Last night I watch a 2 hour video of the Keynote Presentation at Microsoft’s 2016 Build conference; I came away MOST impressed! The forward vision presented, the focus on collaboration and cross-platform compatibility and the brilliance of Hololens definitely reaffirmed my feeling that I made the right choice in choosing Windows over Mac OS.
I’ll talk about what I saw a little bit later, but just for shits and giggles I decided to watch Apple’s version of the same thing: the keynote at WWDC. This year’s hasn’t happened yet, so it was from 2015, but still. The most hilarious parts were the announcements (to big applause mind you!) of the addition of a ‘mute’ function in Safari to quickly silence tabs making noise, and the ability to go full screen in an app! Are you kidding me? So you’re saying that Microsoft was right all along? You are adding a feature that your competitor has had since the 1990’s and you’re proud?
All the little details aside, it’s becoming clear what a great move the Universal Windows Application idea was: now any work a developer does pays off on many platforms. Your app will run not only on PCs, but without modification on tablets and XBOX as well! It makes it painfully obvious what a mistake it was for Apple to create yet another OS for its tablet ecosystem. And then there’s the Watch too, with its own OS.
Have you checked out Windows Ink? Not only does it already work amazingly well, it’ll allow developers to add annotation and drawing to apps so easily it’s mind-blowing. Microsoft has been adding more and more super advanced APIs and tools to its development environment. And guess what: it allows you to develop apps for ALL major platforms, Windows, Android and iOS. This is a crucial part to their strategy; when discussing Cortana, their digital assistant, the important statement was: your assistant should never be tied to one device, or even one brand. Microsoft believes in the power of its software so much it makes it available for competitor’s operating systems! Apple tries to make sure you’re so reliant on their software, you “can’t” buy anything from another brand if you don’t want major problems.
I have to say, Windows 10 has been amazing to me. I’ve now upgraded 10 or so systems to it, including my friend’s OLD Acer AS1410, and machine with a single core 1.3 GHz Celeron (from the Core 2 Solo days) and 3GBs of RAM. The Windows 7 install that had been on there since 2010 was getting unusable, partly because it was on a slow HDD, and partly because Avast antivirus that was on there was pegging the CPU at 100% most of the time. It has no malware, but opening any app would take so long it seemed broken. I uninstalled Avast, and ran an in-place Win10 upgrade overnight. The next morning I was greeted to a perfectly usable machine! It struggles with some things (1080P Youtube) but even though it has a chipset from 2009 and a turtle for a CPU it decodes local 1080P content perfectly fine! Startup and shutdown is quick, sleep works properly! This is a machine that cost $400 in 2010, (<3lbs, ultraportable when that was still extra expensive) that runs the newest OS in 2016! Apple machines from that era, even ones 4 times as fast are left to run OSX 10.7, or one that stopped being developed in 2012.
Now let’s talk about problems. As I’ve written on these pages over the years, Apple does not have a great track record for reliable software, except perhaps in the beginning of iOS. Starting fresh meant no legacy code, and thus simple and predictable operation. I’ve explained here that, because of the lack of forward thinking in the design of the foundation of its software, Apple always ends up resorting to workarounds, add-ons, and Jerry-rigging to catch up to others. This leads to incomprehensible code, and very hard to fix bugs in operation; OS9 at the end of its life was perhaps the worst OS in history, with more crashing and incompatibilities than anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s happening again with both OSX and iOS! From iTunes deleting people’s local library, to iPads bricking, from every damn new version of OSX breaking compatibility with numerous applications (“it just works!”) to the entire computer freezing up like Windows used to 15 years ago, the fact it it doesn’t just work anymore. I can’t begin to tell you how many people I know that are many, many versions behind because of all these issues and so they still can’t enjoy ground-breaking features like running an App full screen!
Going forward, I believe it’s gonna keep getting worse; if Apple were smart, it would incorporate touch into OSX and turn iOS into a part of it, just like AMIDuos allows you to run Android within Windows (amazingly well I might add! Yay for working together!). Do I need to bring up iTunes? Quicktime is dead…..It still blows my mind that anyone would consider an iPad Pro a good idea, when the Surface clearly shows what’s possible. Alas, it seems like Jobs’ DNA is so strong that his decision to split up the two paradigms is here to stay and that’s bad for consumers. Both operating systems will become less reliable, in addition to less compatible with the world outside of the walled garden that is Apple. As Google and especially Microsoft’s voice recognition and AI improves by leaps and bounds, Siri will be stuck on the slow bus; most iPhone users I know are quite disappointed with it even now, while Cortana is getting more amazing every day AND can be used on ALL platforms! Apple can’t even get Siri to work great with itself. As iOS adds more multi-tasking features, more complexity is added, and more problems arise, in addition to the fact that so many apps don’t work with it to begin with, because Apple simplified the base of the OS so much in the beginning; do I even need to make the comparison to MS’s bet at the time on Windows to be able to run on tablets in the future?
I’ll leave you with this, perhaps the most innovative and exciting product in the pipeline at any company: Microsoft’s Hololens. It’s been discussed and shown for more than a year now, but amazingly many people have never heard of it or seen it. This is what happens when www.apple.com is your homepage! All kidding aside, it’s a little disturbing when you’re surround by people who consider themselves ‘techies’, but they’ve never even heard of perhaps the most revolutionary thing out there. In this day and age of maximum information, it seems that we’re not getting the most important of it, collectively. Don’t forget that part of the magic of Apple and companies like it is to keep their users in the dark about what others are doing! That way you can feel great about the decisions you made……