Microsoft: Will it be too late to tablet party? Not with Office optimized device

  • Posted: 30 May 2011 01:54 PM

    Microsoft: Will it be too late to tablet party? Not with Office optimized device

    By Larry Dignan | May 30, 2011

    In a widely publicized research report, Citi analyst Walter Pritchard made the case that Microsoft can make a go of tablets. Here?s his case and my thoughts:

    Microsoft?s success will depend on how well Android fares in tablets. Should Android tablets surge Microsoft will be facing the same situation it does in smartphones?a nice product but too late to matter. My take: The tablet category will be huge and the Apple challengers will be a fragmented lot. Microsoft could make a play.

    My take: The category is going to be huge. There’s room for several competitors to thrive.

    High prices give Microsoft some breathing room. The overall view is that a market of 50 million tablets is insurmountable to Microsoft, which needs a tablet soon. Pritchard, however, notes that price matters. The longer tablets sit in the $500 to $800 range the more time Microsoft has. As long as Microsoft enters the market before tablets fall to an average price of $250, the software giant has a shot. My take: There?s something to Pritchard?s argument, but can Microsoft really play the cheap tablet game?

    My take: Lord amighty, what kind of analysis is this? First, Prices are high? On exactly what do you base that? Have you noticed that no one has yet been able to make a competent tablet for less than $500? And if Microsoft is able to make less expensive models, then why not their competitors. In what way do Microsoft’s tablets have a price over anyone else’s?

    Second, Microsoft makes the software and it’s partners make the hardware. (Unless they’re going to “Zune” their upcoming tablets.) With the exception of lowering their licensing fees - which would be counter-productvive -  what control does Microsoft have over the total cost of their upcoming tablets?

    Third, VALUE, not price, matters. If price were all that mattered, all the cars that we drive, all the furniture that we own and all the clothing that we wear would be bought at the cheapest possible price. Look around you. Are the things you own the cheapest in their class? Of course not. Because price is only one variable in value.

    Microsoft doesn?t have to play the app game that much with tablets. Pritchard argues that the number of killer tablet apps is limited. A tablet optimized version of Office may be all Microsoft needs. Pritchard said ?Office capability could differentiate the Windows tablet from the competition.? My take: Office could be the killer tablet app. Gaming too. Microsoft has both categories covered.

    My take: Insanity. Apps are what make a tablet. Without Apps, a tablet is nothing.

    But what about the idea that “A tablet optimized version of Office may be all the Microsoft needs”? My question is, can there be such a thing? A tablet requires an entirely new operating system. Any version of Microsoft Office would have to be an entirely NEW version of Microsoft office. Does that make it “compatible” with the desktop version of Microsoft Office? Or does it only mean that the data from one can be transferred to the other? If the former is true, then Microsoft has a real advantage. If the latter is true, then Microsoft is on the same playing field as everyone else.

    There?s always the enterprise. Microsoft?s enterprise relationships could work nicely in the tablet market. Consumers may hold back, but corporations are going to be looking for integration with existing Microsoft infrastructure.
    ——-
    My take: Microsoft has the enterprise chop to extend its PC domination to tablets for business customers.

    My take: Maybe. Two years ago, Microsoft could have walked into the tablet market and locked up the Enterprise. But now? Dunno.

    Microsoft isn’t the 900 pound gorilla it was perceived to be just a short time ago. It’s reputation has dropped. It’s market cap has dropped. It’s place in the Enterprise has taken a serious hit.

    Plus there’s the whole “consumerization” of Enterprise thing. Do people really want a tablet that is dedicated to or primarily focused on work? Or do they want an all-round device that they can use at all times whether at home or at work, for personal or for business use? If Microsoft optimizes their tablets for the Enterprise, do they risk alienating the consumer? If Microsoft tries to make its tablet suitable for both the consumer and the Enterprise, then how does it differentiate itself from every other competing tablet product?

    Finally, does the Enterprise really want to lock itself back into Microsoft’s ecosystem? Haven’t they spent the past four years trying to get OUT from under Microsoft’s thumb? Computing monotheism is a wonderful thing for the high priests of IT, but it’s just tyranny to the masses of end users striving for something different, something better.

    Bottom line: Microsoft has a decent shot at the tablet market, but it?s going to need Office to pull businesses in. Consumers are likely to remain skeptical.

    My Bottom Line: I don’t think any of this is going to matter. The closer Microsoft ties its tablet operating system to its desktop operating system, the worse the tablet operating system will be. The more Microsoft optimizes their operating system to run on a tablet, the less it will have in common with its desktop operating system. Microsoft’s tablet will either be a bad tablet or a bad Windows machine. If the former, it is doomed. If the latter, it is irrelevant. Microsoft faces a true Morton’s Fork.

         
  • Posted: 30 May 2011 02:56 PM #1

    If Microsoft is depending on Office to deliver success in the tablet market the fat lady has already sung and the game is over.

    Reading through various discussion groups Office dependency is being diminished by the day. I’m not convinced the best outcome for MSFT shareholders would have been to break up the company. Judge Jackson was correct in the determination of his initial remedy following the outcome of the anti-trust trial.

         
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    Posted: 30 May 2011 03:37 PM #2

    DawnTreader - 30 May 2011 05:56 PM

    If Microsoft is depending on Office to deliver success in the tablet market the fat lady has already sung and the game is over.

    Reading through various discussion groups Office dependency is being diminished by the day. I’m not convinced the best outcome for MSFT shareholders would have been to break up the company. Judge Jackson was correct in the determination of his initial remedy following the outcome of the anti-trust trial.

    Since they don’t make the hardware, I would think the pricing OEM can negotiate with Microsoft, will determine wether they use Microsoft’s or Googles OS.  Last I checked Google wasn’t charging much for their Andriod OS, but Microsoft was still trying to collect patent royalties.  If Microsoft wants to sell office for tablet, they would be smart to sell on the App store since this is the only tablet selling in quantity.  What Microsoft must fear is if Page/Keynote or Google Docs become a suitable substitute.  The tablet is not a word processing power house so if you can manipulate documents without destroying format I doubt folks will care what the name of the program is, but they assume if it carriers the microsoft name then you have compatabilty.

         
  • Posted: 30 May 2011 03:53 PM #3

    DawnTreader - 30 May 2011 05:56 PM

    If Microsoft is depending on Office to deliver success in the tablet market the fat lady has already sung and the game is over.

    Reading through various discussion groups Office dependency is being diminished by the day.

    This is what interests me. Pundits, and perhaps Microsoft, assume that there will be a tie-in between their desktop operating system and their tablet operating system; between their desktop office suite and their tablet office suite. I’m arguing:

    1) The operating systems MUST be separate - a desktop operating system cannot work on a tablet; and

    2) There can be no tie-in between the desktop version of office and the tablet version of office.

    Why? Because the killer features of a desktop program cannot be transferred to a tablet program. The tablet program has to be created from the ground up to take advantage of the finger touch interface.

    Take a look at Pages, Keynote and Numbers. They exist both on the Mac and on the iPad. But they are totally different programs. The features on the Mac versions are very different from their iPad counterparts. The best you can hope for is that the data from one will be easily transferable for use with the other. And if data transferability is the only tie-in between desktop and tablet versions of a program, then even if Microsoft can maintain their Office monopoly in the world of desktops but they will still be unable to extend impose that on the new world of tablets.

    EDIT: Pats made another great point which he posted while I was drafting this. Tablets make acceptable word processors, spreadsheets, etc.* but it’s not their forte. On a tablet, a lightweight word processor or spreadsheet may be far preferable to a full featured and overly complex program like Word or Excel.

    *Presentation programs like PowerPoint and Pages may be the exception to the rule. Presentation programs may actually work BETTER in a tablet format, although it still may be preferable to prepare them on a desktop machine.

    [ Edited: 30 May 2011 04:07 PM by FalKirk ]      
  • Posted: 30 May 2011 05:52 PM #4

    pats - 30 May 2011 06:37 PM
    DawnTreader - 30 May 2011 05:56 PM

    If Microsoft is depending on Office to deliver success in the tablet market the fat lady has already sung and the game is over.
    .

    Reading through various discussion groups Office dependency is being diminished by the day. I’m not convinced the best outcome for MSFT shareholders would have been to break up the company. Judge Jackson was correct in the determination of his initial remedy following the outcome of the anti-trust trial.

    Since they don’t make the hardware, I would think the pricing OEM can negotiate with Microsoft, will determine wether they use Microsoft’s or Googles OS.  Last I checked Google wasn’t charging much for their Andriod OS, but Microsoft was still trying to collect patent royalties.  If Microsoft wants to sell office for tablet, they would be smart to sell on the App store since this is the only tablet selling in quantity.  What Microsoft must fear is if Page/Keynote or Google Docs become a suitable substitute.  The tablet is not a word processing power house so if you can manipulate documents without destroying format I doubt folks will care what the name of the program is, but they assume if it carriers the microsoft name then you have compatabilty.

    Keynote is already better than PowerPoint on the desktop—the limited features of the iPad version is acceptable for most people if they would take the plunge.  Certainly, the pricing is attractive.  And I now prefer Pages to Word:  the feature creep over the years in Word has utility only for the minority of users (e.g. merge/macros/autotext).  The interface of both Keynote and Pages is similar enough to ease the learning curve. 

    Something else I discovered over the past week:  iDVD is toast!  I will now be using iMovie on the iPad for slide shows.

    Numbers has some unique features not available in Excel, but I have not made that switch and don’t expect to anytime soon.

         
  • Posted: 30 May 2011 07:06 PM #5

    I may not be typical of your average tablet user (stood in line for the original iPad - haven’t upgraded).  With the exception of Excel I don’t use Office at all, which isn’t to say that before I retired I didn’t use Word.

    But the amount I use Excel isn’t so great that I would want it on my iPad.  My spreadsheets (used exclusively to forecast AAPL/Apple) are to large for a 10” screen.  Somehow I feel I am not alone, either in the consumer space, or the enterprise.

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  • Posted: 30 May 2011 07:07 PM #6

    Oh, I meant to comment on your review of the article.  It was very good.

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    Posted: 30 May 2011 07:08 PM #7

    FalKirk - 30 May 2011 06:53 PM

    The operating systems MUST be separate - a desktop operating system cannot work on a tablet…

    I’m not sure Microsoft acknowledges this yet. They did figure it out with WP7, but consumers don’t seem to care. It’s too far behind iOS and Android. So even if they do come up with a tablet optimized version of WP7, they’ll be in a similar situation.

    Microsoft is in a race for third place with HP/WebOS and maybe RIM/QNX; the wallflowers of the party.

         
  • Posted: 30 May 2011 07:51 PM #8

    Drew Bear - 30 May 2011 10:08 PM
    FalKirk - 30 May 2011 06:53 PM

    The operating systems MUST be separate - a desktop operating system cannot work on a tablet…

    I’m not sure Microsoft acknowledges this yet. They did figure it out with WP7, but consumers don’t seem to care. It’s too far behind iOS and Android. So even if they do come up with a tablet optimized version of WP7, they’ll be in a similar situation.

    Microsoft is in a race for third place with HP/WebOS and maybe RIM/QNX; the wallflowers of the party.

    I’m way…,way…,out of my league with this but isn’t it a matter of semantics in some respects.  iOS is supposedly a subset of OSX and I always get a little ticked when the press treats them as if they’re TOTALLY separate yet here we are doing the same thing.  I junked my mouse for a track pad which in most respects turns a Mac into a touch enabled device.  It’s frustrating to go back and forth at times.  There isn’t any reason I can think of that a three finger swipe on the iPad shouldn’t send you back a page in Safari the same way it does on the Mac.  I can imagine a certain amount of utility would be had by toggling on a section of the ipad’s screen to be used as a trackpad, turning your finger into a pointer.  This would be particularly useful on a larger screen device.  Back to the Mac is supposed to be about adding some of the functionality of the iPad to the Mac but the converse should ultimately be true as well.  When that day arrives then one could argue that a desktop class OS is in fact running on the iPad.  OR…,is this just wrong?

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  • Posted: 30 May 2011 10:57 PM #9

    BillH - 30 May 2011 10:51 PM

    I’m way…,way…,out of my league with this but isn’t it a matter of semantics in some respects.

    Bill, I’m a technological babe in the woods, but I think this discussion is anything but semantics. Allow me to explain.

    BillH - 30 May 2011 10:51 PM

    iOS is supposedly a subset of OSX and I always get a little ticked when the press treats them as if they’re TOTALLY separate yet here we are doing the same thing.

    It is my understanding that the Mac operating system is fundamentally different from the iPhone operating system which is, somewhat surprisingly, significantly different from the iPad operating system. The beauty of OS X is that Apple laid a foundation wherein the top level elements of all three of those operating system could rest on top of one code base. This makes maintenance and consistency infinitely easier. With the iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad and Mac all running on the foundation of OS X, Apple is way out ahead on this front.

    BillH - 30 May 2011 10:51 PM

    I junked my mouse for a track pad which in most respects turns a Mac into a touch enabled device.

    Not so. Even though you are using a track pad, you are still using a mouse based operating system. A mouse based operating system differs from a touched based system in fundamental ways.

    A mouse driven operating system is pixel based and a touch driven system responds a grouping of pixels the approximate the size of a human’s fingertip(s). This seemingly insignificant distinction leads to a profound difference in how the two operating systems are used. A pixel specific system allows for clicks on very specific target areas. This in turn leads to an interface which is fundamentally different from that of a touch based system.

    -A mouse driven interface has scroll bars. A touch based operating system uses swipes. Why? Because our fingers are too fat to click on the top or bottom of a scroll bar without having the scroll bar take up most of the screen.

    -A mouse driven interface has menus. A touch based operating system eschews menus favoring large screen filling buttons. Why? Because our fingers are too fat to click on individual menu items. This is one of the reasons why Microsoft struggled for over a decade to create a viable tablet operating system. Menus were a given. And the only way to get the precision necessary to operate menus on a tablet was to employ styluses. And, to quote Steve Jobs, “...if you see a stylus, (you) blew it.”

    -A mouse driven interface uses a pointer. A touch based operating system uses an actual finger attached to an actual hand to make it go. When you move your finger on your track pad, you are still moving a mouse from point to point, pixel to pixel, across the screen. No matter what, the mouse does not get in the way. But when you use your finger to select an object on your iPad Touch, iPhone or iPad, your finger and sometimes your whole hand get in the way and obscure the screen. Things you would easily do with a mouse, like clicking and dragging are counter-productive on a touched based system.

    -A mouse driven interface is an abstraction. A touch based operating system “feels” closer to reality. Just as one example of this, iOS has “rubber banding” - the little bounce your menu or page makes when it reaches the bottom or top. Without this, we don’t know when we’ve reached the end of a screen. Notice that this is totally unused (because it is unnecessary) in a mouse based system.

    I fear that my paltry examples may have failed to drive home my point. A Touch based system is fundamentally different from a mouse based system. Why even the operating system of the iPad is significantly different from that of the iPhone. That’s why phone optimized programs run so poorly on a tablet system.

    Let me close by transcribing portions of John Gruber’s thoughts expressed in the most recent edition of “The Talk Show” Podcast, starting at the 50:32 mark. He wasn’t discussing our issue in particular, but some of his thoughts crossed over into our discussion.

    I think that the success (Apple has) had with iOS…that rather than trying to…and we’ve see Microsoft struggling with this…Where (Microsoft) want(s) Windows - THE Windows - they really want Windows to be the OS, they really want tablet makers to run Windows on their tablets, not just something that is new but called Windows, but actual Windows…. Where they’re trying to haul this big huge OS that has been an iterative design for twenty, thirty years…and keep moving it forward…and add these new things to it, and it’s really, really hard to do that, because you’re breaking expectations.

    I think it’s such a better strategy to do what Apple did and keep your old thing - which for Apple now is OS X - mostly what it is and true to its roots and its fundamental design principles and just start over with something new that has totally new tools - like sand-boxing for apps, right?

    ...the back to the Mac ideas you see in Lion, they’re mostly user interface ideas, not really fundamental, lower level stuff…

    The tablet operating system is as different from a desktop operating system as a motorcycle is from a car. On a motorcycle, you use one hand for acceleration and both your hands and your feet to brake. Trying to impose the design fundamentals of a desktop operating system to a tablet is as foolish as trying to put a gas pedal on a motorcycle. It won’t work and it will get you killed in the process.

         
  • Posted: 31 May 2011 12:45 AM #10

    Falkirk wrote:

    It is my understanding that the Mac operating system is fundamentally different from the iPhone operating system which is, somewhat surprisingly, significantly different from the iPad operating system. The beauty of OS X is that Apple laid a foundation wherein the top level elements of all three of those operating system could rest on top of one code base. This makes maintenance and consistency infinitely easier. With the iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad and Mac all running on the foundation of OS X, Apple is way out ahead on this front.

    I’m under the impression that it’s a reduced subset of OSX which has been modified to allow the larger pixel print required by the finger.  The ipad alterations were only to take advantage of a larger screen.  Had they been successful in their quest for resolution independence which (if memory serves) was supposed to be part of Leopard I’m not sure how much of that would have been necessary.

    Even though you are using a track pad, you are still using a mouse based operating system. A mouse based operating system differs from a touched based system in fundamental ways.

    Sorry.  I’m going with Apple on this one.

    The new Magic Trackpad is the first Multi-Touch trackpad designed to work with your Mac desktop computer. It uses the same Multi-Touch technology you love on the MacBook Pro. And it supports a full set of gestures, giving you a whole new way to control and interact with what?s on your screen. Swiping through pages online feels just like flipping through pages in a book or magazine. And inertial scrolling makes moving up and down a page more natural than ever.

    Sounds pretty much like an iPad to me.

    -A mouse driven interface has scroll bars. A touch based operating system uses swipes. Why? Because our fingers are too fat to click on the top or bottom of a scroll bar without having the scroll bar take up most of the screen.

    I don’t think this is true.  It would be easy to put your finger on a scroll bar even if it’s small.  It just wasn’t required.  Think about how small a line of type is and yet the iPad does a pretty good job of knowing where you intend to be when selecting a word.  Speaking of which…

    -A mouse driven interface has menus. A touch based operating system eschews menus favoring large screen filling buttons.

    Au contraire.  When you select text or certain buttons you get pop up menus.  Cut, copy, paste…,save image, forward email etc.  They’re just not locked to the top of the screen.  I can’t think of any reason you couldn’t get a file or edit menu to appear if you so desired (and at times I most certainly do).

    I fear that my paltry examples may have failed to drive home my point. A Touch based system is fundamentally different from a mouse based system. Why even the operating system of the iPad is significantly different from that of the iPhone. That?s why phone optimized programs run so poorly on a tablet system.

    I thought they were good examples but disagree with the intent of your conclusion.  A pointer is a pointer even if it feels more natural to use your finger.  Speaking of points, I agree with your primary one that Windows would have to be re-written to accommodate touch.  The part I don’t know enough about is whether it can be done.  I’m still contending that’s exactly what Apple did.

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    Posted: 31 May 2011 01:52 AM #11

    the beauty of the iOS touch interface is you directly manipulate the software on screen - one layer of distance has been removed - there is no mouse, magic trackpad etc which you manipulate - you directly manipulate the software objects - finger to software - the hardware interface is invisible.

    Once an iMac is released with a tiltable screen (from verticle to horizontal), with the ability to run an iOS layer in the same exact manner as you do on the ipad, then the Mac will at long last have the same intuitiveness as the ipad.

    (I’m constanly staring at my 27” iMac when editing video and just wishing i could physically touch the video elements and drag them around and apply sound levels, color effects etc ipad imovie style).

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  • Posted: 31 May 2011 02:00 AM #12

    BillH - 31 May 2011 03:45 AM

    I’m under the impression that it’s a reduced subset of OSX which has been modified to allow the larger pixel print required by the finger.  The ipad alterations were only to take advantage of a larger screen.  Had they been successful in their quest for resolution independence which (if memory serves) was supposed to be part of Leopard I’m not sure how much of that would have been necessary.

    You may well be right. The intricacies of OS X are far beyond me. I’m just trying to patch together the bits and pieces that I’ve read.

    Even though you are using a track pad, you are still using a mouse based operating system. A mouse based operating system differs from a touched based system in fundamental ways.-FalKirk

    BillH - 31 May 2011 03:45 AM

    Sorry.  I’m going with Apple on this one.

    The new Magic Trackpad is the first Multi-Touch trackpad designed to work with your Mac desktop computer. It uses the same Multi-Touch technology you love on the MacBook Pro. And it supports a full set of gestures, giving you a whole new way to control and interact with what?s on your screen. Swiping through pages online feels just like flipping through pages in a book or magazine. And inertial scrolling makes moving up and down a page more natural than ever.

    Sounds pretty much like an iPad to me.

    I’m going stand my ground here. Put your finger on a track pad and you are moving a pixel specific pointer on the screen. It’s fundamentally different than touch which is why Lion will try to emulate the iPad interface, but it won’t come near to duplicating that interface.

    -A mouse driven interface has scroll bars. A touch based operating system uses swipes. Why? Because our fingers are too fat to click on the top or bottom of a scroll bar without having the scroll bar take up most of the screen.-FalKirk

    BillH - 31 May 2011 03:45 AM

    I don’t think this is true.  It would be easy to put your finger on a scroll bar even if it’s small.  It just wasn’t required.  Think about how small a line of type is and yet the iPad does a pretty good job of knowing where you intend to be when selecting a word.

    I’m going to hold firm here, too. I disagree with your assessment and I think Apple developers and Apple programmers would disagree too.

    -A mouse driven interface has menus. A touch based operating system eschews menus favoring large screen filling buttons.-FalKirk

    BillH - 31 May 2011 03:45 AM

    Au contraire.  When you select text or certain buttons you get pop up menus.  Cut, copy, paste…,save image, forward email etc.  They’re just not locked to the top of the screen.  I can’t think of any reason you couldn’t get a file or edit menu to appear if you so desired (and at times I most certainly do).

    Yeah, I thought of that too, but they are exeptions to the rule, not the rule. Look at the hierarchical menus on any notebook/desktop program and I think you’ll agree that they don’t exist on tablets (because they don’t work on tablets).

    Note, however, that hierarchical menus DID exist on PC tablets prior to the iPad. It’s epitomizes why every tablet prior to the iPad failed so miserably. They were trying to put a desktop interface on a tablet form factor. Microsoft seems intent on extending this decade long mistake for yet another year.

    I fear that my paltry examples may have failed to drive home my point. A Touch based system is fundamentally different from a mouse based system. Why even the operating system of the iPad is significantly different from that of the iPhone. That?s why phone optimized programs run so poorly on a tablet system.-FalKirk

    BillH - 31 May 2011 03:45 AM

    A pointer is a pointer even if it feels more natural to use your finger.

    Respectfully disagree. Let me give you another example. Try highlighting, cutting inserting and pasting a discrete portion of this sentence elsewhere with your mouse or your track pad. Now try doing it with your iOS device. The touch interface is simply wonderful for some tasks, but it’s extremely awkward for others. The same can be said for a mouse driven interface. They each have their place.

    Bill, I’m disagreeing with you because I’m assimilating all the opinions I’ve heard over time from the people who created the iOS system and the developers who work with the iOS system. Unfortunately, I can’t give more examples or expand on my points because I’m already at the edge of my understanding. I’m merely parroting what I’ve heard. What we need here are some genuine iOS developers to set us (or just me) straight. I know that you’re out there. What’s the verdict, Guys & Gals?

    BillH - 31 May 2011 03:45 AM

    Speaking of points, I agree with your primary one that Windows would have to be re-written to accommodate touch.  The part I don’t know enough about is whether it can be done.  I’m still contending that’s exactly what Apple did.

    Apple built iOS from the ground up using OS X as its foundation. Microsoft is trying to build their tablet system from the top down by abstracting a subset of the Windows Desktop Operating system. Big difference.

         
  • Posted: 31 May 2011 02:08 AM #13

    FalKirk - 31 May 2011 01:57 AM
    BillH - 30 May 2011 10:51 PM

    I’m way…,way…,out of my league with this but isn’t it a matter of semantics in some respects.

    Bill, I’m a technological babe in the woods, but I think this discussion is anything but semantics. Allow me to explain.

    BillH - 30 May 2011 10:51 PM

    iOS is supposedly a subset of OSX and I always get a little ticked when the press treats them as if they’re TOTALLY separate yet here we are doing the same thing.

    It is my understanding that the Mac operating system is fundamentally different from the iPhone operating system which is, somewhat surprisingly, significantly different from the iPad operating system. The beauty of OS X is that Apple laid a foundation wherein the top level elements of all three of those operating system could rest on top of one code base. This makes maintenance and consistency infinitely easier. With the iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad and Mac all running on the foundation of OS X, Apple is way out ahead on this front.

    Today I gather that they have merged iPad and iPhone iOS. Originally they forked it, probably just to get it to market faster in the face of rapidly changing iPad hardware. Thus no technical rationale for that, just scheduling of the various products.

    The basic services - kernel etc, what used to be called the OS - is largely the same on all three systems. Almost no Mac or iOS programs call this directly. An example of differences is that iOS does not swap to “disk” on memory saturation, but there’s no technical reason for it not to. It’s a design choice.

    The basic programming API - the bits used for the logic and intelligence of the programs - is almost identical. A text string is typed as an NSString on both platforms, and has the same capabilities.

    Some high-level services such as text-to-speech are missing in iOS, or have been streamlined.

    Many UI items have slightly different names on iOS but otherwise act the same from a programmers point of view as they do on the Mac.

    The initial perception was that iOS was a watered down version of OS X. My opinion is that it’s similar, but refined. They knew more about what they wanted to do and how, and so they got rid of a lot of cruft. Not watered down - the next generation.

    Today the only difference between coding for the iPad and the iPhone is the very different screen size. That’s a very important difference, but you still get to keep all the internal functionality. On the flip side the rule of thumb is that getting presentation and interaction right is 90% of the work. I’d say that when porting from the iPhone to iPad it’s a lot less, and porting on to the Mac it’s significant, but still a lot less than 90%.

    This is vastly different form my - admittedly ancient - experiences with WinMo, then called Windows CE. Huge parts of the API were different or missing, and if you were a C++ guy, you couldn’t even expect your core logic to port, as the basic programming APIs (Standard Template Library) just weren’t there. Here a text string wasn’t just a different class - you had to code your own!

    [ Edited: 31 May 2011 02:10 AM by dduck ]      
  • Posted: 31 May 2011 02:38 AM #14

    dduck - 31 May 2011 05:08 AM

    Today I gather that they have merged iPad and iPhone iOS. Originally they forked it, probably just to get it to market faster in the face of rapidly changing iPad hardware. Thus no technical rationale for that, just scheduling of the various products.

    The basic services - kernel etc, what used to be called the OS - is largely the same on all three systems. Almost no Mac or iOS programs call this directly. An example of differences is that iOS does not swap to “disk” on memory saturation, but there’s no technical reason for it not to. It’s a design choice.

    The basic programming API - the bits used for the logic and intelligence of the programs - is almost identical. A text string is typed as an NSString on both platforms, and has the same capabilities.

    Some high-level services such as text-to-speech are missing in iOS, or have been streamlined.

    Many UI items have slightly different names on iOS but otherwise act the same from a programmers point of view as they do on the Mac.

    The initial perception was that iOS was a watered down version of OS X. My opinion is that it’s similar, but refined. They knew more about what they wanted to do and how, and so they got rid of a lot of cruft. Not watered down - the next generation.

    Today the only difference between coding for the iPad and the iPhone is the very different screen size. That’s a very important difference, but you still get to keep all the internal functionality. On the flip side the rule of thumb is that getting presentation and interaction right is 90% of the work. I’d say that when porting from the iPhone to iPad it’s a lot less, and porting on to the Mac it’s significant, but still a lot less than 90%.

    This is vastly different form my - admittedly ancient - experiences with WinMo, then called Windows CE. Huge parts of the API were different or missing, and if you were a C++ guy, you couldn’t even expect your core logic to port, as the basic programming APIs (Standard Template Library) just weren’t there. Here a text string wasn’t just a different class - you had to code your own!

    @DDuck, thank you for that.

         
  • Posted: 31 May 2011 09:30 AM #15

    dduck - 31 May 2011 05:08 AM

    An example of differences is that iOS does not swap to “disk” on memory saturation, but there’s no technical reason for it not to.

    Are you sure about that? There are some very strange behaviors in iOS if you have too many open apps. The button fails to respond fast enough, for example, it sure “feels” like something is swapping in and out while it is waiting to go ahead.

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