By John Gruber
Atoms: We are not selling shoes this time…
Another interesting post from Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky, on the thinking behind the design of Windows 8. I detect a theme (emphasis mine):
From the start, our approach has been to reimagine Windows, and to be open to revisiting even the most basic elements of the user model, the platform and APIs, and the architectures we support. Our goal was a no compromise design. […]
Why not just start over from scratch? Why not just remove all of the desktop features and only ship the Metro experience? Why not “convert” everything to Metro? The arguments for a “clean slate” are well known, both for and against. We chose to take the approach of building a design without compromise. […]
Windows 8 brings together all the power and flexibility you have in your PC today with the ability to immerse yourself in a Metro style experience. You don’t have to compromise! You carry one device that does everything you want and need. […]
Our design goal was clear: no compromises.
Like I wrote yesterday, Microsoft and Apple are going in two very different directions, especially when you compare iOS to Windows 8. Apple has embraced compromise. The compromises in iOS are, for many people in many contexts, what makes the iPad better than a Mac. The compromises enforce simplicity and obviousness in design, and at a technical level they lead to iOS’s excellent battery life.
I do work on the road using a MacBook Air, not an iPad, because I’m one of those users for whom the iPad’s design compromises get in the way, and slow me down. But I like having the iPad as a separate device, for reading and video. The marvel of the iPad is not that it can replace a Mac. It’s that it opened the door to all sorts of things that a Mac was never all that good for.
This bit from Sinofsky is interesting:
As we showed, you get an amazing touch experience, and also one that works with mouse, trackpad, and keyboard. And if you want to stay permanently immersed in that Metro world, you will never see the desktop — we won’t even load it (literally the code will not be loaded) unless you explicitly choose to go there! This is Windows reimagined.
I’m on the record as a skeptic regarding Windows 8’s “one OS for all machines” design. What it comes down to is that I think their goal is too ambitious. It’s a boil-the-ocean plan. But if they pull it off, they might really have something. I just think it’s too big an “if”.