PHNO SCIENCE & INFOTECH NEWS
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports)

WINDOWS 10: PREPARING TO UPGRADE ONE BILLION DEVICES


With around four weeks to go before Windows 10 becomes available, I thought it would be helpful to provide some context on how we will roll-out Windows 10 to the world. We’ve been really pleased with the strong response to Windows 10 since we kicked off reservations in early June, with millions of reservations. We want to make sure all of you have a great upgrade experience, so we’ll roll-out Windows 10 in phases to help manage the demand. More details on what to expect are provided below.
We’ve shared before how Windows 10 will be familiar and more secure, with a natural experience that makes it easy for people to be more productive and have more fun. We can’t wait to deliver innovations like Cortana, Windows Hello, Microsoft Edge, Continuum, and so much more to your PC or tablet on July 29.* For the first time, we will deliver Windows as a service, with the commitment to offer ongoing innovations and security updates to you. In this world, Windows 10 is continuously improved and keeps getting better and better – for our consumer and business customers. We’re incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made and believe we are nearly ready to ship Windows 10 broadly to the world. READ MORE...

ALSO: How Cortana Comes to Life in Windows 10


IT IS NOT WHAT IS CORTUNA BUT WHO IS CORTUNA? Cortana is your clever new personal assistant, and she can search the web, find things on your PC, keep track of your calendar—even tell you jokes. We're not saying she'll pass the Turing test, but the more she helps you out, and the more she learns about you, the better she gets. Hello!  I’m @MarcusAsh, the Group Program Manager for Cortana and Search on the Windows PC, Phone and Tablet Group. Over the past few months, we’ve shared details about some of the features we think you’ll love in Windows 10 like Continuum, universal apps and of course Cortana. I’m proud to represent the team building Cortana for Windows 10 and, over the next few months, I’ll be sharing a deeper look at the story behind Cortana and some of what you can expect in the future. Today, I’ll begin with how Cortana started – highlighting the creative ingenuity that brought Cortana to Windows 10 for PC and tablets – with a special nod to what I’m looking forward to most. Bringing Cortana to More Devices with Windows 10. Cortana was first available for our Windows Phone customers, who told us they love having Cortana support them and help them get things done. On January 21 we shared that for the first time, Cortana will come to PC and tablets later this year with the release of Windows 10, so your personal assistant is there for you across all your Windows 10 devices. READ MORE...

ALSO and here it is Hello World! Windows 10 Available on July 29


by WINDOWS 10's Terry Myerson ---Today, I’m excited to share the availability date for Windows 10. In fact, I thought I’d let Cortana, the world’s most personal digital assistant, share the news. You can ask Cortana for the answer, or if you don’t have a Windows phone or a PC running the Windows 10 Insider Preview handy – you can hear it for yourself here: Through the feedback and testing of over four million Windows Insiders, we’ve made great progress on Windows 10 and we’re nearly ready to deliver this free upgrade to all of our Windows customers*. Do Great Things with Windows 10  We designed Windows 10 to create a new generation of Windows for the 1.5 billion people using Windows today in 190 countries around the world. With Windows 10, we start delivering on our vision of more personal computing, defined by trust in how we protect and respect your personal information, mobility of the experience across your devices, and natural interactions with your Windows devices, including speech, touch, ink, and holograms. We designed Windows 10 to run our broadest device family ever, including Windows PCs, Windows tablets, Windows phones, Windows for the Internet of Things, Microsoft Surface Hub, Xbox One and Microsoft HoloLens—all working together to empower you to do great things. READ MORE...

ALSO Where the iPad should go next: Look toward Windows 10
[What Microsoft is getting right: One world, multiple devices]


Where can the iPad go from here? Microsoft has been coming up with some pretty good ideas. by Scott Stein @jetscott February 3, 2015 3:53 PM PST 
Sarah Tew/CNET The iPad is nearly 5 years old. That product, ever since, has continued to ride a thin dividing line between iPhones and Macs: mobile, and computers. Apple's world has since become all about the iPhone. Look at the latest sales numbers, and they're shockingly lopsided: iPhones now represent almost three-quarters of Apple's revenue. Macs and iPads, while still selling in numbers that would cause celebrations at other companies, just don't seem to have the same fire. Sales of iPads, in fact, are trending downward. But 2015 seems to offer the promise of new things in the world of both product lines: the two biggest rumors predict a "big screen" iPad, and a new "small screen" MacBook Air. The irony? Both of these products are said to include a screen in the 12.5-inch realm. Will there be both a 12-inch iPad and a 12-inch MacBook Air in 2015? If so, how will they co-exist? Could they be meant for different customers? If these rumors are real, shouldn't this be just one product? Maybe a thin and light touchscreen tablet, with a detachable keyboard? And maybe -- just maybe -- running an operating system that combines the best of Mac OS X and iOS? For me, the answer lies with Microsoft. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

Windows 10: Preparing to Upgrade One Billion Devices

CYBERSPACE, JULY 6, 2015  (WINDOWS.COM) JULY 2, 2015 6:01 AM by Terry Myerson - With around four weeks to go before Windows 10 becomes available, I thought it would be helpful to provide some context on how we will roll-out Windows 10 to the world. We’ve been really pleased with the strong response to Windows 10 since we kicked off reservations in early June, with millions of reservations. We want to make sure all of you have a great upgrade experience, so we’ll roll-out Windows 10 in phases to help manage the demand. More details on what to expect are provided below.

We’ve shared before how Windows 10 will be familiar and more secure, with a natural experience that makes it easy for people to be more productive and have more fun.

We can’t wait to deliver innovations like *Cortana, Windows Hello, Microsoft Edge, Continuum, and so much more to your PC or tablet on July 29. {*Cortana available in select markets; Windows Hello requires specified hardware. More details at Windows.com/windows10specs.}

For the first time, we will deliver Windows as a service, with the commitment to offer ongoing innovations and security updates to you. In this world, Windows 10 is continuously improved and keeps getting better and better – for our consumer and business customers. We’re incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made and believe we are nearly ready to ship Windows 10 broadly to the world.

READ MORE...

Preparing for Windows 10 Upgrades

With all of our ecosystem partners, we have been actively engaged to work on device and application compatibility.

It’s been amazing to see the teamwork taking place across companies to ensure a quality experience as our shared customers experience Windows 10 soon. In our testing of millions of systems, we’re seeing full compatibility today with the vast majority of Windows 8x and Windows 7x systems– and we are not yet done, we will never be done – we will be continuing this application and device compatibility work every day as part of our ongoing commitment to Windows as a service.

We are also rigorously testing and listening to every signal from our 5 million Windows Insiders on the quality and readiness of Windows 10.

Soon, we will give a build of Windows 10 to our OEM partners so they can start imaging new devices with Windows 10. The new devices our partners are working on are very exciting, I can’t wait to hear your feedback as you get a chance to use them.

Soon after, we will distribute a build of Windows 10 to retailers all over the world, so they can assist their customers with upgrades of newly purchased devices that were originally imaged with Windows 8.1. Look for this sticker for assurance that our OEM partners have proactively tested a device for compatibility with Windows 10.

How To Know When You’re Ready to Upgrade

Starting on July 29, we will start rolling out Windows 10 to our Windows Insiders. From there, we will start notifying reserved systems in waves, slowly scaling up after July 29th. Each day of the roll-out, we will listen, learn and update the experience for all Windows 10 users.

If you reserved your copy of Windows 10, we will notify you once our compatibility work confirms you will have a great experience, and Windows 10 has been downloaded on your system.


W10_Laptop_AUX_Build

If your system is not ready yet for your upgrade to Windows 10, we will provide more details during the upgrade experience. In some cases, we will include contact information so you can follow up directly with an application provider or device manufacturer to learn more. For most upgrade incompatibilities, you may still choose to complete the upgrade, and find alternative compatible solutions in the Windows Store after you upgrade.

Business Customers and Windows 10

The Windows as a service model extends to our enterprise and business customers as well. We’ve announced new servicing benefits, such as Windows Update for Business, and we’re working hard on a range of new features and capabilities for our enterprise customers. Windows 10 Pro will be available on July 29, along with Windows 10 Home. Volume licensing customers will be able to download Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education on Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) starting on August 1.

Window 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education offer a rich set of fundamentals that you would expect from Windows, and a range of security, deployment and management features. Just like for our consumer customers, we’ll continue to introduce new features and updates in an ongoing manner, including Enterprise Data Protection later this year. You can see more details on each version, including specific features, here. We encourage you to prepare for your deployment of Windows 10 in the coming months.

Thank you to our Windows Insiders for helping us build Windows 10. We hope you’ll continue to stay in the Windows Insider program and provide us with ongoing, valuable feedback on what comes next. Thank you to our partners for helping us ensure a great upgrade experience for our joint customers. And, thank you to our early reserve customers. We are humbled by your excitement and we can’t wait to deliver Windows 10 to you soon. For others, I encourage you to reserve your copy now. We will notify you when Windows 10 is ready for your PC, tablet, phone, Xbox, or HoloLens!

-Terry


How Cortana Comes to Life in Windows 10 FEBRUARY 10, 2015 10:11 AM by Marcus Ash WINDOWS.COM


Cortana is your clever new personal assistant, and she can search the web, find things on your PC, keep track of your calendar—even tell you jokes. We're not saying she'll pass the Turing test, but the more she helps you out, and the more she learns about you, the better she gets.

Hello!

I’m @MarcusAsh, the Group Program Manager for Cortana and Search on the Windows PC, Phone and Tablet Group. Over the past few months, we’ve shared details about some of the features we think you’ll love in Windows 10 like Continuum, universal apps and of course Cortana. I’m proud to represent the team building Cortana for Windows 10 and, over the next few months, I’ll be sharing a deeper look at the story behind Cortana and some of what you can expect in the future. Today, I’ll begin with how Cortana started – highlighting the creative ingenuity that brought Cortana to Windows 10 for PC and tablets – with a special nod to what I’m looking forward to most.

 
VIDEO CORTANA ON WINDOWS 10
URL: https://youtu.be/qI4tj1YZbiM

Bringing Cortana to More Devices with Windows 10.

Cortana was first available for our Windows Phone customers, who told us they love having Cortana support them and help them get things done. On January 21 we shared that for the first time, Cortana will come to PC and tablets later this year with the release of Windows 10, so your personal assistant is there for you across all your Windows 10 devices.

READ MORE...

Cortana gets to know you and helps you get things done, all while letting you interact naturally and easily. By learning more about you over time, Cortana becomes increasingly useful every day. She will learn your preferences, provide quick access to information, and make recommendations personalized for you. You’re always in control of what Cortana knows and manages on your behalf.

What’s really exciting about Cortana for Windows 10?

Cortana will be there when you need assistance on Windows, remembering the context of what you’re asking for, and adapting behavior to you right where you are. Your experience is fluid, and roams with you across your devices. Cortana knows that when you’re on your phone, your interaction is generally going to be brief; when you’re on your PC, your goals are going to be in line with steady periods of productivity. We’ve developed new visions and new scenarios meant to make life easier, and more fun, regardless of the device you’re using.

Imagine how convenient it is to tell Cortana on your phone to deliver a reminder that pops up, at just the right time, on your desktop. With Cortana’s reminders, you never have to miss anything important because you stepped away from a particular device. With Windows 10, Cortana’s natural language ability helps avoid misunderstandings and lets you interact easily by talking or typing. Because Cortana is powered by Bing, you can easily search and find content on your devices, your OneDrive, and the web.

What else is coming?

We’re looking forward to helping people achieve productivity in communal scenarios. For example, you may have several PCs at home, and you’re all sharing and storing music with each other. We want Cortana to help you easily find the music you want and play it from any of the devices, throughout your home, across PCs, phones, tablets and speakers, in a group setting. More to come on that very soon.

For early adopters who can’t wait to try Cortana on Windows 10 on your PC, keep reading to learn more. In the meantime, let’s take a look at how we got here.

The Back Story.

Cortana started in April of 2012 as part of early thinking about what the future of search should be on mobile phones. We saw an emerging set of trends around the personalization of your experience due to the sheer amount of things your phone knows about you – your location, the people you communicate with most, your favorite apps/services, etc. We thought this was a bigger idea than just mobile, and this capability should be available across all of our devices – from mouse and keyboard, to touch – and that it should utilize what we knew about patterns and anticipate and meet those needs. We didn’t want to build one digital assistant for everybody, we wanted to build one digital assistant for you. Cortana learns you, knows you, and respects you.

We see this space as more than just building a personal assistant feature. This is a long term opportunity to build the first contextual operating service: a system that knows you so well that it can predict your patterns to help you get things done. Cortana learns your preferences to provide relevant recommendations, fast access to information, and important reminders. Interaction is natural and easy via talking or typing, with advanced features to control more trustworthiness and transparency. Our goal is to deliver the first truly personal assistant.

After months of work and discussions on the above, we felt there were three important aspects a personal digital assistant like Cortana must have. We tested each early on and refined throughout the design process:

The first aspect is firmly rooted in the idea that we are the most Personal assistant. Beginning with the set-up experience, Cortana asks you a set of questions to get to know you. By knowing answers to some basic questions, we will deliver instant value through suggestions and getting you to things you might like when making choices throughout your day.

After talking to real personal assistants to get insights, we arrived at an interesting concept called the Notebook. Real personal assistants told us they keep similar materials on-hand, to track what their client likes, things they don’t like. We built this idea into Cortana, in a place where your can access the Notebook and see everything that Cortana knows about you – because transparency and control here is also an invaluable asset. It’s Cortana showing you respect for what you want, and not showing up with materials – or in places – where you don’t want Cortana to appear. Cortana never adds anything to the Notebook without your explicit consent. For example, if Cortana thinks you would appreciate seeing your commute times to/from work, Cortana first asks you to confirm home/work and if you want to see this information.

Looks out for you is our friendly term for Cortana proactively acting on your behalf. When you ask Cortana to remember something, you’ll receive a reminder at a place, time or when a person contacts you. Cortana organizes useful information at key points in your week to help you plan your day and weekend. Cortana also knows when you are traveling and collects relevant, useful information from your email, such as flight info, weather at your destination, currency conversion if you are traveling internationally, and then looks out for you, filters out the noise – and helps you stay on top of what’s important.

Delightful and easy to use covers two main areas. You can talk to Cortana using natural language. And rather than restricting Cortana to just speech, which we know isn’t always appropriate, you can also type to use Cortana. It just works!

And last is the most unique area of Cortana: personality.

Our approach on personality includes defining a voice with an actual personality. This included writing a detailed personality, and laying out how we wanted Cortana to be perceived. We used words like witty, confident and loyal to describe how Cortana responds through voice, text and animated character. We wrote an actual script based on this definition that is spoken by a trained voice actress with thousands of responses to questions that will have variability to make Cortana feel like it has an actual personality and isn’t just programmed with robotic responses.

One of the things we debated quite a bit during the planning process was our decision to include an actual shape to embody Cortana. We explored a variety of concepts ranging from using colors on notifications to simple geometric shapes to a full blown human-like avatar. In the end we worked with the creative team at 343 (the studio that develops Halo!) and landed on something we think makes Cortana feel more alive than if we just used a voice. Cortana is programmed to respond to different questions and present different answers based on the grid of emotions and states below. If Cortana correctly answers your question and is happy, Cortana will let you know.

If Cortana can’t understand you, there will be slight embarrassment.

We believe personality is an area where we can advance the emotional connection you have with Cortana.

It will make you quicker to forgive when Cortana can’t do something or makes mistakes, and easier to crack a smile when she offers you a corny joke.

That’s our story, so, what’s next? Quite simply, the more you use Cortana, the better Cortana will know you and help you. If you can’t wait until later this year to try Cortana on Windows 10, consider joining the Windows Insider Program today for early access to the Windows 10 Technical Preview. Sign up, and test out functionality like setting reminders, and asking Cortana as many questions as you can. We need your help and feedback – your participation is critical to Cortana’s success on Windows 10.

The data we collect is really important. It informs things like speech patterns, especially for international language expansion. Cortana is only available for U.S.-English in the current build, though search will work in all languages. But, don’t worry, we’re constantly making improvements and in future builds, adding new capabilities and more languages – especially with your help. We’ve never had an audience this big using Cortana before, and the potential for you to help us make Window 10 incredible is unprecedented!

There’s more on the horizon, and we’re excited to keep moving forward with you.


Hello World: Windows 10 Available on July 29 JUNE 1, 2015 1:00 AM by Terry Myerson  934SHARES SHARE TWEET SHARE UPDATED JUNE 1, 2015 8:23 AM -


SCREENGRAB

Today, I’m excited to share the availability date for Windows 10. In fact, I thought I’d let Cortana, the world’s most personal digital assistant, share the news. You can ask Cortana for the answer, or if you don’t have a Windows phone or a PC running the Windows 10 Insider Preview handy – you can hear it for yourself here:

Through the feedback and testing of over four million Windows Insiders, we’ve made great progress on Windows 10 and we’re nearly ready to deliver this free upgrade to all of our Windows customers*.

Do Great Things with Windows 10

We designed Windows 10 to create a new generation of Windows for the 1.5 billion people using Windows today in 190 countries around the world. With Windows 10, we start delivering on our vision of more personal computing, defined by trust in how we protect and respect your personal information, mobility of the experience across your devices, and natural interactions with your Windows devices, including speech, touch, ink, and holograms. We designed Windows 10 to run our broadest device family ever, including Windows PCs, Windows tablets, Windows phones, Windows for the Internet of Things, Microsoft Surface Hub, Xbox One and Microsoft HoloLens—all working together to empower you to do great things.

READ MORE...

Familiar, yet better than ever, Windows 10 brings back the Start menu you know and love. Windows 10 is faster than ever before, with quick startup and resume. And Windows 10 provides the most secure platform ever, including Windows Defender for free anti-malware protection, and being the only platform with a commitment to deliver free ongoing security updates for the supported lifetime of the device.

We’ve designed Windows 10 to help you be more productive and have more fun, with a range of innovations**:

Cortana, the world’s first truly personal digital assistant helps you get things done. Cortana learns your preferences to provide relevant recommendations, fast access to information, and important reminders. Interaction is natural and easy via talking or typing. And the Cortana experience works not just on your PC, but can notify and help you on your smartphone too.
Cortana in Windows 10

Microsoft Edge, is an all-new browser designed to get things done online in new ways, with built-in commenting on the web – via typing or inking — sharing comments, and a reading view that makes reading web sites much faster and easier. With Cortana integrated, Microsoft Edge offers quick results and content based on your interests and preferences. Fast, streamlined and personal, you can focus on just the content that matters to you and actively engage with the web.


Inking on websites in Microsoft Edge

Office on Windows: In addition to the Office 2016 full featured desktop suite, Windows 10 users will be able to experience new universal Windows applications for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, all available separately.

These offer a consistent, touch-first experience across a range of devices to increase you productivity. Designed from the ground up to run on Windows 10, you can easily create and edit Word documents, and deliver PowerPoint presentations while annotating on the fly. With new touch-first controls in Excel you can create or update spreadsheets without a keyboard or mouse. You will also be able to enjoy new versions of OneNote and Outlook, which are included with Windows 10 at no additional cost.

Xbox Live and the integrated Xbox App bring new game experiences to Windows 10. Xbox on Windows 10 brings the expansive Xbox Live gaming network to both Windows 10 PCs and tablets. Communicate with your friends on Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One – while playing any PC game. You can capture, edit and share your greatest gaming moments with Game DVR, and play new games with friends across devices.

You can play games on your PC, streamed directly from your Xbox One console to your Windows 10 tablets or PCs, within your home. Games developed for DirectX 12 in Windows 10 will see improvements in speed, efficiency and graphics capability.



New Photos, Videos, Music, Maps, People, Mail & Calendar apps have updated designs that look and feel familiar from app to app and device to device. You can start something on one device and continue it on another since your content is stored on and synched through OneDrive.
Photos app in Windows 10

Windows Continuum enables today’s best laptops and 2-in-1 devices to elegantly transform from one form factor to the other, enabling smooth transitions of your tablet into a PC, and back. And new Windows phones with Continuum can be connected to a monitor, mouse and physical keyboard to make your phone work like a PC.

Windows Hello, greets you by name and with a smile, letting you log in without a password and providing instant, more secure access to your Windows 10 devices. With Windows Hello, biometric authentication is easy with your face, iris, or finger, providing instant recognition.

Windows Store, with easy install and uninstall of trusted applications, supported by the broadest range of global payment methods.

In addition to these innovations, we will continue to update Windows 10 over time with new innovations to help you be more productive and have more fun. Like Windows 10 itself, these updates will be free for the supported lifetime of your device.

You can see these features in action in this video.


INTRODUCING WINDOWS 10
URL: https://youtu.be/Wwc5jKc-EgE

Get Ready for Windows 10

On July 29, you can get Windows 10 for PCs and tablets by taking advantage of the free upgrade offer, or on a new Windows 10 PC from your favorite retailer. If you purchase a new Windows 8.1 device between now and then, the Windows 10 upgrade will be available to you and many retail stores will upgrade your new device for you.

The Windows 10 upgrade is designed to be compatible with your current Windows device and applications*. We are hard at work to make this upgrade process a great experience. You can reserve your free Windows 10 upgrade now through a simple reservation process. Look for this icon in your system tray at the bottom of your screen, simply click on the icon, and then complete the reservation process. You can find more details on how this works at Windows.com.

Reserve your Windows 10 upgrade

Thank you for choosing Windows. We are designing it for you, so you can be more secure, more productive, have more fun.

Terry


CNET.COM

Where the iPad should go next: Look toward Windows 10

Where can the iPad go from here? Microsoft has been coming up with some pretty good ideas. by Scott Stein @jetscott February 3, 2015 3:53 PM PST

Sarah Tew/CNET The iPad is nearly 5 years old. That product, ever since, has continued to ride a thin dividing line between iPhones and Macs: mobile, and computers.

Apple's world has since become all about the iPhone. Look at the latest sales numbers, and they're shockingly lopsided: iPhones now represent almost three-quarters of Apple's revenue. Macs and iPads, while still selling in numbers that would cause celebrations at other companies, just don't seem to have the same fire. Sales of iPads, in fact, are trending downward.

But 2015 seems to offer the promise of new things in the world of both product lines: the two biggest rumors predict a "big screen" iPad, and a new "small screen" MacBook Air. The irony? Both of these products are said to include a screen in the 12.5-inch realm.

Will there be both a 12-inch iPad and a 12-inch MacBook Air in 2015? If so, how will they co-exist? Could they be meant for different customers?

If these rumors are real, shouldn't this be just one product? Maybe a thin and light touchscreen tablet, with a detachable keyboard? And maybe -- just maybe -- running an operating system that combines the best of Mac OS X and iOS?

For me, the answer lies with Microsoft.

READ MORE...

I've always wanted the iPad to be more of a full computer, or at least have the ability to go there. Like the Surface already does. Some might say that's pointless, that the iPad can already be a productive device with tons of dedicated apps and accessories. I still say, why must there be a dividing line between OS X and iOS at all? Look at Windows 10. Look at everything that Microsoft is laying out now, after years of chaotic evolution.

Maybe that sounds like an Apple-ized version of Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet. And maybe if you're an Apple fan, that's sacrilege. But the iPad needs a change. It needs something to ignite interest. It needs a few new ideas.

Microsoft -- with its hardware, and with its upcoming Windows 10 operating system -- is actually blazing a bold trail. One that Apple may actually be able to learn from.

What Microsoft is getting right: One world, multiple devices

Windows 8 took a first crack at cross-device one-size-fits-all computing for a variety of types of tablets, laptops and all-in-one PCs, and failed. The experience wasn't fun for a lot of people, and it turned out that some types of hybrid PCs were better suited to Windows 8 than others.

Windows 10 looks like it's made all the right improvements, and explores cross-device computing in a way that feels very Google. Universal apps promise to run on phones, tablets, PCs and maybe even the Xbox One. In practice we'll see how that goes, but in theory it sounds wonderful.

Google's apps like YouTube, Gmail, Drive and Docs take everything to the next level of true connectivity and I can use Google Drive on any device. It generally works well, no matter where I am. Isn't that the works-anywhere philosophy brought to life? Microsoft's apps, especially OneDrive, take a similar approach.

Apple hasn't been sitting still in this regard. In fact, iOS and OS X have gotten a lot closer, and core apps work are coming together in a similar way; iWork, iLife, iCloud Drive, Mac-to-PC syncing of common calendars, addresses, FaceTime calls, text and iMessages, notes, photos and a lot more are already possible. They're already like universal apps within Apple's product universe.

But Macs still stand apart from iPhones and iPads. I can't, no matter how hard I try, truly turn my iPad into something that I can use for serious work like my MacBook. And, even though Apple's App Store has tons of great apps that work across iPhones and iPads, none of them will work on a Mac, or vice versa, which can get frustrating if you've invested in a large amount of productivity software. (Apple's free iWork and iLife software, much like Microsoft's Office suite, sweeten the deal somewhat, and the apps sync files across Macs and iOS devices pretty well.)

The difference still lies in core software and interface differences. iOS just isn't as flexible as OS X. I can't adjust my desktop, or expand my working area beyond the full-screen layout that each separate app offers.

Microsoft Windows 10's Continuum has another solution: it promises to swap seamlessly between touchscreen tablet and keyboard-connected modes, with software that smartly recognizes when keyboard peripherals are attached. It promises to switch between an app-based tablet, or a more traditional computer desktop -- intelligently.

Apple already has the similarly-named Continuity, which focuses on seamlessly handing off between iOS devices and Macs, but a future iPad could adopt a similar idea for different keyboarded modes of computing, too. Or, future Macs could evolve a touchscreen layer to allow for iOS apps.

iPad, it's time to flex out and try new things

Apple's current computers have become locked into a certain design: the laptops (the MacBook Air has had the same look for years), the iMacs (design changes but the same all-in-one concept since 2006), and the Mac Mini. (The Mac Pro, the one major new-looking product, is so specialized it that it's not a prominent part of Apple's current collection.) So, too, have iPads. If you went back in time to early 2010 when the iPad was first sold, Macs really didn't look all that much different from the outside.

iPads have been a stable product, and in many ways it's been helpful to iPad owners that the changes have been so subtle: old iPads last a long time, and there aren't many clear-cut reasons to upgrade. You can, for instance, still upgrade a 2011 iPad 2 to the current version of iOS (though not all of the latest games or apps will run on it).

But it's Apple's conservative path with the iPad that's caused the public to become bored with it.

I identify with that ennui. I want change. I want an iPad-with-keyboard that becomes essentially a full PC, and I've wanted one for years. And yet, I still use my laptop.

I rely on my laptop because it works, and it has a keyboard and trackpad I can trust, and it can download and store what I need, and I can edit the files on it flexibly. These things could all be possible on gadgets like tablets and phones, with the right software and input accessories. Right now, it isn't.

The things I carry on me all the time are my phone, and maybe (but decreasingly) a tablet. Turning these into full-fledged computers, to do all the things I need to do and never worry about running to my laptop, is more possible than ever before. We're closer than we ever were before smartphones. The future begs for these devices to start using common inputs, keyboards, touch pads, even screens. A phone, a tablet, a laptop, whatever: I should be able to start typing on a keyboard and work on any of them. If I could link up to a monitor and start typing on a wireless keyboard, even my phone could be a PC. It might do a lot of what I need.

For the iPad, it means making a killer set of inputs -- keyboard, trackpad, super-accurate stylus, or something else -- in order to make working on it feel somehow better than on a laptop. Right now, it just isn't quite there.

In search of one new, bold type of input

For the iPad, the moment of evolution is now. A new interface, improved software, and a new accessories like a more integrated keyboard and support for a pen. Sounds like a Surface tablet. Well, yes, the Surface is a great idea.

I want that next step.

Microsoft, with its Windows 10 operating system, continues to explore ways to fuse everything into one across-the-board strategy. A lot of it's been a hot Darwinian mess, but some great products are emerging: some affordable ones, too. And Microsoft is proving that the tablet-meets-computer can really work, and even be awesome.

While iOS and OS X may never truly merge, it's time for iOS and OS X devices to become even more intertwined. And it's time for a few new product ideas, too. I love the consistency of Apple's cornerstone products, but there has to be change. Forms can't stay the same forever. The very nature of what it means to be a computer is atomizing and fragmenting as we speak. The iPhone's success -- Apple's fastest-evolving product -- shows why: we're ready for change. The iPad, now one of the most conservative devices in Apple's catalogue, needs to be part of it. Microsoft is pushing the envelope on tablets. And it's time for Apple to move there, too.


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