I know what you’re thinking… Are you kidding?! They’ve got tons of apps! Didn’t you really mean to say that Windows Phone doesn’t have enough apps?
That is the general mantra among Windows Phone criticism, but when someone says that, they usually mean that Windows Phone doesn’t have a handful of apps that they used on some other device and wasn’t able to find on this new device. They didn’t actually install hundreds of thousands of available apps to come to that conclusion.
Regardless, really I was thinking more about tablets. Apple’s iPad certainly has a lot of apps too, but does it have the ones I want to use or the functionality that I’m personally looking for? No, not really… and therefore, it doesn’t have enough apps. That’s the logic of some people it seems.
I started using Tablet PCs around the turn of the century a bit after Bill Gates unveiled the devices. The usefulness was immediately apparent, and combined with a stylus, anything that could run on Windows was instantly usable on a tablet (for the most part). Sure they were a bit heavier than today’s tablets, they got pretty hot, and didn’t have great battery life… but I was able to actually use a full-fledged computer while walking around an exhibit space with a client or process photos on the go during a photo shoot. I’ve loaded 3D visualization models in meetings where I could make modifications on the go. I’ve edited 1080p HD videos while walking to the train station. I’ve done pressure-sensitive painting and pin-point accurate image manipulation from the couch.
The iPad has grown much faster than the Windows tablets of the last decade, but there’s still a lot of functionality missing. With my Windows 8 tablet, I can still do all of the high-end content creation tasks I can do on my desktop workstation with the only caveat being speed/battery life, but also with the big advantage of mobility.
When I look at the iPad, I search for apps that I normally use on my Windows tablet. There are a few Adobe apps available, but they’re silly little apps that have huge limitations. There’s no AfterEffects, Premiere Pro, Illustrator, or full Photoshop functionality. There’s no batch RAW photo editing or reviewing support. There’s no InDesign or Dreamweaver for editing on the go. There’s no Microsoft Office, but we hear that might change. Still do you think Office for iPad will have anywhere near the functionality of Office for Windows 8? Not even close. Yes, there’s OneNote for iPad, but it isn’t remotely comparable to what you can do with the real OneNote on a Windows 8 tablet. And forget about 3D animation or visualization apps like Autodesk Maya or Newtek Lightwave. How about application development tools like Visual Studio or even Apple’s own Xcode? Yeah, that’s not going to happen on an iPad, but you sure can use development software on Windows tablets.
So when people say there aren’t enough apps compared to iOS, be sure to ask which one’s they’re looking for because from my perspective, iOS is still very lacking.