There have been many comments about the new Windows 8 user interface, with the range from being it a great, unique design while others think it confuses the user. Especially when it comes to the new tablet PCs, which are compared to the Apple alternative with Macs and iPads, many say that Microsoft will have a hard time. Well, I don’t think that way and would even say that Windows 8 tablets are the future. Here’s why.
The iPad way – choosing and switching the device and the mode, keeping the OS.
Over the last several years I’ve used a MacBook, iPhone, iPad, Windows 7 and, since the preview, Windows 8 on a PC and a tablet. And I’ve used those devices the way they were meant to be used. The iPad is the device you take to enjoy media and browse the web on the couch or out of home. If you need to do real work you would use a MacBook. Apple did a good job recently to align the iOS on Macs and iDevices and thus you can use both settings easily. However, when leaving my home or even my desk always had to make a choice between the iPad and the MacBook. Quite often I’ve taken both devices with me since I’d wanted to quickly surf but then also write some more. And sometimes I’ve seen me using the iPad on the couch and five minutes later walk to my desk to continue.
Choosing or switching devices became a routine to me but also bothered me. The thing tha bothered me even more was the fact that I bought two devices selling for about 1500 Euro and 800 Euro. That’s 2300 dollars without the accessories that you also had to buy seperately for each device. That’s a great strategy to make lots of profit for Apple and accessory manufacturers.
The Windows 8 way – keep the device and OS, switch the mode.
Since Windows 8 I do have the big hope that this will change. Instead of buying and switching two devices I can now buy one device and switch modes. The former called “Metro” apps mode and the desktop mode depending on my current situation. This is possible because the new tablets will have enough power and features to do both modes very wellÂ – for the price of one device and with the ability to use your current accessories.
Â The Android way – switch the device, OS, and mode.
Some do argue that switching between those two modes is a problem for users. If so, everybody using a PC or Mac in addition with a Kindle fire or any other Android tablet may have a problem as well. Not only do the have to switch the UI of an operating system it’s also a different operating system with other mental models. So switching modes on a tablet should be somewhat easier.
Tablets replacing the desktop.
I don’t think Windows 8 tablets will replace iPads very soon, it’s just such a good device. But since the iPad doesn’t replace the PC they will eventually need another device that allows to do the things they can’t do on the iPad. Sure, there’s Pages, Numbers and Keynote on the iPad and the Mac. But it seems they haven’t got a lot of attention byosin Apple in the last two years. Using a Windows 8 tablet might then be just the right choice for many people. If only manufactures take this opportunity and create devices that really leverage that opportunity.