5 Things That the iPad Does Better Than Windows 8
April 25, 2012 Leave a comment
I previously wrote about the advantages that Microsoft’s Windows 8 (on a tablet) has over Apple’s iOS (on the iPad). Apple recently released its new iPad to great fanfare. Here are five things that the iPad does better than Windows 8.
1. Retina Display
Strictly speaking, this isn’t a fair comparison for two main reasons. The first reason is that Microsoft does not produce the hardware for Windows 8 tablets. The second reason is that Microsoft has announced that Windows 8 is designed to support screen resolutions that can match or exceed the resolution of the iPad’s Retina display. However, the counterpoint to this line of reasoning is that this is a comparison based on the real world, not some hypothetical display. Apple’s Retina display on the iPad is a thing of beauty. It makes photos and videos ‘pop’ and makes text crisp and legible. It is also currently available on every iPad (third generation). Apple’s control over the vertical stack with its tablet means that it can guarantee a high level of display quality. This isn’t the case for Windows 8, where Microsoft is somewhat at the mercy of manufacturers in terms of the choices made for the tablet hardware.
2. UI Consistency
For all the praise that I gave Windows 8 around its Mobile and Non-Mobile UI consistency, that advantage was primarily centered around using the Metro UI on a desktop as well as a tablet. Where things fall apart is when a user is bounced from the Metro UI back to the classic Windows UI. This happens a surprisingly high number of times, from sources such as legacy apps or even the settings menus. While there is some inconsistency between Apple’s OS X and iOS, each of those operating systems has an internally consistent interface.
3. 4G LTE + Long Battery Life
These two pretty much go hand in hand. There are 4G tablets and tablets with long battery life, but the combination of the two, along with the aforementioned Retina display, is tough to beat. The hardware story for Windows 8 is still murky, so it is difficult to tell if there will be Windows 8 tablets that will match the iPad in these categories.
4. Graphics Crunching
Graphics crunching power is important to display high quality visuals (particularly the 3D variety). The new iPad has a ‘system on a chip’ called the A5X that is more powerful than the similar chip in the iPad 2. Benchmark comparisons to the NVIDIA Tegra 3 (of which there are plenty on the web) show the iPad’s chip to be generally superior. The iPad’s chip power is primarily used to maintain high frame rates when showing graphics on the massive resolution of the Retina display. Given the aforementioned hardware spec situation, it will be a challenge for Windows 8 tablets to match this level of performance.
This is arguably the biggest advantage that the iPad has over Windows 8. The number of quality apps that are available for the iPad is a significant hurdle to overcome. While it is largely possible to use legacy apps on Windows 8, those apps are not optimized for the tablet form factor like apps designed for the iPad. Microsoft will work hard to close this gap, but it will take time to turn the tide of developer favor.
There is little doubt that the iPad is the current reigning champion of the tablet world. Apple’s changes to the latest generation of the iPad have made the market leader even better. Will the iPad continue to lead the pack, or will contenders such as Windows 8 take the lead? Only time will tell.