Let's talk about Microsoft vs. Apple and a unified app platform

Apple is reportedly going to find out in late 2018 as they attempt to merge some of the app platforms from iOS to macOS. The reason is evident to anyone who tries to download apps for their MacBook, which is a store where new apps are few and far between - think Windows Phone, but in reverse.

I wrote about this topic last week and now have added a video on the topic as well. So far, many people are giving Apple the benefit of the doubt, which reveals more about Microsoft's lack of consumer confidence than Apple's prowess at succeeding where Redmond had failed.

The problem I see it is rarely addressed: Why would running phone-based apps on your decked out MacBook Pro solve the lack of robust desktop applications for Apple?

Microsoft tried this strategy and between the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) being nascent, the lack of consumer interest, and the reliance on using the web for many tasks it did not work out (nor did it help Windows phone).

Earlier this year, I wrote how Microsoft would shift from "phone apps on PC" to more powerful desktop applications for the Microsoft Store, and that is what has happened. Affinity, Adobe Photoshop Elements, dj PRO, Autodesk Sketchbook, and legacy apps like Paint.net are now the focus in the store. Even "classic" PC games are making the appearance, shifting away from lite mobile games to ones that require beefier hardware.

Apple wants to unify iPad, iPhone, and Mac apps – but will it work?

Additionally, Apple has a more extensive problem: MacBooks don't support touch. Will users want to experience their favorite phone apps as non-touch experiences? Again, history tells us no.

In the end, Apple's venture won't make things worse for macOS or its pricey laptops and desktop computers, but so far, there is little reason to believe this will fix its real problem: waning interest from creative professionals in the Apple PC line. Apple does have a dedicated base of developers who seem to create some exciting applications, but it's not clear it's enough to affect sales.

But will you give up on a touch-enabled two-in-one PC experience like Surface for a MacBook Pro because of this? Let me know in comments!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • "Microsoft has it... They just won't use it"
    Quote from Rodney Jones
    This has always separated MS from the others (as far as modern technology goes). I would argue that MS's offerings have generally been better than the competitions.
    Windows owns the desktop, laptop, and enterprise.
    Zune was comparably better than the iPod, in many ways.
    Band was really the first to have a host of features, and sensors.
    Windows Phone had an innovative UI that EVERYONE copied, and the best camera technology in the industry.
    Surface says it all.
    .... What separates MS from the others? Marketing. Marketing in every aspect of the word. That's why Apple, and many others, can have inferior products, and services, and still get attention from consumers. It's sad, but true.
    If MS fixes it's marketing issue they will come into the 21st century. End of story.
  • True. Microsoft had come up with many things before the others, or better quality things, but they just don't know how to make people want them.
  • I'm gonna quote myself again.....
    "if the biggest tree in the forest falls, and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?..... If MS has the best product, but nobody knows about it, does it matter?""
  • Who didn't know about Microsoft's product? This is Microsoft we are talking about not some unknown startup. All their products were known and given a chance. They didn't snowball because they just weren't competitive. It is that simple. Trying to claim that Microsoft is unknown is a terrible argument. It makes no sense.
  • Not really the zune never made it to the UK so no one knew about it. The surface RT/Pro were only available in 3 shops when it came out none were known for computing.
    Quite a lot of people who own an Xbox don't know its Microsoft to.
    The Microsoft band was available in all UK shops but not one advert was seen in the UK for them. When the Lumia devices came to the UK the UK bought them and they sold well when advtised but as the os went on we saw less and less adds and the sales went down. If Microsoft want to push a product they need to make a wow with it look at Kinect that had a wow factor and became the best ever home console add on to be sold of any gen. Microsoft can do it but there marketing department seems to balls up when showing off a product in the public eye. Business is a different story though.
  • Lumia sales in the UK were so good at one point that some sites were predicting WP would have pushed iOS into third place by now. Everyone has been waiting for the "surface phone" to come solve all the problems, I personally preferred the idea of an xBox Mobile. Essentially a portable games console (a bit like a nintendo switch) running a custom version of W10M with telephony, UWP apps and onedrive intergration, and also able to hook up to an xBox1 as a second screen for multiplayer games. Sadly now even this would not be good enough to save W10M
  • Not true. Microsoft maybe known by you and I, here on this website, but that is a bubble. And if people 'know' of Microsoft, doesn't mean they know what MS does or its products.
  • Actually, no. Many, MANY products and features that Microsoft deployed first, often better, were unknown to people because Microsoft never advertised them. There are several features of Windows phone that iOS and Android still don't have, yet most people never even knew they existed. Even MS's cameras prowess was never advertised in a meaningful way, with only occasional commercials that essentially have little reason to consider their phones based on camera, outside of the 1020. Look at early surface ads: dancers flailing about like morons, opening and closing their computers. What useful information did that convey? Virtually nothing outside of its detachable keyboard, which...so what?
  • No brainer.. Only a complete idiot would disagree with you.
  • Or tell people they exist.
  • Nuff said..
  • It’s not just lack of marketing. MVVM on top of trying to lay things out in XAML is just too hard. The GUI tooling is horrible. Look how hard Blend is to use. They have too higher barrier to entry. And their GUI toolbox is just bare. Try laying out a table (ie a simple thing) in XAML. There is no MS data grid anymore. They’ve lost the plot. 
  • I found mvvm and xaml VERY easy to do. I don't even know what you are talking about.
  • I know right. It's just similar to writing a web app, android and iOS for that matter.
  • Marketing is very much the issue and always has been. Living in The Netherlands I have never ever ever seen any televised commercial from Microsoft. Never!
  • Marketing isn't the issue at all. How do you market the bad product you describe?
  • Somehow my comment on marketing got stuck in the wrong comment trail. Damn you, Android! 😁
  • It still fits. And, you're exactly right.
  • The difference was that Microsoft had a marketing manager that did nothing but collect a paycheck and Apple had a marketing department that supremely marketed their products.
  • Apple just had great products that were easy to market. People bought them, enjoyed them and told their friends. Microsoft had mediocre products and a bad reputation from decades of abusing their Windows monopoly. That monopoly made them complacent. They didn't think they had to try and their products were really poor by 2010. They lost momentum and when superior products entered the market, they were easily overcome.
  • Or maybe everything you listed was inferior to the competition and that was why marketing was so hard. People use Windows desktop because they have to not because they want to. Zune just sucked. It was a joke. Microsoft didn't have the software or music services to back it up. Band was fugly. Terrible looking device which is a death sentence for a wearable. Windows Phone UI wasn't innovative. Putting squares around icons and gimped widgets isn't innovation. It is easy to see why Microsoft products have failed. Marketing is just your scapegoat so you don't have to address the real issue. Marketing is easy when you truly have great products.
  • At its IDEA 2011 Ceremony, the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) gave Windows Phone 7, which uses the UI, its "Gold Interactive" award, its "People's Choice Award", and a "Best in Show" award.  Isabel Ancona, the User Experience Consultant at IDSA, explained why Windows Phone won: "The innovation here is the fluidity of experience and focus on the data, without using traditional user interface conventions of windows and frames. Data becomes the visual elements and controls. Simple gestures and transitions guide the user deeper into content. A truly elegant and unique experience."  
  • What is that? Who cares? It doesn't mean anything.
  • Just because you didn't like them doesn't mean they were bad. How can you judge what's "truly great"?
  • They weren't competitive whether I liked them or not. No amount of marketing will make up for that.
  • Band was fugly. Terrible looking device which is a death sentence for a wearable
    Uh, what? I've been testing and wearing all sorts of wearables, from fitbits and garmins and samsung through to cheap chinese ones. The only one that people have stopped and asked about because they thought it looked call was my Band 2. It was also by far the most functional of the fitness focused bands I tested. Clearly there was a problem with the actual band of the Band 2 though, so was unfortunately unreliable. But look at the marketing for it. Focuse don Golf. Only in the US. And very little of it. We tried multiple times to connect with Microsoft to develop for their Health program and Band, never even got responses. They apparently had zero interest. I suspect the product was so niche it was developed for some high level manager with heart trouble who loved golf and then abandoned when he dropped dead!
  • Many found Windows Phone to be exact what they needed. The tiles were really innovative. The interface was why WP themes in the Play Store were downloaded massively. Windows Phone had all the potential. But again, marketingn
  • the best marketing really is thru word of mouth and this is how apple dominated mainstream.  Microsoft tried to market surface and it worked great but for the past ones like zune, band, and other things didnt work out because their was very visible presence.  Now i get recognized when i use my surface in public and the next step for that is for me to share info of the product thru word of mouth.
  • I totally understand your point on marketing.
      Being in India with a Windows Phone wasn't easy at all; the only plus point was the first couple of years until Windows 10 killed me off.
      When friends borrowed my phone, there were certain features that stood out, made it easier and made them go "bro, that's much easier than in my phone; damn! " but they knew all this only after seeing me use it. The only marketing for any Microsoft gadget I've ever been exposed to is on YouTube; the marketing here is horrible. Forget mobile, people don't even know about the Surface lineup be it the Book, Pro or the Studio. If people did know, we'd be seeing lesser upgrades to the Mac (for student use) and more SP's on campus because it suits the needs of most of my friends.  Speaking from a layman perspective (let's ignore the technical factors if any)
  • Marketing.
  • Apple's decision to run iOS apps on a Mac is a trojan horse.  With a few apps available consumers will start complaining about lack of touch. Apple will respond by adding touch to Mac.  The reason they haven't done it so far is to avoid being accused of compying Microsoft.  Consumer demand will be their new justification.  Now all they need are touch-supported apps.  Not phone apps, real ones.
  • Wait a minute... You're saying that Apple is consciously not doing something because they are intentionally trying to avoid being accused of copying someone else?
    Well, tickle me purple.. That's news to me.
  • Have to disagree. Apple can't just "add touch" to macOS. If it were that simple, they'd have done that already. I think this is a trojan horse, but to phase out macOS for consumers with iOS. Rumors have been around that Apple is toying with ARM in laptops and iOS is much newer/brighter future than macOS. It's like their ChromeOS for PCs - light, fast, and in this case, has iPad apps.
  • When MS first showed WOA in China, the first thing I thought of was "Well, Apple is gonna show theirs next"
    Anyone who can't see that coming isn't only not looking, but their head is buried deep in the sand.
  • Apple certainly can add touch to Mac OS.  It’s not that difficult.  You add a touchscreen and drivers.   It becomes another HID (human interface device) like a mouse.  You think Apple can’t write a hardware driver?   The interface chips already exist in Intel chipsets.  What do you think Microsoft is using?  Apple uses the same chipsets.   MS added it to 30 year old Windows.  You think Apple can’t add it to 15 year old Mac OS?   
  • You're being pedantic here. Of course they can just add a digitizing layer and call it "touch", but you know that is 100 percent half-assing it. It adds touch to macOS, doesn't make macOS a touch OS. That's the difference and it's a BIG one as Apple wouldn't do something so trivial when they're so focused on UX. Making a touch OS is something entirely else and you just don't do that overnight. You know this.
  • What exactly do you think Microsoft did?   Do you think they re-wrote the entire OS for touch?  Windows 10 is not a touch OS either.   The only reason Apple has not done so is because they already have a proper tablet/touch OS.   Microsoft does not, so they are trying to turn Windows into a “touch OS”.   I guarantee you Apple already has touch running internally.  Probably for a couple years at least.   They can spring it on the public whenever they like.  Remember the switch to Intel CPUs?   It was a total surprise.     They will do the same with touch.   Seriously, it is not that difficult.  
  • "What exactly do you think Microsoft did? Do you think they re-wrote the entire OS for touch?"
    I think you're demonstrating a severe level of ignorance in a public space. Yes, Microsoft re-wrote much of Windows XP -> Windows 8 --> Windows 10 to be touch focused. Also, yes, Microsoft de-emphasized "tablet-only" features of the OS because the public was not ready for such a jump between XP and "OMG TABLET EVERYTHING" OS. If you think Windows 10 though is just a digitizer layer, or that inking comes for free, then you are just very ignorant of modern computing. Talk to anyone - Microsoft or Apple - about this tech and you will learn this in the first 5 minutes.
  • What is Inking? I have had a Surface Pro and Surface Book and a pen but I have no idea what you are talking about. We use Surface devices and have quite a few Microsoft fans at work and have never heard anyone even say "Inking". It certainly isn't an obvious feature at all.
  • If you use the pen to write or draw then you're inking. It's not like you have to activate it or something
  • Wow. That is it? How is that is some amazing feature. Pen support isn't special.
  • "Who didn't know about Microsoft's product? This is Microsoft we are talking about not some unknown startup. All their products were known and given a chance. " - bleached a few minutes before this comment.   Your comments always make me laugh Mr. Hypocrite.
  • 🤤🤤🤤Some special trolls in here
  • It would be like touch on XP....worse actually as macOS' UI elements have generally been subsumed and minimized to the periphery. There's a difference between the non UI guts of Windows and macOS. One has a capable touch focused mode that generates usage data to drive refinements on multiple form factors. The other is essentially a nice looking *nix shell refined for touchpad gestures. Apple isn't just dropping the Win 8/10 touch mode onto Macs. Just to start with, they don't have a handheld tablet, only vertical oriented desktop/notebook screens, which are about the worst ergonomic application of touch.
  • Yep, that's what it is like. I have a hackintosh with a touchscreen. I found some company that built macos drivers. It actually works but is a pain in butt to use because of all the tiny buttons.
  • ↑ @dkediger has a very good understanding here of the nuance between an OS with touch vs. a touch OS.
  • Daniel, I see you have a "very good understanding" so do you really believe and find Windows 10 a "touch OS" instead of "OS with touch"? Because in my eyes Windows 10 is exactly an OS with touch here and there. I can pull hundreds of UIs and programs that date back to Windows 95 that are definitely not meant to exist in a "touch OS". Windows 10 is like a mix of 53 OSes. The situation with UI is pathetic as it gets. There are programs and elements from 95, Me, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8... WTF!! Its so ugly. Oh and btw MacOS feels and looks like 1 OS instead of 20 blended. Apple understands the importance of sexy and sleek vision, Microsoft not that much. Pathetic
  • Supposedly Windows Core is removing all that stuff. About time. Microsoft should have done it years ago but they are too afraid to act.
  • Rewriting on OS isn't done in a day, plus every iteration of windows is built on top of the previous. It's going to take time to completely rewrite everything. Apple hasn't done this, so yes their system is more consistent compared to windows 10. But windows 10 compared to say windows 7 or XP? Windows 10 is definitely evolved to be more of a touch OS. Obviously the work is ongoing.
  • I think it's a bit more difficult than you think.  Think of all of the events that get generated during Touch... You can compare WPF Desktop with UWP to see all of the additional touch-related events.  And it all has to be baked into the OS.  No small task.
  • I pretty much agree with IOS apps as a Trojan to displace macOS. I wonder if we've been looking at this too narrowly though - could Apple virtualize macOS under IOS? Essentially put an iPad into a MacBook/Air case? Not sure how they would approach the Mac Pro in this scenario, it's kind of it's own beast, but necessary for the ultra high end presence/prestige.
  • Uh... No.
  • No I think they reason the Mac was never touch-screen based is because it would compete against and cannibalize the higher-margin iPad sales. 
  • The difference is apple will not say there is no need for third desktop OS
  • Not when they're #2, no. Now, make the argument for Linux desktop for consumers in 2018. Go. Too bad Windows Phone was never even a distant third. Not sure when you folks will wake up and see how bad market share/projections for WP were. It was a fool's task to continue. No one was making money on it, consumers were turning away.
  • It is kinda hard to make an argument for any consumer desktop in 2018. Most any task can easily be completed on a smartphone or tablet. PC gaming is about the only argument one can make.
  • Sigh... You clearly do not work with something that requires more than note-taking... A PC can however do a lot more than any phone or supersized phone (android/ios tablets) can. A PC with phone capabilities would replace any smartphone.
  • They once said there's no need for a stylus btw...🤣
  • TBF, stylus were literally painful to use. Loved my Dell Axim, but more than 5 minutes and it hurt ;) Microsoft gets this, which is why we don't see teeny pens with Surfaces.
  • It wasn't lack of consumer interest, there were other factors in play that did not help sales for WM10 / Wp8.x. 1) Nokia before the D & S acquistion unveiled a low budget android series as spring board for WM10 / Wp8.x but in reality it was double speak. As Nokia's contract to produce Windows Phone was running out and they owned pretty much the entire Wp market. 2) Microsoft did not live up to expectations through naive partnerships, I say naive as they were expecting Carriers to be willing to partner with them in getting secure sim support for mobile payments. Now that the secure element is on device, but this time the caveat is that it is US only T_T. 3) UWP is floundering because there is not any incentive for developers to monetise, enterprise users don't use apps... consumers do. Speaking of enterprise, the Skype for Business app for Wp 8.x is absolutely disgustingly unreliable. Focusing on enterprise users, my foot. 4) They are so vested in ios and android that do not see the damage they are doing to their own ecosystem. 5) The more I look into the past and recent decisions after Steve Ballmer stepping down, there are instances of office politics and absolute lack of empathy for their customers, consumers and enterprise users alike (not to mention their OEM partners). Sure, there are good things happening but it's an absolute mess. The outsourcing of Warranty support for Lumia's is the classic case of zero empathy, in contrast 1.15 billion dollars was spent in making sure customers who experienced the RROD issue were taken care of and Ballmer didn't hesitate. Their OEM partners are highly dependent on them for product sales when it comes to laptops and desktops. If they could get away with slapping android on the laptops and desktops, they would as it's highly evident given the amount of android tablets they churn out YoY. 6) Most of the bing functionality and advanced bing mobile functionality never came to many markets, another example of complete lack of confidence in themselves. The microsoft band is another example. The Lumia Accessory programme is another. The list is endless. 7) Hololens, only was released to 29 additional markets this year and compared to Google cardboard or Apples ARkit, Microsoft once again are hamstringing themselves through lack of confidence or rather risk aversion all for the sake of short term growth. Because by opening up to new markets, you need to have stock availability and with that you incur the associated over heards that come with manufacturing and distribution. Microsoft could have the ultimate level of direct integration if they had held onto the factories that they acquired with the Nokia D&S division. The reason Bing, Xbox, Surface were kept afloat is that their losses were offset by other divisions, the current SLT (except xbox division and Phil spencer) appear to not want to offset any losses, so they just cut the division - case in point the mobile divison. 8) The current short sightedness has impacted the Xbox One X launch as prior to Phil Spencer getting promoted, the xbox division had experienced heavy cuts thus producing a situation where the Xbox One X launched with hardly any first party titles. Generally layoffs are agreed at the senior level between the CEO and the person overseeing the division, at the point of these cut offs it would not have been Phil Spencer but someone else. As it has been confirmed that Phil Spencer now reports directly to the CEO through his promotion to the senior leadership team. Hence from his input, you can see much more emphasis on gaming by Satya Nadella as he hardly would mention it before. Speaking of Satya Nadella, he is going to have very tough questions to answer sooner than later. This is true of all CEO's who take over from someone else. So in essence it's Microsoft being Microsoft but this time as opposed to going for an all or nothing approach + knee jerk reactions, they are now chasing quarter to quarter profits like magpies. Unfortunately for Microsoft these days, there are transitional pathway flaws in almost everything and it all comes to believe it or not the initial three screens and the cloud vision - which morphed into UWP. Progressive web apps are fundamentally flawed, in that they rely on internet connectivity and there are many countries with access to Windows devices but they do not have reliable internet infrastructure. Here Windows on ARM with MediaTek chipsets will provide the catalyst that Microsoft needs to reach the Billion Devices running W10 goal. But... still needs UWP.... As I said, transitional pathway flaws in almost everything. However in regards to Apple and Google, code unification was inevitable as it enables them to reduce the wage bill and coding hours thus increasing net profits (I had mentioned this a few times awhile ago). For Apple it is now a necessity as they need to show additional growth to retain investor confidence, hence the iphone x and poaching of engineers from other fields. The short term method is code unification. Whereas for Google, it's the answer to the android fragmentation as well as enabling them to save money and create a leverage point for future devies. However in terms of UX they will have no choice but to push for VR and AR for gesture based computing. As gestures don't translated well on desktops and laptops with no touchscreens, case in point Windows 8 which had the correct concept albeit flawed when it came to devices without touch. Plus Apple and Google cannot copy the tile based UX without paying obscene amount of royalties to Microsoft, as without live tiles there is not other UX that enables icons to progress. Sure you can have little snippets or a bubble showing notification numbers and that's it. Widgets don't lend well when it comes to mouse / trackpad and keyboard users.
  • You have written your own article.
  • LOL! Now is that a good thing or bad thing? :).
  • I'm sure Apple will make it very subtle and not try to force anything on their customers similar to when they added the store, launchpad, device continuity etc.
  • Apple will be ready and done while MSFT scrambles to build their UWP ecosystem.... Poor Microsoft fans....still tinking about a comeback..
  • Again, you utterly fail at making an actual argument. (1) How does Apple making phone apps work on a non-touch OS actually benefit MacBook sales over Surface? (2) Where is the evidence that consumers aren't buying Macs because they can't run phone/iOS apps? (3) How is Apple's approach any different than what Microsoft attempted? (4) Isn't this really just an attempt to prolong the long, slow death of macOS, which is very stale in 2017 and not at all built for the mobile world we're moving towards? Ricardo, answer any of those. Snark won't cut it. I know this is hard, but try to do it without taking potshots at people over brand-ideology, which literally just you nerds in comments care about. Go.
  • Does moving towards mobile world mean touch everywhere? I think not.
    UWP as you said many times on other articles is about scalability.
    Computers like Surface and Studio have kick stands because they'll spend 90% of their time (upright) on a desk with a mouse. I'm an architect and i use a "studio" like PC from dell along with 15 others.
    Nobody ever put the screen flat bed on the desk and use touch.
    Infact everyone has installed the third party start menu as these computers came with 8.1.
    I'm the only one who upgraded to 10.
    I have as many 200 Mobile apps on the desktop as i have on 950xl.
    My start screen is identical to my phone's.
    But i don't touch the screen, i use a mouse. So yes if Apple port iOS apps to Mac, they will be used (with a mouse) and it will out sell Surface just because of the Apple cool factor right now.  and if those mobile iOS apps sit on a Mac desktop as icons instead of tiles, that will increase their usage.    what's the point I'm making?  Even  as  an advanced Windows 10 UWP user, i prefer to use UWP with a mouse.  the discussion is not so much whether touch is enabled in Mac but that iOS apps will be used it ported 
  • That's my experience.  I've been running my Sony Vaio for about 3+ years using 8.1 as my OS and in those 3+ years I've probably used my touch screen about 5 to 10 times.  It's just not practical on a 23 inch computer.  I use my mouse and keyboard 99.999999% of the time.  My SP3 is awesome.  I use the both keyboard/mouse, and touch probably equally on my SP3.  It's really convenient when using the Modern IE in Windows 8.1.  To me the Modern IE is the best version of any internet application I've ever used.  I can't stand Edge.  If only Microsoft could make a Modern Edge that resemble the Modern IE in Windows 8.1 then that would be awesome.  Daniel my have a point that Apple would have issues, but as recent history shows no matter the flaws most tech writers will find a way to knock it but yet still be apologist and say it's still an awesome move by Apple.  And because its Apple even if users find their experience faulty they'll just pretend it's good.  They just don't want to seem saying anything negative about Apple.  Now if it's Microsoft the moans and groans will come out in full force.  That is just the times we live in right now.  But let's get serious.  Apple's commercials will make it look stunning while claiming who needs to touch thier screen when a mouse will do.  Sorry to say people will buy it. 
  • You'd have to assume MS is more committed to a merged OS and therefore more likely to make it happen. MS is betting the farm on transitioning their OS to mobile before desktop goes into freefall. Failure in this space would be a major retreat in market presence and probably devastating for their hardware partners. By comparison there is no imminent threat for Apple - they have a relatively small desktop business that they want to boost by tapping into their mobile app store, while also hedging against the plans of their competitors. I expect Apple's investment in OS consolidation is relatively low - particularly as they have a track record of being able to introduce features half a decade after their competitors with limited negative impact thanks to the uncritical nature of their users.
  • Daniel Rubino, You're so sexy omg
  • Oh my! Lol!☺️
  • I know, I know 😊 You know us girls can't deny though!
  • 🤦🏽
  • Too bad his attitude sucks balls.
  • Microsoft now has the ability to deliver Apps and services to customers regardless of the device. Now all they need is a unified story to sell this approach and then expand on that with a message of “We solved your problem” How do they do this? By applying the “Movies Anywhere” model to Apps by having a digital locker for all your apps, regardless of platform. Because much like the pain point of movies bought from separate services, people often own different devices with different app stores. This is a pain point created by Apple and it’s App Store model. Perhaps by applying the Movies Anywhere model to, let’s call it “Apps Anywhere”, then no one or two companies can have a duopoly on Apps that penalizes customers that have multiple devices running different OS’s or people that switch platforms. Just have a cross platform Apps Anywhere app on every platform from Windows, iOS, Android to Ubuntu, Sailfish OS and others. The Apps would be purchased from the Native App Store much like how when you hit the buy button in Movies Anywhere it directs you to the native App Store. This would open up new opportunities for developers to reach more customers plus a bunch of other positive business aspects. Ok so how do they fill said locker with the missing Apps from one or another platform, perhaps with Xarmin. Imagine Windows 10 mobile with Apps Anywhere, any app available to iOS or Android available on it too!
  • There are a lot of faults with Microsoft. Such an idea as you propose is not entirely crazy.
  • its really simple. if Apple does it, it will work correctly. then ppl can decide if they really want it. MS has been working on this for years and doing everything in its power to get people to adopt it and its been a failure. if Apple does it and people dont want it then it has no hopes of working for MS users.
  • "its really simple. if Apple does it, it will work correctly."
    I'm curious: do you actually run Apple software daily? Because, if not, I suggest going into Apple forums, jumping on Twitter and see the reaction to iOS 11 and performance. Or UX. Or consistency. Or, let's talk about Apple's hand-off features, which sound amazing, but often fail. Or their insistence on OS lock-in e.g. FaceTime. My point is: I often feel that users of Windows feel Apple users are living this perfect life, whereas those of us who use both see that iOS - and especially macOS - has gotten less stable to put it politely. But, again, this is all beside the point. You're doing the same thing I open this article with, which is "Well, Apple will get it right" without actually addressing any of the real-world limitations/concerns e.g. do people want to run phone-apps on a PC, or how running touch apps on a non-touch OS is desirable. Apple gets a lot right, but they - and any other company, including Microsoft - should never be put on a pedestal. And, yet, that's constantly what I see here despite no one actually buying MacBooks in 2017, especially the younger generation. Apple has a serious PC problem going into 2018. They are losing mindshare. No one, to my knowledge, has argued how this changes any of that. Are you up for the challenge?
  • Apple has been making many mistakes lately.
  • That's a fair statement and not even a slight. As an OS gets popular and mature, it gets stagnate. It's why companies, on occasion, like to wipe the slate clean.
  • I like how everyone here including WC staff believe that OneCore is something super duper unique, and telling everybody that Microsoft has done something that noone else has - unifying their OS kernel when Apple has a unified OS since the beginning of time - MacOS and iOS are one OS, just with different UI shell. Do a little research before talking damn it. And what advantage are you talking about? Who told you Apple is not done with touch based totally revamped MacOS in their labs for the past 3-4 years already. They just don't pull out half baked crap to public like Microsoft and develop things first before anouncing. Windows 10 feels like a beta since the beginning. Apple would never allow this bs. They deliver and people are happy with the END RESULT, but they develop quietly in contrast to Microsoft, who develop in front of peoples eyes just to justify they are "first at anything". Anything that is half baked crap full of bugs and unfinished features. So cool. I bet Apple has been developing the touch based MacOS and also the unified App layer for the past few years and now the rumours about this start circulating, when they are about to drop the news to the public sometime soon. Poor Microsoft
  • Exactly. Microsoft shows what they are working on too early. Why do they release half-done features? Apple, when they release beta of their systems, these systems are pretty much complete. All features are in, working. Beta tag is about possible bugs that might be there. MS releases their Insider builds that shouldn’t be made public at all. They don’t know themselves in what direction to go and they ask their insiders, sometimes about such stupid things like colors or positioning of elements - don’t they have their own professionals to tell the, how to do it? If they give this decision to some group of people who are, well, non professional at all, what’s the outcome? Windows 10 - ugliest OS out there.
  • "Windows 10 - ugliest OS out there." This.
  • The difference with this compared to Windows I feel is the support from the first party apps. Apps like Instagram on Windows 10 and Facebook, Facebook messenger and even Netflix to a degree (no "cast" option) suck as an experience on the desktop. It's because of this I have been tempted to use an android tablet with attachable keyboard (like the ASUS transformer book) as my "pc" so I can connect a desktop keyboard, mouse and monitor to it.
    This lets me use the apps I have on my phone - Samsung Galaxy S8 (YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) that all get regular updates in the Google Play Store and are basically identical to their iOS counterparts, then have those same apps on an android tablet/laptop hybrid so I can have a touchscreen tablet when the keyboard is detached laptop when sat down and finally, to plug it in to my desktop. With the addition of Office to the Play Store, this has been brilliant - I'm a student so Office and media/web surfing is all I do. I only keep my desktop PC as it's my gaming rig and I do video editing so still use legacy apps and the Adobe Collection. I feel Apple could achieve the same parity of app experience with this, getting that 'exact' copy of the Instagram, Facebook, Twitter you use whilst on your phone... On you desktop/laptop.
    No ugly, less feature-rich versions like Windows 10 suffers (Instagram, Twitter especially).
    Closest I've got so far is Bluestacks on my desktop PC or the android tablet/hybrid detailed above. Hell, if the iPad pro had USB and display port to connect to a monitor it would easily satisfy many customers who want to move around with a tablet, then just "dock" it when at their desk. Kind of like the Surface tablet (which comes round full circle to the first party apps support experience that let's windows down). The difference being the number of first party apps in the Google Play store and Apple App Store (Smart home apps like Phillips Hue/IKEA smart lighting that I'd love to be a click away when sat on my pc (desktop), fantasy football app, banking apps, etc.), These just aren't available to Windows.
  • I always use the "mobile" app on my Windows desktop.  Ever since Windows 8 came out I've been "all in" on Microsoft's unification efforts.  I bought into Windows phone and enjoyed it until Microsoft started supporting Android/iOS more than their own platform and ultimately abandoned Windows phone to fail.  I'm still looking forward to what Microsoft does.  I want to see a Windows on ARM mobile device that can run x86 and mobile apps. I think Apple's approach has good potential.  Where Microsoft told developers that they would need to rewrite their apps in order for them to work on both mobile and desktop Apple can potentially do what Google is doing with Android and ChromeOS and make it so that iOS apps "just run" on MacOS without developer effort. Assuming they go that route Apple is also starting with millions of apps where Microsoft started with 0.  Microsoft could not take advantage of Windows desktop's popularity since Win32 apps wouldn't run on mobile.  They couldn't leverage their strenghth like Apple can potentially do with iOS.  Apple is going from an OS with a high concentration of apps to one with a low concentration.  Microsoft attempted to go from an OS with a low concentration of apps to one with a higher concentration of apps. From a developer standpoint going from mobile to desktop is technically far easier than going from desktop to mobile.  A mobile app can be scaled up and still work like it always has even if it's not pretty.  A desktop app can't really be scaled down to a small display without running into usability issues due to the shrinking UI that was meant for mouse internaction. 
  • Yes users want and will use ios apps on mac os. With or without touch mac os will benefit from app access. Apple will push all the basic apps and showcase partner apps in the os. It will start out with tiny market share and within a year will likely explode. New hardware will follow and developers and apple will seed the market. Leading to further touch enhancement of mac os. Will users complain of the poor ui in the beginning yes. But having access is the real key here.
  • There are two things that will hit their efforts and one thing that will help.   Touch has been brought up, but I'd take it a step further. A touch screen isn't the only hardware that's on every iOS device but not every MacOS device. There are also multiple cameras and other sensors. An app that requires GPS isn't going to work perfectly on all MacOS hardware. An app that works as a level probably won't work on an iMac. Any app that is dependent on the unique hardware in an iPhone won't work on MacOS. The second issue is around experience. Some iOS apps are built around the device being mobile. A banking app could carry over to MacOS just fine. But Pokemon Go on an iMac will leave a lot to be desired.  Now Apple could set it so only the apps the developer wants on MacOS are available but that's going to reduce the apps available, meaning full parity isn't achieved, and it will require developers to take action, some may not, again meaning full parity isn't achieved. There is a big benefit for Apple though, at least compared to UWP. They already have an army of iOS developers. If they can expand their apps to MacOS when it makes sense with a flip of a switch, many will do it. Microsoft doesn't have this with UWP. Yes, there's an army of Windows developers, but they're not using UWP. If they can keep using the development methods for Windows that they've been using, why switch? Yes, there's a bridge, but that doesn't get apps on other platforms. It just lets the developer put the app in the store. And with Windows phone in the state it's in and most apps not making sense on Xbox One, why switch to UWP development? I will say though that if Apple goes through with this, I expect that they'll add touch to Macs.
  • Working in retail as a field REP, training RSPs, and talking to users/customers at various MSFT events I can confirm waning interest in macOS or iOS for professionals of all business segments: Windows is far more build to get productive in almost every situation. Also interest for UWP apps is definitely there, especially on touch enabled devices or when connected to TVs using mouse and keyboard or and Xbox controller.
    If Apple can get mobile oriented apps to work on macOS they really have to tell a good story for why it is a benefit in a non-touch device or why one still should consider buying an Apple TV.
    Sure, macOS users are loyalists, but with a good presentation on well-made devices like Surface or OEM devices in the plus 800€ price range: if iTunes and other services can be used on Windows a pragmatic customer might switch to Windows because of using both worlds in one device.
  • Easy (and expected) to dismiss anything Apple does, as is the norm for a Microsoft fan site. But before you start dancing on their grave might want to ask Mr. Ballmer how that went with the iPhone.......
  • apple is copying Microsoft finally..
  • I would offer that the waning interest in Apple laptops and desktops has a lot to do with Microsoft finally offering a superior OS in Windows 10. Apple always justified high hardware prices based on the poor quality of software on competing offerings. That advantage has been lost precisely at the point that the Apple tax has hit an all time high.
  • I would offer that the waning interest in Apple laptops and desktops has a lot to do with Microsoft finally offering a superior OS in Windows 10.
    I'd argue it's more to do with the superior, more exciting hardware of the Surface line. It looks awesome, it's aspirational and it's gaining mind share. The latter was made clear to me after the Surface Pro 4/Surface Book launch. I've been using a Surface Pro 3 since it came out. But in the days after the SP4/Book launch I had multiple people ask something along the lines of "is that one of those new Surface laptops?" Surface Book gave MS the "wow" factor, and Surface Studio took it to another level. IMO that's having way more effect that the (many) improvements leading to the current version of W10.
  • Purely FWIW...
    Having one OS is cheaper than having two. I think that the vision of the future that many industry leaders have is one where you use several relatively low powered devices to access your stuff in the cloud, sort of like having your own personal VM(s) that you access anywhere via whatever device is handy. What we're going through today is the messy part, with 4 main OS choices, competing cloud services, lack of universal high bandwidth connections etc., in a world where no one is sure how they're going to get us to that future. At the same time every biz faces increasing pressure to reduce costs, boost productivity, & ultimately increase profits, or at least have the appearance of doing all 3 to be more attractive to investors. As a result we're seeing changes or moves that will ultimately cut costs, which is a concrete goal, while at the same time maybe, hopefully, moving us forwards to that future, which is how it's spun.
  • >> RE: "Microsoft tried this strategy and between the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) being nascent, the lack of consumer interest, and the reliance on using the web for many tasks it did not work out (nor did it help Windows phone)." Apple will gain more efficiency & lower in-house costs with one OS, & potentially make it easier for some of their prospective users. Will it be a selling point? Apple will try to spin it that way, obviously, and regardless, they still win with lower costs & higher profits. Microsoft wanted to have the same success [& revenue] that Google & Apple were getting from their stores. They also had/have a problem with Windows software -- installing it often does bad, or at least questionable things to Windows, because Microsoft gives developers a lot of leeway with win32 apps -- that they hoped to cure with UWP. Sadly the best products do not always win in the marketplace, & a combination of terrible marketing-based decisions & strategy have meant that Microsoft's store & UWP seem to be going the way of HD DVD & Betamax. That's not to say that either the store or UWP was/is a bad idea. And their lack of success to date does not mean that they're things that nobody wants. Neither HDMI nor Blu-ray won out because they were the consumer's choice, but because of strategies, alliances, & marketing -- areas where Microsoft is weak & failed so far with their store & UWP. There's no basis to look at that & say it's some sort of universal rule, unless it's to say that poor or absent strategies, alliances, & marketing will likely lead to failure. Microsoft is better at some things, less at others, e.g. consumer marketing -- Apple doesn't have many of Microsoft's strengths, but their cash reserves speak volumes about their marketing expertise.
  • I'm just wondering do apps have a place on a Windows desktop or laptop. I wonder this because when you go to the Microsoft Store and look at the number of likes and reviews the numbers are anywhere from 1 to maybe a few hundred on average. While on Android Phone the same apps are in the millions. Maybe I'm missing something but it just seems to be paning out that mobile is mobile and desktops aren't or even laptops. There seems to be a very wide disconect between the two. Can they be unified? Will they be unified? Do they even need to be unified? Or is it that it will always be seperate things with seperate uses. Like a bicycle versus a car. As far a Microsoft as a company that relates and invites everyday comsumers they have never been able to do that. A complete change of marketing strategy and a complete replacement of the staff. I still hold onto the fact that the current CEO just isn't what Microsoft needs. 
  • The one thing I find about apps is we are meant to get notifications. For whatever reason, notifications from UWP apps are spotty at best. Some apps work well, then there are others which started working and then after a while you get nothing or miss out on the majority of push notifications.
  • I tried Store apps on Windows 8/8.1. The novelty quickly wore off, and I stopped using those entirely. I recently got a new laptop running Windows 10, but I haven't bothered with any Store apps. Everything I installed was x86/x64 software programs. I see no use for Store apps whatsoever.
  • I think Apple will come out with a touch Mac and will claim they invented the idea of a touch computer. That's just my thoughts after seeing what they've done with iPhone (when touch phones existed prior to iPhone), iPad Pro, Windows Hello, Metro Design, and now Fluent Design... They did perfect stealing and improving on others designs in many cases.
  • I love my Lumia 1020.  I love my Surface Pro.  My wife loves hers.  We both hate anything from Apple.  So, there's no universe where we give Apple a shot, period.  The thing is, my wife and I just don't care if we use the same exact app on our phones to access our information as we do on our tablets or PCs.  And, I suspect, most people probably have an iPhone or Android device but access the same information/media on a PC.  I don't think most people care.  I don't think a "unified platform" is something that consumers even give a first thought about, much less a second one.  Whether Apple cracks that nut or Microsoft does will likely not move the needle in market share.
  • It's going to happen whether Apple does it or not.  PWA/WASM will change everything.  Everything thing will be write once and deploy EVERYWHERE.  All the big player's are supporting it to address a weakness in their ecosystems but in reality this will end up destroying them all or at least significantly changing them.  Apple will survive the least scathed by the change but it will change them too.  
  • I picked up my Hp Elite x3 yesterday and I fell in love with all over again it felt good to hold it after constantly using my note 8 put in my mint Sim and that's what ill use for the week what the hell have you done Microsoft fix this please
  • I'm sure when they do that, it's going to be a revolution. Because people are ...... Doesn't matter Microsoft did that couple of years ago.
  • Isn't a major problem that Microsoft is building software for many thousand hardware constellations whereas Apple has full control of its (very limited) hardware? So developing a core takes a whole lot more effort for Microsoft, whereas Apple can introduce it for its new generation devices and will only leave a few behind - for Microsoft, not having full backward compatibility would mean leaving the lion's share of users behind (and thus fail).
  • Marketing is Apple's strength.
  • I don't know what people think and forget MS is a software company, but tried so hard to listen to people who use their products, if you guys can remember how people went on hating Ms because oems where producing cheap plastic products, you can see how surface line came to change that, so I am sure the os will continue to get better and we should be ready for change, I use Windows 10 and I love it i never had issues yet, and my surface Pro 4 is rocking windows 10 and I use it mostly with touch.. MS is struggling yes but it is gettin better.. Windows Phone was not something MS was ready to jump in full but sure we had good windows phone from Samsung, HTC, Nokia to Lumia.. All because this company tried and by the way they never block comments on social media like other companies do lol, so they do take a hit when customers complains, let's grow with it.. We have software now Azure going strong.. Xbox was worse now Xbox one x is getting better, we had plastic pcs now surface line gave something good.. Yes we are in hell but I am sure others also are expecting the same **** we are in, at least we can take to twitter and comments on MS social services, others can't, they have to send an email to report something which takes weeks to respond....
  • they set the echo system/unified app back years when they gave up on grove music I search for music on bing and it plays on grove Spotify interface on windows is slow to open and sluggish the worst interface in the completive market
  • Microsoft wants to be in the consumer space with an enterprise attitude. Is Microsoft blind to the G.A.S. marketing campaigns? That's why their products are recognized and sell.
  • I'm hooked on pen/touch, so Windows is my OS of choice. I own a Surface Pro 3 and am soon planning on buying a 15" Surface Book 2. I also own an iPad Pro, and like it a lot but only as a secondary device because i need "desktop" applications most of the time.  The only thing that could entice me to a MacBook would be if they ever figure out how to add touch and pen support, and also integrate the iOS app store into the MacOS desktop. But I already have a version of that for my music projects -- I can plug my iPad into my Surface Pro by USB and bring my favorite iOS synthesizer and effect apps into my Windows production environment as plugins. My Surface is saying to the iPad -- "You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."