back to article Man responsible for least popular iteration of Windows UI uses iPad Pro as a desktop*

While Microsoft's virtual Build event rumbled its way through last week, the minions at work in the Windows mines beneath Nadella's cloudy stronghold continued to toil. A new Windows 10 build brings a new ARM64 VHDX The Windows team pushed Build 19631 to the Fast Ring of the Windows 10 Insider Program last week and, while the …

  1. Dwarf Silver badge

    So it doesn't even do what its creator needs ??

    What irony.

    Now, about all this pain you tried to force on all the rest of us then. How about those in Microsoft realise that visions rarely come to fruition and there is nothing wrong with saying "we screwed up". Windows 7 was your best OS and Office without the stupid Ribbon was the best. How about giving users what they actually want.

    I for one can't even get calculator to launch reliably on a Windows 10 machine, sometimes it comes up, sometimes it opens but forgets to open a window, other times it comes up in a different size (far too big to use, / full screen). That must be one of the simplest applications, and its one of your own, so how hard can this really be ?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: So it doesn't even do what its creator needs ??

      "How about giving users what they actually want."

      Yes. I would suggest that what users actually want is to be able to switch things around so they can work the way they want, not be forced into the methods decided on by Redmond. Like it used to be before Win8.

    2. James Anderson Silver badge

      Re: So it doesn't even do what its creator needs ??

      As any ful kno.

      The users do not know what they want. Which is why generations of systems analysts and designers never ask. Always ask "what do you do", " why is it done that way","what are your problems" if you ask them what they want they will deny ever asking when you deliver the resulting mess.

      1. Handle123456

        Re: So it doesn't even do what its creator needs ??

        Always ask "what do you do", " why is it done that way","what are your problems" ... and then you shove something as braindead and idiotic as the huge blocky UI-formerly-known-as-Metro down the throats of people sitting behind their desk with their 24 inch monitors, their keyboard and their mouse. Because EVERYONE needs to use the same UI on their desktop as on their fat fingered cell phone.

        'cause what do you do?

        - I run this one and only one app over the whole monitor.

        - Why is it done that way?

        - Because any icon smaller than five inches across is way too small? Because instead of pointing the mouse at a fairly exact point is too much work, I'd rather flail my arms around and smear grease all over my monitor. Because doing something the same way I've been it for the last fifteen years is way too confusing.

        Whoever came up with the idea of the "modern" UI ought to be paraded through the world till the end up its days and ...

    3. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: So it doesn't even do what its creator needs ??

      If there was any justice in such matters he'd be forced to use just Win8. All his personal copies would be forever updated with security patches and never suffer from EOL.

      If I ever find a magic lantern that may be one of my three wishes. He might like that UI but I've yet to meet anyone else who did. I attended a Win8 presentation and one of the attendees asked about the UI. Specifically the hierarchical start menu or rather the lack of them on this new shiny Windows. Person doing the demo says this is easier to use and tries to move on to something else. Attendee stops him and says he doesn't understand how it's easier when he's got a machine loaded with lots of different software programs. Some of these come with 10+ sub programs that may need to be launched by the user. Are Micrsoft expecting him to scroll across the entire TIFKAM start screen to find the one thing out of several hundred that appear there that he wants to access? Oh well that's just a case of using the Windows Key and typing the first few characters of program name and pressing the Enter Key is the response. .

      So Attendee asks if it's that simple can we try that please on your demonstration model. Could you look for can't remember the exact name but it was something that would have multiple hits (like license or read me) please and tell me which one is the one I'm looking for. Demo person is thrown off course by this as there are now a multitude of these found in the search.

      Attendee asks why there isn't a heirarchical menu option given the search obviounsly isn't great for popular things. Demo person says they don't know but this is the way forward for MS and the old start menu is gone for good. Attendee says he'll bet £1000 it's back in the next version to much amusement from the rest of us.

      I've got a family member who switched to a Mac when trying the UI of Win8.

      1. Andy Non Silver badge

        Re: So it doesn't even do what its creator needs ??

        "I've got a family member who switched to a Mac when trying the UI of Win8."

        Windows 7 was great, however, the dogs dinner Win8 was the reason I first tried Linux. KDE first by recommendation then on to Mint which I've stuck with ever since. Microsoft not only lost a user but a Windows application developer of around thirty years experience too as I switched to developing software for Linux and also browser based software. No more Windows for me thank you very much.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: So it doesn't even do what its creator needs ??

      It never ceases to amaze me what Windows users will put up with rather than switch.

      1. Qumefox

        Re: So it doesn't even do what its creator needs ??

        At least as far as Mac's go. I'll put up with quite a lot before I resort to paying twice as much for hardware that's half as fast as I was using previously.

        1. Glen 1 Silver badge

          Re: So it doesn't even do what its creator needs ??

          Also: Finder is terrible.

          It's the main way people interact with the file system, yet it gets in the way more than Windows Explorer. Hell, the *terminal* is more user friendly than finder. Let *that* sink in.

          At least the Linuxes have sane defaults.

          If/when I switch from Windows as a daily driver, it sure as hell won't be to a mac.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So it doesn't even do what its creator needs ??

          It is a price worth paying to not have to suffer Windows. Plus the trackpads are the best out there and build quality always feels nice, and if you find you don't enjoy it you can sell it and get most of your money back, they hold their value well.

          But if you stay on MacOS you discover more amazing things it can do, and when you add the iPad as a second screen wirelessly and are able to text and call via your iPhone on the Mac it makes you question why the hell i put up with Windows for so long, the grass is greener on the other side!

          1. Glen 1 Silver badge

            Re: So it doesn't even do what its creator needs ??

            "iPad as a second screen wirelessly and are able to text and call via your iPhone"

            Pick your battles.

            A) That's an expensive £40 monitor B)You can also add your tablet as an external display in W10 using 3rd party software C) You've been able to call and text through your phone on W10 directly for a year. D) I could do it on my Nokia N8 using the Nokia software in *2010* (I was still running *Vista* then)

            Build quality is a question of manufacturer. You can take the Thinkpads from our cold, dead hands.

            Resale value is for people on the upgrade treadmill.

            When the main way you interact with the file system is so terrible, like akin-to-w8-start-screen terrible, picking things you can already do on windows as counterpoints is not a winning move.

      2. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Rather than switch

        "It never ceases to amaze me what Windows users will put up with rather than switch."

        I know, right?

        Just because we have those inconvenient APPLICATIONS that we need to run, you'd think we would willingly ditch them all so that we can proudly say online that we switched.

        We're fools, I say, fools!!

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Rather than switch

          You seem to be proving my point. As I wrote in another comment, you use applications to do a job, not do a job so you can use some particular application. And Windows folk seem to put up with an awful lot so they can use a particular set of applications to do particular jobs irrespective of whether those jobs could be done more easily by other means.

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: Rather than switch, part 2

            "And Windows folk seem to put up with an awful lot so they can use a particular set of applications to do particular jobs irrespective of whether those jobs could be done more easily can be done at ALL by other means."

            FIFY

            And you've proved MY point. You FOSS-heads think that you have reasonable replacements for just about everything that, almost, anyone needs to accomplish on their computers.

            Because hundreds of thousands of industry-specific Windows-only applications, plus hundreds of thousands of Windows-only hardware device support, plus the inability of FOSS programs to meet the complete functionality level of the Adobe suite (for just one example), never seem to matter to you guys.

            And you'll *continue* to NEVER GET IT.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Rather than switch, part 2

              You must be very unlucky. :-)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rather than switch

          > APPLICATIONS that we need to run

          Who is "we"?

          There are a number of studies about this, and the consensus is that the main motivator for consumers (the bulk of users) is simply force of habit. Which is as good a reason as any other.

    5. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: So it doesn't even do what its creator needs ??

      Despite its many fails, Windows XP was better than 7... for playing video games.

    6. The First Dave Silver badge

      Re: So it doesn't even do what its creator needs ??

      "Windows 7 was your best OS"

      For me, Win 2000 was the best of its time. Outdated now, but so much better than '95

    7. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: So it doesn't even do what its creator needs ??

      I disagree with the Office Ribbon. Although at first I thought WTF!, when I was shown how to use it, I began to like it.

      But his "vision" for Windows UI was just plain shit.

      I think gone are the days when they used to do focus groups. I watched a video, years ago, I believe it was about the development of Windows and the testing they went through.

      They'd sit a user in front of a machine, sit with them and ask them to speak aloud what they are doing, why they are moving to a part of the screen. What they are having issues with etc. So they could make a better GUI.

      Now, you just get some hipster knob who decided they have a "vision" and then convince other people to allow them to try out that vision and NO ONE is allowed to say "But this is shit".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So it doesn't even do what its creator needs ??

        Not the case, focus groups and a number of other techniques are not only still used but also a lot more widespread than they used to be.

        But of course, that's still no guarantee of success. There are a million things that go into the process and sadly, your product is as strong as the weakest of those million things.

  2. Mage Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Ha Ha

    Laughs and points.

    He didn't save windows, he crippled it. The Win7 was only a Vista SP and should have been free to Vista Victims, it happened despite Sinofsky. At least even on Vista you could turn off the eye candy and stupid services and make it like Win9x/NT4.0/Win2K/XP to use.

  3. karlkarl Silver badge

    Of course he does. He is a gimmicky little shite and obviously never needs to do *real* work.

    1. Rainer

      You wouldn't either, if you were as loaded as him.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I have reported your post.

      If you know the man personally, take it up with him. If not, I don't know what you expect to achieve by insulting people gratuitously and anonymously.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Welcome to the Internet, you must be new here!

  4. Patched Out
    Windows

    I knew it!

    This explains everything! Sinofsky was secretly working for Apple when he lead the development of the Windows 8 UI. How better to cripple your competitor!

    1. Spanners Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: I knew it!

      That's standard practice - especially for a US corporation. Do you remember a phone company called Nokia???

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I knew it!

      This explains everything! Sinofsky was secretly working for Apple when he lead the development of the Windows 8 UI. How better to cripple your competitor!

      I've suggested that as one of the things that turned the late-Gerstner and post-Gerstner IBM into crap. middle and upper-level management bribed, bought-off or blackmailed into working as moles for IBM's competition. Maybe some of them weren't as incompetent as they appeared (maybe just an act to throw people off their REAL intent).

      Not that IBM doesn't have plenty of managers that really ARE incompetent, mind you.

  5. Christopher Reeve's Horse

    Could make a good meme

    Man responsible for least popular iteration of Windows UI uses [insert here] as a desktop

    Some starters for 10: Underside of desk. Pulped yams. Actual rolling green grass hill and blue sky. The baby eating Bishop of Bath and Wells. Alan Yentob. The hopes and dreams of children. etc.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Could make a good meme

      Upvoted purely for mentioning the baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wells. The great Ronald Lacey, who - trivia fans - was also the nasty Nazi in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark who gets the medallion burned into his palm.

      And while we're on the subject of that episode of Blackadder, the portrait painter Mr Leonardo Acropolis was played by Philip Pope, who was Grasientus in Chelmsford 123. A factoid of zero interest to any of you, I'm sure, but it gave me a "I knew he looked familiar!!" moment a couple of years ago...

  6. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Expensive to be a fanboi in general

    the cost of the setup was nudging $1,600. A mere snip as far as Apple fanbois are concerned.

    Or Microsoft fanbois, for that matter. $1600 is the same price as the lowest-spec Surface Book 3 (i5, 8GB/256GB); the top-spec model is $3400.

    The A12X Bionic (2018) and A12Z (2020) iPad Pro CPUs bring considerably more horsepower than a mobile i5, and stack up very well against the mobile i7 in the $3000+ Surface Books.

    For more of a tablet-to-tablet comparison, a Surface Pro X 8GB/256GB runs $1300 -- sans keyboard & mouse, of course. However, the A12X Geekbench 4 scores are 50% higher (5030/17995 vs 3492/11493). Battery life is about the same.

    Obviously iOS is not Windows; but you can do a hell of a lot with an iPad Pro, and for the money "iPad onna stick" compares pretty well to MS' "Windows onna stick" offerings.

    1. Robert Sneddon

      RAM, storage

      The Surface Book 3 can be specced with 32GB RAM for $$$, the latest-model iPad Pro has 6GB of RAM, no upgrade possible. There's a 2TB storage option for the Surface Book 3, max internal storage for the iPad Pro is 1TB. The Surface Book 3 has an SXDC card reader for extra (slower) memory, the iPad Pro has no SD or micro-SD card slot.

    2. ThomH

      Re: Expensive to be a fanboi in general

      I think the difference is that you can be a Microsoft fan without buying Microsoft hardware. Those of us that use Apple's software don't have the corresponding choice.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Expensive to be a fanboi in general

        You can be a Microsoft fan?

    3. Slow Joe Crow

      Re: Expensive to be a fanboi in general

      You can also be cheapskate with mid range ThinkPad for $1000 or so and not have to faff around with touch screens or flaky Microsoft hardware. FWIW HP does a very good alternative to a Surface for those who insist on a Windows fondleslab

  7. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Overpriced joke

    "Obviously iOS is not Windows; but you can do a hell of a lot with an iPad Pro, and for the money "iPad onna stick" compares pretty well to MS' "Windows onna stick" offerings."

    Yeah, they are both an overpriced joke.

    Anyway, I'm a fan of tablets, but a tablet is in no way a replacement for a PC. I mean, it literally is a direct replacement for people whose use of a PC is web surfing, social media type use, and causal gaming -- and that is the use for many people. But the form factor is not there (those little rubber bluetooth keyboards suck, and typing on the screen sucks even worse) and, despite a newer tablet having enough RAM and CPU power, the apps are simply not there for certain uses. I find it impossible to take anyone seriously that advocates buying a tablet for 4-8x the amount I've paid for any PC.

    1. Mike 16 Silver badge

      Re: Overpriced joke

      Give Apple a chance. They seem hell-bent on making MacOS at least as annoying as iOS. (And as buggy as the worst stereotype of Windows in the mind of a rabid Windows-hater).

      No way they are going to achieve iOS/MacOS parity by improving iOS.

      I am actually typing this on a MacBook Air, and have an iPhone SE (original). Neither has been "upgraded" all the way to uselessness, yet, but life is too short to chase Android updates, and the Mac _was_ a decent blend of "consumption device for web-grazing and email" and "decent Unix implementation". Catalina seems to be aimed at "fixing" that issue.

      1. Glen 1 Silver badge

        Re: Overpriced joke

        "life is too short to chase Android updates"

        Yep, thus the "Android One" system to combat provider abandonment.

        On the topic of obsolescence:

        I got burnt by Apple dropping support for my Offices' Mac Mini. Bought 2nd hand and was quite old, so cant be too annoyed. We had about a year before the app store required a later version of Xcode, which required a later version of OSX.

        The only app we were making (at the time) was a charity thing, so the amount we could justify spending on new hardware with a single purpose was limited.

        Tried some of the less 'official' upgrade paths. No Dice. Was investigating the legalities of a VM, but fortunately had a new hire of the graphic design persuasion, thus justifying the expense of new mac hardware.

    2. FatalR

      Re: Overpriced joke

      Anyone that "works" on a tablet probably doesn't have much work to start with.

  8. handle handle

    Whatever happened to "eating your own dog food"?

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      In the case of Windows 8, it's dog-something, that something being a substance normally associated with the opposite end of the dog.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't believe he gets into contact not to complain about how you describe his legacy at MS, but to defend his fondle slab!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    in Sinofsky's defence - is iPad Pro + iPadOS heading towards achieving the Windows 8 vision...?

    The original pitch was that it could work as well as a tablet as a desktop.

    It's not there yet - but Apple appear to be heading there, taking solid, incremental steps.

    iPad Pro and iPadOS use USB-C, so can dock to become *PHYSICALLY* a full desktop computer (4K monitor; Ethernet; keyboard + mouse; USB devices).

    Safari in iPadOS now operates as a desktop browser, rather than a mobile one.

    ISTR on average, people spend 40% of their time in a browser. For some, more; for some, less. For example, workers used to live in Outlook; now it's Teams (hugely simplifying). Both are now browser-based (yes, there is Outlook in Microsoft Office; but features and functionality come first to Outlook on the web, and some never make it to Outlook desktop).

    So now you have a device that works as a tablet or a desktop, with apps that [have the potential] to work equally well on both.

    Apple are proclaiming your next computer is not a computer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09_QxCcBEyU).

    Mouse input is getting incrementally better. But not yet perfect. Apps are getting better (https://www.digitaltrends.com/photography/can-ipad-pro-replace-macbook-for-photo-editing/). But not yet perfect.

    The security landscape is getting worse. The app security model for WIN32 and macOS was never designed for such a hostile security landscape. Mobile app models (secure sandbox; limitations; app store; automated updates; etc) are better suited to this.

    Windows desktops used to be managed via something like Configuration Manager (they still are). But classic "Configuration Manager" is now a more-or-less mature product; the newer approach is MDM. Hence Endpoint Manager. A new organisation may equip it's users with Windows computers, but they will likely be "cloud native" - managed entirely via Azure (Azure AD; InTune; Business Store; no VPN to on premises infrastructure). At least, that's what Microsoft believes. Personally, I don't think it's quite there yet, but Microsoft are iterating at breakneck speed to get there.

    You can rent a Windows desktop via Windows Virtual Desktop (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/virtual-desktop/) for "everything else, for now".

    It's certainly not there yet for everyone. It is there for some. It's getting there for more. It remains permanently elusive for many. But all of that has always applied to every technology, including Windows. So, it's kinda OK...

    Maybe Apple's approach goes something like 'an iPad is many young people's first "computer". Once they are "attached" to the platform, they can "trade up" to the Pro edition.'.

    An iPad Pro setup is expensive. Eyewateringly expensive! the magic keyboard for iPad Pro alone costs more than an entire entry-level iPad. Personally, the entire iPad Pro setup (iPad Pro + keyboard + pencil + dock + monitor) is way too expensive for me. But if you're an employer paying a high salary for professionals, and they are more productive on an iPad Pro setup than on a Windows or even macOS setup, then perhaps it pays for itself quite quickly.

    It's something I'm watching...

    1. Joe Montana

      Re: in Sinofsky's defence - is iPad Pro + iPadOS heading towards achieving the Windows 8 vision...?

      // The security landscape is getting worse. The app security model for WIN32 and macOS was never designed for such a hostile security landscape. Mobile app models (secure sandbox; limitations; app store; automated updates; etc) are better suited to this.

      This is the key point..

      Traditional operating systems were designed by and for geeks. They are complex tools that require knowledge and experience to operate correctly.

      They are kit cars, whereas an ipad is a ready to drive vehicle. You won't get the same performance or flexibility, but you will be able to drive to work or the shops without any hassle and that's what matters.

      Fully featured computers have always been a niche product aimed at specialist use cases and only ended up being used by the masses because actual consumer oriented products were not available yet.

    2. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: in Sinofsky's defence - is iPad Pro + iPadOS heading towards achieving the Windows 8 vision...?

      >Apple are proclaiming your next computer is not a computer

      Of course not, "The Network is the Computer" hmmm.

      The desire to move everything to a data centre does mean the desktop becomes less important and therefore we are able to partition apps off from each other - effectively that's what webapps do - its a fancy graphical vt220 with local display handling logic capabilities. You can cut and paste data you can see, but that's about all and it is often annoyingly paginated.

      I suppose it is sort of inevitable as we consolidate more and more mega-corp data that we have to make it more hands-off. What will be interesting is to see if consolidation does what I expect - it will fossilize organisations' methods of operation. So much will be at stake that changing anything will be a seven year project. Of course you'll be able to add functionality... and the database will sprawl across clouds until no-one has any clue as to how the thing works. This will be worse than the mainframe. At least all that data was all in one place and a relatively small data set.

      I've already seen organisations with multiple salesforce clouds shrink from the cost of consolidating them for no revenue gain. So another "universal key" is added to try to coordinate data and a new cloud service to do the coordination is spun up. There is your xkcd "Standards" cartoon in real-life.

      I think this will leave the gate open for smaller local competition. Someone who can process the data more efficiently. If you want to survive long-term, you have to be able to wrangle your data to serve the customer. It will be interesting to see how "more comprehensive service" fares against, "basic low cost service."

  11. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    "Sadly, issues such as the update process hanging for extended period during installation persist. But heck, this is preview code after all."

    As in "preview since the 1980s"?

  12. Chris Jasper

    I bought an iPad Pro 4 12 inch model not long ago, honestly for what it does it's a great tablet.

    Awesome for reading digital comics (previous android tablets were just that little bit too small for my eyes) and watching films and TV, speakers are good as well and as I work exclusively with windows based pc's the fact that I can open up a vpn and rdp to a server if my pc dies is a useful bonus.

    But it's not a pc replacement, it would drive me mental to use it full time for work.

  13. Adelio

    For real use

    For someone that actually uses and needs a keyboard (I code) a tablet is useless. Greasy smears on a screen, almost impossible to type and fast typing non existant!. And PLEASE do not tell me to use a laptop. RUBBISH. Trackpad is useless, keyboard poor compared to a proper keyboard, and the screen is too small (I use two at work and two at home).

    AS other people have said, tablets are fine for surfing the internet, buying stuff on Amazon etc. Anything else, include gaming, yuk. Must not be a "proper" game.

    I admit it, i have been using computers since the early 80's and I like the basic layout.

  14. JMaldonado

    As seen in a Cupertino newspaper: "Disgruntled employee looking for revenge in a competing company. Call me, Steve."

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020