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Microsoft Portables Apple Hardware

The iPad vs. Microsoft's "Jupiter" Devices 293

Posted by timothy
from the that-was-then-this-is-jobs dept.
harrymcc writes "A dozen years ago, Microsoft convinced major manufacturers to put Windows CE inside devices that looked like undersized touchscreen personal computers. The platform was code-named 'Jupiter' and shipped as Handheld PC Pro, and it flopped — it turned out that people wanted full-strength notebooks. But in retrospect, it was a clear antecedent of what Apple is doing — much more successfully — with the iPad."
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The iPad vs. Microsoft's "Jupiter" Devices

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  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @05:40PM (#31850438) Homepage

    Just goes to show how stupid people actually are. Better doesn't always win. Better very often loses to market hype and brand recognition. Slap an Apple logo on any iGadget and people will buy it today even if they hated it 10 years ago.

  • by EdipisReks (770738) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @05:42PM (#31850466)

    Now how about some comparisons of the Courier versus the iPad!

    i'll believe Courier is anything more than a mockup when i see it in stores.

  • Expectations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @05:46PM (#31850526) Homepage

    The iPad has a lot going for it, especially that you can get one for about 1/3 the price of that thing (if you convert the 1998 dollars, see eldavojon's post) and that you have wireless networking (a major plus).

    I think a big part of this (and one that Microsoft has run into with their tablet attempts) is that of expectations. If it looks like a PC (because it has a keyboard), and acts like a PC (because the interface looks like Windows 95/98 did), people expect it to operate like a PC. They should be able to install normal software, it should be fast enough to do normal computer things, etc.

    Netbooks ran into this too. They were cheap and cute, so people bought them. Then they found out that weren't "real" laptops and had 1 GHz processors, and were never going to edit video or edit 8 MP photos fast. The things looked like normal computers, but cheaper, so why not get it? Then they weren't happy. Now many "netbooks" are full computers that are just tiny. You can buy netbooks that cost $600+ instead of the early $200-$300. They are what people expect out of a laptop, only tiny.

    Apple, on the other hand, made a device that is very clearly not a Macintosh. It does look like an iPhone, which is a plus since people see the iPhone as a appliance and not a computer. These two things add up to people seeing the iPad as an appliance and not a computer, which is exactly what Apple intends. It does what it does, and that's what it's supposed to do.

    If Apple released the iPad with a fold out keyboard, people would compare it to another netbook or a normal laptop and criticize it for being so inflexible. I was actually very surprised that Apple is even making a keyboard dock, as it makes it look more like a laptop. The flexibility of being able to easily type a document on the road with the dock (or a bluetooth keyboard) must have been enough to overwhelm the worry, and I can see that being the case.

  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @06:01PM (#31850704) Journal

    Just look how successful the Windows CE OS is to this day.

    If you actually look at it and don't just look at the public marketing, I would say it's quite successful. It was used in millions of PDA's, mobile phones (and Windows Mobile is based on it too), embedded systems and most of the ATM's in the world.

    Difference is that Apple markets you to believe they're more successful, while almost any other player including MS is more discrete about those and doesn't have major marketing campaigns to get their systems around.

  • Bingo (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Well-Fed Troll (1267230) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @06:03PM (#31850728)
    And there you have it folks. You expect a phone. When you see how well it does movies compared to your phone instead of how poorly it does compared to your computer, you're happy.
    The interface simplicity also emphasizes this. We associate complicated interfaces with complex, difficult to use machinery. A 747 cockpit has a ridiculous number of switches, gauges & dials, a door just has a knob.
  • by GlassHeart (579618) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @06:11PM (#31850800) Journal

    So what? I used to work on a mobile browser that literally sold hundreds of millions of units. The problem is that very very few of those browsers were ever used, so I personally still consider that a failure. Similarly, Windows Mobile in phones did not create an appreciable rise in mobile data usage, while the iPhone did to the point that AT&T's network was strained. That's just marketing? And Microsoft's response to Apple marketing is to start from scratch to build Windows Phone 7?

  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @06:14PM (#31850832) Journal

    As opposed to all the Apple Astroturfers?

    And just look how much coverage the Ipad is getting - I made a joke about how we'd have to put up with daily Ipad stories as well as daily Iphone stories, but I take it back: looks like we're now in store for an Ipad and Iphone story each every twelve hours.

  • by peragrin (659227) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @06:19PM (#31850896)

    Sure WinCE is used in millions of devices but none of them work very well.

    Windows CE had ONE major problem it was never designed around a multi touch interface. It was basically a mouse touch which means you "click and drag" with your touch finger. WinCE and the related Applications held promise but failed to deliver a consistent user interface, designed for small screens, allow for mutli point touch and gestures, Oh and Not look like s standard desktop shrunk to a screen that a Command line interface would have a problem with usability on.

    I repeat this over and over again a Tablet is not a desktop OS. you can't use a desktop application on a tablet and expect it to work well. You must shift the interface design away from desktop if you want your tablet to succeed. it is why Palm worked so well. it had a new interface. Windows CE, Mobile, all strived to look like windows Desktop and it was skinned horribly to hide that fact.

  • Re:"Successfully"? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @06:21PM (#31850920) Homepage Journal

    No, he is comparing intial releases to long term success of a product.

    and Apple as 10 times more customers, and only sold 6 times more iPads.

    "The ipad IS successful. Period."
    Wrong. Period.

    Lets see where the market is in 6 months, and then at the end of a full fiscal year. Did you ever wonder why Apple releases new products just a couple of months before then end of the fiscal year?

  • by Golias (176380) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @06:23PM (#31850942)

    Making it a small fraction of the price in inflation-adjusted dollars might have something to do with it.

    Nothing could ever compel me to spend $1000 in in '98 on a touch-screen computer (with a non-touch OS).

    But $500 in 2010? Shit, I think I could dig that kind of cash out of my couch cushions.

  • by juancn (596002) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @06:24PM (#31850946) Homepage

    Just goes to show how stupid people actually are. Better doesn't always win.

    You're oversimplifying. "Better" is a relative term, it needs context to be meaningful. Apple does many things right that aren't easy to duplicate and can't be reduced as check-boxes on a feature comparison chart. Using a different context, I could say that iPad is actually "better", just because it sells more units.

  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @06:25PM (#31850962) Journal

    I've yet to see an Ipad in stores, personally. Anyhow - there were daily stories about the Ipad months before it was released, and even when it was just rumours (in fact, the first Apple tablet rumour on Slashdot was in 2005). Yet when it's another company, we have to have the product in store, for you to see?

  • by goombah99 (560566) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @06:35PM (#31851060)

    The Toshiba had a 129-MHz Toshiba TMPR3912U CPU which is something like 2 to 3 orders of magnitude slower than the 1Ghz A4. Sure it functioned but would you use it? Value s not just what you pay but what you get.

    You could say that in principle one could have made a Victorian mechanical turing machine into an ipad too.

    Apple is what is known as an early settler. ("pioneers get the arrows, settlers get the land."). Apple is also an early adopter. (e.g. see Gui, mouse, postscript printing, .... ) Thus they tred right at the line between pioneer and settler.

    How do they know when it's time to settle a market? Steve tells them the wine is ready now. Till then they make fun of the pioneers.

    Apple and Jobs sometimes jumps the gun too ( see NeXT or Newton or apples game console if you even remember that).

    Apple has more success lately, because it avoids the pitfall that most pioneers have in converting to settlers: undercapitalization. Apple has the resources to design things right and to set up ancilliary markets (see itunes) that an undercapitalized firm cannot. So for apple the wine is ready to serve early than the competition.

  • Re:Bingo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Golias (176380) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @06:43PM (#31851124)

    And there you have it folks. You expect a phone. When you see how well it does movies compared to your phone instead of how poorly it does compared to your computer, you're happy.

    The interface simplicity also emphasizes this. We associate complicated interfaces with complex, difficult to use machinery. A 747 cockpit has a ridiculous number of switches, gauges & dials, a door just has a knob.

    Yeah, but who wants a 747 filling the entry way to the bathroom, when a door does the job so well?

    A lot of things about a 747 which make it very valuable, but comparisons of different tools, meant for different jobs, is completely silly.

  • I love the slashdot groupthink! It's like it's never occurred to you that market research is something you can do, or that a product with better technology will lose to a competitor that doesn't break Mom's wrists and doesn't require a manual! "Obviously, it must be the cult of Apple!"

  • Re:"Successfully"? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @06:48PM (#31851184)

    All you've proven is that we've gone from "a sucker born every minute" to "a sucker born every second."

  • Re:Expectations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @07:05PM (#31851396)

    I think what irks geeks is that these devices could be general purpose computers but Apple chooses not to let them be. It's the same logic that drives them (and by them I mean us) to install Linux on consoles, another of the modern computing appliances. In many ways modern computing has failed to bring its advantages to the public at large (and gloated over the "stupid (l)users" while doing it) and now the mainstream is moving away from general purpose computing to a new way of doing the tasks they want to do. A lot of geeks can't see it though because they can't understand why anyone would want to. It's not lower expectations it's a whole new set of expectations, a new experience.

  • Re:"Successfully"? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by justinb26 (1783508) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @07:12PM (#31851442)
    It's also on track to break a million units this month, and they just had to push the international ship date back a month to allow for demand in the states. Cognitive Dissonance is a powerful thing. At this point the people screaming about how the ipad is lame and doesn't fill a need and no-one will buy it, are so invested in spreading hate and shitting on the iPad, that it would be more difficult to admit a mistake than to just stick to their position regardless of how ridiculous it's become.
  • by toby (759) * on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @07:27PM (#31851566) Homepage Journal

    The real antecedent of the iPad, around 19 years ago.

  • by sootman (158191) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:08PM (#31851918) Homepage Journal

    Who said it was better, and how? Specs alone do not "better" make. Plus it cost $999 back then which is like $1300 now. If the iPad, as it is, cost $1300, it would not be selling that well. If the iPad had a flimsy folding keyboard AND had an OS that was even MORE limited than what it has now (WinCE is MUCH further away from Win98 than iPhone OS is from OS X) AND required a stylus it wouldn't sell as well.

    Why can't people accept that Apple makes great products AND markets them well? If their products truly sucked, across the board, they wouldn't sell as well no matter WHAT the marketing. In fact, they HAVE had products that sucked AND tanked, like the G4 Cube. That thing was advertised just as much as anything else but it cost $200 more than a comparably-specced, more-expandable PowerMac G4. The Cube's failure is PROOF that Apple does not operate outside the laws of economics. They don't *actually* serve drugged Kool-Aid; their customers are NOT ad-absorbing, check-writing, brainless zombies. But geeks seem to resent their success because they make things that people want to use, not what kernel-compiling Slashdotters think is cool.

  • by gyrogeerloose (849181) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:35PM (#31852160) Journal

    In fact, they HAVE had products that sucked AND tanked, like the G4 Cube. That thing was advertised just as much as anything else but it cost $200 more than a comparably-specced, more-expandable PowerMac G4. The Cube's failure is PROOF that Apple does not operate outside the laws of economics

    The G4 Cube didn't really suck. Taken by itself, it was a very slick piece of industrial design and made sense for a certain subset of computer users, namely people to whom aesthetics are important and expandability is not. I know it's hard for Slashdotters to accept but the majority of computer users don't give a whit whether their computer is expandable. They buy it, use it for as long as it continues to work for what they use a computer for (typically Web browsing, e-mail and light word processing) then get rid of it and buy another. They do care what the thing looks like, however. But, as you said, the Cube was overpriced, and the one time in my life I actually had the ear of a fairly high-ranking (from Apple, of course, probably C-level) industry executive for ten seconds, that's what I told him. This was about two days before the product launch. I was rewarded with a dirty look, but at least I was eventually proven correct.

    They don't *actually* serve drugged Kool-Aid; their customers are NOT ad-absorbing, check-writing, brainless zombies. But geeks seem to resent their success because they make things that people want to use, not what kernel-compiling Slashdotters think is cool.

    My friend, that's so right on target I can't even fathom why you haven't been modded down as a troll yet.

  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @08:40PM (#31852202) Homepage Journal

    Look, the iPad is a consumer device.

    Aimed for consumers.

    People who consume video, surf the web, use Skype to talk to FB friends in other countries, read papers online, play games online (FB apps).

    It's not a tech thing. It just WORKS. And that is the key difference - I've used one, it takes about 5 seconds to figure out how to use it.

    That is NEVER true of MSFT products.

    By the way, the EU has just been told (I watch foreign business news at night) that they will get the iPod a MONTH late due to US demand. ... the world has changed and the iPad won ... deal with it. oh, and Flash is dead (by the way, you're going to love HTML6 when it comes out)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @09:21PM (#31852586)

    The Toshiba had a 129-MHz Toshiba TMPR3912U CPU which is something like 2 to 3 orders of magnitude slower than the 1Ghz A4

    That doesn't mean what you think it means. It's actually almost 8 times faster. 2 or 3 orders of magnitude is 100 to 1000 times faster.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @09:45PM (#31852782) Homepage

    Flash content on the web represents a very large and significant portion of contemporary web experience. (And I can't believe anyone needs to state this.) The developing web standards are adopting most of the features presently provided by Flash. If a portion of the web experience is omitted, you know it is missed.

    Some people will admit it when they made a buying mistake. Others will defend their purchase decision until the bitter end. In this case, yes, he cares. Others will not say so. But it definitely matters.

    Whem Microsoft "breaks" the internet with its intentionally wounded implementation of HTML and CSS support, most of us understand the harm it causes. And when Apple holds functions and features back for ransom or just so that they can be a hero when they finally enable or allow them, their character is clear and obvious.

    Once again, it's not the coolness or slickness that makes "us geeks" jealous. It's the harm to the consumer and to the technology marketplace as a whole that bothers us.

  • I repeat this over and over again a Tablet is not a desktop OS

    One example I've been thinking about: pressing a button with a mouse vs. touchscreen. Mice are much more precise. It's a little arrow and the point is only 1 pixel wide. If the arrow's point is over something when you click on it, it can have accuracy down to the pixel. That's impossible with a finger. Instead of being able to hit a target the size of a pixel, you need the target to be at least... 1cm^2? Something in that neighborhood.

    On the other hand, it's pretty hard to seek the button out with your mouse cursor. I mean, it's not really hard, we're all used to it, but it's more complicated that you probably recognize. Just the first step, which you probably took for granted: you have to find the mouse cursor's current location. Then you have to guide the cursor to the desired location, which means calibrating the motion of your hand to the motion of the cursor. It used to be that if the location was far away, you'd have to move to the edge of your pad, reset the mouse to the other side of the pad, and then move it again. So that was annoying. They've overcome that by putting some kind of acceleration variable in the mouse's motion-- the faster you move it, the more your cursor moves for moving the mouse the same distance. (If that last sentence doesn't make sense, this [wikipedia.org] might help.)

    So in both cases, before acceleration and after, it means that it's harder to hit a precise point with your mouse that is far away from your current mouse position than to hit a button that's close. That's part of the reason we have toolbars that cluster all the controls into a tight area, because seeking around for buttons that are spaced far apart is relatively hard.

    On a touchscreen, however, the situation is much easier. Touchscreens aren't precise, but they're as easy as pointing, and you're much more coordinated with your finger than with your mouse. This means that while the buttons need to be bigger, you can exercise much more freedom in their positioning.

    The difference in pressing buttons alone is enough reason why touchscreen application UIs should be designed rom scratch, and not just pulled over from desktop applications.

  • Re:"Successfully"? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:39PM (#31853190) Journal

    The ipad IS successful.

    If you keep saying it over and over and over, it'll become true.

    iPad sold 500,000 units after one week. That's a little more than 70,000 units a day. And if you consider that in the five days after the weekend, Apple sold 200,000 units. That's 40,000 a day. Not quite so impressive. I'd bet that all the Netbooks combined sell at least 40,000 units per day.

    Name one cell phone, computer, or similar device that sold 300,000 times over on the first day that was considered a failure.

    The interesting thing is that Apple sold 300,000 units in it's first weekend--this is after the device had been available for pre-order for one month. So it took Apple one month to sell 300,000 units--about 1,000 units a day.

    So name one cell phone, computer, or similar device that sold 300,000 units in one month that was considered a success.

    But that's okay. Just sit in your corner, hug your iPad, and keep repeating: "The iPad is successful! The iPad is successful!" It'll make you feel better.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @01:08AM (#31854086)

    Yes.

    I have no problem keeping the kruft out that way.

    If someone makes a good freeware app thats truely worthy of being ported, someone will offer to publish to the store for them. Truth of the matter is most people don't give a shit if they don't get some random freeware program because there is an alternative that may cost $2 instead of being free, but its probably better. (if it wasn't, someone would have bothered to port the free equivalent!)

    So yes, for many people there is no problem living in that world.

    It costs us more money to wade through all the various problems with shitty software than it does to just pay a little for some software knowing that most developers are going to maintain it in order to maintain their revenue stream.

    Freeware is great, but really, anything you can find as 'freeware' probably has a better equivalent for very little cost.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @01:39AM (#31854288)

    Why can't people accept that Apple makes great products AND markets them well?

    Why can't others like you accept that not everyone likes what Apple makes and find them worse then what you seem to feel they are? If they where so earth shatteringly amazing, you would think that after 9 years of being made they would have more then 6% of the computer market. Some people do enjoy and love their Mac, and congratulations for them. Thing is, not everyone likes using OSX. For others like myself, they are very unstable (I've used 6 different Mac's, running OS's 10.4 thru 10.6. No lie, the first 5 crashed completely in the first 5 minutes. The last one lost all internet abilities when I went changing a few settings on a Bittorrent client and I wasn't in a root user account and a restart didn't bring it back, they had to spend a few hours fixing it. Want more examples of people having Mac issues then look at their forums). Telling people that if they have a Mac issue they just need to take it to their nearest Apple store isn't a good option either, since there are only around 220 in the US, and 14 here in Canada. The nearest one to me is almost a 2 hour drive away so taking it there isn't an option, nor is it for anyone else not living near an Apple store. Others can't justify the price to hardware differences, and 'surprise surprise' just being something is running Windows doesn't mean it's a crash-fest so many others have no issues using a Windows box.

  • not the same class (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @01:47AM (#31854330) Homepage Journal

    But in retrospect, it was a clear antecedent of what Apple is doing -- much more successfully -- with the iPad.

    About as much as a 13th century carriage is a "clear antecedent" to a Lamborghini. Yes, it has four wheels. One more author who either has no clue whatsoever about what the iPad actually is (note: "table computer" is not the answer) or who does, and simply wanted to drive up page views by throwing the currently hot topic "iPad" into a totally unrelated story.

  • by steve_bryan (2671) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @02:18AM (#31854444)

    If it were possible to make them so they were suitable for mom don't you think that might have happened by now?

    Yes, it happened about 25 years ago.

    Complete and utter rubbish. For the vast majority of individuals who do not have the luxury of tech support (formal or informal) you have shiny machines that start well and then decline as bit rot takes its toll. Maybe slightly less for Macs if you have easy access to an Apple Store when inevitably things start to go wrong.

    Even a perfectly running general purpose computer is far more complex than most people really want to deal with. Of course there is a subset of the general population that is quite happy with them but the point is that it is a small subset. You may not believe that but it will become increasingly clear as better products become more generally available.

I cannot conceive that anybody will require multiplications at the rate of 40,000 or even 4,000 per hour ... -- F. H. Wales (1936)

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