iPhone complaints complaints & Microsoft's platforms

Back in January I wrote a few things about perceived criticisms of Apple’s then-unreleased iPhone. As an aside, at the time I wrote:

I’m predicting that when this thing’s released, or thereabouts, Dashcode will be able to create restricted widgets for it. (By “restricted” I’m saying no Cocoa.)

And I was clearly wrong on that part (I don’t even count Apple’s “web app” development platform as falling into my prediction above, despite having the same spirit).

I’m no longer running tracking software on this website to see how many people read what I write, but that piece has obviously been my most popular, with occasional comments even to this day. They fall between in tone between offensive statements that I can’t really understand to people with valid things to say (and thanks for that, to those who’ve written).

Today’s comment deserves a reply:


This doesn’t even come CLOSE to what the Windows mobile devices are capable of.

This is true, and yet, the iPhone is way more popular now than a Windows mobile device has ever been. And the Windows mobile platform has been around for years.

In the same way that their tablet computer never really took off, I think Microsoft’s problem is that they build feature-rich, flexible platforms but by the same token never have a compelling hardware/”killer app” reason to really engage their customers.

Tablet computers, by rights, should be taking the world by storm right about now. The hardware is mature and we’re in a pretty sweet spot right now with fast and cool processors from Intel, that also yield excellent battery life (compared to past models). Looking in the near-term future, new display technology (LED backlighting and OLED displays) and flash-based storage will provide significant advantages over what is available today.

Microsoft has seemingly performed miracles with its handwriting recognition software, and being able to sketch out diagrams — and other free form input — where-ever the need takes you is obviously the major advantage that pen+paper or chalk has over a traditional laptop. And yet, no-one’s buying them? How are the sales figures? How are the prices? (I guess that’s the most important question.) It makes me wistful, because I really would like a tablet myself but I’m obviously not going to buy a Windows computer.

Personally, without having used one, I’d guess that Microsoft haven’t gone far enough to develop an interface to general computer use that really takes advantage of the fact that you’ve got a huge touchscreen to connect with the data in front of you. It’s not like Windows is that great to use anyway (cheap shot) but there’s untapped potential there.

Coming back full circle, as with the iPod vs. various PlaysForSure-based media players, it’s not about the features but about the interface. This point has been made by various Mac-biased writers for months now, so I’m adding nothing to what’s already been said.

And finally, going back to that original comment: yes, if you’re happy with the Windows mobile platform, it’s hard to argue. Expandable storage, a legitimate 3rd party software development community, more more more features — it’s not for the everyman but it sure could be for some.