1 tile wide by 6 tiles high.  Lemme see you start that column all the way up in the top left corner without a margin of several hundred pixels of wasted, unusable screen real estate.


This may be picking nits, but that's the way I want it to work.  Why can't this be done?  I suspect it's because that dead space around the perimeter of the screen is needed for touch devices.  This is the downside of integrating desktop and mobile: those who want to use only one or only the other pay the price.

adornoe
adornoe

@dpbakeril @adornoe Agreed, but, even ignorant bloggers need to make a living, so I left out the harsher remarks.  

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

To me, the news is that Apple apparently didn't learn anything from Microsoft's mistake.  Most pre-existing Windows users didn't like the changes made to the desktop environment that were necessary to add mobile integration.


I don't know the Apple audience at all.  Maybe they use their systems differently enough to appreciate what Apple may try.  Or maybe Apple will just do a better job of it.

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