Windows 8.1 has many operating system advantages compared to iOS, in fact they are tremendous. Windows 8.1 is a fully fledged operating system, being the most versatile OS in the world. Microsoft’s Surface 2 which is Microsoft’s answer to the iPad is running Windows RT, which is Windows 8.1 but without the ability to install additional desktop apps, thus enabling PC-like functionality with the addition of a USB 3.0, true multitasking, multiple user accounts, mouse connectivity and general driver capability which enables printer and peripheral support. This allows Surface 2 to be a productivity machine and a media consumption device.
Apple’s iPad is designed differently with a purely mobile operating system. iOS is identical in functionality to the iPhone giving it mainly a screen size advantage. iOS isn’t built with the features mentioned above that the Surface 2 provides, making it primarily a media consumption device.
Up until now, Microsoft enjoyed its dominant lead in operating system functionality, but iOS is starting to learn and adapt to this world where functionality is becoming more important on tablets. With the recent release of Microsoft’s Office for iPad, iOS itself has been the biggest limiting factor for this highly productive software. Not being able to truly multitask and run two apps side-by-side is a deal breaker for many who are trying to be productive on the iPad, especially when using Office, now that it has been downloaded 27 million times.
Apple’s new iOS 8 which is expected to be announced soon, is taking a page out of Microsoft’s book by finally enabling two apps to run side-by-side just like on the Surface 2. In fact, it looks identical in the way screen real estate can be adjusted with a slider between the two apps running simultaneously. Not only that, but Apple is trying to enable the two apps running simultaneously to interact more easily by enabling photos, text, videos and images to be shared from one app to the other. This of course would require developers to update their apps to work in this manner, but Apple is working to enable developers with the tools to make this a reality.
Microsoft has just released a marketing video demonstrating its multitasking advantage in hopes of achieving better sales for people who desire productivity on their tablets, before Apple releases iOS 8 and lets the world know they can multitask too.