Apple's new iPads are drawing cheers and jeers across the Web. Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, had a few negative things to say, as did Microsoft's corporate VP of communications, Frank Shaw.
Wozniak's biggest gripe is storage. Apparently the high-end 128-GB model isn't enough for him. "I am constantly following the gadget world but I was on a plane and missed all of the keynote, but when I finally took a look at the devices, the iPads didn't hit my needs," he said on the stage at Apps World in London. "Yes [the iPad Air] is thinner, but I wanted storage. I don't have broadband at home, so I carry all my personal media in the iPad. So I was hoping Apple has a 256-GB iPad. So I emailed my wife and said I didn't want one of those."
Woz must be dreaming. Apple's MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops start at 128 GB. The Airs can be upgraded to a max of 256 GB, but the Pros can be configured up to 1 TB. Considering the cost of flash storage, a 256-GB drive in a tablet isn't out of the question, but we're not going to see it in an Apple tablet for a long time. The Surface Pro 2, which is a hybrid tablet/PC, can be configured with 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB.
[ What's our take on the new Apple tablets? See Apple's New iPads: Pros And Cons. ]
That said, some iPad competitors offer flexibility as far as the storage is concerned. Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, for example, offers 32 GB of built-in storage, but that can be expanded to 96 GB with microSD cards. Further, owners can carry multiple microSD cards and swap them out as needed.
It's just this kind of flexibility that has Microsoft's Shaw all worked up. He's not a fan of the iPad, it seems. Nor does Shaw think much of Apple's iWork productivity suite.
"Apple announced that they were dropping their fees on their 'iWork' suite of apps. Now, since iWork has never gotten much traction, and was already priced like an afterthought, it's hardly that surprising or significant a move," said Shaw. "And it doesn't change the fact that it's much harder to get work done on a device that lacks precision input and a desktop for true side-by-side multitasking."
As far as Shaw is concerned, the iPad is for content consumption, not content creation and productivity. The Surface and Surface RT tablets are better for productivity and getting work done, he said.
"The Surface and Surface 2 are less expensive than the iPad 2 and iPad Air respectively, and yet offer more storage, both onboard and in the cloud," continued Shaw. The Surface comes "with full versions of Office 2013, including Outlook, not non-standard, non-cross-platform, imitation apps that can't share docs with the rest of the world." They "offer additional native productivity enhancing capabilities like kickstands, USB ports, SD card slots and multiple keyboard options." And, perhaps most importantly, the Surface tablets "include interfaces for opening multiple windows, either side by side or layered to fit the way most people actually work."
Those are fair criticisms. True multitasking remains one of iOS's greatest weaknesses. Samsung's Android tablets offer split-window functionality, as do Microsoft's Surface tablets. The iWork suite is limited to Apple's iOS and Mac OS devices, and doesn't work on Windows machines, though documents can be shared between the two productivity suites without too much trouble.
What do you think? Is Shaw right? If not, what is he missing about Apple's iPads, which, by the way, have crushed Microsoft's Surface tablets in sales.