Tablet Wars

So we now have a ‘newish iPad’. But as I wrote in an earlier post Apple haven’t moved the tablet concept any further forward. The biggest improvement is the resolution of the display which now gives app developers considerably more pixels to play with. This potentially means more complex interfaces but we are limited on a touch device by the ‘resolution’ of a human finger. I have an iPad 1 so one of the things I am thinking about is how will the extra pixel real estate make a difference to my favourite apps and also to the web browsing experience. Will these extra pixels (four times as many in fact) make an appreciable difference?

Disappointingly there was no major upgrade to the user interface. This is an issue because the simple ‘pages of buttons’ interface is looking outdated and clumsy. The new Android tablets have recognised this and developed UIs that don’t treat every function in the same way and plonk a button in the midst of hundreds of other buttons. The Apple UI still works well on the small screen iPhone but on the larger (and now much higher resolution) iPad screen the rows of endless buttons is a real drag. Want to add a new app? Once installed it appears on the last page (I currently have 6 pages and I’m a light user). Need to make that app more prominent by putting it on your primary home page? You have to slowly coax it through 5 pages. The multitasking is also a real pain to use and switching between apps using four finger gestures is not the most intuitive UX. If you haven’t experienced this then try switching on ‘Multitasking Gestures’ in ‘Settings>General’.

Some comentators have suggested that Apple are less interested now in elegant interfaces and more in ensuring that the OS that runs their revenue generating apps stays simple and robust. I hope this isn’t the case.

Recently I saw a demo of the tablet version of Windows 8. It was impressive. Microsoft have re-engineered the touch interface. It’s more complex than Apples’ but for most savvy tech users it appears to add a lot of extra power and functionality.

Click on the above images to see in ‘gallery view’.

Apple are currently way ahead in the tablet wars. Even if their UI is a bit outdated they still have the most comprehensive app store by far. But things don’t stay still in tech for long and I can’t wait to have a play with Windows 8 on a tablet. The question is do I hold back on buying an iPad 3 in the meantime?

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  • http://twitter.com/danroddy Dan Roddy

    I’ve had various flavours of Android OS on my phones and a tablet, but I’ve always begrudingly acknowledged that iPad has had the edge up until now. But my phone recently migrated to Android 4 and at last I have to say it feels like an OS to rival iOS, especially since Google Play has replaced Android Market and finding the better apps is so much easier. But as a Windows man I will be interested in seeing how Windows 8 tablet fares and expect it to offer a genuine alternative to the two mobile-first systems

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