updated 09:00 pm EST, Wed February 10, 2010
Bill Gates wants iPad more like Tablet PC
The iPad needs to be more like the Tablet PC to be successful, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates argues in an interview today. He admits that he sees the Apple device as a "nice reader" but says he's not envious of the design as it doesn't have the hardware he feels would be needed to reach critical mass. While the iPhone was clearly an improvement versus Windows Mobile, the iPad isn't enough like a conventional portable to break through, Gates says.
"I'm a big believer in touch and digital reading, but I still think that some mixture of voice, the pen and a real keyboard -- in other words a netbook -- will be the mainstream on that," he tells BNET. "So, it's not like I sit there and feel the same way I did with iPhone where I say, 'Oh my God, Microsoft didn't aim high enough.'"
Gates has long been a champion of the Tablet PC format since it was unveiled in 2001 but makes the observations despite seeing relatively little success. In the nine years since the designs first appeared, no models have had significant traction among the general public and have largely relegated the designs to niche markets like doctors and warehouse work. Netbooks have also come in tablet form but are still dominated by traditional designs that often cost less and carry a smaller profile.
When introducing the iPad, Apple's Steve Jobs specifically attacked netbooks as being too slow and running poor software. He also noted that the iPad can often weigh half as much as a netbook and should be much easier to hand-hold. A lighter tablet netbook like ASUS' 9-inch Eee PC T91MT weighs 2.1 pounds, gets half the battery life, and is twice as thick as the iPad despite the smaller screen.