10 lessons Microsoft can take from the new iPad launch and use for the Windows 8 Slate launch

Yesterday I spent an hour and a half (off and on) trying to get through to Apple’s download page so I could hand them a fistful of cash for the new iPad. I then put my old iPad 2 on Craigslist and it was sold literally in the same day (seriously – it’s gone).

I did this for a couple of reasons (No, not because I am an Apple fanboy).

First, Apple clearly articulate the reasons why the next product is more valuable than the previous one (with the exception of the iPhone 4s). Second, the resale value is absolutely bananas for Apple products (typically 80% to 90% of sales price after a year or two of use.

It made me think – what could Microsoft learn from the successful launch of the new iPad?

I came up with 10 things.

Let’s get started.

Find a central theme and stick with it

Apple don’t need one – they set the standard, created the niche and the device.

People implicitly buy iPads because they believe Apple make the best devices and Apple know what they are doing in this area. Microsoft needs to find a central theme or reason for people to buy Windows 8 Slates.

A great one would be storage. Apple is till stuck at 64 gig. How about launching a premium windows tablet with 500 gigs of storage which is enough for x amount of games and movies? Once that theme sticks, continue to hammer it home.

Focus on 4 or 5 major features

There are really 4 or 5 major reasons to buy the new iPad.

  • Retina display – 2048-by-1536-pixel resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi) 264 pixels per inch
  • Faster Processor
  • Better camera(s)
  • LTE
  • Same price and same 10 hours of battery life

Almost every other reason is built around these core features.

Microsoft need to find a core of features in Windows 8 that will be impressive and use those as the foundation for marketing going forward.

Microsoft is going to be tempted to over compensate and announce a ton of new features because they are arriving late to the party.

I believe this would be a mistake – less is sometimes more.

Clean up the Metro Start Screen.

I started thinking about the new iPad I’ll get next week and realized that when I turn it on for the first time, there will be 16 icons.

These 16 icons are just the right amount of icons I need to start my iPad experience. If I want to add more, that’s my choice.

Each of those icons represents the basic features I need.

Likewise, Microsoft need to rethink the amount of icons on the Metro start screen.

Let’s take another look at both screens:

Apple iPad and Windows 8

Apple iPad and Windows 8

When I turn on my Windows 8 tablet, the screen is already full and I need to swipe just to see all of what I have.

There should really be just enough for me to get started but enough room for me to feel comfortable adding more icons as I see fit.

Have a killer hardware feature

Retina Display is Apple’s trump card. It’s a feature that no other platform has.

Microsoft partners with OEM’s for hardware so this is a little tricky but there has to be something in Windows 8 from some OEM that is unique to the platform.

If you stop to think about this, that is technology and capitalism in their rawest forms – if you have something that people want and cannot get elsewhere, they will pay you (lots of) money for it.

Have a killer App

Windows 8 needs an Xbox Halo moment.

An app that is exceptional and people can not get on the iPad/iPhone. This will help sell the platform.

Focus on business/enterprise features separately

Interesting to note that Apple hardly ever emphasize the enterprise or business during their launches.

Even though they are making great inroads in business and they have a ton of technical journalists present, their launches focus on the consumer.

They leave their business sales to salespeople, the App Store business apps and their website.

Microsoft would do well to leave all the hardcore enterprise/security/business features out of the core launch and figure out a way to sell that stuff to an appropriate audience.

Believe me –  the people who need to know about Branchcache and Bitlocker for the enterprise will find the information.

Match Apple’s price/performance specs

Apple have become cocky and power drunk with their processors and performance.

Some quotes from coverage of the Apple iPad launch yesterday:

“…These include a faster processor, the quad-core 1GHz Apple A5X, which Apple claims to offer twice the processing power of the A5 CPU (found in the iPad2) and four times that of the Tegra 3 processor found in many Android tablets, per Wired’s live blog of the event. Gizmodo argues that Apple has also probably upped the device’s RAM, “if only to handle the new resolution.”

But.. the price remains $499.

That sucks for all of their competitors but this is basically going to be the standard. It makes no sense for anyone to buy a Windows 8 tablet with comparable performance for more than $499 – it just won’t fly.

I have had people tell me the reason why the consumer will pay $999 or $1499 for a Samsung Series 7 slate with Windows 8 is because quote “It’s not a toy, it’s a full computer”.

Good luck with that.

Only certify high performance hardware

Time to rethink the age old minimum requirements rule for tablet certification.

You’re going up against a dual-core Apple A5X custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip with quad-core graphics.

That’s what the cheapest Ipad at $499 gives me. Going forward, I the consumer will accept nothing less.

Why would it be ok for Windows 8 to run on a cheap tablet with 1 gig of RAM and a weaker processor?

What good (in terms of consumer perception) can come of that?

Subsidize the crap out of OEM’s if you have to but make sure that when a consumer buys a Windows 8 Tablet, they get a crisp, unforgettable experience.

Don’t get caught up in LTE madness – Focus on the wi-fi experience

I have never bought an iPad with a data plan. I have a phone with a data plan and I pay enough for data elsewhere.

While it is important for Windows 8 to support LTE, it’s not a critical element of the marketing strategy at this point.

The ability of the tablet to connect to Wi-FI and excel is way more important in my view.

Get a kick ass advertising firm to make movies for you

Apple Commercial - This Good

Apple Commercial – This Good

Apple know how to tell a story and they do it better than anyone else in the world.

It reminds me of the home theater industry. I love movies and home theater equipment (TV’s receivers, Amps etc).

A lot of home theater industry experts think that Bose make the WORST home theater products. Bose however are GREAT at marketing their stuff and most consumers think that Bose products are high-end home theater products.

Microsoft need a carpet bombing campaign of movies like this which are not cheesy or weird.

Microsoft ad campaigns tend to be quirky or (attempt to be) funny.

I would suggest that they learn from the best and make ads similar to the Apple ads (thematically and quality wise).

This would work for 2 reasons.

  • Consumers would feel that Windows 8 Slates were valuable;
  • Consumers would be confused and wouldn’t necessarily feel that they have a clear choice (iPad).

That’s it for me. What do you think?

Let me know in the comments below…

Please Leave Your Comments Below...

  • http://profiles.google.com/vhaakmat Vincent Haakmat

    In short… AGREED!!!!!

  • Tunez1

    AWESOME !!!! makes me wanna get rid of my ” lost in space ” windows stuff and go 100% to apple…. GREAT ARTICLE.

  • Kryfo

    Great ideas, perhaps Microsoft should do something and soon

  • Harsh Shah

    nyc article…agreed..!!

  • FRB

    Very interesting and very good analysis.  Right on.  Microsoft needs to refocus… Windows 8 is just Windows 7 with a new face that not everybody will like.  I sure don’t.  Let’s face it, they are getting smoked by Apple in so many ways that it will be impossible to MS to catch up.

    • Pfarn

      Windows 8 is not Windows 7 with a new face. If you try it you will see it runs much better than Windows 7, and it’s only a pre-release version. Can’t wait for the real thing.

  • Dave

    I am a long term Windows user (having been a Apple man in the past) and couldn’t agree more with your comments and comparisons.  Apple to me is like your first true love of your life or being there watching your first child being born, a wonderful experience like none you will ever have again. The yearn to revisit that experience stays with you for the rest of your life. I feel am now getting closer to that experience once again.

  • ECM2

    I suggests Microsoft bundles Office Metro Edition when it releases it for the first time. And limit this offer to, say, a few weeks. Plus one Halo-like game. If priced right, all these incentives is enough for me to go crazy about the new Windows 8 tablet. Then the only obstacle I must overcome is my wife!!!

  • Sp

    Very nice article.  Thank you.
    I enjoy it very much and agree with almost all of it.A couple of respectful (biased, but trying to compensate) comments:Retina Display IS great, but it is not (necessarily) a game changer.  Normally, we tend to see thing that we like better than similar others that we don’t like.I like Retina Display, but I also like AMOLED.  Both are great, but why *only* the first would worth getting?  Have you seen the Samsung Galaxy Note (phone) screen, yet, for example?  I am not saying that it is better, only that it IS also great.If we want to know what *really* is the Apple difference, let isolate some factors:1. Is it the better camera?  Then why when I got a Nokia N95 with a WAY better camera than my wife’s iPhone 3, Apple just said that camera was not important.  They don’t bothered even to add a flash.2. Faster processor.  The same.  There were several phones / tablets with faster processors, but that was not the *clue* feature.3. It is true what you said about Ads, but not only Apple makes good ads:     http://youtu.be/aebfjzdLxJA     http://youtu.be/n6P-AU6avhU?t=12s       http://youtu.be/l9evyGr57hs     http://youtu.be/jdkpXR4L9PoJust seeing the first Ad, makes me think that W8 could give a MUCH richer experience, not just a bunch of apps, but a whole *integration* and joy to use.The second Ad is more about people….Sincerely,Sp   

    • ECM2

      Awesome ADS!!! Makes you wanna throw away your iPad.

  • Indra Nawawi Daeng Parani

    Dear Onuora,

    I personnaly like to give my gratitude to Microsoft Experts Team, for showing more on Windows Products release by Microsoft, demanded by consumers in the world today.
    The unending story of the future machine has led us to a more sophisticated world that will form our behavior toward an undefined future technology. 

    In the beginning of the writting to the Windows News, I felt pessimistic, the technology world has grown so fast that need more attentions in dealing with the complex environment where we live in.  I’d like to stay out of this modern thinking, and see more safe and peaceful world but Windows News give me the spirit try to level with what ever it is. To begin with, I use an easy rule to solve the mistery with only a low level of computer knowledge, The Basic Production-Marketing-Financing method that’s an easy way to analyse much of the problem that are on today. The most visited is the Production part which is crusial for the rest if I want to go on and stranded in the world of the man made machines.

    The New Product Release by Microsoft has change. The fast and easy way of Installing the Windows, the menu Choose the Operating System has a complete needs for freedom of choises for the users to choose any operating system for the Multi-function Operating systems, including the Windows XP, and even to stop and shut down the computer. It does’t wipe out The Boot Manager, and leave them unharm in the same place where it begun.
    The first attractive look on the screen shows a cool environment with the long and winding road that leads to a better place, and then the Start Applications gives us a wide variety of choises to use in a medium rank color background that was balance in the seven beautiful color ever detected with the fast moving technique rollover. Then comes the speed, with only 152MB of RAM on my Dell Inspiron 8600, it’s still possible to performed the move fast action with the heavy load applications and many more. If we want to know more about the enhancement of the Windows Product, try them.
    The quality of the new Windows Product has shown a good mechanical Operating Systems compare to the previous releases, what else do we want? If this is the Product what is available in the market now, and still didn’t satisfy the users, we should then wait for another Windows Product to be developed, and Windows Products is the only software computer that I know which is open and can be learned by trial and error, and for ages Microsoft has serve us with full care and understanding the consumers demand for technology on the Product releases. I hope Windows sales push upward.
    The tricky odd price shown to the buyer is not the problem to the users, it soon perishes as the quality gives us the full satisfactions to the consumers.

    Today, Friday, March 9, 2012 on the calendar and there’re four Windows; Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Developer Preview gave the happiness ever.

    Thank you. 

  • brian

    Enjoyed your article and i agree with all 10 reccomends main desktop of win 8 at present
    seems like hard work and many of the large icons trivial, at least thats the way they look
    to this 76 year old.   Having said that i like the bootup speed and on the second desktop
    pne can put shortcuts to programs that are important to the individual including a shutdown
    shortcut.  I am not a computer boff just a simple user and simplify is the main reccomend
    i would give for windows 8.
    brian

  • Pfarn

    In regards to Microsoft needing a kill app that won’t run on an Apple, that’s what Microsoft has always had and why Apple has been a niche item. Tablets are a consumer item, whole new story and new audience.

  • ECM2

    The reason somebody with Win7 will upgrade to Win8 is the same reason somebody with iPad2 will upgrade to iPad3…basically.

  • Brownchiro

    I think your comments are on the Money, but Microsoft is expecting too much of the consumer in playing the waiting game. By now most of us have either an iPad or Android tablet…we got tired of waiting for the New ARM Windows 8 tablets. I personally want a blend of Tablet and Laptop Features, large screen, fast, USB ports, Camera and cross platform connectivity. A business machine priced like the iPad so small business people can give them to employees for remote use like other mobile

  • Paul Williams

    IMO Apple’s iPad works because Apple controls the software AND the hardware. Microsoft’s venture into Apple’s territory may well be fraught with “landmines”, in that because Microsoft only controls the software, not the hardware. Now, Microsoft can assert that their software shall only be approved for “certified” hardware. That’s fine. The problem you run in to is that there are so many hardware vendors out there wanting a piece of the tablet pie and Microsoft is only providing the “filling”. Apple, however, provides both the filling (software) and the crust (hardware). And as we all know, Apple bakes a mean pie. I do not see Microsoft “pulling-off” what Apple has been able to with their iOS devices for just this reason.