Thursday, July 24, 2014

Watching The News, Apple vs. Microsoft

I get this vision of two warriors running across the field toward one another, weapons held high, fierce expressions on their faces, blood churning in their veins... and at the moment that should have been impact, they missed each other entirely. Looking around, they realize they are in the castle of their enemy alone, and no one is home. So they pull up the draw bridge and call it good. The peasants are confused, but continue on nevertheless.

This is basically what Apple (maker of devices) and Microsoft (maker of software) has done.

To look at all Microsoft alleges to do in the near future they are unifying their software, making it look horrible, and attempting to have it run across all their devices. I don't know what that means. They'll have an OS that looks good on a 480 x 800 resolution phone and a 4K monitor hooked up to a video editing workstation?

Looking at the leaked photos for whatever it is that comes after Windows 8 makes me cringe. The look of it (the software) gives me a feeling one can liken only to disgust and dread. It is the opposite sensation of what one feels picking up a Surface Pro 3 (a device). Microsoft is making some very compelling devices that has pushed the industry to make an array of computing options I've been waiting over a decade for.

I owned a Surface Pro 1, and loved it. All the things I would have changed about it came to pass with the release of the Surface Pro 3. It's a lighter color, an aspect ratio closer to paper as opposed to an HD display, and thinner/lighter/etcetera. The keyboard has a strange spring to it, mimicking the tactile feedback of a traditional keyboard. It still has great, maybe even better pen input depending on what you're doing. If I'd know it would be so good, I would have held off getting my Thinkpad Yoga.

I may have still chosen the Yoga anyway, but it would have been a really tough choice.

Meanwhile, Apple is making the same aluminum clad clam shells, touch only tablets, and smartphone they have for the past few years. That none of their devices have more than a single use form factor or pen input is pretty discouraging. Even more discouraging is that Yosemite and iOS 8 (software) looks incredible, capable, and extremely advanced.

I'm aware that my device usage isn't typical or even representative of 1% of computer users. Very few people decide one day they are going to design and render games for a smartphone platform and work as a self-published author, then go shopping for a machine that can allow them to do all that, while replacing all the paper on their desk. Most people don't think about port selection, input options, or screen resolution to that end and seek out the perfect device to that end.

Also, I'm aware that not everyone uses every single feature of their phone for things like self promotion, checking stock prices, email, browsing, schedule keeping, file sharing, photo taking, and the occasional game. I don't consider myself to occupy even the top 25% of truly tech savvy users, but I think a lot of the design choices Microsoft is using feels like a heartfelt appeal to the very lowest common denominator. Granted, the leaked images of the next version could (please God) be fake and not at all what it will look like or represent how it will function from the desktop on down.

Apple's Yosemite has a feature called Continuity that looks incredible. Basically, much of what you start or do on your phone or tablet can be continued or finished on your Mac and vice versa I'm sure. You also have access to many of the features on your phone via your Mac. Windows has virtually nothing like this, and where they do the applications are so barren and featureless they aren't worth using.

I really want a Hackintosh Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga running Yosemite and an iPhone with a slightly larger (but just shy of phablet size) screen than the one they make now. I love Windows Phone but I don't think it will survive the transition Microsoft is proposing.


  1. You are singing all of my woes, brother. on some level, you truly are. I appreciate your posts.

    1. I love Lenovo and Nokia, but I see a 2015-16 13" MacBook Air, an iPhone 6 or 7, and a small Wacom Intuos Pro in my future. I'll wait for the warranty on both my workstation and my Yoga to run out before I make the switch. I'm far more likely to endure bad software to have better hardware, but there's a threshold where that ceases to be true.