Viewpoint: Dan Lyons’ Articles No Longer Excite

In less than an hour, Apple will unveil the next iPhone. And, as with all Apple releases, certain bloggers are seizing the moment to drive traffic to their sites by writing posts that cast a cloud of doubt and claim that the product at hand will be a complete and utter failure. One writer Dan Lyons is claiming that iPhone launches are no longer exciting. Several jabs were taken at Apple — some of which I agree with — while others are meritless, and seemingly crafted for the sole reason of being provocative.

If that’s correct, I imagine Steve is not happy. First of all, he’d be furious about the leaks. Steve liked surprising people.

I find it hilarious how the theme of this article is what Steve Jobs would hypothetically think of Apple’s actions if he were still around. Jobs specifically didn’t want people asking “WWJD” after his time at the company, and you’d think that someone who created a satirical blog around him would know this. I agree with the point of this statement though. The leaks are surprising for Apple, and, while I doubt they will diminish sales in any way, it’s really an usual thing for a company that’s notoriously silent and (mostly) leak-free while new products are brewing.

This is the sixth version of the iPhone, and the user interface still looks almost exactly like the original iPhone in 2007.

The hardware on the iPhone has been the same for two years, since the iPhone 4 and 4S were virtually identical.

Dan Lyons seems to have an aversion to incremental updates. The 3G and 3GS were virtually identical. I’m astonished that people didn’t get bored then, taking it as a sign that Apple isn’t going to produce some mind-blowing, market-changing iteration of the device every single year. We should all have abandoned the platform back then.

Now, having had two years to plot and scheme, Apple’s renowned designer Jonathan Ive has replaced the tiny 3.5in (8.9cm) screen with a slightly-less-tiny 4in (10.2cm) screen? Wow. Knock me over with a feather. What do you do with the rest of your time, Jony?

There appears to be correlation between increased screen size and Jony Ive’s work ethic. We should investigate Samsung for unfair worker treatment; I weep for the designer of the Galaxy Note. He must have been chained to a pole 24/7, slaving to produce such a large screen. In fact, has Lyons designed any large screens? What do you do with your time, sir?

But seriously, Jony was probably too busy authoring some parody blog.

This is what happens when a company is too cheap to invest in research and development. Did you know that Apple spends far less on R&D than any of its rivals – a paltry 2% of revenues, versus 14% for Google and Microsoft?

They seem to be spending that 2% quite well, seeing that their products have set the tone of entire markets.

No wonder the Android platform, where new models appear every week, now represents 68% of the smartphone market, up from 47% a year ago, while Apple slid to 17% over the same period.

Market share is definitely an important benchmark, but it’s not everything. I partially agree with what Gruber said in a post back in January addressing this very matter. What Apple has is a mind-blowing profit share.

Worse, despite all its bluster about innovation, Apple has become a copycat, and not even a good one. Why is Apple making the iPhone bigger? To keep up with the top Android phones.

(Phones that, mind you, Apple fanboys ridiculed at first.)

I like it how you accuse Apple of not thoroughly copying Android devices. If they were complete copycats, they’d be creating a 4.8″ or larger device. They’ve clearly spent time mulling over the issue of screen size.

I don’t personally prefer devices with extremely large screen sizes (I think that the Lumia 900’s screen is kind of the max for me; anything else is excessive.) However, it is a growing trend that consumers are leaning towards phones that are at least 4 inches in size, and I think that, if they do want to increase the screen size of the devices, 4 inches is a comfortable compromise. Also, if the leaks look accurate, they didn’t increase the width of the device. It is slightly quirky — I’ve joked on Twitter that it resembles longcat — but this way, it still (in theory) should feel comfortable in hand.

Apple also has become a copycat in tablets. Jobs once said the iPad’s 9.7in screen was the perfect size, and smaller tablets made no sense. Then the Android camp had success with 7in tablets like Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7, and now Apple supposedly will announce its own smaller iPad in October. Talk about thinking different!

The company is no stranger to 180-degree turns from firm stances. And, in this case, yes, devices like the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 have defined the market. But let’s be clear, they’re not entering this market out of desperation, that’s for sure.

Um, Siri still doesn’t work. The oft-rumoured Apple TV doesn’t exist yet, presumably because media companies won’t let Apple take over their business.

Agreed about Siri. But criticizing Apple for a TV, a device that exists only in rumors? Huh?

The latest batch of Apple ads were such embarrassing garbage that Apple had to take them down from YouTube.

Agreed, the ads were shit.

To use a car analogy, six years ago the iPhone was like a sexy new flagship model from BMW or Porsche. Today it’s a Toyota Camry. Safe, reliable, boring. The car your mom drives. The car that’s so popular that its maker doesn’t dare mess with the formula.

That’s funny. According to the very market share statistics that were just pointed out, Android is more popular than iOS. And has the iPhone not come far from its original model back in 2007?

I could make a few car analogies comparing the iPhone — and Windows Phone, while we’re at it — to luxury automobiles, but that would make me an elitist.

Somewhere up there, I can hear Steve screaming.

Hm, weird, I don’t hear anything.

A Brief Look At Microsoft’s Touch Mouse Lineup

From the very moment that Microsoft lifted the curtain and revealed Windows 8 at the D9 conference last year up to now, quite a lot of people have been arguing about just how easy the new Metro-infused user interface — one that is rather gesture-heavy and designed primarily with touch in mind — will be to use with a keyboard and mouse.

Whether you’re using peripherals or your fingers, there will always be a bit of a learning curve with Windows 8 due to its relatively gesture-heavy nature compared to the likes of iOS. There are things that you can do with pretty much every corner and side of the screen, and this isn’t a necessarily bad thing. After spending some time using the OS, I became rather well-acquainted with it.

However, as I’ve discovered with OS X Lion — an OS that, on a smaller scale, has also thrown a few touch paradigms into the mix — using a touch-enabled mouse and/or trackpad really enhances the experience. Simple things such as the ability to swipe to go back/forward on a website, tap with two fingers to access Mission Control and see all of your windows, switch spaces with the flick of two fingers, or scroll both vertically and horizontally save time and make using the OS more intuitive and fun.

That being said, I decided to request Microsoft’s entire lineup of touch-enabled mice for review: The Microsoft Touch Mouse, Explorer Touch Mouse, and Arc Touch Mouse to get a feel for their existing approach to touch peripherals.

Before I proceed, however, I need to clarify something. The only “touch” support that the latter two mice have to offer is with scrolling. Not a bad thing, though, as they’re still decent mice; the Arc Touch is awesome from a mobility standpoint, for one. But labeling them as touch mice is pretty misleading as most normal people associate touch with gesture support, and not just a better scrolling experience.

The Touch Mouse actually lives up to its name, however, and offers an assortment of gestures to help users better interact with Windows 8 on their PCs, where the keyboard and mouse still reign as the preferred input method.

Read on for thoughts on using the Touch Mouse in Windows 8, along with general thoughts on the other two mice.

Touch Mouse


So, here it is: Microsoft’s flagship touch mouse. With a sleek and ergonomic design that makes it comfortable to use — as with most Microsoft peripherals — the touch-sensitive zone is denoted by Xs and dots that also add a pleasant texture to the mouse. Taking a page from Apple’s playbook, the mouse is technically just one giant button, though you can still easily right-click. If you’re not accustomed to this from using Apple mice, you may find it a bit unusual at first.

Having just one button isn’t the issue at hand, however. The problem lies with the actual clicking experience, which feels stiff and unusual. In some cases, right clicks just didn’t seem to register. If, in the next iteration of the mouse, they address this issue, it’ll be much more enjoyable to use.

The mouse communicates with your PC through a USB nanotransceiver that’s easy to lose, so, for safekeeping, it is recommended that you store it in the slot at the bottom of the mouse. The Touch Mouse also utilizes Microsoft’s BlueTrack technology, allowing it to perform well on an array of different surfaces.

I don’t want to spend too much time talking about the Touch Mouse’s non-touch functionality; the real reason behind this post are the touch gestures offered by this device, after all.

Back in July, Microsoft announced that some new gestures were made available on the Touch Mouse, designed specifically for Windows 8. To recap, here they are:

  • A one finger swipe will allow you to move side to side or up and down, shifting content on your screen.
  • Two finger movements manage apps, allowing users to display Windows 8 charms, switch through open apps and show app commands.
  • Three finger movements will let you zoom in and out.
  • Thumb gestures navigate backward and forward through apps.

As you can see, there’s certainly a cornucopia of gestures that make Windows 8 more intuitive to use when the keyboard and mouse are your primary forms of input. However, that’s useless if the gestures fail to work at all; the mouse often has trouble properly recognizing gestures. It may even misinterpret certain gestures — for example, I may try to gradually scroll down the page, but it would misinterpret it as a flick and sentence me to the very bottom of whatever I was reading — or miss them completely.

If they work out the kinks of this mouse with the clicking experience and gestures, I would definitely recommend it to add to the Windows 8 user experience. However, until then, I can’t say that I recommend purchasing this mouse.

Arc Touch Mouse


Next up, we have the aptly named Arc Touch Mouse, which is explicitly designed for portable, on the go use. When called upon for use, it springs into action and assumes a curved arc position which turns the mouse on, flattening and turning off once the user is finished. While the design, pictured above, may initially look peculiar, the mouse is actually surprisingly ergonomic and enjoyable to use. The area where your palm rests is comprised of a comfortable, soft material — which, unfortunately, is a magnet for dust — while the button area is a glossy plastic.

Now, in terms of touch functionality, what this mouse has to offer is the ability to use your finger to scroll. You may flick, glide, or tap to navigate and scroll through a page. The coolest bit about the scroll area on this mouse — which lies in between the two buttons — is that it gives back tactile feedback in response to your scrolling. Given that there is no actual scroll wheel in that area, this certainly simulates the feeling of one in a much more satisfying fashion.

This mouse doesn’t work with your PC using Bluetooth, though. Instead, a USB nano transceiver is offered, which you can magnetically store at the bottom of the mouse for safekeeping, as pictured above.

The Arc Touch Mouse is rather awesome, and if you’re someone who owns a laptop and frequently takes it with you everywhere you go, or if you travel frequently, I’d definitely recommend it. It’s both portable and usable.

Explorer Touch Mouse


Finally, we have the Explorer Touch Mouse. Like the Arc Touch Mouse, it’s compact and designed for portability, though it’s arguably less portable; while small in size, it cannot be flattened for storage when not in use. Nevertheless, it should still be sufficient for most travelers to carry around and pack. The mouse is also pretty lightweight, thanks to the plastic that it’s made out of. Unfortunately, due to this same reason, the mouse lacks a sense of build quality and sturdiness, but I suppose that the weight advantage outweighs this issue, given its objective to be a very portable mouse.

Like the former two mice, this one communicates with the PC through a USB nanotransceiver and uses BlueTrack tracking technology. And, like the Arc Touch Mouse, it lacks more complex gesture supports.

However, it does offer some pretty nifty scrolling functionality. The mouse supports four-way directional scrolling by using just your finger, and that delightful tactile feedback that we all know and love is given off as you scroll. I find it interesting how four-way scrolling isn’t present on the Arc Touch, which has a scrolling area that closely resembles that of the Explorer Touch Mouse.

If the unorthodox form factor of the Arc Touch mouse doesn’t satisfy the grasp of your palm, and you’re more interested in a regular — but relatively minuscule — portable mouse, than this is the one for you.


Given Windows 8 and the importance of using new gestures to navigate its UI, I was really hoping that the Touch Mouse would come through and be the one, but I’m unable to look past the stiff clicking and frequent misinterpretation of gestures to properly recommend it. However, I’m confident that Microsoft is aware of these issues and will fix them in the next revision of the mouse. Provided this does happen, I’d have no problem wholeheartedly recommending it as an excellent companion to Windows 8.

The real winner in this review has to be the Arc Touch mouse. It’s unique and surprisingly comfortable to use, given its anorexic form factor. You can “flatten” the mouse when you’re not using it, allowing for maximum portability while on the go. And, on top of being portable and pleasant to use, the tactile feedback you receive when scrolling is also a nice touch.

The Explorer Touch Mouse was okay, but nothing really stood out to me about it. But, for those of you who do like smaller mice like it and want a Microsoft hardware product with tactile four-way scrolling and Bluetrack, then you’ll like it a lot.

To learn more about each of these mice, check out the Microsoft Hardware website.

Editor’s Picks of the Week: CloudApp and Droplr

Welcome to the fourth edition of Editor’s Pick of the Week. This week, Paul will be talking about CloudApp and Droplr, apps that make it easy to upload and share files.

It’s rather unorthodox — and possibly abuse — of this series to mention two picks, but, after much internal debate, I was kind of forced to. Both services perform the same task of allowing you to quickly upload and link to files on the whim, but their limitations differ, and, based on your use cases, one may cater to you better than the other.

Before I single them out for the purpose of comparing and contrasting, let me further elaborate on what these services do, and why I use them. CloudApp and Droplr are apps that allow you to upload files primarily by dragging them into an icon in the OS X menu bar (or Windows system tray.) The file will then be uploaded, and a short URL will be copied to your clipboard automatically (this can be disabled if needed). Both services also offer web apps, where you can manage your existing uploads and edit your profile info. And of course, while both services allow you to use them for free, there are limitations. Upgrading to the “pro” versions will also give you more features, such as the ability to associate your uploads with a custom domain.

As you can see, while there are a plethora of methods and services out there that allow you to upload files to the Internet and share them as you wish, these services greatly simplify the process through the apps on your desktop, and display uploaded images within a nice, well-designed website. As someone who frequently communicates with others over Skype and IM, I use CloudApp on a daily basis.

With that introduction out of the way, let me proceed to detail both services — and their strengths and weaknesses — individually.


While I frequently find myself switching between both services, CloudApp is what I’m using at the time of writing. First and foremost, it’s definitely more Mac-centric. Both apps originally were built for OS X, but Droplr developed its own official app for Windows. No official CloudApp software exists for Windows, but there are third-party solutions built on their API.

Using it is very simple. After firing up the app, an icon will show up in your OS X menu bar. To upload, just drag files into the icon, and the URL to the file will automatically be copied to your clipboard. By clicking on the icon, you can view your latest uploads and access the preferences area.

In the preferences area, you can fiddle about with “raindrops” — which are essentially plugins that let you say, directly upload something from Photoshop — and change keyboard shortcuts.

So, when using the free version of CloudApp, what are your limits? Well, you can upload up to 10 files each day that are up to 25MB in size. There’s no cap on total uploads, but you just can’t upload more than 10 25MB files each day. Buying CloudApp Pro — $5 for a month, $15 for 3 months, $25 for 6, and $45 for 12 — will allow you to upload as many files a day as you want, with the individual file size restriction raised to 250MB. You also, of course, gain the ability to tie a custom domain with your account if you wish.


On the other hand, we have Droplr. It functions in a very similar fashion: There’s an icon in the menu bar that you simply drag and drop files to in order to upload, while clicking on the icon will grant you access to your latest uploads and the settings area. With Droplr, when viewing your most recent uploads, hovering over them will present you with the option to either copy the link to your clipboard or delete the upload which is rather handy.

Droplr’s settings area is also very similar to CloudApp: You can manage your capture keyboard shortcut, your account, and plugins that you have installed (which are very similar to CloudApp’s raindrops.)

As you can see, there are a couple of relatively minor differences between the services. However, the difference in limitations as a free user are what may sway people towards one over the other. In the case of Droplr, there’s no limit to how many files you can upload in a day, but your account is limited to a total of 1GB. And, like CloudApp, individual file size is capped at 25MB.

If you do need more storage — or the ability to upload larger files — Droplr Pro should do the trick. For $3 a month or $30 a year, you will be able to upload a total of 100GB of files. The individual file size restriction will also be raised to 1GB, and you’ll get features such as statistics, or the ability to create more private, password-protected drops. The ability to use a custom domain is also, of course, included here.


As you can see, in terms of the restrictions placed upon free users, both have their pros and cons. Some may find CloudApp’s 10 upload per day issue limiting, but they may also never need to have 1GB of drops uploaded at the same time. Others may be fine with it, but may want the ability to collectively upload more than just 1GB of files.

When it comes to a pro account, Droplr does definitely beat out CloudApp in pricing and features. You have a definitive limit of 100GB of files, and individual file size is limited to 1GB. With CloudApp however, you can upload an “unlimited” amount of files with an individual file size limit of 250MB. But, is Droplr the clear winner here in terms of file restrictions? It’s a tough call.

The entire purpose of these services is to quickly share things such as pictures and perhaps quick videos, even small files. It’s hard to imagine making a quick drop of a file that’s even close to a gigabyte in size. I’d imagine that such large files will be uploaded elsewhere, using services like SkyDrive or Dropbox, or even on an FTP server.

But of course, there surely are many users and use cases out there that will take advantage of a 1GB file size restriction. And also, something worth noting about CloudApp’s ability to upload a seemingly unlimited amount of files is that, well, we all see what happens when companies offer unlimited anything. I’m not saying that CloudApp does anything malicious to hinder the service of heavy users, but I’m saying that it is possible, and some may take comfort in being provided with a definitive storage limit.

Again, it really depends on your use case. I’ve also noticed that many people have a staunch preference of one service over the other, which is interesting.

As for me, I just want something that makes it extremely easy and painless to upload screenshots and share links to them over Skype and IM, and both tools do the trick. And, even with their differences — big and small — in mind, I give both services a five star rating.

Dell Discusses Plans To Launch Windows 8 Tablets, Isn’t Worried About The Surface

When Microsoft announced the Surface, they didn’t just want to make a high-quality piece of hardware that’s intended to make Windows 8 shine. They also did so to push otherwise sloppy OEMs to step up their game and develop equal — if not better — devices that are both exceptional in quality and innovative. With the exception of Acer, OEMs have been largely positive about the Surface. Dell is joining Lenovo and HP in making generally neutral/positive comments about the device, while also stating during an investor’s call that they have plans to release Windows 8 devices of their own throughout the fourth quarter and into next year.

Here’s what Senior VP Brian Gladden had to say about it:

“As you think about Microsoft entering the space, clearly, as we think about it, we’ve spent time talking to Microsoft and understanding sort of how they’re thinking about it. There clearly are opportunities for us, as Windows 8 comes through, in having differentiated products. And I think at the same time they have announced the Surface product that would be in the space, we will have products in there, and I think you’ll see a diverse set of offerings that take advantage of what Windows 8 brings to market.”

As you can see, they’re generally neutral about the Surface, unlike Acer, whose executives have been pretty bitter and negative about the device in public statements. Here’s the tidbit in which Gladden mentions Dell’s plans to launch Windows 8 devices:

“You’ll see new Windows 8 ultrabooks, all-in-one tablets and converged devices in the fourth quarter and headed into next year.”

The form factors that he hints at in this comment are interesting. I’m curious to find out what the “converged” devices look like, and how they differ from the all-in-one tablets. Perhaps they’re Galaxy Note-esque devices, which lie somewhere in between a tablet and a phone?

Microsoft Announces $79.99 Xbox 360 Essentials Pack, Lowers Kinect Price

With the holiday season on the horizon, Microsoft will be doing some special things for their flagship entertainment device to boost sales and value for consumers. They have announced that the price of the Kinect has been permanently lowered to $109.99 in the US, with other permanently reduced prices taking effect throughout North America, Latin America, and Asia Pacific regions where the device is sold. And, come October 4th, the price will also be permanently reduced in Australia and New Zealand.

The second Xbox-related tidbit is that Microsoft will be selling a bundle of essential Xbox 360 accessories at a lower cost than purchasing each item at a standalone price. Aptly dubbed the Xbox 360 Essentials Pack, the bundle includes the following for the relatively low cost of $79.99:

  • Xbox 360 Controller
  • Media Remote Control
  • HDMI Cable
  • Three-month long Xbox LIVE Gold Membership

Microsoft claims that, by purchasing the bundle, you will save $55 on these items.

The permanently reduced Kinect price should certainly help entice more Xbox 360 buyers to purchase the accessory, while the bundle will act as a convenience — and means of saving money — to new Xbox buyers and current owners alike.

Microsoft Opens Up Registration For Discounted Windows 8 Upgrade Price

Microsoft has announced that registration for that Windows 8 upgrade offer they announced in May has now opened up. Basically, if you purchased or will purchase a qualifying Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013, you can purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for the low cost of $14.99 USD, which you can redeem as soon as Windows 8 is generally available on October 26.

To get the $14.99 upgrade price, simply register on the Windows Upgrade Offer website after registering. Go through the wizard — while having the product key of the Windows 7 install that came with the PC handy — and you’re good. Then, starting on October 26, promo codes will be sent out via email with purchase instructions, where you can then redeem your Windows 8 license for the low cost of $14.99. During checkout, the price may still be listed as $39.99, but once you get to the order confirmation page, you will be able to enter in your promo code which will then drop the price accordingly.

You’ll have until February 28, 2013 to register.

It’s definitely not a bad deal, and it’s awesome to see Microsoft offering Windows 8 to consumers at such an affordable cost. So, unless you’re waiting for a Windows RT (or Windows 8 Pro) tablet, you don’t have to wait until general availability to purchase a new PC.

Bing Fund Announces First Two Companies

On Thursday, the Bing Fund proudly announced that they have enrolled the first two startups into the program: Buddy, a service for mobile and web developers based in Kirland, Washington and Pinion, an advertising company that targets the gaming ecosystem based in Bellevue but originally from Australia.

Buddy was founded by David McLauchlan and Jeff MacDuff, who met when they both worked at Microsoft. Buddy sets out to reduce the time that developers spend working with server-side code, essentially providing a fully hosted and managed toolset of web services for application development, along with analytics for developers to monitor their apps.

Pinion, on the other hand, is working to help gaming communities generate revenue from their endeavors by taking advantage of the relatively untapped world of in-game advertising. Over 450 gaming communities are already a part of Pinion, and advertisers include Sony, Xbox, McDonald’s, Chevrolet, Budweiser, Warner Brothers, and Adidas.

The Bing Fund was originally announced on July 12, earlier this year. So, what other companies will the Bing Fund bring on board? There’s no word on that yet, but Rahul Sood of the Bing Fund said that they have their eyes on a few companies in San Francisco and Boulder.

Is Square Planning On Making A Windows Phone App?

Square, the company that plans to bring the way we pay for goods and services to the 21st century had a pretty big announcement yesterday. Starbucks will be rolling out Square throughout their stores over the fall, allowing customers to use their smartphones to pay for coffee and other products at many Starbucks stores. On top of this, Starbucks also made a $25 million investment in Square.

In the midst of the big news, Square founder Jack Dorsey hinted at the possibility of a Square app for Windows Phone while talking to Engadget. He vaguely said this: “We will definitely build for where the users are, and we’re excited about the Windows Phone interface.” As of now, the Square app is only available on iOS and Android.

It goes without saying that the Windows Phone platform really needs more quality apps. While there’s a considerable quantity of apps in the Marketplace, that means nothing to users if they won’t be able to get their favorite apps on the platform. As of now, when it comes to apps at least, iOS and Android are the safe bets for consumers.

Metro is Irreplaceable

Microsoft is a company that’s notorious for branding disasters. Product names are usually long and confusing, and are frequently renamed and rebranded, only adding to the mess.

However, Metro was an exception. It was the name of a design language that spread rapidly throughout the company, effectively uniting its products in many ways. It represents the company thinking outside of the box, and leaving its comfort zone to create awesome products. It represents the far more consistent and close-knit ecosystem that the company has been working hard to build over the past few years. And finally, it represents the culture of Microsoft in pursuing all of this.

In terms of branding, it did a great thing. While Metro was initially a term to describe Microsoft’s new, fresh, and authentic design language, it organically came to represent much more.

Reportedly, due to legal issues, Microsoft will be ditching the term and expunging it from well, everything. Products, marketing materials, documentation, help files…


This is a complete disaster. And to make matters worse, Microsoft has handled this horribly. A Microsoft spokesperson issued a comment to Mary-Jo Foley that dismisses Metro as a mere codename:

“We have used Metro style as a code name during the product development cycle across many of our product lines. As we get closer to launch and transition from industry dialog to a broad consumer dialog we will use our commercial names.”

Officially, we have no idea what the real reasons behind this are. In any case, what they’re doing is wrong. Provided that the legal issues are to blame, they should have seriously fought it. I mean come on, you’re Microsoft. Surely you have the resources to deal with a European partner, even if it became a messy and costly situation.

If the statement from the company is complete fact — that it’s a codename that the company suddenly decided to distance itself from — then I’d like to have whatever they were smoking to make them think this is a good idea.

What’s done is done. But what can be done about this moving forward? After going on the record and dismissing Metro as a lowly codename, it’s hard to just backtrack from that provided that they’re contemplating working towards using it again. If they wanted to stay true to their word, they’re going to have to move forward and choose a replacement for Metro.

But there’s one problem. Metro is irreplaceable. No one term has been through all that Metro has to bear the same significance.

Ditching an important brand is hard for any company. Could you imagine if, right around the time of launch, Apple was forced to ditch “iPhone” due to legal disputes? If this is a bad situation for a company like Apple — that’s highly skilled at branding and marketing — could you imagine the ramifications for Microsoft? It’s unlikely that a company rife with branding nightmares can concoct a sufficient replacement.

If today’s rumors prove to be correct, the replacement terminology for Metro will be cringeworthy.

Mary-Jo Foley is hearing that the “Windows 8″ will be used to replace Metro terminology:

Here’s the official guidance, my sources say: Anything currently/formerly known as a “Metro-Style application” (with or without a hyphen) will now be known officially as a “Windows 8 application.” References to the “Metro user interface” will now be replaced by “Windows 8 user interface.” And instead of saying “Metro design,” the Softies and those adhering to their official guidelines will be using the words “Windows 8 design.”

Putting aside Metro’s irreplaceable factor, this doesn’t even make any sense. Windows 8 is hardly a sufficient replacement. Metro described an entire design philosophy that exists beyond Windows; the term isn’t remotely capable of enveloping the entire definition of Metro. The best part? Instead of referring to the interface on Windows Phone as Metro, you’ll be calling it the “Windows 8 interface on Windows Phone.”


Image Source: istartedsomething

Lenovo Announces ThinkPad Tablet 2 Windows 8 Device, Doesn’t Mind The Surface

With Windows 8’s general availability pegged for October 26th, several OEMs —  Asus, HP, Fujitsu, Samsung, and others — have already announced their first tablet devices built just for Windows 8. And of course, Lenovo will also be throwing its hat into the ring. Today, the company announced their first Windows 8 tablet, the ThinkPad Tablet 2.

It packs a 10.1 inch multi-touch display (which can also handle pen/stylus input), measures in at 9.8 mm thin, and weighs less than 600 grams (1.3 pounds). Under the hood, the tablet is powered by a next-generation Intel Atom processor and will run Windows 8 Pro. Clearly, it’s targeted more towards professionals over the average consumer, and the price point will rightfully reflect that.

So, with that being said, how does Lenovo feel about the Surface? According to Acer — who previously urged Microsoft to “think twice” about making the device — the device will have a “huge negative impact” on the ecosystem. Dilip Bhatia, vice president and general manager of the ThinkPad business unit holds a different view altogether. He says that Lenovo isn’t worried about the Surface as it doesn’t step on the ThinkPad’s toes at all, and thinks that it’s a good thing that it is stirring up excitement around the Windows 8 tablet ecosystem as a whole:

“Microsoft is a strategic partner for us. The Surface has brought more excitement to the marketplace. The ThinkPad tablet is focused after the business individual; the Surface is more geared towards the consumer offering,” he said.

 The ThinkPad Tablet 2 will be available in late October.