It has become pretty self-evident that I am not alone with my enthusiasm for discussing the future of computing. My previous post on Windows 8 and how it might affect the tablet market stirred up a mix of feelings among many of you, which translated into a great discussion. I feel that it is now time to get back to the matter and take a look at what was said. The time seems especially correct now when Microsoft has just released new Windows 8, Windows 8 RT, Microsoft Surface and Windows Phone 8 products; and Apple has released new iPad mini and Google’s Android is doing better than ever. Not to mention that we are entering the busiest shopping season of the year.

It seems that there are basically two different camps. Camp A thinks that tablet computers are a natural evolution just like notebooks were evolution from desktops. They argue that it is exactly due to this natural development of things that will eventually guarantee the success of Windows 8 over its competitors. Also, businesses are believed to support the adoption of new Windows rather than something completely new. Camp B agrees that tablet computers and touch interfaces are the future of computing. However, they see the transition from desktops and notebooks or like they like to call them, “PC’s” much more significant. Tablet computers and especially touch interfaces are seen as something completely new. Something that completely changes the underlining paradigm, introduces new behaviour models and thus cannot be a natural evolution from PC’s. Camp B thinks that Windows 8 is entering the market too late, that iOS already “owns” the market and that in overall Windows 8 is not the right product to address this new market with. Camp A naturally disagrees.

It seems that both camps have been somewhat correct. Apple’s iPad is still dominating the tablet market regardless of Microsoft’s best attempts. In a matter of fact Microsoft’s Surface so far seems to have been a let down in many ways. Consumers are not perceiving Windows as a tablet operating system – not yet at least. Many consumers seem to have difficulty to even get grasp with what Windows 8 really is, and the existence of Windows 8 RT is certainly not helping. Normal consumers are not like you and me. They do not follow technology blogs or spend time online debating the future of computing. When they see something totally new like Windows 8 they get confused. Some may get curious or mildly excited even but generally people just disregard it – until they can’t anymore. That day usually comes when he or she, for one reason or another, needs a new computer. And then what? They walk into a store that sells computers and are presented with new computers: desktops, laptops and tablets. In all price ranges from countless manufacturers and in million different configurations, with one similarity – they all run Windows 8. It’s hard to see this consumer walking out of the store with anything else than a Windows 8 device. Yet camp B is certain that this is in fact exactly what will happen. They argue that consumers nowadays are only buying Windows because it is what’s available. Apple has demonstrated that consumers are willing to pay more and choose the product that is the easiest and most pleasant to use. Android on the other hand will combat Windows on what is available. Manufacturers are believed to choose Android over Windows because it has no licensing costs and consumers are believed to choose it because it enables cheaper devices. Camp B doesn’t see the existing – huge – Windows user base as such a big deal, whereas camp A thinks that to make all the difference. At least for now the numbers seem to be siding with camp A. Regardless of all the talk, hype and attention surrounding iOS and Android, the new iPad and the new Android devices, Windows 8 sold 40 million copies during the first month of availability. And it did this without making a big fuss about it. It just kind of happened – naturally.

I leave you with some great excerpts from the comments in  “Why Windows 8 Matters And Why Android Will Eventually Just Fade Away”.

  • Consumers don’t care about operating systems. They care about the user experience.
  • Windows 8 will fail to catch on tables because better alternatives are available for consumers.
  • Tablets will continue to replace traditional PCs because of the much better usability and performance.
  • Here is what I think will happen 2012-2013: Windows 8 tablets will fail to make a dent in the market.
  • I think Windows 8 tablets will overtake Android tablets, easily, largely due to business adoption.
  • I just wonder whether there is a corporate tablet market (i.e. IT department deciding what to buy and support)?
  • Intel matters less and less as most people have moved to ARM outside the office. Microsoft needs to show that W8 is relevant on ARM, with a new user interface it probably matters less, even if it is better.
  • Here’s a nice fact that I like to state in these discussions: If windows 8 fails just as hard as Windows Vista … then BOTH Android and iOS will be instantly buried under 175 million Windows 8 devices. The fact of the matter is that for Apple to continue to be “market leader” in the tablet space and for Google to remain in second place … Windows 8 needs to be the worst selling Windows EVER.
  • Windows have been offered in tablet variants, I don’t know for sure but at least 10 different iterations. It has failed to gain any market traction regardless of Windows desktop monopoly. Why would it be any different this time? iOS already owns home tablet market in Western world.
  • Question is will PC be the primary form of computing for people in the future? And will Windows *grow* to be relevant in future computing platforms: smartphone, tablets, cloud services?
  • Here’s the bottom line for me: Apple and Google created an OS for giant smartphones. Microsoft created an OS for small computers.
  • In fact, I’d say that tablets are a logical evolution from laptops, just as laptops were an evolution from desktops.
  • The answer to your question is a Windows 8 device, but maybe that isn’t the right question to ask when trying to predict future computer usage patterns. If Apple has proven anything, it’s that people would rather have simple than feature sets.
  • Why do people buy desktops and notebooks with Windows now? Because Microsoft has all the manufacturers in a corner.
  • The Windows 8 tablets will replace laptops fully they have the potential to completely wipe laptops as we know them off the face of the earth. W8 tablets will just be the upgrade that 90% of the people in the market will get.
  • Will MS have a role in that market? Perhaps, but Windows 8 is so late in the game that it would definitely need to bring in something disruptive.
  • I agree that Windows 8 matters, and I actually think they will start taking market share from Apple as well. It’s not just power users that will continue to use desktops; it’s pretty much all the office workers in the world. Now, how in the world is Apple going to make inroads at the office? Their machines cost 50% more in a market where 5% is enough to select one machine over another.
  • What are you lot smoking? Android? Dead? It is the fastest growing product of the decade! Android is going to destroy Apple with Nexus 7/10. Almost everyone I know thinks Metro looks ugly, old, outdated and inefficient.


Responses

  1. Timo Koola Avatar
    Timo Koola

    One of the Camp B participants showing up here. Couple of points or rather objections I’d like to make.

    On inevitability of Windows 8 marching to big numbers: yes, they have install base of 1 Billion plus and eventually they will migrate many of them to Windows 8 and its successors (normal rate being something like 20 million a month), BUT it will have zero effect on tablet and smartphone market. Why do we care? Or rather why does Redmond care: because profits have moved away from PCs to tablets and smartphones. PC manufacturers are not acting like winners even if Microsoft is. Even with the introduction of new Windows version we are likely to see YoY decline on laptop sales for Q4. This is unprecedented.

    Many ways PC market will be like feature phone market: major brands will escape (even the biggest, HP already once tried to escape) the declining market to do new things and rest of the industry will clock big numbers only on number of boxes shipped. Profits have gone forever. Yes, people will pick up a new laptop every few years, but PC no longer defines what we understand by computing (like we no longer think of Cray when someone says “computer”). Windows device will win by default when broken laptop gets replaced by a new laptop. But when they go on and pick a tablet they’ll pick up either iPad or cheap iPad-like device that is almost certainly Android. Only thing to make me think otherwise would be Windows 8 tablets to gather steam rather quickly come 2013.

    I’d like also to object on the meaningfulness of that 40 million number. It can summed up like this: we really don’t know whether it is a good number or a bad number. We don’t how it is divided between updates, shipped devices and OEM sales. We can’t really compare it to Windows 7 as comparable numbers were not released. First real numbers will be shown when Q4 numbers are out. And on tablet side of the market: first batch of tablets are so lame that even the Windows enthusiasts must be waiting for 2013. And that lameness can be seen in rumours about RT tablet sales figures.

  2. Timo Koola Avatar
    Timo Koola

    One of the Camp B participants showing up here. Couple of points or rather objections I’d like to make.

    On inevitability of Windows 8 marching to big numbers: yes, they have install base of 1 Billion plus and eventually they will migrate many of them to Windows 8 and its successors (normal rate being something like 20 million a month), BUT it will have zero effect on tablet and smartphone market. Why do we care? Or rather why does Redmond care: because profits have moved away from PCs to tablets and smartphones. PC manufacturers are not acting like winners even if Microsoft is. Even with the introduction of new Windows version we are likely to see YoY decline on laptop sales for Q4. This is unprecedented.

    Many ways PC market will be like feature phone market: major brands will escape (even the biggest, HP already once tried to escape) the declining market to do new things and rest of the industry will clock big numbers only on number of boxes shipped. Profits have gone forever. Yes, people will pick up a new laptop every few years, but PC no longer defines what we understand by computing (like we no longer think of Cray when someone says “computer”). Windows device will win by default when broken laptop gets replaced by a new laptop. But when they go on and pick a tablet they’ll pick up either iPad or cheap iPad-like device that is almost certainly Android. Only thing to make me think otherwise would be Windows 8 tablets to gather steam rather quickly come 2013.

    I’d like also to object on the meaningfulness of that 40 million number. It can summed up like this: we really don’t know whether it is a good number or a bad number. We don’t how it is divided between updates, shipped devices and OEM sales. We can’t really compare it to Windows 7 as comparable numbers were not released. First real numbers will be shown when Q4 numbers are out. And on tablet side of the market: first batch of tablets are so lame that even the Windows enthusiasts must be waiting for 2013. And that lameness can be seen in rumours about RT tablet sales figures.

  3. Timo Koola Avatar
    Timo Koola

    Just one image (let’s see how well image links are supported) that sums up the perception game right now:
    http://pbs.twimg.com/media/A9BnEkVCEAAFy97.jpg#twimg
    (image stolen from Petteri Järvinen’s feed)

    Anecdotal, but very accurate I think.

  4. Timo Koola Avatar
    Timo Koola

    Just one image (let’s see how well image links are supported) that sums up the perception game right now:
    http://pbs.twimg.com/media/A9BnEkVCEAAFy97.jpg#twimg
    (image stolen from Petteri Järvinen’s feed)

    Anecdotal, but very accurate I think.

  5. Ville Aho Avatar
    Ville Aho

    Thank you Timo for kick-starting the discussion!

    So, just to make sure I got you right, you see people buying multiple devices, right? A PC and a tablet? You’re saying that a person who is in the market for a new PC will replace it with a PC – not with a tablet? But in my mind Windows 8 tablets are PC’s. I believe that for most consumers one device that can do it all: be a tablet, desktop and a notebook is the ideal solution. Something like Surface Pro. Add a keyboard and you have a laptop, add a display and a mouse and you got yourself a desktop. Why would you still get an Android tablet? 90% of consumers are already living in a Windows ecosystem, why would they suddenly feel the need to jump ship?

    I agree that the first wave of Windows 8 devices have not been anything special. Yet, I’m certain that we will see better hardware as time passes. Sony has already introduced some very interesting gear. Samsung and Asus (or was it Acer) have some nice tablets. I even tested one 27″ all-in-one PC that had a touchscreen, first I thought it to be a bit gimmicky but after awhile it felt brilliant – why don’t all computers have touch displays! The beauty of Windows 8 is its versatility. It’s just too bad that the OEMs haven’t yet fully realised how to take advantage of it.

    Microsoft has said that Windows 8 is surpassing the adoption rate of Windows 7, which in general has been considered a very successful product.

    1. ScientificBob Avatar
      ScientificBob

      Exactly.

      I figured that the first reason why OEM’s were pissed about Surface was because msft obviously did a much better job on building a nice piece of hardware then most those OEM’s have done in years.

      I’m holding out for the 2nd generation of these devices as well… We are in a period of transition. It’s clear that manufacturers are experimenting with all kinds of designs: detachable, dockables, all in ones, sliders, rotaters,…

      I expect to see fat windows phones in a couple of years that will come with their own docking station to which we can attach monitors, keyboard, mouse and run a full blown windows – desktop and everything. You’ll have your (full blown) pc in your pocket.

      It’s quite clear to me that this release of win 8 is only the beginning of a new era of windows. This is step 1. I wonder what step 10 will look like.

      I think that an important thing to remember is that win8 is an OS for the hardware of tomorrow – eventhough it does run (quite well) on today’s hardware also.

      I for one don’t have to think twice when I can manage with having only a (convertable/dockable/whatever) tablet and a phone instead of a deksopt, laptop, tablet and phone.

      1. Ville Aho Avatar
        Ville Aho

        That’s a good point. I hope it doesn’t take too long for the first Windows 8 “phones” to hit the market. That is certainly an interesting concept. BTW what do you think of the Surface? I have a feeling that MSFT has been forced to maybe hold back on it a bit for not pissing off the OEMs too much.

        1. Scientificbob Avatar
          Scientificbob

          Surface RT (windows RT in general actually) honestly doesn’t interest me in the slightest, but perhaps that’s a personal thing since I’m one of those guys that says “if it can’t run visual studio, I don’t want it” 🙂

          Surface Pro however sounds very compelling to me. I’ve read reviews from people calling it far to expensive and saying it shouldn’t have been more then 6-700 bucks. I think that’s total bullocks.

          I’ld like any of them to point me to an HD ultra-book with i5, 4 gigs ram and 128ssd, the same peripherals AND a 10-point multi-touchscreen for anything less then 1000 bucks. With that in mind, the surface pro seems to be priced pretty fairly according to industry average.

          I’m seriously thinking about purchasing the pro version. But first, I’ld like to know and see its performance and battery life while running a full blown development environment (VS2012 + blend + sql server + IIS + etc).

          The small screen doesn’t bother me at all, since it has a display port capable of great resolution.
          I’ld setup a “workstation” with a big screen etc at my home office where I could plug it in to do my work.

          But it will all depend on how capable the device really is.

          If it’s not capable enough, chances are thought that I’ld still buy it to replace my laptop anyway. Just because I can, LOL

    2. Timo Koola Avatar
      Timo Koola

      Yes. I see people buying both laptops and PCs as much as I see people buying cars and vans. 🙂 I think this fundamentally describes our difference: I think tablets are a new category and how they are used and bought are categorically different. I also assume that PC update cycle is much longer than tablet update cycle. Additionally one PC per family will be quite enough as there will be several tablets in the family. (all of course my speculation, let’s see how the market goes)

      I am having a strong case of deja vú about this discussion, but let me give a one more shot of trying to get us on a same page. I paraphrase a little, so let me know if I am not doing camp A justice here:

      * iPad and Android will lose because PCs is more familiar
      * iPad and Android will lose because PCs are more productive
      * iPad and Android will lose because Windows is a stronger ecosystem.

      Right? My question is: why did iPad even take off if these arguments are persuasive? At any point since January 2010 you could have made a solid argument how you can do more with a Windows laptop than an iPad. I am starting to wonder whether around 80 million people have completely lost their marbles…

      Now what comes to Surface Pro, here is my explanation why it will bomb even worse than Surface RT: 900grams, a fan, $900 +keyboard price for tablet/desktop hybrid. It is too heavy and pricy to be a proper tablet. For a desktop it has a tad too tiny screen (so you need mouse to be productive). It doesn’t even qualify as a laptop as you can’t hold it in your lap (total killer flaw for me) when keyboard is connected. I could go on saying that we’ve had these hybrids for ten years already, but I’ll just bite my tongue this once about it. 🙂

      All that said I for one would welcome solid Macbook Airish Windows 8 laptop from Microsoft. Surface has shown they can do appealing HW design unlike any other PC OEM. Now just get rid of the stupid hybrid concepts nobody wants and we can start talking about laptop marketshares.

  6. Ville Aho Avatar
    Ville Aho

    Thank you Timo for kick-starting the discussion!

    So, just to make sure I got you right, you see people buying multiple devices, right? A PC and a tablet? You’re saying that a person who is in the market for a new PC will replace it with a PC – not with a tablet? But in my mind Windows 8 tablets are PC’s. I believe that for most consumers one device that can do it all: be a tablet, desktop and a notebook is the ideal solution. Something like Surface Pro. Add a keyboard and you have a laptop, add a display and a mouse and you got yourself a desktop. Why would you still get an Android tablet? 90% of consumers are already living in a Windows ecosystem, why would they suddenly feel the need to jump ship?

    I agree that the first wave of Windows 8 devices have not been anything special. Yet, I’m certain that we will see better hardware as time passes. Sony has already introduced some very interesting gear. Samsung and Asus (or was it Acer) have some nice tablets. I even tested one 27″ all-in-one PC that had a touchscreen, first I thought it to be a bit gimmicky but after awhile it felt brilliant – why don’t all computers have touch displays! The beauty of Windows 8 is its versatility. It’s just too bad that the OEMs haven’t yet fully realised how to take advantage of it.

    Microsoft has said that Windows 8 is surpassing the adoption rate of Windows 7, which in general has been considered a very successful product.

    1. ScientificBob Avatar
      ScientificBob

      Exactly.

      I figured that the first reason why OEM’s were pissed about Surface was because msft obviously did a much better job on building a nice piece of hardware then most those OEM’s have done in years.

      I’m holding out for the 2nd generation of these devices as well… We are in a period of transition. It’s clear that manufacturers are experimenting with all kinds of designs: detachable, dockables, all in ones, sliders, rotaters,…

      I expect to see fat windows phones in a couple of years that will come with their own docking station to which we can attach monitors, keyboard, mouse and run a full blown windows – desktop and everything. You’ll have your (full blown) pc in your pocket.

      It’s quite clear to me that this release of win 8 is only the beginning of a new era of windows. This is step 1. I wonder what step 10 will look like.

      I think that an important thing to remember is that win8 is an OS for the hardware of tomorrow – eventhough it does run (quite well) on today’s hardware also.

      I for one don’t have to think twice when I can manage with having only a (convertable/dockable/whatever) tablet and a phone instead of a deksopt, laptop, tablet and phone.

      1. Ville Aho Avatar
        Ville Aho

        That’s a good point. I hope it doesn’t take too long for the first Windows 8 “phones” to hit the market. That is certainly an interesting concept. BTW what do you think of the Surface? I have a feeling that MSFT has been forced to maybe hold back on it a bit for not pissing off the OEMs too much.

        1. Scientificbob Avatar
          Scientificbob

          Surface RT (windows RT in general actually) honestly doesn’t interest me in the slightest, but perhaps that’s a personal thing since I’m one of those guys that says “if it can’t run visual studio, I don’t want it” 🙂

          Surface Pro however sounds very compelling to me. I’ve read reviews from people calling it far to expensive and saying it shouldn’t have been more then 6-700 bucks. I think that’s total bullocks.

          I’ld like any of them to point me to an HD ultra-book with i5, 4 gigs ram and 128ssd, the same peripherals AND a 10-point multi-touchscreen for anything less then 1000 bucks. With that in mind, the surface pro seems to be priced pretty fairly according to industry average.

          I’m seriously thinking about purchasing the pro version. But first, I’ld like to know and see its performance and battery life while running a full blown development environment (VS2012 + blend + sql server + IIS + etc).

          The small screen doesn’t bother me at all, since it has a display port capable of great resolution.
          I’ld setup a “workstation” with a big screen etc at my home office where I could plug it in to do my work.

          But it will all depend on how capable the device really is.

          If it’s not capable enough, chances are thought that I’ld still buy it to replace my laptop anyway. Just because I can, LOL

    2. Timo Koola Avatar
      Timo Koola

      Yes. I see people buying both laptops and PCs as much as I see people buying cars and vans. 🙂 I think this fundamentally describes our difference: I think tablets are a new category and how they are used and bought are categorically different. I also assume that PC update cycle is much longer than tablet update cycle. Additionally one PC per family will be quite enough as there will be several tablets in the family. (all of course my speculation, let’s see how the market goes)

      I am having a strong case of deja vú about this discussion, but let me give a one more shot of trying to get us on a same page. I paraphrase a little, so let me know if I am not doing camp A justice here:

      * iPad and Android will lose because PCs is more familiar
      * iPad and Android will lose because PCs are more productive
      * iPad and Android will lose because Windows is a stronger ecosystem.

      Right? My question is: why did iPad even take off if these arguments are persuasive? At any point since January 2010 you could have made a solid argument how you can do more with a Windows laptop than an iPad. I am starting to wonder whether around 80 million people have completely lost their marbles…

      Now what comes to Surface Pro, here is my explanation why it will bomb even worse than Surface RT: 900grams, a fan, $900 +keyboard price for tablet/desktop hybrid. It is too heavy and pricy to be a proper tablet. For a desktop it has a tad too tiny screen (so you need mouse to be productive). It doesn’t even qualify as a laptop as you can’t hold it in your lap (total killer flaw for me) when keyboard is connected. I could go on saying that we’ve had these hybrids for ten years already, but I’ll just bite my tongue this once about it. 🙂

      All that said I for one would welcome solid Macbook Airish Windows 8 laptop from Microsoft. Surface has shown they can do appealing HW design unlike any other PC OEM. Now just get rid of the stupid hybrid concepts nobody wants and we can start talking about laptop marketshares.

  7. Ville Aho Avatar
    Ville Aho

    Thanks Timo! Insightful as always.

    At the time when iPad was released there were no real alternatives on the market. I agree that tablet as a concept is the next logical step in computing. For most people tablet will be all they ever need and the 80 million people you refer to is a good example of this. However, I’m not at all certain that those tablets in the future would run anything else than Windows. There are already Windows 8 RT devices that are almost as thin and well build as the iPad. When OEMs start flooding the market with well build and affordably priced Windows tablets, it’s hard to see why you would choose anything else – especially an Android.

    I’m saying that consumers are buying the iPad, first and foremost, because it’s a tablet. And at the moment the only tablet worth buying. I’m expecting this to change as time goes by. (btw it’s easy to see why Microsoft felt the need to make the Surface. OEMs do not understand industrial design – like at all)

    1. Scientificbob Avatar
      Scientificbob

      “For most people tablet will be all they ever need and the 80 million people you refer to is a good example of this”

      I think I disagree.
      First of all, I don’t think there are actually 80 million ipad users. I know a lot of people who have replaced their older ipads with new versions.

      Secondly, I bet that none of them have “only” an ipad (this goes for droid tablets as well). I bet that all of them also have a laptop or a desktop.

      If however, this tablet would also be able to fullfill their desktop/laptop needs, then it becomes a different story.

      This is why I think windows tablets will win out in the end. Because those devices are actually meant to replace those machines. Even if microsoft and OEM’s don’t get it right on the first go (which is today).

      Microsoft has quite a long history of launching shifts in their products and initially failing to deliver a compelling experience – but sticking to their guns and getting it right in the end. Vista -> 7 being a great example.

      In reply to Koola’s post, I’ld also like to add a few thoughts on this whole “tablets are additional devices”-idea.

      It seems to me that the only reason people think like this today, is – baiscally – because Steve Jobs said so.

      Let’s not forget here that Apple has no intention at all to make a tablet actually capable of replacing laptops and desktops – because they want to continue selling macs. Just look at what is happening to their iPod. The iPhone has become a direct competitor to the iPod touch. At first glance, most people don’t even see the difference between the two. The iPod is basically an iPhone that can’t place any calls.

      While the iPad is basically a giant iPhone that can’t place any calls.

      The reason why it is viewed as a seperate product is ONLY because of the software that runs on it: a phone OS. It’s a seperate product because it can’t be anything else… by design.

      I think that microsoft’s biggest challenge today is turning that mentality around.

  8. Ville Aho Avatar
    Ville Aho

    Thanks Timo! Insightful as always.

    At the time when iPad was released there were no real alternatives on the market. I agree that tablet as a concept is the next logical step in computing. For most people tablet will be all they ever need and the 80 million people you refer to is a good example of this. However, I’m not at all certain that those tablets in the future would run anything else than Windows. There are already Windows 8 RT devices that are almost as thin and well build as the iPad. When OEMs start flooding the market with well build and affordably priced Windows tablets, it’s hard to see why you would choose anything else – especially an Android.

    I’m saying that consumers are buying the iPad, first and foremost, because it’s a tablet. And at the moment the only tablet worth buying. I’m expecting this to change as time goes by. (btw it’s easy to see why Microsoft felt the need to make the Surface. OEMs do not understand industrial design – like at all)

    1. Scientificbob Avatar
      Scientificbob

      “For most people tablet will be all they ever need and the 80 million people you refer to is a good example of this”

      I think I disagree.
      First of all, I don’t think there are actually 80 million ipad users. I know a lot of people who have replaced their older ipads with new versions.

      Secondly, I bet that none of them have “only” an ipad (this goes for droid tablets as well). I bet that all of them also have a laptop or a desktop.

      If however, this tablet would also be able to fullfill their desktop/laptop needs, then it becomes a different story.

      This is why I think windows tablets will win out in the end. Because those devices are actually meant to replace those machines. Even if microsoft and OEM’s don’t get it right on the first go (which is today).

      Microsoft has quite a long history of launching shifts in their products and initially failing to deliver a compelling experience – but sticking to their guns and getting it right in the end. Vista -> 7 being a great example.

      In reply to Koola’s post, I’ld also like to add a few thoughts on this whole “tablets are additional devices”-idea.

      It seems to me that the only reason people think like this today, is – baiscally – because Steve Jobs said so.

      Let’s not forget here that Apple has no intention at all to make a tablet actually capable of replacing laptops and desktops – because they want to continue selling macs. Just look at what is happening to their iPod. The iPhone has become a direct competitor to the iPod touch. At first glance, most people don’t even see the difference between the two. The iPod is basically an iPhone that can’t place any calls.

      While the iPad is basically a giant iPhone that can’t place any calls.

      The reason why it is viewed as a seperate product is ONLY because of the software that runs on it: a phone OS. It’s a seperate product because it can’t be anything else… by design.

      I think that microsoft’s biggest challenge today is turning that mentality around.

      1. Ville Aho Avatar
        Ville Aho

        Notice that I said tablet not iPad. 😉

        Lets think back to the early days of computing. Back then computers were mostly only used for work. It wasn’t until Windows 95, instant messaging, webmail etc gave a compelling reason to own a PC when they really started to take off. Before that the general public had little or no reason to own a computer. I think we’re slowly returning to those days. In today’s society it is very difficult to get along without an access to the internet or email, but you do not need a full-fledged computer to do this. In most cases tablet is more than enough. (And again I’m saying tablet not iPad)

        1. Scientificbob Avatar
          Scientificbob

          You did say tablet and not ipad 🙂

          But I think most of what I said applies to any non-windows tablet on the market today.

          It is certainly true that some folks could get away with having ONLY a “tablet”-tablet, although I’m convinced that those people would also get frustrated typing a mail or comment bigger then 5 sentences without an actual keyboard.

          But my bottom line is simple: I don’t know a single person today that has only a “tablet”-tablet and no full blown pc (wether it is a win machine or mac or whatever) or considering throwing it out without replacing it.

          Whenever these “tablet-only” folks feel like doing something productive, they will very quickly run into the limitations imposed on those things – by design.

          I will certainly concede, however, that as a software engineer myself who spends 8+ hours a day in Visual Studio land, I have a tendency to look at computers as machines of productivity first and data consumption second. So I surely can accept that I have somewhat of a biased view.

          I’ll try to leave this thread alone now, because I look like a waterfall of words. 😛

          Thanks for the interesting exchange of thoughts.

          I’ll be lurking 😛

          1. Ville Aho Avatar
            Ville Aho

            Waterfall of words is very much encouraged here! 😉

            I kinda agree that Apple is somewhat holding tablets back by promoting them only as “light” PC’s. And yes, at the moment tablets are a separate category as you still need a computer to do most things properly. Yet, I still see tablets as the future of computing. We just need to find a way how to get there without loosing all the essential abilities that computers enable. This is a big problem and a challenge, which I think Microsoft’s approach is a bit closer to solving than Apple’s.

  9. Ville Aho Avatar
    Ville Aho

    Thanks Timo! Insightful as always.

    At the time when iPad was released there were no real alternatives on the market. I agree that tablet as a concept is the next logical step in computing. For most people tablet will be all they ever need and the 80 million people you refer to is a good example of this. However, I’m not at all certain that those tablets in the future would run anything else than Windows. There are already Windows 8 RT devices that are almost as thin and well build as the iPad. When OEMs start flooding the market with well build and affordably priced Windows tablets, it’s hard to see why you would choose anything else – especially an Android.

    I’m saying that consumers are buying the iPad, first and foremost, because it’s a tablet. And at the moment the only tablet worth buying. I’m expecting this to change as time goes by. (btw it’s easy to see why Microsoft felt the need to make the Surface. OEMs do not understand industrial design – like at all)

    1. Scientificbob Avatar
      Scientificbob

      “For most people tablet will be all they ever need and the 80 million people you refer to is a good example of this”

      I think I disagree.
      First of all, I don’t think there are actually 80 million ipad users. I know a lot of people who have replaced their older ipads with new versions.

      Secondly, I bet that none of them have “only” an ipad (this goes for droid tablets as well). I bet that all of them also have a laptop or a desktop.

      If however, this tablet would also be able to fullfill their desktop/laptop needs, then it becomes a different story.

      This is why I think windows tablets will win out in the end. Because those devices are actually meant to replace those machines. Even if microsoft and OEM’s don’t get it right on the first go (which is today).

      Microsoft has quite a long history of launching shifts in their products and initially failing to deliver a compelling experience – but sticking to their guns and getting it right in the end. Vista -> 7 being a great example.

      In reply to Koola’s post, I’ld also like to add a few thoughts on this whole “tablets are additional devices”-idea.

      It seems to me that the only reason people think like this today, is – baiscally – because Steve Jobs said so.

      Let’s not forget here that Apple has no intention at all to make a tablet actually capable of replacing laptops and desktops – because they want to continue selling macs. Just look at what is happening to their iPod. The iPhone has become a direct competitor to the iPod touch. At first glance, most people don’t even see the difference between the two. The iPod is basically an iPhone that can’t place any calls.

      While the iPad is basically a giant iPhone that can’t place any calls.

      The reason why it is viewed as a seperate product is ONLY because of the software that runs on it: a phone OS. It’s a seperate product because it can’t be anything else… by design.

      I think that microsoft’s biggest challenge today is turning that mentality around.

      1. Ville Aho Avatar
        Ville Aho

        Notice that I said tablet not iPad. 😉

        Lets think back to the early days of computing. Back then computers were mostly only used for work. It wasn’t until Windows 95, instant messaging, webmail etc gave a compelling reason to own a PC when they really started to take off. Before that the general public had little or no reason to own a computer. I think we’re slowly returning to those days. In today’s society it is very difficult to get along without an access to the internet or email, but you do not need a full-fledged computer to do this. In most cases tablet is more than enough. (And again I’m saying tablet not iPad)

        1. Scientificbob Avatar
          Scientificbob

          You did say tablet and not ipad 🙂

          But I think most of what I said applies to any non-windows tablet on the market today.

          It is certainly true that some folks could get away with having ONLY a “tablet”-tablet, although I’m convinced that those people would also get frustrated typing a mail or comment bigger then 5 sentences without an actual keyboard.

          But my bottom line is simple: I don’t know a single person today that has only a “tablet”-tablet and no full blown pc (wether it is a win machine or mac or whatever) or considering throwing it out without replacing it.

          Whenever these “tablet-only” folks feel like doing something productive, they will very quickly run into the limitations imposed on those things – by design.

          I will certainly concede, however, that as a software engineer myself who spends 8+ hours a day in Visual Studio land, I have a tendency to look at computers as machines of productivity first and data consumption second. So I surely can accept that I have somewhat of a biased view.

          I’ll try to leave this thread alone now, because I look like a waterfall of words. 😛

          Thanks for the interesting exchange of thoughts.

          I’ll be lurking 😛

          1. Ville Aho Avatar
            Ville Aho

            Waterfall of words is very much encouraged here! 😉

            I kinda agree that Apple is somewhat holding tablets back by promoting them only as “light” PC’s. And yes, at the moment tablets are a separate category as you still need a computer to do most things properly. Yet, I still see tablets as the future of computing. We just need to find a way how to get there without loosing all the essential abilities that computers enable. This is a big problem and a challenge, which I think Microsoft’s approach is a bit closer to solving than Apple’s.

  10. Timo Koola Avatar
    Timo Koola

    I just take minor objection on term productivity as defined by “you need a whole PC” for it. You closely align term productivity with writing word documents, long emails and programming. I say besides programming those are the exact things wrong with 90’s style knowledge work and the main reason tablets, mobile will simply crush PCs not only at home, but also at the work place.

    We are three years in the tablet revolution, but there are already things that are much nicer on the tablet and mobile than on PC: managing emails, managing calendar, tasks, taking quick notes (especially when involving other than texts), looking for and disseminating information, browsing. And this is before taking into account mobility benefits. Yes, writing 1000 word emails is easier on PC, but was that really something that made you more productive? Work patterns of middle management of the 90’s will disappear even faster than those jobs. 🙂

    1. Ville Aho Avatar
      Ville Aho

      As before, I completely agree with you that tablets are the future. However, will those tablets be iPads, Androids or Windows 8 is the real question. For now I think iPads are the winners. It’s very hard to see anything to overtake iPad in the short-term. For example in my own family iPad is clearly the device of choice. There will be three of them under the Christmas tree this year. With that said, I still believe in Windows 8 in the long-term. I see iPad more like an appetiser, a taste of the future. At the moment iPad serves as an additional device to PC but in the future, when the PC is a tablet, there won’t be a reason to get that additional iPad. Besides, at that point everyone already has one anyways – and what’s the point of upgrading an iPad?

      One thing I’ve also noticed is that smartphone seems, at least for myself, be the number one device. Now that I have a phone with a reasonable 4.5-inch screen, it seems to have somewhat changed my use pattern as I don’t fall back to the iPad nearly as much as I used to.

      I think the future is something like a 4.5-5-inch smartphone + a tablet form factor computer that can be docked to a 27-inch touchscreen and a prober keyboard and a mouse. Both devices share data over a cloud.

  11. Timo Koola Avatar
    Timo Koola

    I just take minor objection on term productivity as defined by “you need a whole PC” for it. You closely align term productivity with writing word documents, long emails and programming. I say besides programming those are the exact things wrong with 90’s style knowledge work and the main reason tablets, mobile will simply crush PCs not only at home, but also at the work place.

    We are three years in the tablet revolution, but there are already things that are much nicer on the tablet and mobile than on PC: managing emails, managing calendar, tasks, taking quick notes (especially when involving other than texts), looking for and disseminating information, browsing. And this is before taking into account mobility benefits. Yes, writing 1000 word emails is easier on PC, but was that really something that made you more productive? Work patterns of middle management of the 90’s will disappear even faster than those jobs. 🙂

    1. Ville Aho Avatar
      Ville Aho

      As before, I completely agree with you that tablets are the future. However, will those tablets be iPads, Androids or Windows 8 is the real question. For now I think iPads are the winners. It’s very hard to see anything to overtake iPad in the short-term. For example in my own family iPad is clearly the device of choice. There will be three of them under the Christmas tree this year. With that said, I still believe in Windows 8 in the long-term. I see iPad more like an appetiser, a taste of the future. At the moment iPad serves as an additional device to PC but in the future, when the PC is a tablet, there won’t be a reason to get that additional iPad. Besides, at that point everyone already has one anyways – and what’s the point of upgrading an iPad?

      One thing I’ve also noticed is that smartphone seems, at least for myself, be the number one device. Now that I have a phone with a reasonable 4.5-inch screen, it seems to have somewhat changed my use pattern as I don’t fall back to the iPad nearly as much as I used to.

      I think the future is something like a 4.5-5-inch smartphone + a tablet form factor computer that can be docked to a 27-inch touchscreen and a prober keyboard and a mouse. Both devices share data over a cloud.

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