Gruber: Why Windows 8 Is Fundamentally Flawed as a Response to the iPad*

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by *LTD*, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. *LTD*, Jun 2, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2011

    *LTD* macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #1
    http://daringfireball.net/2011/06/windows_8_fundamentally_flawed

    Why Windows 8 Is Fundamentally Flawed as a Response to the iPad*

    Wednesday, 1 June 2011

    The new Windows 8 touch-based UI, revealed earlier today at the D9 Conference, looks good. It's clearly drawn from the same inspiration as Windows Phone 7, and shows some seriously innovative UI thinking. The idea of tiles rather than icons is rich, and strikes me as even better-suited to bigger screens than phones. The snapping concept is an interesting way to make use of a bigger screen to show two apps at once. Displaying side-by-side content isn’t possible on iOS,1 and no one's yet solved that problem in the post-windows (note lowercase "w") UI landscape.

    Tweeting from the D9 Conference today, Jason Snell wrote:

    Attitudes of Elop, Sinofsky, Apotheker all show huge impact Apple (once considered an oddity to be ignored) has had on tech industry.

    That's Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, HP CEO Leo Apotheker, and Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft's president of Windows and Windows Live — all of them on-stage guests at the conference today. There's no denying that all three of their companies are now following Apple's lead in mobile computing. If not for the existence and success of iOS, Nokia wouldn't be in trouble (and thus, Elop wouldn't even be its CEO), HP wouldn’t have bought Palm (and Palm wouldn't have come up with WebOS), and Windows 8's innovations wouldn't primarily revolve around how it looks and works on thin touchscreen tablets.

    But I think it's a fundamentally flawed idea for Microsoft to build their next-generation OS and interface on top of the existing Windows. The idea is that you get the new stuff right alongside Windows as we know it. Microsoft is obviously trying to learn from Apple, but they clearly don't understand why the iPad runs iOS, and not Mac OS X.

    Microsoft's demo video shows Excel — the full version of Excel for Windows — running alongside new touch-based apps. They can make buttons more "touch friendly" all they want, but they'll never make Excel for Windows feel right on a touchscreen UI. Consider the differences between the iWork apps for the Mac and iPad. The iPad versions aren't "touch friendly" versions of the Mac apps — they’re entirely new beasts designed and programmed from the ground up for the touchscreen and for the different rules and tradeoffs of the iOS interface (no explicit saving, no file system, ready to quit at a moment’s notice, no processing in the background, etc.).

    The ability to run Mac OS X apps on the iPad, with full access to the file system, peripherals, etc., would make the iPad worse, not better. The iPad succeeds because it has eliminated complexity, not because it has covered up the complexity of the Mac with a touch-based "shell". iOS's lack of backward compatibility with any existing software means that all apps for iOS are written specifically for iOS.

    There's a cost for this elimination of complexity and compatibility, of course, which is that the iPad is also less capable than a Mac. That's why Apple is developing iOS alongside Mac OS X. From a piece by yours truly, writing for Macworld back in January:

    The existence and continuing growth of the Mac allows iOS to get away with doing less. The central conceit of the iPad is that it’s a portable computer that does less — and because it does less, what it does do, it does better, more simply, and more elegantly. Apple can only begin phasing out the Mac if and when iOS expands to allow us to do everything we can do on the Mac. It’s the heaviness of the Mac that allows iOS to remain light.

    When I say that iOS has no baggage, that’s not because there is no baggage. It's because the Mac is there to carry it. Long term — say, ten years out — well, all good things must come to an end. But in the short term, Mac OS X has an essential role in an iOS world: serving as the platform for complex, resource-intensive tasks.

    Apple's radical notion is that touchscreen personal computers should make severely different tradeoffs than traditional computers — and that you can't design one system that does it all. Windows 8 is trying to have it all, and I don’t think that can be done. You can't make something conceptually lightweight if it's carrying 25 years of Windows baggage.*★

    *Or at least, iOS as we know it. (I know of no such plans; just saying it's technically possible for some future iOS version.)*↩

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    I follow Gruber regularly, not just because he's an Apple supporter (which makes him a smart guy, even if biased), but also because he's in general a really smart guy with an incredibly lucid take on tech in general. Granted, when your starting point in any discussion is user experience first and tech features second, you'll likely end up on the right side of the argument anyway.

    In any case, I place him way above the likes of Paul Thurrott and Ed Bott, who are mostly wrong about Apple anyway. Even Uncle Walt's analysis isn't as incisive and clear (nowhere near, actually.)

    This time is no exception. Gruber nails it again. The classic problem with MS. It's not just about Windows and software foibles. It's how they *think* that's a major part of the problem. MS has serious perception issues when it comes to how people should interact with tech, and what it means to *design* something *for* people.
     
  2. Dr Kevorkian94 macrumors 68020

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    #2
    Well apple is rrying to integrate iOS abs Mac OS, just look at Lion. But I think Microsoft tried to get ahead of the game and just integrate all of it but I think the option to use the non tablet "mode" is a good idea. I'm just thinking that it might end up like every other windows slow with applications that don't open and or close etc. But they seem to be fixing that in windows 7 it's better but it still happens. Windows 8 could be a potential hit or be potentially problamatic in 2 or 3 ways so let's see how it pans out.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #3
    John Gruber is an apple pundit who's main focus is apple and their products. To that end, I do not take his criticism on windows to seriously. He has a vested interest in raising apple and knocking apple's competitors.

    To that point he takes apple's stance on the file system debate
    The problem is consumers want apps that interact with files. So while he says that iOS doesn't need a file system, them apps and consumer needs do. Why should apps basically create a file system to handle their documents. The role of a central file system would greatly simplify apps and their usage.

    Since he's coming out of left field on these things, his knocking of an unreleased OS is a bit premature and ill advised.
     
  4. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #4
    I suppose it is totally out of the question that Microsoft could make a new version of office that is tablet optimised. :rolleyes:

    This article is utter predictable Applefag rubbish I'm afraid. I'm sure Microsoft will come up with a more elegant solution for displaying the old apps between now and Windows 8's release, and to be honest, that is my only concern with Windows 8. Microsoft have surprised me, Windows 8 looks excellent.
     
  5. *LTD* thread starter macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #5
    Then why not demo a "tablet optimised" version of Office? Why demo a shell, a layer? Where's this *real* mobile OS?? Where are these optimised apps?

    Nowhere.

    Because MS will be MS. Consistently. Predictably.

    Maybe MS and its fans should start listening to "Applefag rubbish", because Apple has been the guiding light in the industry for years now, and has really been the *only one* to understand consumer tech, and get it right time and time again, in nearly every iteration - from computers to phones to tablets.

    Everything in the video was nice and cool until 2:20. And then reality hit. The reality that MS is still trying to follow Apple's lead without actually understanding them.
     
  6. ChazUK macrumors 603

    ChazUK

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    #6
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    They probably demoed it to show it was backwards compatible with existing software.

    With devices like the eeeTransformer, I could see Windows 8 fitting the best of all worlds on such a device. Dockable, with a desktop operating system and touch optimised on the go. No need to sync with iTunes either!
     
  7. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

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    #7
    There already is a tablet optimised version of Microsoft Office - on every Windows Phone 7 handset.

    But since you haven't used one, you wouldn't know that.
     
  8. dejo Moderator

    dejo

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    #8
    And yet he'll also describe Windows Phone Mango as "impressive work", so...
     
  9. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #9
    So that he's not completely deluded ;) My point stands that Gruber is not providing an unbiased opinion of windows 8. He's taking it from what he thinks is best, based on his proclivity towards Apple.
     
  10. *LTD* thread starter macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #10
    Except his opinion is informed by the the OS X / iOS model. Which is proven, and which is currently the most successful and viable model in terms of User Experience, which is really all that matters. It isn't just some random opinion, LOL. Apple has proven that Gruber is correct in his assessment.

    The Apple model is at least for the moment, the IDEAL. IF MS likes to pay such close attention to Apple and if they love to take cues from Apple, I'm not sure why they simply ignore (either willfully or because they're just dumb) the core of Apple's model:

    "Microsoft's demo video shows Excel — the full version of Excel for Windows — running alongside new touch-based apps. They can make buttons more "touch friendly" all they want, but they'll never make Excel for Windows feel right on a touchscreen UI. Consider the differences between the iWork apps for the Mac and iPad. The iPad versions aren't "touch friendly" versions of the Mac apps — they’re entirely new beasts designed and programmed from the ground up for the touchscreen and for the different rules and tradeoffs of the iOS interface (no explicit saving, no file system, ready to quit at a moment’s notice, no processing in the background, etc.).

    The ability to run Mac OS X apps on the iPad, with full access to the file system, peripherals, etc., would make the iPad worse, not better. The iPad succeeds because it has eliminated complexity, not because it has covered up the complexity of the Mac with a touch-based "shell". iOS's lack of backward compatibility with any existing software means that all apps for iOS are written specifically for iOS."


    This is correct. Any deviation from this and you risk doing what everyone in the tablet market except Apple has been doing so far: failing. And in some cases failing in the most embarrassing way.

    Gruber is talking about basic principles that make sense. No question, we'll see an evolution to a point where we might very well have tablets with wider capabilities and a fuller range of functionality. What MS demo'd in that video, however, aint it.
     
  11. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

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    #11
    I guess neither you nor this "Gruber" guy stopped to think that maybe showing Excel was simply intended as a demonstration that if you want it to this OS can run any other Windows software.

    What I saw from the demo was easily the best implementation of a tablet interface I've yet seen. I'd imagine that if I had a tablet running this then I wouldn't switch to the Windows "desktop" applications very often.

    However, you have to look at it from other ways. What if I had a touch screen desktop PC or a convertible laptop/tablet? It can do both effortlessly, and always offering the best experience possible for what you're trying to do.

    I'd love to find out whether it's going to be possible to run "dual interface" applications - where you'd have a single process running but the ability to switch between the mouse and keyboard interface and the touch interface. That would be incredible for designers - imagine if you could be working on an image in Photoshop and you could switch from editing settings and adding text using the interface we know now and a proper touch interface with all of the performance that Windows Phone 7 has in terms of touch recognition.

    Just because something's there doesn't mean you have to use it. But as with the Flash vs No Flash debate, I'd much rather have the OPTION of doing it than simply being told "sorry, no".
     
  12. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #12
    This below.
    And to add to this the event was not a consumer event so to speak. It was more an event for people in the industry. Unlike Apple Keynots they are events to so devs what it can do and people working in the industry (Enterprise purchasers) what it can do. Unlike Apple they do not have to dumb it down for all the mass idiots out there who do not understand technology.

    They want to show off backwards compatiblity.

    I personally see the way MS going to be much better and allow companies to build much more powerful tablets that can OMG work in both worlds. We have already seen some laptop computers that convert by flipping the display around but you stuck with a desktop UI trying to work in a tablet environment in that mode and a tablet UI does not work in desktop mode. This allows flipping between the to easily.
     
  13. *LTD* thread starter macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #13
    The very thing they should be avoiding. As in, like the plague. It's things like this that are holding them back.
     
  14. ChazUK macrumors 603

    ChazUK

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    #14
    You really expect Microsoft to drop backwards compatibility on the next release of its desktop operating system?

    Windows 8 will not be for toys, it's for real computers. If Microsoft dropped all existing application support that would be disastrous.

    For clarification: Would you be satisfied if Apple restricted OS X Lion to iOS apps only next week?
     
  15. dejo Moderator

    dejo

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    #15
    Sure, his opinion may be biased. But aren't all opinions biased, based on the experiences and knowledge of those who hold them? My point is that Gruber is not a total fanboy and always raising Apple and knocking Apple's competitors. Sometimes he praises competitors, sometimes he criticizes Apple. Therefore, I would be inclined to take his opinions more seriously than those who always praise Apple or those who always hate on them.
     
  16. SevenInchScrew macrumors 6502a

    SevenInchScrew

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    #16
    I don't get the hate for the ability to run full Windows apps. You have the best of both worlds that way. Run it by touch in tablet form for those simple things, and then use a mouse and keyboard and full desktop apps for those more complicated things. Word/Excel/Photoshop/etc on a ~10" tablet with a mouse and keyboard could work quite well in my opinion.
     
  17. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #17
    please come back when you learn how the IT industry really works and stop repeating buzz words that Apple uses.
    You showing yet again how little you understand of the real world by repeating what Apple says.

    Backwards comparability is very key in the enterprise world. Why should Apple bother supporting any thing made for iOS 4 and down when 5 is released. That means all apps that are not redone for iOS 5 are dropped and will not work. 300+k apps no longer work.

    Why did Apple bridge the gap from OS 9 to OSX or PPC to intel?
     
  18. *LTD* thread starter macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #18
    I'm not talking enterprise/IT here.

    I have no idea how the OS 9 to OS X transition has anything to do with this. No one can afford any half-measures or a "we'll get it right 2-3 models from now" attitude in this market.
     
  19. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    Um... watch the "Building Windows 8" video. You will see plenty of optimised Windows 8 apps shown off, or at least demo ones. I believe the showing of Office was to show that Windows 8 had good backwards compatibility.

    You might as well ask why Apple didn't show off a demo of iWork for iOS when they first previewed iOS. :rolleyes:
     
  20. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #20
    go back and read what I responding to.
    You flat out said backwards compatibility should be avoided.

    So I brought up multiple examples of were backwards compatibility is a good thing. Not that I honestly expect to you deal with a logical argument.
    LTD the more post of your I read like backwards compatibility should be avoided and so on the more you show me that you only are repeating buzz words but have no understandings of how it all works.
     
  21. dejo Moderator

    dejo

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  22. Cha Cha Desmond macrumors newbie

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    #22
    Windows 8 has the simplicity and leverages the existing additional functionality provided by the desktop system. Unlike Apple, Microsoft for better or worse has legacy support to worry about and is transitioning. Windows is meant to be all things to all people. The iPad can be, but it's limitations are clear. How can you upload files to a website without a clear file system? Why is it such a pain to move files to and from the iPad? I'm looking to see if Apple can make the iPad a proper stand alone device (that doesn't need a PC/Mac, period) before Microsoft launches Windows 8.

    Simplicity is good, but at the expense of functionality? Both Microsoft and Apple have approached this from opposite sides with Apple building up and Microsoft dumbing down. But everyone knows Windows just like everyone knows how to use an iPhone, so it's a pretty safe bet.

    While the topic poster seems to be stirring the pot (I've seen his other posts), I have to say that if Microsoft thinks that certain 'use cases' can be solved by going back to desktop Windows -- on a tablet -- then they are sorely mistaken. In the same vein, seeing the guy (at Computex) trying to navigate the Windows 8 touch UI with a trackpad was appalling. Here's to hoping Microsoft have fleshed this out before launch, they have the time. I think the touch UI doesn't at all belong on a laptop (desktops, maybe, as some AIOs have touchscreen tech anyway) and should actually be removed for this device, unless it resembles the Transformer, I suppose.

    If, like some have been saying, the shift from desktop Windows to touch Windows is analogous to the DOS/3.1 switchover it doesn't matter anyway. I'd guess the majority of tablet owners have a PC running Windows. Why bother getting an extra device, when they can get a tablet running Windows 8 that does both the heavy and light lifting (whether it does them both well, remains to be seen). If the tablet form factor is compelling enough, that is.
     
  23. *LTD* thread starter macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #23
    Sometimes there's that one phrase, that one observation, that one golden quotation that captures the essence of the matter in just a few words. The kind of stuff that would have made E.B. White proud - brevity that speaks volumes.

    This time the credit goes to Gruber, posted at the bottom of that article:

    What Microsoft revealed this week is that they do not believe there is a post-PC era. They're banking that the PC era will never end.

    Exeunt.
     
  24. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #24
    Now you mention it, you still haven't provided any answers to this question.
     
  25. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #25
    do not expect him to nor to the question I made either. LTD is caught in his own word twisting trying to make it go both ways.
     

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