Apple decided that what makes a Mac and PC function is not what makes a smart phone or table function. Point and click is not touch, flip, swipe. Microsoft, on the other hand, decided to mash everything together in the Surface tablet.
That’s why Apple is winning this war and Microsoft is struggling to stay relevant.
Touched From The Beginning
Here’s how it works. On our Macs, we navigate the old fashioned way. Keyboard and point and click. Apple added the trackpad to help us navigate the MacBook but the functions are the same.
On Windows PCs and Macs, point and click rules. Pointing is more precise on a Mac and PC than on a smart phone or tablet.
From the beginning, Apple built iOS to be different than OS X. It’s touch, not point and click. So, every app we used on iPhone or iPad is made specifically for touch navigation, and nothing else.
Microsoft is years late to the touch party inspired by the iPhone and expanded by the iPad. Microsoft’s leverage is Windows, so the new Surface tablets smack of Windows inbred complexity.
Yes, touch is there in the Surface on Windows 8 (RT or regular Windows 8), though far less elegant and intuitive than the iPad. Microsoft touts the Surface by displaying the attractive slimline keyboard, which is more albatross than liberating technology.
The attached keyboard attaches the Surface to the past. Hundreds of millions of PC users have graduated from point and click and the keyboard to the simple, elegant touch to navigate smart phones and tablets.
Microsoft was forced by their Windows Everywhere heritage to stuff Windows with a semi-touch-like interface that is neither as intuitive as the iPad, nor as graceful. Instead of an inexpensive device that could be come the best of all worlds, the Surface is an expensive device that is the worst of each world.
Already Windows PC users are expressing their collective disappointment in Windows RT and Windows 8. It’s clumsy. It’s slow. It is not intuitive. For new iPad users, a few hundred million people already know how to use it. And, it’s so simple to operate that the learning curve is close to zilch, nada, zero.
Compare that to users trying out Windows 8 or Windows RT for the first time. What was once a familiar interface has all but disappeared. Where’s the Start button? Where are the app icons like those on my iPhone or Android smart phone?
Maybe Microsoft had no choice but to stuff touch into Windows and tack on the highly acclaimed Metro interface from Windows Phone (now known as the interface formerly-known-as-Metro). Products are often about trade offs and decisions. Apple decided that a completely touch interface would be better for users. Microsoft decided that a hybrid product which sticks to the keyboard and Office era would be better for users.
Based on how the iPad is selling and the Surface is not, Apple has already won this war.