For the past ten years, Apple has worked hard to convince everyone that the iPad and its vision for touch-friendly computing are the future. The iPad rejected the idea of a keyboard, trackpad, or stylus, and Apple mocked Microsoft for taking the exact same approach on the surface. When Apple CEO Tim Cook was on stage to launch the new Macs and iPads six years ago.“Our competition is different, they’re confused,”. “They chased after netbooks, now they’re trying to make PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs. Who knows what they will do next?”
In recent years, each iPad has been transformed into a Surface. As of this week, the iPad Pro and Surface Pro look alike. There are detachable keyboards, adjustable stands, trackpads and styluses. This week Apple has brought cursor and mouse support for the iPad. Apple through this has finally acknowledged that Microsoft is right about the tablets. Let me explain why.
Microsoft's return to tablets has been a rough journey. Bill Gates tried to convince the world that tablets were a 2002 thing. But the hardware and software were very primitive at the time. In response to the iPad, the software developer introduced Surface RT with Windows 8 in 2012. But it had an ARM-powered desktop operating system that didn't support your favorite apps. This was a bit confusing, but Microsoft's tablet principles were clear at the time.
Steven Sinofsky, the former Windows Chief, in a detailed blog post about Windows 8 said that, “Something is different about tablets, people still do desire a physical keyboard. Even in the absence of software like Microsoft Office, the reality is that when you need to write more than a few quick lines of text, you yearn for something better than on-screen typing ... People benefit from the highly accurate, reliable, and fast user input enabled by a physical keyboard, and we think an OS and its apps should not compromise when one is available.”
Now Apple and Microsoft are deployed on what a tablet can offer in terms of hardware. As a result the battle between PC and iPad will turn into software. Apple has proved that it is ready to adapt, and as a result we will see a lot of desktop-like apps for the iPad. Mouse support for the iPad is a game changer, and the iPad for browsing, email, photos, video, music, games and ebooks has now moved beyond the third category of the device.
This will disrupt Microsoft and its PC partners. That does not mean it is a death sentence for the PC so far. Just as Apple took 10 years on the hardware and software side. There are many years of testing from app developers to match the mouse support in the iPad OS. Windows and MacOS don't stand still, but they are still very powerful for multitasking and running complex desktop applications.