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Bill Gates: iPad Users Are Frustrated They Can't Type Or Create Documents 618

An anonymous reader writes "While Apple views the tablet and PC markets as two separate entities, Microsoft takes the opposing view. During a CNBC interview this morning, Gates continued to toe the party line insofar as he praised the benefits of Microsoft's tablets and Windows 8 while explaining that iPad users are frustrated because they have trouble typing and creating documents. 'With Windows 8, Microsoft is trying to gain share in what has been dominated by the iPad-type device. But a lot of those users are frustrated, they can't type, they can't create documents. They don't have Office there. So we're providing them something with the benefits they've seen that have made that a big category, but without giving up what they expect in a PC.'"
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Bill Gates: iPad Users Are Frustrated They Can't Type Or Create Documents

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  • Re:And... (Score:5, Informative)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:43PM (#43647639) Journal

    Because what I use my PC for and what I use my tablet for are entirely different things, and by trying to merge them into a single experience you produce a laptop I don't want to use and a tablet I don't want to use. And apparently I'm not alone, judging by the incredible failure Microsoft's Surface offerings have been.

  • Re:And... (Score:5, Informative)

    by CannonballHead ( 842625 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:44PM (#43647663)

    that no one seriously expect a tablet to be a PC

    No, but the option for more overlap is nice. Especially when it has nothing to do with actual processing power issues, and not even screen size with a tablet, but simply peripheral and OS problems.

    If nothing else... PRINTING would be awfully nice from a tablet. Too bad both Android and Apple have clunky hacks (well, I'm not too familiar with the Apple one, but I understand it's not a native print-to-printer thing). It's not like it's a hard problem to solve, it's been solved for years.

    Same with typing. ASUS has a good thing, IMO, going with their Transformer tablets (I own one). I think it was smart for Microsoft to do it.

    I'm sure it's not for everyone. Not everyone likes smartphones, either (I don't have one) ... some for very similar reasons ("nobody seriously expects a phone to be a computer"). But, hey, some do. And I've heard, actually, some very good things about the Windows tablets. The bad thing, of course, is that they are expensive :)

  • Re:And... (Score:5, Informative)

    by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:46PM (#43647681) Homepage Journal

    And Microsoft keeps demonstrating that they just don't get it, that no one seriously expect a tablet to be a PC, and that no one wants their PC to be a tablet.

    I wouldn't mind if the screen on my laptop was removable, if it worked just like magic. and the usb ports on the base unit kept working when the screen was detached and it was in range. that would be sweet at home.

    however the whole windows 8 thing is a masterful diversion from the real thing that MS has riding on it.. I might sound like a broken record here, but the real thing why windows 8 is significant is that they're extending microsoft tax to 3rd party software - and nobody is talking about it. on rt it's _all_ 3rd party sw, if you pay then you pay part of the money to MS, on regular 8 it's just metro stuff currently, however now they can "give in" and give the regular desktop more prominent role again in their plans and have regular desktop apps distributed through their store as well then and people will praise them for being sensible. adobe is trying to fight that with subscription model(3rd party payments?), since in the future they sure as fuck wouldn't want to pay MS 30% of a 2500 dollar sale.

  • Re:And... (Score:5, Informative)

    by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:52PM (#43647769)
    I think you are overestimating the intelligence of a very profitable demographic for the tablet market, while Gates may be more right on.

    There are people who buy tablets as their PCs and only then realize why keyboards are still a thing. Hell, I've heard of a whole school that decided to get all the teachers computers, then decided to get them ipads. This was not an unpopular idea until shortly after it was actually implemented.
  • Re:And... (Score:3, Informative)

    by immaterial ( 1520413 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:57PM (#43647845)
    It is a "native print-to-printer" thing. Tap the share button, choose "Print." The only caveat is the printer must be AirPrint [] compatible, which most (if not all) consumer printers sold now are. For people with older printers or in corporate environments with larger office printers, there is both free and commercial AirPrint server software that can make any printer available to an iOS device.
  • Re:Yes (Score:4, Informative)

    by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:09PM (#43648013)

    And yet you go to any business conference nowadays, and the place is littered with iPads and other tablets. How odd it is that, whatever your advice might be, businesses are buying tablets and they are being seen out in the field.

    You can certainly argue that business are wrong, but you can't argue with the fact that the tablet has made major inroads into the enterprise world.

    Probably because of a few things.

    1) Tablets are generally light and very portable and easily held in one hand. If you're at a gathering where everyone is standing, it's easy to whip out a tablet and show people stuff - while still having your other hand free to gesture and communicate and other things. One-handed use is quite important when you do not have a surface to use as a stand. Holding a laptop in one hand is often awkward, clumsy, and until the recent touch screen ones, interactions are terrible.

    2) Tablets have great battery life. An iPad or Android tablet will generally last all day even if you're showing lots of people your brochures and screenshots and stuff. PCs with such battery life usually have external batteries, making them really heavy and unwieldy, especially single-handed carry.

    3) There is very little need to compose long documents while at the conference - you may need to type some stuff up quickly (like entering contact and calendar stuff), but that generally is quite minimal. If a document need does come up, it's often better to do it in a private hotel room to draft it and review it (only an idiot tries to compose it right then and there to get it signed - these things normally have to be drawn up and agreed upon and other things).

    4) The most common use will probably be fulfilled by the tablet's default gallery application - load up product photos, slides, etc as images and then swipe through them. Add a bit more for product brochures and stuff and that's it.

    5) Said gallery app is often useful to automatically run a slide show when placed on the booth, similar to digital photo frames.

    Gates is probably looking for a reason to not justify releasing Office for iOS (and Android). I mean, his criticisms apply to every tablet as well, including Surface. That, and a touch screen demands a different user interaction than a keyboard/mouse, so UIs have to change to accommodate both. E.g., touchscreens, resistive or capacitive or inductive are imprecise (resistives can use styluses, but even then the point's inaccurate) making small targets hard to hit. A mouse is a lot more precise. A touchscreen doesn't have "right click", and likewise, Fitt's law doesn't apply to touchscreens. In fact, hitting edges and corners is harder on a touchscreen.

  • Re:And... (Score:5, Informative)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:25PM (#43648197) Homepage Journal

    there is both free and commercial AirPrint server software that can make any printer available to an iOS device..

    I own an OfficeJet 4500, which is not AirPrint compatible []. I checked the Wikipedia article you linked for more information about this "AirPrint server software" you mentioned, but the first footnote after "GNU/Linux" [] resulted in "Firefox can't establish a connection to the server at". The second link works [], but it's very complicated to set up. Furthermore, it mentions that it uses Avahi, and I've found that Avahi doesn't work if a Windows Server is on the same network because Windows Server's use of the .local top-level domain by default conflicts with Zeroconf.

  • by gstrickler ( 920733 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:39PM (#43648365)

    I really dont think you want to stack an iPad's specs up against a $400 laptop. Maybe you do, but it wont be pretty. Just so you know, $400 is "core i3" range, which will slaughter just about any ARM proc on the market.

    But you're not comparing to a $400 laptop. iPad Mini = $329 + Apple Wireless Keyboard $69, = $398. iPad 2 = $399 + $69 (AWK) = $468. So, you're comparing to a $200-$235 laptop. Which is going to be both underpowered, and cheap quality. So, I'll stick with my original statement.

  • Re:no (Score:5, Informative)

    by Macgrrl ( 762836 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:49PM (#43648495)

    Earlier this year I was involved in a collaborative writing project where all three authors were using iPads and the documents were hosted as goggle docs in a shared repository.

    One author was using a 3rd party bluetooth keyboard, myself and the 3rd author were using the onscreen keyboard. For edits and proofing the workflow with the iPads and google docs worked really well.

    I have subsequently purchased one of the Logictech [] keyboard for when I travel and want the capability to type longer documents. I frequently type shorter documents on the iPad onscreen keyboard directly.

  • Re:And... (Score:5, Informative)

    by gstrickler ( 920733 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:50PM (#43648499)

    No, that's not the only thing that needs to change. As you noted, multi-touch gestures don't work with a standard mouse (could possibly work with Apple's Magix Mouse or Magic Trackpad). You also need to add a mouse pointer so you can see what you're pointing at, scrolling has to be addressed (there are no scroll bars in most apps), and you have to create suitable replacements for touch&hold. And, while the current iOS method of selecting text could be adapted to using a mouse, that would be a clumsy way to use a mouse compared to how we've learned to select text using a mouse for the last 30 years. Certainly, the multi-touch gestures are the biggest obstacle, but there are other obstacles to address. The point is that it's not a trivial issue, it's one that has some real UI and usability questions to address before supporting a mouse.

  • Re:And... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:50PM (#43648503)

    Yeah but mechanical bluetooth keyboards are hard to find. At lest for now.

    Plus I hate to think of dragging my RK-9000 with me to use with my GNote 10.1.

    OTOH if I really needed to type a lot it would be worth it, and the Surface Pros don't come with real keyboards either. Just that rubberdome garbage.

    Mechanical Bluetooth keyboards are hard to find for the iPad? Really? [] Really? [] Are [] you [] sure [] about [] that? []

  • Re:And... (Score:4, Informative)

    by LMariachi ( 86077 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @07:01PM (#43648607) Journal

    I’m guessing parent meant mechanical as in clicky mechanical keyswitches, like a Model M. He might be interested in something like this. []

  • Re:And... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Algae_94 ( 2017070 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @07:04PM (#43648637) Journal
    Way to fail. Mechanical != physical
  • Re:And... (Score:3, Informative)

    by steelfood ( 895457 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @07:06PM (#43648649)

    That would be CmdrTaco.

  • Re:And... (Score:4, Informative)

    by crankyspice ( 63953 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @07:44PM (#43648931)

    PRINTING would be awfully nice from a tablet. Too bad both Android and Apple have clunky hacks (well, I'm not too familiar with the Apple one, but I understand it's not a native print-to-printer thing).

    Modern printers can be printed to directly. For everything else (my trusty Canon multi-function, my 8 year old cheap-when-it-was-new Samsung GDI contraption) that are shared via my Linux fileserver, it was a simple setup for CUPS and now those printers are iOS-accessible, too.

    Same with typing.

    The iPad has supported Bluetooth keyboards since day 1, and Apple (and countless third parties) have sold such keyboards since day 1 (of the iPad). I use one (a Zagg model with a slot that can be used to conveniently stand the iPad) with an iOS 4.3.3 first-generation iPad, routinely...

  • Re:And... (Score:4, Informative)

    by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @08:15PM (#43649157)

    Most distros ship with AirPrint enabled out of the box now. All those web pages describing "very complicated" ways to set up (ie editing two configuration files) are obsolete.

  • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @09:35PM (#43649627)

    Netbooks didn't "die" on their own.

    They were designed with crippling "birth defects" (weak CPU, limited RAM) so as not to eat notebook market share. It worked and after the initial surge, sales dropped off.

    Many people still like them, but when I can get a used Thinkpad X2whatever for cheap it makes no sense for me to buy one.

    They didn't have birth defects, they were strangled in their infancy by Microsoft.

    MS made it a requirement that netbooks had to have weak CPU's and RAM limited as not to eat the notebook market share because MS charged more per license for a $500 notebook than they did for a $300 netbook.

    But this did not last as we now have 11" "ultrabooks" which are basically netbooks without the weak CPU and RAM limits (and price tag).

  • Re:And... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @09:43PM (#43649695) Homepage

    For most pedestrian PC use cases, you don't need a bruiser of a CPU or a GPU. In the case of an HTPC, a lot of people (myself included) get great results out of using just about the most trailing edge kit available. Most home and office users don't push their machines. That's why tablets are so popular.

    Most people outside of conspicous consumption gamers just don't push their systems.

    Right now, I am not pushing my system. The most important aspect of my desktop right now is not the CPU or the GPU. It's the big fat monitor and nice keyboard. It's all of the parts that aren't the actual PC.

  • Re:Yeah (Score:4, Informative)

    by lucm ( 889690 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @01:34AM (#43650703)

    One thing I've noticed since switching to a Windows tablet is how lousy the onscreen keyboard is. On most platforms, touchscreen keyboards try to incorporate things like predictive text, auto-capitalization, etc to help you type, because they realize that a touchscreen with no tactile feedback is a less-than-idea way to type. The Windows onscreen keyboards have none of that. What's more, they seem wildly inaccurate ... the visual feedback seems to be telling me that I'm hitting the right keys, but when I look up at what I entered, half of the letters are keys right next to the ones I thought I was hitting (and although I can touch type on a physical keyboard, I do have to look at the keys on a tablet).

    When you say "Windows tablet" do you mean Surface? Because there are a lot of other products out there that run Windows 8. In any event, predictive text IS available in the vanilla Windows 8, you just have to enable it in the "Ease of access options" app. Here is a video that shows how: []

    Screw all of that. Before you can do any of that, you have to enter your password to login to the system first. Try that when you have a strong password and you can't be totally sure what keys you're pressing.

    In Windows 8 there is a small eye icon in password fields when they get the focus, if you click on it you can see the field content in clear text.

    Seriously, WIndows 8 has plenty of issues but people who can't STFW for basic tutorial information are just adding noise to the discussion.

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it. -- John Keats