Do you think that the iPad 3 will get competition from the future Windows 8 Tablets?
I think they may give them a nice challenge in the consumer market but I think it's all going to come down to marketing. Much like the iPod people associate the word tablet with iPad so Microsoft and their OEM need to figure out a way to showcase Windows 8 as the selling piece. Also consider the fact if any of these OEM's are going to attempt to install their own touch service over Windows 8. Right now when you buy an HP or Acer tablet they come with touch optimized interface, it's still to be seen if they're going to do the same with Windows 8.
With that said, if Win8 under the Metro UI on a tablet is 100% backwards compatible with older x86 32-Bit legacy apps and presenting them in a easy to use format or have a tablet be dockable and put into Desktop mode, this is a huge advantage and a step in the right direction to get people away from desktop's and traditional laptops and something neither Apple or Google can accomplish on their tablets.
I just want to be able use one device at work, unplug it from my docking station and then use it as a tablet when i am just consuming content.
The only tablets that have had real success are the $99 HP Touchpad - which while loss making offered a serious value advantage over the iPad - and the Amazon Kindle Fire and B&N Nook - which are (much) lower priced content delivery devices if that's what you want.
To overcome the iPad, Microsoft & their partners will need offer a value proposition that's better than the iPad, and/or overcome the killer features on the new iPad which I see as:
- The 2048x1536 screen which is the #1 reason to buy the new iPad
- The iPad app ecosystem, or at least the top 200 apps for the iPad need to get Windows 8 versions
(I don't see media content as such a biggie given 3rd party apps like Amazon & Netflix but they will need a "Microsoft U")
I can imagine a killer Win8 tablet feature being that you can plug them into a regular keyboard-mouse-monitor dock and have a fully featured desktop computer. Since all versions of Windows will be using the same kernel, I believe Microsoft will have this is as a feature on some of their tablets (they'll also probably do it for Windows8 "superphones").
My only question is which company is going to leverage Cloud, 4G, and single Desktop or interface across phone->Tablet->Laptop->Desktop all together, I think that's the key to winning the market.
The key will be allowing me access to and the ability to work with my documents, spreadsheets, media, etc. in a form-factor appropriate interface with as many features as the device is capable of providing. For example, my workstation with it's 24-inch wide screen is excellent for working with my 16-tab 42-column spreadsheet, but working with that document on my phone with the same interface? No... But, having access to that document to be able to share it or print it or something similar is absolutely essential. Having this same document available on my XBox might be good too. I could use that interface to display the massive spreadsheet on my presentation screen, then play a round or two of Halo with the guys in the conference room down the hall.
Its about getting the work done, not necessarily how it gets done.
1. Battery life. As a desktop OS Windows isn't tuned for low power the way iOS is. If a Win8 tablet has to be significantly thicker than an iPad to deliver 9-10 hours on a charge then it's not competitive.
2. All touch, all metro, all the time. If it requires you to use the traditional Windows desktop interface once a day then it's not competitive.
The short answer is that I do not think that there will be much competition, at least initially. The real question is whether or not Microsoft can put together a compelling reason for folks to buy Windows 8 based tablets. Basically, they would need to mimic or do better than Apple on hardware, price, content, performance, usability, and cloud services. In other words, provide a great user experience as good as or better than Apple. This is where Google has dramatically failed in the Android market and why Android based tablets mostly do poorly. However, Amazon has shown that Android can be moderately successful if you can provide a well defined user experience with limited functionality, and is willing to sell hardware at a loss.
On the Tablet front i think Win 8 will be more of a competitor to Android device than to the iPad and thats mostly because iPad has such a huge head start. I do see Win 8 taking a very small portion of the Apple sales if a manufacture makes a device like the Transformer Prime at a really aggressive price point. But again i think this will hurt Android more than iOS.
I have not seen a WOA tablet yet so i am not sure how thats going to work or how attractive they will be able to make the price on those. with the iPad 2 dropping to 399 i think thats going to force the other tablet makes to be cheaper to be able to compete.
Also keep in mind that with Win 8 i think we are going to see a lot of touch enabled devices by end of year. things like laptops with touch screen and more attractive touch screen monitors so that people can truly take advantage of of the new WIn 8 interface.
Microsoft is certainly the underdog in this fight, but they've got a lot of resources to bring to bear on it.
Verdict: Microsoft is certainly trying to posture themselves to compete with the iPad, but won't be able to do so until they can deliver a better app ecosystem, and some massive hardware innovations above what Apple can offer. I honestly don't see that happening anytime soon though.
So if you get corporations to start buying into Windows tablets AND they're actually good, then you create a user base who will want to buy them as consumer tech in the next generation.
This is assuming Windows 8 is a good tablet experience, I haven't had the pleasure.
Microsoft would love to come out of the gate with a comparable tablet to the iPad but I think these first round of Windows 8 tablets are going to encounter issues of various kinds including comparably poor battery life and or sub-par performance and or high price being its the first generation.
Long story short, Microsoft has a long and hard road ahead of them and they know it will be a while before they are a minor threat to the iPad let alone a serious one. But unlike Google, Microsoft has shown they are very serious about tablets as the "Post PC" computing device, so much that Windows 8 has taken a complete 180 UI wise to accommodate them. This holiday season should be as interesting as we have seen in recent years.