Things that Apple needs to copy from Microsoft
After leading the pack for a while (and still doing so), I think Apple could really benefit from incorporate some innovation (yes) from Microsoft:
For brevity I’ll ignore live tiles, since that is kinda an OS re-write. Some more simple things they should copy:
- Bring iOS to Mac. I have some great apps on my iPad, some of which my colleagues and I made. I’d love to run them on my Mac. Full screen mode would suffice. And why not, they run in the iOS developer simulator just fine! With a few tweaks to support keyboard and mouse (and a few altered lines of code in our apps), it could be awesome. And no, I don’t really want to re-write everything for OS X.
- The touch-cover. It’s like a smart cover, only totally awesome. I hate typing on my iPad, and avoid it at all costs (my error rate is sky high). I like the tactile response of a keyboard, where my fingers can learn where the keys are without looking. Microsoft took Apple’s innovative smart cover, and made it even better. Time for Apple to re-introduce their changes back into the smart cover.
- Multi-user support. My iDevice is a personal thing. I want to lend it to people without giving them access to all my emails, etc. The iPad belongs on a coffee table, yet contains all my personal data (which my coffee table, generally does not). Also, I hate purging all my data to use it in a demo.
- Bring Mac to iOS touch devices. Ala the Surface Pro. The iPad seems weighty enough (and I do mean weight here, not just CPU grunt) to run desktop applications, so why not? If point 1) was implemented with suitable hardware (like a re-imagined MacBook Air), this would be achieved.
- Real SD Card Support. Why not be able to watch movies, and view photos from external media? The iPad can do neither which feels a bit gimped (yes, it can read photos, but it has to import which kinda defeats the point, and it doesn’t even support exFAT). Without this, it makes a hard case for the iPad to replace even the simplest of netbooks (or, a MacBook Air) which can all do both these tasks well.
- Drop the Skumorphisms. It would seem that the anti-skeuomorphism camp is winning that tug-of-war, I hope that’s the case. It’s a digital device, no need to sugar coat it in the past – just deliver the best digital experiance you can. Like how Kindle is an awesome e-reader, page-curl animation not required.
To summarise, the awesome thing with what Microsoft are doing is they are combining Fun (Metro) with Work (Classic Desktop). Apple could do this with iOS and Mac too. Then when I go away for the weekend, I would only need one device for all the fun things (and, in an emergency, any Work things). Why do I want Apple to do this rather than just switch? I’m just too invested presently in iOS (not just as a user, but as a business) to jump ship today. That won’t be the case forever though.
There is room in my life for 2 devices. The ideal combination for me would be a 15″ Macbook Retina that could run iOS Apps (main work machine, portable enough to travel with on business trips, but with the “fun” of iOS), and an Apple version of the Surface Pro (fun-focused tablet machine, but good enough for emergency work & emails while on vacation). From October, Microsoft folks are lucky as they can do this. For us Apple users, the wait continues.
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