Apple’s “no PC” strategy is interesting, and I think that it has a lot of potential. You are absolutely right in saying that a lot of people only want to use their phone or their tablet, having no desire to have a “home” laptop.
Perhaps more interesting are the potential demographics of those who will be excited about this new strategy. The obvious group are the novice users; they feel that an iPad is enough of a computer for them. They could be older users who simply do not need a full computer (I know that my mom would certainly fall into that strategy), but they could just as easily be younger users: the middle school student who cannot afford a laptop, the high school student with the busy schedule, or the college student who only needs to be able to take notes and check Facebook.
Admittedly, and to no surprise to Mr. Seeley, my time was spent watching Microsoft’s E3 press conference. It was a good day to be an XBox user. The games coming down the pipeline look amazing for a console so old (how do they do so much with a mere 256MB of RAM!?), and developers finally seem to understand that the Kinect is not meant to be a stand-alone controler for mainstream games.
Yes, Star Wars Kinect looks like a lot of fun, Dance Central 2 will be much better than a dancing game has any right to be, and Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster will be absolutely amazing for younger kids (and I mean amazing). The true benefit of the Kinect was shown off during the Mass Effect 3 and Ghost Recon demos. Acting as Shepard, speaking your dialog choices and giving voice commands to your team during combat complimented rather than replaced the traditional controls that gamers have come to love, further immersing you in the world of Mass Effect. Couple that with gesture commands for your squad in Ghost Recon and you are no longer an inactive participant in the events of the game.
Perhaps most interesting, though, was some of the less obvious news. The new XBox Dashboard, coming this Fall, looked extremely familiar to anyone who has seen the video preview of Windows 8, and the tight integration of Bing search mimics closely Mango, the upcoming update to Windows Phone 7. This convergence of all three platforms around the same design and functionality criteria, when coupled with ever-improving cloud functionality (now including your XBox Live ID and game saves) reveals Microsoft’s post-PC strategy.
Microsoft has decided that users should have the same experience and expectations across all Microsoft devices, no matter their size, purpose or location. This differs from Apple’s “no PC” strategy.
Apple seems to believe that we should be free to compute however we like, to whatever extent that we like, be it on a smart phone or a powerful desktop computer, without any thought of having a “home” device. Cloud storage of music and files helps make this possible. This makes it easier to buy an iOS device, increasing adoption, increasing the market for apps, and increasing app store revenues.
iOS market share is key for Apple, which is true to the company’s roots and strategy since its inception (excluding the time of Apple clones in the 1990s).
Microsoft believes that we should compute everywhere, always familiar with the interface, bringing the expectation of the same functionality no matter the platform: be it phone, tablet, PC or gaming console. I expect that the cloud functionality of XBox Live ID is just the beginning, and that we will hear more about profile portability, automatic login (possibly visually, as with the Kinect), and device-agnotistic preferences as Windows 8 approaches its launch, making this ubiquitous Microsoft experience possible.
This, too, is true to the company’s roots; provide an operating system (or, these days, user experience) that is available on any and all devices, no matter the manufacturer (as in the days of PCs) or their purpose [as we are seeing now across PCs, phones, tablets, slates and consoles (well, sort of)].
Thoughts, Mr. Seeley?
I agree with the potential demographics of PC-less users. I can’t think of many family or friends of mine that wouldn’t be fine with a slate or chromebook.
Microsoft no doubt has great things coming with Windows 8, and now taking a second look at the Xbox dashboard, I’m very impressed.
It will be interesting to watch the mac vs. pc battle broaden.
Remember this post from way back when? It appears that we are cutting edge thinkers. Microsoft recently laid out a comparison of their vision versus Apple’s vision in two PowerPoint slides. We were remarkably close in our thinking: http://www.wpcentral.com/microsoft-looking-sell-1-million-devices-year
Hope all is well!
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