Microsoft Surface

Microsoft Surface: iPad knockoff for enterprise? That works

Cynics may mock the Microsoft Surface as an iPad knockoff, but it has enough going for it to turn the heads of a lot of business customers.

As I've said many times, I barely have any use for the iPad. Most technologists I know feel the same way about tablets. However, most of us understand that we're an anomaly. For tens of millions of people, using a tablet like the iPad is infinitely easier and less frustrating that dealing with a Windows laptop. That's why tablets are eating the bottom out of the PC market, and the trend is accelerating.

Microsoft knows this. It also knows that an alarming number of companies are allowing their employees to use iPads and some are even running trials to hand out iPads to lots of highly mobile employees. What's even worse for Microsoft is that most of these employees are loving it and are gladly chucking their Windows laptops aside.

Read more: Six scenarios where the iPad is trouncing the PC

While a lot of these employees will still periodically use Windows machines for some of their work, they're using them less frequently and that means slower PC upgrades and less urgency to jump to Windows 8. We're still only talking about a fraction of the market -- iPad will sell 60 million units in 2012 versus 400 million PCs, according to Gartner. Nevertheless, it has Microsoft freaked out because it's been just a little over two years since the iPad debuted.

That's a lot of disruption in a short period of time.

Of course, that brings us to the announcement of the Microsoft Surface tablet this week. Microsoft turned a lot of heads by revealing that it is going to build its own line of Windows 8 tablet devices, à la Zune and Xbox. The hardware design for the Surface that Microsoft showed off on Monday was impressive enough to pique the interest of the tech press and the public.

The tablet itself looks a lot like the iPad and many of the high-end Android tablets, but there were a pair of features that stood out. The first was a sturdy built-in kickstand that stealthily pops out from the back of the tablet. The second is the magnetic cover that doubles as a keyboard and touchpad. When you put these two features together you suddenly have a tablet that easily doubles as a laptop. That eliminates the need for someone to have two devices.

Sure, the hardware of the Microsoft Surface echoes the iPad. But, Microsoft did use a special magnesium body that makes it light, thin, and durable. Sure, the cover of the Surface is a copy of the iPad's Smart Cover, but Microsoft did innovate by adding a keyboard on the inside.

There's plenty about the Surface that screams, "iPad knockoff!" and the failure of Android tablets and the tablet debacles at RIM and HP show that trying to build an iPad competitor for the enterprise can be a brutal business.

Still, the Microsoft Surface has something going for it that the BlackBerry PlayBook, HP TouchPad, and the parade of Android tablets don't -- it's going to automatically drop into the Windows networks that most Fortune 500 companies as well as a lot of small and medium businesses already have in place. That's going to mean a lot fewer worries about compatibility, security, and data protection. In other words, it means a lot less work for IT on the backend and a smoother transition for many users.

That doesn't mean the Surface tablet is a slam dunk. There is still a big question about whether users are going to find the Windows 8 interface as easy to use as the iPad. And, will spyware and malware become a big problem on the Surface since it's running the full version of Windows? Above all, how much is it going to cost? The Pro version of the Surface tablet that most businesses are going to want is expected to cost about the same price as an Ultrabook -- in the $800-$1000 range.

Ultimately, if you want to think of the Microsoft Surface as an iPad knockoff with a few key innovations and additions that make it a legitimate option for businesses, that's fine. A lot of companies will be happy to pay a premium for an iPad look-alike that automatically fits into their current networks and is guaranteed to work with their existing applications. If you'd like proof of that, take a look at these three polls that have run on TechRepublic recently:

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

240 comments
Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

That question is what this is all about. From the tail of the article: [i] There is still a big question about whether users are going to find the Windows 8 interface as easy to use as the iPad. And, will spyware and malware become a big problem on the Surface since it’s running the full version of Windows? Above all, how much is it going to cost? The Pro version of the Surface tablet that most businesses are going to want is expected to cost about the same price as an Ultrabook — in the $800-$1000 range.[/i] If you want the Metro GUI and the only variant suitable for a business use is the same price as a laptop, just get a touch screen laptop with Win 8. That way you have more data storage capability, more flexibility in usage, and much more power. You also get a reasonable keyboard to use and a stronger case.

skantner
skantner

Unless that keyboard works really well, the Surface tablet will be relegated by serious users to consuming content only. And in that case, it has nothing to recommend it over an iPad.

Marc Garza
Marc Garza

I honestly can't wait to see the Surface perform. This looks like the best thing MS has done since the Xbox. The design looks clean and the device looks well thought out. Now I am just hoping they put as much thought into Windows 8 because, if they bring the BSOD to the tablet..well lets just say i wont hold my breath. I am worried they may have rushed this product in an attempt to re-enter the market before Apple pulled to far ahead. But I think even with the demo they had, it is too soon to hop on or off the Surface wagon. There is still much we dont know. Furthermore I would be interested to see pricing, because I would love to see the same people who cried over Apple's "high" prices, standing in line for the Surface. I think it's hilarious that if you love Apple products your a fanboy. Alot of the negative comments about Apple clearly reveal the persons ignorance to the product. We all have preferences, we all like different things. Then MS vs Apple debate is like arguing cars. There are plenty of ppl all over the world who like sedans(MS). But some people like high performance cars that cost more (Apple). You can argue numbers, but a Ferrari is always gonna beat a Toyota. Sorry.

seanferd
seanferd

Good to see it stick its head out every two years, but I thought it was supposed to revolutionize our dining room tables.

sarai1313
sarai1313

i did nto tell and yone that the tool that works for them is crap i said that the right tool for the right job.i have told family and friend to by apple and windows for thier life style and work they wanted to do .just like i have done all my life .in every job i have held.from air planes .cars,computers .and i will tell you i have a bunch of tools including cnet.but i do not need some one to tell me i hurt some feelings because i did not agree with them .so who ever this moderator is need to grow up.and if you want to talk you have my email and my phone number witch only cnet has. no other site has it only you guys i live in san francisco when all you hadwas one small office. you mite not remember me but i remember you at the start

JJFitz
JJFitz

It would be so convenient for log-in if the Surface Pro had a built-in fingerprint scanner. I have had one on my ThinkPad and Fujitsu tablets and they do save time when logging in. It is just as fast as "slide to unlock" but much more secure and much faster than keyboard entry. I suppose facial recognition would work and the front facing camera is already there but it does not seem like the available software is ready.

roycee
roycee

Desktop PC with fast processors are a dime a dozen, I must have 6. You can pick them up anywhere. My next purchase will be the Microsoft Surface. I'm using Win 8 on my primary PC at work and love it. I love pads for the portability. It's about time they got into the hardware side and complete the circle in my view.

Hazydave
Hazydave

The ARM based Surface tablet, running Windows RT, can be expected to function just as Microsoft has promised all along. This means no desktop mode allowed for anyone but Microsoft (the only ones allowed to use Win32 APIs on ARM), and it won't support full networking with domain logins... unless they're forking RT to give the MS version special powers. Yeah, the x86 version will.. it is, after all, just another tablet PC. So what's actually interesting here, tech-wise? Keyboard in a lid? Well, that's been done 100x poorly... I had a calculator that did that in the 80s. I wouldn't place any bets on real touch typing here.. but pretty much any tablet with USB or Bluetooth let's you use a real keyboard Heck, my phone does... mouse too.

andrew232006
andrew232006

Microsoft announced the tablet PC in 2001.

bmeyers
bmeyers

Poor Steven Sinofsky. as president of Microsoft???s Windows division, he was one of the main presenters at Monday???s unveiling of the Microsoft Surface tablet in Los Angeles, and every tech presenter???s Epic Fail Moment had to happen to him live on stage. He played it off well, and they had a backup Surface tablet in the wings, but, it was still yet another epic set back for Microsoft. I think Microsoft is trying hard to play catch up, but, I don't feel too sorry for them, or count them out too early. They are still the proverbial 800 pound Gorrilla, even though Google and Apple are just getting past 500 pounds. The tech world is mercurial, flexible, volitile, and unforgiving. But, you really never know just how it's going to break... Microsoft has tons of marketing muscle, it remains to be seen if they can make metro and RT work on this little tablet. The problem is they keeping stepping on their own, big feet.

fhrivers
fhrivers

Doctors are going to love this thing. Alot of hospitals and healthcare providers are currently running or in the process of switching to EHR. My doctor for instance has to lug a little laptop around with him to update my chart. With surface this will be alot easier with the smaller footprint and the 600 dpi stylus where he can scribble notes instead of typing them in. Along with being more durable and not having to charge it every two hours, doctors are going to love this. If I were Microsoft, I'd have sales reps invading hospitals as soon as this thing arrives. No more using iPads and expensive Citrix infrastructure to virtualize applications so that they run on non-Windows hardware. Once doctors get their hands on surface, iPads will start piling up in recycle bins to give to poor kids.

jmfcosta
jmfcosta

I work in education and engineering. Tablets appeal to me (although I have yet to buy one) because they are the way to take the relevant part of my (desk-sitting) laptop for a journey on the field or a few days of travel. In a days' work I use intensively Office, Autodesk, Adobe, mathematical and design applications that need top CPU and graphics processors, RAM and HDD, two screens, large keyboard, etc. But while on the way I just need to carry documents, files, drawings, to show or look at and, sometimes, do a bit of work on them to catch later on when back at the office. And check email and browse the web, of course. For all of this, I just need powered-down versions of the applications (Office on RT will be splendid) but also - and mainly - a limited version of the same OS I use at the office. I don't want to keep wondering where is this or that, how to find a file or to copy and paste in Android 4, iOS or whatever runs the thing. I don't think Microsoft intends to jump into the hardware manufacturer bandwagon. I see Surface as a way to show the world and its OEM partners that an iPad equivalent (in all aspects, looks included) is possible to create and run Win8. Microsoft is leading the pack, will obviously sell the first batches of RT tablets (I really don't see a reasonable-sized market for the x86 version, for the reasons I mentioned) and make a profit mainly through Win8 RT software. Surface tablets will become a high-end items, perhaps concentrating on larger memory, 4G and higher resolution screen. The main challenge - that I wish they win - will be to make Win8 in different flavours but running smoothly from desktop to laptop to tablet. Can't wait October is here...

dl_wraith
dl_wraith

I've been through the thread and I'm now sick of "MS can't launch products....blah...blah....orphaned devices....blah....blah....security, my ass!....blah....blah....iPad knockoff....blah....blah.....MS are too late....blah....Jason is advertising....waaaaaaahhhh!" Still, this is a comments thread for a Jason Hiner article so it's been quite tame so far. Stop with the negativity already. We all know MS and their previous shortcomings. We know the traditional weaknesses of a Windows platform. None of it matters. Get hold of a demo unit, play with it, watch how MS launch and run the surface services and then judge whether this is for you. For all we know the security will be fixed, the launch will be awesome and the device will beat the iPad, at least in the enterprise. I'm not a fan of MS and I abandoned windows in my home for Android (yeah, crazy - I know). At work I support a handful of Solaris boxes, a couple of Linux servers and a shed-load of Win-Tel architecture. I know the pain of supporting and securing MS platforms. Still, despite all this, I choose to be an optimist and to give the Surface a chance. This has promise for a number of reasons, people - open your eyes and dare to see that. MS - don't frakk this up and make me a fool on this.....(ominous glare)

dl_wraith
dl_wraith

It's not an iPad and has some differences as users in this thread have already pointed out. Until we get our hands on one we won't know the extent of it but MS Office, possible hardware encryption, better integration to WinTel architectures all spring to mind immediately. Perhaps a browse of the 5 pages of comments may turn up a few more for you.

dl_wraith
dl_wraith

.....virtual D&D tabletop by the time D&D Next is launched. What the hell happened to that tech demo, anyway? So much promise! Er......oopsie! Mixing up my geek credentials there. Forgot I wasn't on an RPG forum for a moment.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

It seems apparent by this specific posting that English is not your native language. As such, it may be possible that the way you said something came across as harsher than you intended. I admit that English is one of the more difficult languages in the world, especially when the syntax is so different, for example we say "I like you" where elsewhere it comes out as "I you like". There will always be differences in opinion pretty much with everything in life. We try not to come across as too 'bossy', but some people's opinions are so strong that they believe theirs can be the only right answer. It's a 'give and take' world and you can only 'take' so much.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Not sure what you are talking about. Did you reply to the wrong tree?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Microsoft announced an OPERATING SYSTEM for other manufacturer's tablet PCs. MS never announced an MS-branded hardware product in the tablet form factor before last week.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... and flat failed to drive any development in that direction, effectively setting back technology by nearly 10 years.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm betting you do all that work on a Windows 7 system. Surface will be running Windows 8. Have you looked at W8 yet? You're still going to be wondering where is this or that, how to copy and paste, etc. W8 is just that much different from W7. There will be the option to upgrade your primary system to W8 too, but you've already noted the issue of not having different versions of the OS for desktops vs. tablets. That's also one of my complaints.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Apple could also approach the courts and claim a [b]Patent Infringement[/b] to prevent sales of the Surface just like they have with Samsung. :D Col

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... on my desktop--much less my tablet. Anybody want to make some quick bucks? Start developing CR sheets for all the different tabletop RPGs.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

He says he's dyslexic. He's also apparently unable to navigate this site. He's posting his responses across multiple threads and 'Take Offlines'. It's impossible to tell what he's replying to. His typing does indeed make his posts difficult to read, but I'm reaching the conclusion that his content would be questionable regardless.

JJFitz
JJFitz

Explain what you mean. Microsoft and the tablet manufacturers continued to make win tablet OSes and hardware up to now.

jmfcosta
jmfcosta

Sure. I am not a tech pro, I am a user pro. That issue is relevant whenever one upgrades OS or applications (XP to Vista and then to 7; Office XP/2003 to 2007/2010), some re-learning is needed and Win8 will not be different. But, at least, that effort will pay by using the same platform and applications irrespective of the hardware under it.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

My primary point is that the tablet is fully intended to handle mobility computing, not the heavy number-crunching of pro-grade software. Spreadsheets can be displayed and modified easily on such a device but just as everyone else has said, I wouldn't use one to create a spreadsheet from scratch unless it were a very simple one. The same essentially holds true for word processing, photography, image editing, etc. It lets you look; it lets you make minor changes (somewhat gross changes in the case of image editing) and simply gives you the ability to have all your files pretty much at hand wherever you go and do almost anything with them even when you're away from your desk. It also doesn't take up near as much tabletop area as a laptop because, well, you don't have to put it on the tabletop in the first place.

dl_wraith
dl_wraith

If D&D is your thing, DDI and the CB makes a good leg of it. Failing that check iPlay4E or similar services. I know there's a load of similar fan generated stuff for Pathfinder, too. To stay on-topic I'd very much like the Surface to allow to build interactive forms easily with the version of office that will be pre-installed. Apps like interactive character sheets, sales forms, timesheets and all sorts of things would be instantly helpful for all sorts of users. Did I get away with that one? I think so.... (waits for off-topic deletion banhammor)

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

That means that the average hardboard clipboard holding a pen/pencil and 50 sheets of paper (by no means unusual) weighs about the same as a tablet like the iPad. Now, why can't the tablet be able to serve the exact same purpose as that clipboard without forcing you to manually transfer that data later into a desktop/laptop machine? Yes, seriously. Pounds of paper.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Sure. For example, 2 ounces is 0.125 pounds of paper.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

While the early tablets may have weighed as much as cheap laptops today, many of them weighed less than the laptops of the '00s they were competing against. I agree there was a hardware issue, but it was that they were underpowered. I disagree that hardware was the only factor; a lack of software played at least an equal part.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"It wasn't until the iPad came out and showed how properly-written software could make the tablet and incredibly useful device ..." It helped that the iPad could take advantage of the existing applications and delivery model already developed for the iPhone. MS lacked a pre-existing app base, but the failure to develop one was their fault. Apparently they're applying that lesson to Metro apps for W8. I just don't get what MS was thinking. I don't know if they saw a need that didn't really exist at the time, or if developers gad no motivation to write for it, or if the hardware was too overpriced and underpowered to warrant purchasing outside niche applications. Probably all of the above, although my experience with three models from two manufacturers push me towards the 'overpriced / underpowered' factor. I don't know that MS set tablets back as much as it failed to advance them.

JJFitz
JJFitz

I noticed you said "Photoshop-type image apps". That's because they are lightweight apps - very good at what they do within a limited scope. I bet most professional graphics designers would still go to a desktop to do complex work.

JJFitz
JJFitz

I have to disagree with you on several points. I have been using Windows based tablets since "Windows XP for Tablets". Have you spent more than a week using a Windows Tablet? 1. After "Windows XP for Tablets", the software for touch was built into the operating system. Vista is Vista - tablet support was built in. The same goes for Windows 7 and 8. No special software outside of the OS was needed from Windows. 2. The hardware manufacturers were responsible for developing touch software that worked in the Windows tablet environment. They originally developed stylus based touch software to work with Windows and then moved on to finger touch software. In my opinion, the stylus is a much better solution for fine control of the touch screen. Since then, they have developed dual touch software (stylus & finger). 3. While I will agree that the developers of touch enabled software were few and far between [u]outside of Microsoft[/u], there was Corel Draw and there still is much of Microsoft's software. I use my stylus to write emails, sign electronic documents, draw diagrams, and take quick notes. I practically live in Microsoft OneNote. I used my finger in Win 7 to move between applications, scroll, and zoom in and out of screens. I do the same with Win 8, plus the Win apps. 4. You can't set something back 10 years if you never stopped developing it. In my opinion Windows' tablets did not take off because the hardware was too expensive for the average user, the hardware manufacturers did not fully buy into the tablet idea, and Microsoft expected the user to want the same applications in a tablet form factor. We'll see what Microsoft does now that they plan to make their own devices. Apple came at the tablet from a whole other perspective - entertainment first. The iPad is the grandchild of the iPod. It has very little to do with the Mac. iPods were originally simple entertainment devices (music). Successful but simple. Building on that success, Apple came out with the iPod Touch - a bit more complex but still mostly an entertainment device (music & games) with a little awkward browsing and clunky email functionality. Building on that success, Apple released the iPad. The iPad was originally just a big iPod Touch with a few more apps designed for the larger screen size. It has only been within the last two years that it has become a lightweight productivity tool. Windows for Tablets started out as mostly a productivity tool. It's only lately that it has started encouraging the development of app-sized lightweight entertainment. These are two very different approaches. iPad: Entertainment first. Productivity second. Windows tablet: Productivity first. Entertainment second.

Slayer_
Slayer_

As a result, there is almost no Android here. Its all iPhone and blackberry

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

It wasn't until Verizon started pumping those 2fers that Android phones really started moving and if you look now, it's still the low-priced models that are selling the most. Obvious proof of this is the fact that only 7% of Android users have adopted ICS despite the update on the market for over a year. I really don't see Jelly Bean doing any better.

andrew232006
andrew232006

The apps that currently exist on tablets couldn't have been made for the hardware back then. In addition to the lack of processing power and storage, GPS and built in cameras were rare and expensive. And cellular data was slow and charging by the kilobyte.

Slayer_
Slayer_

HP proved that a cheap enough tablet will sell even without software for it. But who wants to pay 2 or 3 thousand on a tablet that will, as you have pointed out, be very difficult to use as the software is not touch centric.

dl_wraith
dl_wraith

I knew I'd missed something: #3 - Lack of software development. Got to agree the lack of focus here is a factor but the question in my mind always comes back to, 'why develop software for a market that doesn't exist?' Like Apple, I'll bet MS had their hands full with other concerns and touch apps and tablet friendly computing would not have been at the forefront. We've seen that with other MS technologies before so it seems feasible. To my mind Apple knew they couldn't directly compete with Windows on Desktop or sever platforms so they pushed niches where MS hadn't invaded. Places where a strong foothold could be acquired more easily. A great example of this is the iPod - I've always preferred Sony MP3 players myself (better sound and battery life IMHO) but I'd NEVER bet against Apple in this field now. The force is strong with this one.....at least where certain tech lies. lets hope that MS' new Dark Lord of the Sith isn't wiped out by the far more numerous but slightly less powerful Jedi hordes...

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... that a tablet would never succeed without a full desktop version of the OS installed. Well, for 10 years tablets didn't succeed and quite honestly I've watched people carry paper and pen clipboards with pounds of paper on/in them with no trouble. No, it wasn't the weight of the device that shot them down, it was simply the lack of viable software and -- I'll grant this one -- the PRICE of the hardware.

sarai1313
sarai1313

it was the hard ware not soft ware .the dam things wieghed all most as cheep laptops today. peace

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Numbers 1 and 2 are very tightly related. Yes, I will agree that today's tablets are far more compact and lightweight than the tablet/convertible laptops available prior to the iPad. However, they were also full-powered PCs with capabilities that the iPad still doesn't offer, though the iPad has also proven that a full desktop OS really isn't necessary to a tablet. Really, the hardware technology was available from the beginning and nearly every major brand of Windows-based PCs included at least one convertible laptop in their catalog for almost the entire 10 year period. Especially during the later half of that period HP in particular started really trying to push its touch-sensitive desktops; commercials aired regularly showing how the user could sweep back and forth between apps (even simply and more intuitive than ctrl-tab) and do almost everything with your fingertip that you previously needed a mouse to perform. Still, the touch format simply languished with almost no third-party support from software developers. As such, it wasn't hardware tech or even hardware marketing that emphasized the failure of the tablet. No, the failure was in software development from day one. This is why I say the technology was set back 10 years. Microsoft didn't drive software support--at least not visibly. The closest thing they came to even offering lip service was their "ribbons" menu bars that nobody understood and even now most complain about how much harder Office is to use because of them. Keep in mind that I'm using Apple as an example here not because I'm a fan (I admit it) but because of the methods they used to drive the market. When Microsoft announced Windows for Tablets, Apple had already canceled the Newton as a "distraction" at a time when they needed to focus on the desktop. Shortly after that announcement, Apple released an MP3 player that, while only a little different from the Creative and other brands of MP3 players was a lot easier to load and use. They created their first true mobile operating system. Over the years this became even more refined but still required physical controls one way or another. Or did they? By the third generation, the 'clickwheel' was replaced by a fixed contact area that functioned just like the moving part of the first-gen device. Not long after that, they announced and released the iPod Touch and the first iPhone, with almost no moving parts and an all-glass display. Even more, they took some of the 'features' of PDAs and even existing smartphones and made them so easy to use a two-year-old child could figure it out and use it--without the need for a stylus that was a necessity with every previous PDA on the market. That touch OS gradually grew in power and developed a software base to the point that when Apple finally released its second tablet--the iPad--it already had a developer core and a software base that pulled it into the market rather than needing any concerted push from Apple itself. Microsoft is now trying to use Apple's methods to match that drive but doesn't have the time (or the patience) to move slowly; they not only have to compete with Apple for the tablet market, but they're having to also compete with Android for the mobility market in general and they've really got to prove that their Windows solutions are better than Android's. WinMob's reputation for the last 10 years or so has really hurt them and they've got to prove that WP7/WP8 (RT) are far more stable and reliable than their predecessors. Microsoft as such is now having to push even harder than ever on the product side while convincing developers that they need to create software for those products for anything to happen. They can't just 'invite' developers any more, they're having to push developers into touch. We'll just have to wait and see how well that works out.

camcost
camcost

I keep emphasizing it's all about the apps!! I've owned several Windows tablets... I wanted to love the device. The concept is good. The bad part has always been the apps that run on Windows have never done justice to a touchscreen device. It wasn't until the iPad hit and Apple had made sure the app developers were on the same page that the true experience of a tablet was allowed to show it's strengths. My experience for over ten years has been that Photoshop on a Windows tablet is a horrible experience... I usually end-up using Photoshop on a regular computer. But... most Photoshop-type image apps on the iPad are an incredible experience! This is how image manipulation should be! As an artist and a photographer, I've waited twenty-something years for a device to allow me to replace my paintbox when the urge hits. Eleven years ago I had hoped the Windows PC tablets would be that device, but they weren't. If Microsoft doesn't insist on a whole reworking of apps for their new device, it doesn't stand a chance.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Between 2001 and 2010 tablets were, at best, a niche tool that needed specially-written software since no commercial developers were designing tablet-based applications. It wasn't until the iPad came out and showed how properly-written software could make the tablet and incredibly useful device (despite all the "content consumption only" arguments.) Had Microsoft pushed for touch back when they first announced "Windows for Tablets" Apple wouldn't have had a chance to pull the lead it has now.

dl_wraith
dl_wraith

I think I know what Vulpine may be getting at but I disagree with the conclusion reached. Tablet PCs have been about for ages but to my mind two factors prevented them becoming a real force in the computing world and changing that face of what's to come until the Apple iPad showed up: 1) Lack of matured portable tech to provide the platforms we're starting to see now 2) Lack of marketing focus from MS and key hardware partners The solutions to #1 could have been found if proper effort to #2 had been applied. Hell, I'd have bought early tablets had they been marketed effectively in the UK. So useful for me. So, while I disagree that tech was set back 10 years, I will say that the development of a viable market segment for tablet computing was indeed delayed because the proper focus was not applied in the early years of tablet computing. Simply put, MS didn't appreciate what they may have had on their hands until it was too late. @Vulpine Is this what you're getting at or have I missed your point entirely?

camcost
camcost

The applications are what might sink this ship. The one area which has made Windows tablets a disaster has been that the applications are designed for a computer and not for a touch device.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The apps will definitely be the same. Some of the features that are drawn from the OS will be different, though. For example, the File Save window will look different based on the OS, although not radically enough to require retraining. It's the OS itself that may drive you nuts.