It’s pretty much been iPad all the way for us in terms of the training requests we have received so far. And we probably wouldn’t have expected anything else at this stage in the tablet game. Apple pretty much invented the tablet and iPads have been the must-have gadget for pretty much everyone who could afford the price tag.

Did Apple invent the tablet?

iPads have been the shiniest most desirable tablet from that first TV advert back in 2010 when it looked like the best bit of tech kit ever. As legacy to the visionary man that Steve Jobs was, the iPad has done him proud. Apple didn’t invent the tablet but it kind of feels like they did.

Microsoft actually had tablet PCs by manufacturers like Fujitsu and Lenovo knocking about almost ten years before Jobs’ masterpiece took the world by storm. The thing is, those early Microsoft offerings didn’t take the world by storm at all. In fact, we don’t even remember a breeze.

ipadsurfaceBut is this Microsoft’s time?

So, here we are in 2014 and it almost seems impossible that this tablet revolution has only been with us a few years. But isn’t this when it takes hold of the majority? Yes iPads got the enthusiastic early adopters but is it maybe now time for Windows offerings to meet the mainstream marketplace that has its desktop products so heavily deployed?

Your ICT team’s aversion to iPad

We think they will make a lot of sense to a lot of people. And those very people are likely to be in charge of your organisation’s ICT infrastructure. Think about it. Your office/ school almost certainly uses Outlook for email and maybe Sharepoint for its intranet. It has 1000s of PCs and Windows laptops with one for just about everyone unless you happen to be a graphic designer with a massive Mac.

What’s in your office/classroom?

Pages? Keynote? What are they? You use Word and Powerpoint because that’s all you’ve ever used at work. You are a marvel with Excel and you’ve just learned how to set rules in Outlook. You can find what you need when you need it and you can open files at home and at work.

ipadlockedBanning iPads?

Sources very close to us have told us that one Scottish local authority is rumoured to have put a halt to all iPad purchases because they don’t fit in with existing systems. They let a few early purchases slip through their net but closer examination of how to lock them all down and manage them remotely has called a halt to any more purchasing. You know what that means, don’t you? You know what the ‘existing systems’ are?

Angry birds?

And maybe that is why Microsoft tablets make a lot of sense. Yes,  a lot of people are familiar with iOS because they have their phones and they are used to them. But do our bosses necessarily want people to be skilled in playing Angry Birds in the classroom or workplace? It is familiarity with workplace use of software that might, ultimately, make the most sense for ICT decision makers, especially those who aren’t prepared to shake things up a bit.

To have a tablet that integrates fully with ‘existing systems’ might just be the only way that the majority of businesses and institutions can viably roll out a whole-scale adoption that meets their present needs. Windows 8 is an operating system that has a lot going for it (when it’s on a tablet) and until iOs 7 came along, it made the iPad icons look a little bit, dare we say it, dated. Windows 8.1 is even better and fixes a lot of the irksome stuff that people moaned about so much.

windowsappsBut what about apps?

The apps offerings are, of course, where Microsoft is still miles behind but they are making progress. One of the most popular apps with schools we work with is Coach’s Eye and, with news at the end of last year that it’s now on Windows 8.1,  it is certain that Microsoft is getting closer to meeting needs. Most of the creative apps that we use most often on the iPad are replicated in some form now too in Windows 8.1 and so maybe the apps issue is less of an issue than you might think. How many apps do we really need to use?

It is interesting, also, to start to think of apps in a workplace sense again. Most people don’t use their iPads/iPhones for work and most wouldn’t have the first idea where to begin.

What about sharing?

And then there is the cloud. Dropbox and Google Drive don’t get past the information security people in so many organisations but we wouldn’t mind betting that Skydrive might just succeed where those have failed.  We haven’t even mentioned the new Glow, the Scottish schools intranet that considered being Google for a while and ended up with Microsoft 365 and its cloud offerings.

It’s all starting to make a lot of sense, isn’t it?

At Tablet Academy, we are so enthusiastic about the difference technology can make that we don’t have any specific allegiances. And as long as we see tablets and their apps transforming things we are happy to stay neutral in it all.