iPad Hardware came under fire a few weeks ago in a series of Windows 8 ads. They compared it to the ASUS VivoSmart Tab and claimed that it fell short in several areas. Most of these claims were true, some were false, but for the most part, they were right. The physical components of the iPad are, by and large, older and less cutting-edge than some of its Windows 8 tablet counterparts.
But does it matter? Does the iPad need the latest and greatest components in order to be relevant as a computer, or even a tablet?
The strength of the iPad lies in what some consider its greatest weakness: the closed iOS system. It feels funny to write those words since I used to be the biggest Microsoft fanboy you’d never want to meet. I believed that allowing for third-party vendors to write unverified software for Windows OS was a great way to encourage economic growth, free expression, and competition. Then I used Windows Vista for the first time.
I won’t go into detail about the train-wreck of an OS that was Vista, it’s nothing you can’t find on another blog from a different time. The main problem I had with using Vista was in using third-party software like Photoshop and most video games. For the record, the tragedy of Vista does not lie solely at Microsoft’s feet, but at the feet of the hardware vendors who failed to listen when they were being told how Vista would work differently than XP, particularly in how it would access the CPU.
The thing is, this kind of disaster almost certainly would not happen with an Apple product precisely because of their closed-system. In order to release an App in the Apple Store, it has to be tested and approved by Apple techs, who help the vendors work out their bugs and ensure compatibility for the product itself.
This is not a perfect system, and far too often, Apple strays into restrictive territory unnecessarily by keeping apps that it arbitrarily doesn’t like in approval limbo for years, like with the Onlive Gaming Service. They should be held accountable for this.
At the end of the day, when I’m working on a digital device of any stripe, whether it is a full-fledged desktop computer with all the bells and whistles or a seven-year-old laptop that hums only a little quieter than a jet engine, whether the product is made by Apple, Asus, HP, or even Microsoft itself, the question is not, does this product have the latest and greatest in hardware?, it’s can this device get the job done?
As I’ve mentioned before, the iPad not only helps me get things done, it helps me get them done in a way that is enjoyable and makes me more productive for that enjoyment. If the same can be said about a Windows 8 tablet when the time comes to replace my iPad, I’ll seriously consider it. But it all they can do is brag on hardware and disrespect and belittle their competitors, I think I’ll pass.