BY | October 10, 2012

There are several differences in Apple iPad and Windows 8 tablets that will be launched before October end. Features make Windows 8 tabs mini computers, says S Danish

Although many Windows 8 tablets have been announced, none of them have  hit the market, which is natural given that Windows 8 itself is yet to be released.

How would Windows tablets compare with iPads? On the face of it, that is a premature question, one can’t really say without seeing some Windows 8 tablets. But then, we have seen some (in previews), and Microsoft has been quite forthcoming about the features of Windows 8.

So here are few preliminary thoughts, on the main points of difference between Windows tablets and the ruling champion iPad.

While the iPad is not meant as a laptop replacement – it is too small for that – the Windows tablets clearly are. They usually pack more generous screen sizes than the 9.7 inch found on iPad. While the actual size will differ from OEM to OEM, the Surface from Microsoft could be taken as something of a guide.

The Surface comes with a 10.6 inch screen. Other announced tablet pack even larger screens. Suffice it to say, the Windows tablets see themselves as ultrabook competitors, rather than consumer devices. (Although, with the introduction of two different Surfaces RT, and Pro, Microsoft signalled that it was not going to leave the consumer space to Apple and Google).

The iPad on the other hand is an unabashedly consumer gadget. It is for reading, surfing, playing games, for watching video, but not for productivity. It does not have enough storage, does not have a powerful processor, and using the onboard keyboard is a drag.

But Windows tablets usually come with attachable keyboard. The Surface introduced not one but 2 different keyboards, a Touch keyboard and a Type keyboard. Apple has not introduced any approved keyboard, although options exist in the market.

As far as quality of hardware is concerned, Microsoft seems to have realised early on that it needs to maintain a tight control over the quality or unremarkable hardware will sink its hope for the future, the Windows 8 platform.

That is why it released the Surface, and that is why it is partnering with a select group of companies to bring the Windows 8 to market. Apple remains the ruler of this totem pole however, with its hardware and industrial design the toast of the tech town. The Surface is a worthy rival, and in many ways, from the launch video to talking up the optically bonded screen, and the special VaporMg material, it has followed Apple’s strategy.

The biggest difference however between the two platforms are in the OS. Microsoft has pulled off a difficult integration of the PC and phone platforms, a thing that Apple is still trying to do. What that means is that most of the software will work seamlessly on PC and tablets, bringing a huge wealth of applications to the tablet platform.

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  • Patrick

    Apple already have keyboards approved for iPad. They even manufactured some of them.
    You missed one key difference. Windows 8 is a personal computer itself which means iPad and Mac, combined. Windows 8 can be used not just by consumers, but by vast program developers as well.