The Macalope Daily: Number one fan

Nathan Brookwood is here to prove that there are more Windows tablet fans than just the ones on the inside, struggling loudly to keep them cool.

“Why My Next Tablet Will Run Windows 8” (tip o’ the antlers to The Loop where Jim Dalrymple has a pithy and foul-mouthed retort)

Spoiler: Brookwood thinks the iPad’s just for content consumption.

I’ve been using Windows-based tablet computers for almost a decade. I was hooked the moment Bill Gates trotted out Microsoft’s first prototype tablets at a developer event in mid-2001.

Oh, my God, you’re that guy! You shouldn’t be out on the street. You should be in some sort of museum of cultural oddities.

Android and iOS tablets do a yeoman’s job when it comes to consuming content, but lack the software tools and hardware features needed to create content.

It seems that you are recycling an argument that has been debunked right in the face numerous times. The Macalope could search the Internet and find examples of people doing creative work with the iPad, but why should he? Everyone who has an iPad knows your assertion simply isn’t true. The Macalope routinely writes his column and posts it to Macworld’s content management system with the iPad. And, look, he just drew a picture of a little kitty on his iPad. Isn’t that cute?

iPads and Android tablets work best as “companion devices,” and assume you have access to a PC or MacBook to handle everyday computing tasks. In fact, when I took my new iPad2 out of its box, it insisted that I connect it to iTunes running on a PC or Mac before it would let me do anything.

While the horny one is sure it’s easier to argue against last year’s facts, as of iOS 5 a computer is no longer required to activate an iPad. Thank you for calling.

Well, you mouth-breathing iPad content consumers are going to be breathing out of the other sides of your mouths when Windows 8 ships… uh, sometime late this year.

Tap on the Desktop tile, and you are instantly transported to the familiar Windows 7 desktop. The applications you invested years learning to use are there in all their glory; not striped down versions that some guy in a marketing department thought were “good enough” for tablet users.

Except on ARM tablets, of course. Oh, and have fun running the “applications you invested years learning to use” with a touch-based interface.

They may be old fashioned, but after 30 years of development, the industry has refined these input devices to the point where they’re hard to beat for content creation.

Seriously, we reached the pinacle of user interface design with Office 2003 on Windows XP, so why even bother trying to come up with new ways for people to use computers?

Microsoft’s Tablet PC software includes a feature it calls “digital ink” that allows users to write on the surface of the display the same way one writes on a sheet of paper.

Wow! If only the iPad had software that would allow you to take hand-written notes and drawings. OH, WELL.

Often, when I’m scribbling notes on my tablet at a conference, people sitting nearby will ask me what magical device I’m using. They’re amazed when I tell them it’s a five-year old tablet PC that runs Windows 7 and Office.

Amazed and possibly terrified.

Just smile and back away. Just smile and back away. Just smile and…

Brentwood’s obviously heavily invested in the Windows lifestyle, and good for him. If that’s your preferred device, more power to you (which, by the way, you’re going to need when you try to run desktop applications on a tablet). But please stop trotting out arguments against the iPad that are almost as old as your Windows tablet.

The problem for Microsoft is that the “slap full applications on a touch screen an call it a day” experience has been available for ten years and only diehards like Brentwood have bought into it. If the Macalope were a betting beast, he’d wager Brentwood that the most successful Windows 8 tablets will be the ARM-based devices that don’t run legacy desktop applications. But he’s not. Maybe we can just agree to check back in after Windows 8 tablets have been out for a while. Like, over a year from now.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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