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The Macalope doesn’t consider it his business to stick up for Daring Fireball author John Gruber. He considers it his business to stick up for logic. Which brings us to Business Insider’s decision to reprint Aaron Holesgrove’s Why Windows 8 is NOT fundamentally flawed as a response to the iPad.

Business Insider is apparently now soundly in the Apple-trolling camp. Duly noted. But Holesgrove himself is not strictly an Apple troll (although he’s certainly trolling Gruber), so let’s look at his argument.

Ahh John Gruber. He only ever writes long articles when it comes time to defend Apple, doesn’t he?

Ugh, Aaron we’re not even out of the first sentence and you’re already wrong. This isn’t starting well.

Most of Gruber’s long articles are about Apple (some do “defend,” but many just describe, and a few even take Apple to task) but, please, Aaron, Daring Fireball is ultimately not about Apple, but about a wide range of pedantry. When you say he “only” writes long articles in defense of Apple, you’re leaving out great swaths of pedantry about Twitter, poorly designed Web page titles, and sites that jerktastically append a URL to any text you copy from their pages (hey, like Business Insider).

Holesgrove takes exception to Gruber’s assertion that iOS set off a nuclear bomb in the cell-phone industry.

If Apple never released the iPhone, we’d be sitting here today talking about how if it weren’t for Android, those three companies wouldn’t be making all of those same changes or something like that – the crippling of those companies was always inevitable.

Would Google have bought Android if the iPhone hadn’t come along? Sure, it’s true the established smartphone-makers were too content with the moribund state of the market. But it’s also true that the iPhone was the first to market with a design that was completely disruptive, and Android was a response to it. As to what would have happened if Apple had never brought it to market, we’ll never know.

For Windows 8 in particular, Microsoft might definitely have some Apple envy but at the end of the day, they would have still designed the same kind of interface for Windows 8 no matter what happened outside of their own walls.

Seriously? Then why didn’t Microsoft design it, oh, any time in the ten years since it first entered the tablet market? Has Holesgrove not heard of Microsoft’s Windows Everywhere strategy? The backlash to this blinkered philosophy has even brought the Macalope into agreement with Paul Thurrott, who argues that Windows Phone 7 would be a better tablet OS.

Microsoft had to learn the hard way that the shell needed to change far more drastically than it did in order to actually BE touch ‘friendly’ and here we all are today seeing the Metro interface in Windows 8 on a tablet.



Again, how did Microsoft learn this lesson? By watching Apple sell a metric butt-ton of iPads. Previously, Redmond was content to ship “Windows slapped on a tablet,” because it didn’t have a better idea and it thought that people just weren’t interested in tablets.

Actually John, iOS IS built on top of Mac OS X and its core principles. It is common knowledge that it is a modified version of OS X with a touch centric shell on top.

Actually, Aaron, that’s not true. iOS and OS X have the same core OS, but different user interfaces, which is just one of the things that differentiates them. You’re basically arguing that a hammerhead shark is really just a great white shark with a hammerhead hat on it, because they’re both sharks.

John, I don’t know what has you so convinced that Office has to look different in order to qualify that it belongs on a tablet.

Oh, probably some silly thing like usability. Don’t pay any attention to him, he’s always going on about that!

In the future, Apple are going to slowly wean people into the idea of using their iPads more and more for creating but we are hardly at that day today. Microsoft, on the other hand, are looking to make tablets that are full screen computers which you can do anything/everything with – dock them as full computers, do full-screen computing using things other than touch – off screen gestures, voice control, etc.

First of all, there are plenty of people using the iPad for content creation; the Macalope frequently writes his Macworld columns on one (and with hooves, no less). Second, don’t you see the inherent problem with saying Windows-based tablets are going to do everything? What specifications are they going to have in order to be able to run a full version of Office smoothly? How much are they going to cost? How is Microsoft going to keep OEMs from making the same junk they’ve been making for years?

Sure some apps in Windows 8 tablets will look ugly but at the end of the day, backwards compatibility with legacy Windows apps isn’t a drawback – it’s a feature, because that’s what the market will demand.

You can say that and say that but it doesn’t make it true. Again, if that’s what the market has demanded, then why has Apple sold millions of iPads in the last year while Microsoft has struggled to force Windows-based tablets down the throats of users for a decade, only to have them hacked back up in its face?

There really couldn’t be a more classic example of Microsoft thinking: “You should totally wait for our tablet. It won’t be available for a year or more but it’ll do everything.” And somehow it’ll do everything without sacrificing on cost, or performance, or user experience.

Now, that would be a magical tablet.

[makes sound of bong bubbles]

Microsoft wants your tablet to be your total solution and just because Apple can’t do it, doesn’t mean that someone else can’t either – your roses colored glasses deceive you John.

Well, hey, maybe given the extra time, Microsoft will solve some of the blindingly obvious flaws inherent in this idea. Maybe it’ll take so long for Windows 8 to come out that mobile processors will eat office productivity suites for breakfast by then. But let’s just say the Macalope is skeptical that Microsoft, after spending a decade trying to put lipstick on the pig that is full-blown Windows on a tablet, will finally be able to deliver something that not only allows users to have their cake and eat it, too, but also gives them a big slice of free pie.

It’s possible. It’s just not very likely.

Holesgrove finishes with a collection of hackneyed swipes at the iPad, Apple, John Gruber, and stupid Apple fans who buy “overpriced” hardware—none of which are worth going into. Apparently the smart play is to wait for months for Microsoft to deliver something instead of gaining the utility of an iPad now. Otherwise you’re a rose-colored-glasses-wearing Apple fan who overpays for blah blah blah zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Ultimately, Holesgrove’s argument isn’t any different than what we’ve been hearing for years: Apple’s solution, available today, is limited compared to what Microsoft will ship sometime later. The Macalope’s said it before, but it’s always amazing how presently available Apple products continue to pale against future products from Microsoft.

[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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