Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton
Not to nitpick, but Windows since NT was ported to non-Intel platforms. As I pointed out in another post, in the early days, NT was ported to Alpha, MIPS, and even PowerPC. And until recently, intel/HP's Itanium. This goes back to the early 90s. Microsoft obviously stopped giving a crap when Windows NT on Intel decimated other workstation platforms (SGI, DEC, HP, Sun). But Windows has been mostly portable.
Secondly, I think no reviewer has said there's anything "cohesive" about Metro on Windows 8. Quite the opposite. The kindest (apologist) reviews have said it feels "transitional," as if to say Metro is the "future," the traditional desktop is the past, but Windows 8 is sitting on the fence between the two. One is multi-touch, multi-gesture. The other is "right click" and displays a pointer and tiny toolbar buttons. It's pretty obvious to anyone using it that Microsoft thought it best to make these two different visions try to coexist, side by side. And I've criticized them for that, because that's exactly what I thought of Tablet PC, their tablet solution going back to the mid-90s. (Yes, I used to do systems integration on those things.) Tablet PC is user experience (UX) compromise. Surface is UX compromise in prettier packaging. Regardless of what processor is inside.
So, if Microsoft really means for Windows 8's dual UX to eventually "transition" to pure Metro, then they're basically agreeing with Apple's stance: these two different UX's aren't meant to converge into one. Otherwise Microsoft would have done it already.
Fair enough about the "portability" of WIndows. It just seems that some of these efforts are experiments and have gone by the wayside without any real benefit to end users. I am sure OS X is on various platforms in the labs, too.
Perhaps "Cohesive" was not the best word -- trying to get across the marketing that this is the wave of the future -- every computing context is literally at your fingertips. Whether that is interpreted, intentionally or non-intentionally as being "transitional", I don't know.
How much more "cohesive" can you be, though, if you do everything on one device because both environments are right in there together, sometimes within the same app? I say "it" is "cohesive", conceptually, because it is stuck together and delivered together in one package. MS is not sufficiently separating the two paradigms. You can't now have Windows without Metro, apparently.
What is pretty clear, is that MS have taken a bet that the "best of all worlds", is to have the two in one, so that you can have both desktop and touch in one device. "Without compromise". When, as you say, the reality is a lot of compromise. Unfortunately, as you say, the experience is anything but cohesive.
The truth is probably more along these lines: MS was so invested in Legacy windows that it sought to "extend" and thereby somehow "add value" to Windows instead of starting from scratch and considering how it could really add value to the modern computing experience. And it just waited too long. What it is spinning as a feature, is really the failure to act decisively years ago. Instead, it has cobbled touch onto Windows, discontinued its older mobile efforts and is delivering them together as some kind of complementary (if not exactly cohesive) product. And it is probably backfiring on them and accelerating the alienation of their customers and their irrelevance in the marketplace.
Whether MS intends this situation as a "transition" of Windows to pure Metro or to anything else is anyone's guess. I think they will always wait and see which way the wind is blowing. But right now, they are delivered together as essentially one product that is supposed to do everything on cue, but in reality depends on what part of what app you are interacting with, and how far the app has been reworked.
My conclusion is the dead opposite of yours: Of course, they (mouse and touch) don't converge, meaningfully -- or Apple would have done it already. On the contrary, Apple intentionally separated them and dedicated them, both from the same solid core, precisely because they are best focused on apart. The problem is that, contrary to your assertion that MS agrees with Apple that they aren't meant to converge, MS has very clearly tried to "merge" them, or let's say smeared them together. Apparently, some traditional desktop apps must now be used under Metro only.
Also, not only are Windows and Metro/Windows RT/Windows Style UI/Whatever-it's-called-this-month offered on some of the same products under the same Windows banner, but the separation is not clear (witness the confusion over what apps would or would not work on the Suface for Windows 'RT' which was pushed with a keyboard as being practically essential. And touch Metro Apps seem to have touch only skin deep before the UI becomes impractical as finger targets begin to look like they were intended for mouse cursors. And on the desktop you get jarringly shifted back and forth from one input paradigm or UI to the other.
Overall, touch seems a gimmick coming from MS, and MS seems schizophrenic. Because, on the one hand, MS has apparently taken the position that touch computing is a passing fad; that Apple is all about the fad; and that our vision of tablets for the past 25 years was right all along (we were just ahead of time and people will now flock to our tablets because once the latent interest in tablets was somehow awakened by Apple, people will suddenly realize all they ever wanted was to do real work on their tablet, and that necessarily involves traditional Windows by definition). On the other hand, Windows is terrified that customers are sticking to old versions of Windows and not caring to upgrade, so MS has gotten desperate and is throwing the baby out with the bath water and alienating customers even further. They have no clue why Apple's approach is superior, they have no clue about the PostPC shift, and they seem to think that "innovation" consists of doing something -- anything -- crazy or different, like shoe-horning elements of touch computing into every computing experience, no matter how incongruous and innapropriate.
Edited by krabbelen - 2/15/13 at 9:16am