Windows 8 on tablets- Is Apple scared?
We’ve seen it all countless times before. On March 7, Apple unveiled its third-generation “new iPad” to the world, and—true to form—when it hit US stores on the 16th, devoted Apple fans showed up in droves to buy it. The same thing happened when the device launched in Spain on the 23rd.
Also true to form, Apple only incrementally improved the specs on the new device, although arguably more this time than last year. The iPad now sports an ultra-high-resolution “Retina Display” that packs in more pixels than a 1080p HDTV. It also finally supports 4G LTE connectivity, which doubtless means that the next iPhone will support 4G, too.
In October of last year when Apple announced the iPhone 4S, we saw exactly the same scenario: Apple only incrementally improved the device over its predecessor when all was said and done, yet the company touted the upgrade as an “amazing” leap forward. Was it really “amazing,” or was it just another attempt to squeeze yet more cash from an adoring fanbase ready to pounce on any and every new offering?
Could it be, though, that Apple is scared?
Consider that, for the first time in the history of the operating system, Apple’s archrival Microsoft will soon be releasing a version of Windows that runs on the ARM processors common in tablet PCs. Current Windows applications won’t be able to run on the ARM version, but this is still a huge development; Windows currently enjoys an approximate 92% hold on the desktop OS market and an 85% share when it comes to browsing the Web. Meanwhile, Apple’s numbers currently stand at 7% of the desktop market and just over 10% of Web browsing (iOS is included in this last number, to account for the popularity of the iPhone and iPad as browsing devices). That said, Microsoft may stand to make even more ground.
Apple tends to make a big deal of any time its market share makes even a miniscule gain against Microsoft’s, but let’s face it: Apple’s OSs will never be popular enough to even come close to overtaking Windows. That may explain why they make such a big deal of the most minor upgrades: They have to do it in order to keep their devotees’ wallets open.
In the coming months, as Microsoft’s Windows 8 makes its way onto users’ devices—both PCs and tablets—we’ll keep an eye on how it stacks up against Apple’s offerings, and what the two sides can learn from each other. But in the meantime, share your thoughts: Do you think Apple is worried about Microsoft gaining a foothold in the tablet market? What can both sides do to better their chances in an arena that will become even more cutthroat?
Luke can be reached at luke.jensen1981(at)gmail.com