Is Windows 8 really new? Is it better? Or, is it merely different? What does it do compared to Apple’s iOS? If it runs Office or Photoshop it’s still Windows. It’s the new chunk of bolted on interface, Metro, that will be the key to success with Windows 8, and where a comparison to iOS needs to be made.
Metro is new, not legacy. iOS is new, not legacy. Both are start overs for Microsoft and Apple. The difference is that Apple kept iOS separate from Mac OS X, while Microsoft combined the old and the new into Windows 8.
My non-technical background prevents me from exposing what happens behind the scenes to make Windows 8 different from iOS, but suffice it to say, Windows 8 on a tablet will have much more going on than an iOS device. That translates into more CPU activity, lower battery life, and more heat. iOS devices, shed of the Mac OS X legacy, is clean and mean; longer battery life, less heat. A two-pound Windows 8 tablet will not be competitive with a one-pound tablet which is cooler and runs longer.
What of Metro, Microsoft’s shiny front end to Windows 8 tablet-like devices (I hate to call anything luggable a tablet)? Is it new? Yes. Is it better? Or, Is it merely different?
My view of product marketing is simple. Old products are defeated by new products when the new has a compelling reason to make users switch from the old. It’s easy to argue that the iPhone was a compelling product that made transition from older smart phones incredibly easy.
Compelling reasons are easy to spot. Same features, much lower price. The compelling feature is the lower price for the same thing. Or, more and better features at the same price. The improved features are the compelling reason to switch.
Does all the Metro visual flash with tiles and swipes provide a compelling reason to switch to Windows 8 on a tablet or phone? The answer is already out there. Windows Phone 7 devices don’t sell in great numbers, when compared to Apple’s iPhone with iOS. Why not? There’s not a compelling reason to switch from iOS to Microsoft’s new and different Metro because it’s really just different, not better.
Does Metro open apps faster? Does it organize apps, photos, movies, documents, or music better? Can you find and open apps, photos, movies, documents, or music faster or easier? Or, is it merely different?
Windows 8 will be a new and improved Windows 7 which much to like. Except that it’s still Windows. Metro apps won’t get much playing time on a typical desktop PC or notebook. It’s the comparison to iOS that makes all the noise.
But what’s the compelling difference between Metro and iOS? Both do swipes, but differently. Are tiles a reason to go with a device running metro? I don’t think so.
Water travels downhill. Besides app developers and technopundits, the average smart phone user already knows what constitutes a modern smart phone. Touch and swipe. How is Microsoft’s new Metro anything but a different way to do the same thing?