iPad vs. Microsoft Tablet: Microsoft Mistakes and the Future PC: Page 2

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Apple was training people in steps to use the new interface. The UI was designed for touch first for the iPhone and iPod Touch and then for the iPad. Rather than trying to convert the PC interface as Microsoft had tried and failed on two devices, Apple started over and the new interface is ugly with a mouse but intuitive with touch.

This makes learning to use the new tool more fun. And you could with the iPhone, and can with the iPad, see users demonstrating and showcasing this interface to future perspective iPhone and iPad users. Against the backdrop of PC sales, numbers are still small for both devices but they are growing by millions and few can credibly argue that Apple will fail.

Finally, and most recently, Apple has hinted at building touch into a monitor/Mac, completing the process so that touch can migrate across their line. They will have plowed the field with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad and should have a large core of people now willing to move to touch for larger devices. This should give them a foundation to migrate the Mac to the new hardware and software user interfaces.

Wrapping Up: Lessons Learned

By moving in steps, initially picking platforms where mice simply didn’t work, and designing to the goal they wanted rather than trying to retrofit products that were designed for other interfaces, Apple has been successful where Microsoft was not.

The big difference between the two firms is that Apple seems to inherently get what it takes to move people to a new idea. We don’t like change and have to be driven, tricked, incented, and encouraged to make that change.

Just tossing something new and different in front of us doesn’t result in the desired reaction, we are more likely to run from than embrace something really different. By staging this, people have not seen the differences in the iPad as frightening but interesting because they already accepted those changes in the iPhone and iPod Touch. Had those products not come first, Apple’s success -- even with the user interface -- might have mirrored Microsoft’s.

While the future is far from certain, the lesson that should be learned here is that to drive change into a user group you have to understand what it takes to change how people do things and design a strategy to address our unwillingness to move. The idea of the iPad came before the iPhone but, based on what Jobs said at the All Things D conference, the iPhone had to come first to plow the field. Apple did that and is successful, Microsoft didn’t and wasn’t. This goes a long way to explaining why some think Apple is the new Microsoft. Something to think about.

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Tags: Microsoft, iPhone, iphone apps, iPad apps, tablet PC

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