Can Windows 8 Tablets Compete With The iPad For Mobile Music Making?

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Microsoft released a preview version of Windows 8, last week – the first version of Windows designed to work on ARM mobile processors. This will allow Microsoft to compete against Apple’s popular iPad tablet and Android tablets.

Windows 8 is a transitional OS with two very different interfaces: the evolution of Windows 7’s desktop and ‘Metro’, an interface taken from Microsoft’s Zune and WIndows Phones. Many Windows users have high hopes for Windows 8, because it promises to combine the power of a traditional desktop OS with the multitouch technology of tablets.

While WIndow 8 is still in a pre-release state, developers are already creating music applications for it. Above is a demo of Grant Kot’s Grantophone for Windows 8. Grantophone is designed not to mimic existing instruments, but to be an expressive instrument built around the capabilities of mobile devices. It’s already available for iOS and Windows Phone 7.

There’s been a lot of conflicting information about the capabilities of Windows 8 on ARM tablets, but as developers start digging in, we should get a better picture of how the new platform will work as a mobile music platform.

What do you think of the potential of Windows 8 tablets? Can WIndows 8 tablets compete with the iPad, or is that the wrong question to be asking?


48 thoughts on “Can Windows 8 Tablets Compete With The iPad For Mobile Music Making?

  1. I was interested at first but:
    “Windows 8 on ARM processors (WOA) will not support running, emulating, or porting existing x86/64 desktop applications” -wiki

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      • Doubtful, x86 processor run very hot and take a lot electricity. Using it in a tablet would be really stupid.

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          • That was a Meego tablet, I don’t know about that.

            But I have been gullible enough to buy two Windows tablets, Vista and 7, and they both lag, run hot and have under 3 hour battery life. And it all started to be even (a lot) worse due to the age. In a year, both of them was practically useless even for web browsing.

            Most of all I’m worried about fragmentation of the platform though.

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            • The Indamixx tablet is dual boot, Protools does not run on Meego.

              Out of curiousity, which ones did you buy? I have a Motion Computing tablet at home, and it works great even though battery life won’t top 4-5 hours.

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  2. I would use it in desktop mode all the time. So if i can use a oldchool version of FL Studio, Soundforge 7 and Recycle, I’m good.

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  3. Win 8 is supposed to be an ipad killer, according to developers…

    unlike iOS, you can run full on PC apps with it.. its not a separate, scaled down thing like iOS on ipad

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    • Having access to the filesystem and being able to share sound libraries between apps is a huge plus. I hate that there’s not even some kind of “Shared Documents” folder that apps can use in IOS. Sandboxing might have some benefits, but its really too restrictive for the little security that it adds.

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      • Just wait until Windows gets hit with all kinds of atrocious malware like it inevitably will….you’ll be wanting your sandbox back. I mean Android let’s you access the filesystem and well we all know Android is crap.

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        • You are as passionate about this as you are ill-informed. My DAW is still XP with only Security Essentials for protection and I have never experiences the “atrocious malware” you seems to be getting all the time. And if I absolutely wanted to sandbox my XP box there are plenty of software for that.

          You are just spreading lies because we are not talking about your favorite platform, dude.

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          • You haven’t upgraded your operating system in 10 years? lawl. I hope it’s at least the 64bit edition but somehow I doubt it…

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            • No I haven’t upgraded my DAW OS in ten years, its very stable and all my plugins works perfectly. I haven’t had a chance to test it all on my other W7 boxes, because you know, I prefer to make music rather than being on the cutting edge of operating systems.

              XP is ten years old, OSX is ten years old. What’s wrong with that?

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              • Well, the UNIX tech OS X is built on goes back 40 years to the legendary programmers at Bell Labs and later work by researchers at UC-Berkeley so I agree using an operating system based on decades of solid computer science research is certainly recommended.

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              • Its funny you say that because Android is based on the same “solid computer science research”, yet you claim Android is crap because you have access to the filesystem. Go figure.

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              • Android is built on Java, which like Microsofts cheap off-brand “C#” copy, is utter crap. Google should stick to search engines.

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            • This is not true, some Andoid APPS are in Java, some in C. The Android kernel and OS are based on Linux/Unix

              Really, just look up those things before spreading your lies around, you’re really making a fool out of yourself.

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      • +1 for shared documents folder. This is the main reason I don’t update and sync my iPads. I got duplicate files throughout apps. 2 64 GB iPads with space being wasted due to the lack of a file system. 3 GB free on each one.
        I’ll take a updated iOS over a iPad 3-2s, retina update any day. Being able to manage your files is where a Windows Tablet will shine.
        The iPad is soon to have all that horsepower with a OS in a Apple Cobra Clutch. Choking the shit out of it.

        FREE iOS!

        I don’t give a shit about siri, retina display or a damn camera.

        FREE THE iPads OS!!

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    • Now the only question is…what Windows app is worth running? I can’t really think of any. I guess AutoCAD? Except I don’t work in Architecture a

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  4. Yes, most Windows software will be able to run on ARM, just not all. But developers will change their codes to work on ARM pretty quickly, so I wouldn’t worry about it so much. Then you’ll just have to update, no biggie.

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  5. I e used lots of ios music apps and they are all beyond terrible (apart from maybe novelty stuff like thicket) so it shouldn’t be hard

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  6. regarding H’s comment – mate, i don’t know what iOS apps you’ve used, but if you are seriously saying apps like nano studio, beatmaker2, sunrizer, animoog, ims20, tabletop, addictive synth, and upcoming things like auria, etc. etc. are beyond terrible, i’d like to know what exactly you expect of your music software, regardless of platform.

    okay, now to windows 8. i’m an unashamed apple fanboy, but it seems to me that more windows 8 apps can only be a good thing. when apple transitioned to intel, there was a huge equalising of the music application markets. it became a lot easier to port (newer) code from windows to mac and vice-versa. this had a powerful effect on pricing but also levelled the field a bit. loads of cool software that was either windows only or mac only became cross-platform. from what i understand about the dev process for win8, porting x86/x64 apps across to the ARM architecture won’t be that hard. similarly if you write code for a mac, it’s not a huge leap to port it to iOS. the dev tools do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. so in theory at least, more apps on either platform individually should mean more apps on both

    the only problem i can see is that microsoft isn’t really a hardware manufacturer, which means OEMS could load up new windows 8 desktops and tablets with crap that ruins performance and interoperability in order to drive down costs. this is what happened with pretty much all the previous versions of windows.

    now, i recognise that this doesn’t affect music pros, who, if they’re unfortunate enough to use windows (boom! had to get it in somewhere) tend to build their own machines, run clean installs of windows, know what the hell they’re doing, etc.

    problem is, that won’t be an option with a tablet, and just as with os fragmentation on android, and apple’s undoubted price advantage through their insane domination of supply chain and retail, windows 8 might become an absolute mess.

    but sincerely, i hope not.

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  7. I think these Windows tablets are great. Not everyone can afford Apple quality, now less economically successful people can join the tablet revolution too!

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  8. bah humbug!

    it would take windows or android five years to catch up to where iOS music apps are NOW, next few months we will see greater apps come out and what will they do? of course developers would love to make their apps work on these other platforms but its too unstable and the market is much smaller

    wednesday will reveal more amazing things from apple no doubt, so that will put the other platforms even further back.

    despite the higher price, apple tablets rule the roost, we all know it. you can even get an ipad2 or a 4s phone on contract at a 3 store for a very reasonable down payments and monthly payment plan, so that accounts for even many joe and jane bloggs having them

    its is not a pro apple thing but a basic fact of life, iOS is the most functional and desirable platform for mobile music making.

    press dislike if you will, but do me a favor, wait until after wednesdays apple event:)

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    • hey, i said wait till wednesday till u press dislike….impatient, lol, youll need patience waiting for windows to catch up, lots of it lol

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  9. Sorry but I think people still trying to justify using Windows are on the wrong side of history…

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  10. seriously? sounds like two cats fighting on lsd.
    all these mobile applets are weaker then free synthedit plugins.
    the power just isn’t there to support enough dsp to make it worth the investment.
    if you already own one, then it’s all about how much of a gadget it is to you.
    because the limited touch sensitivity and accuracy is less then to be desired.

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  11. Apple is on ver 3 of something that works superbly, with thousands of audio/music apps that are ver 2 or 3.

    Microsoft has a long way to catch up before they get thousands of developers who would even want to develop on that platform, and after that perhaps/eventually happens, Apple will be even more years ahead.

    Good luck with that, Microsoft. and good luch to all users that want to choose something that is years behind and lacks apps….

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    • Yeah version 3 with the same limited OS from 2007-2010. The only major update besides code efficiency was the addition of core midi. Yeah the apps are good but the “workflow” is not there if using multiple apps. Audio copy paste and Open in sucks. The Lack of a filesytem and better multitasking really holds it back.

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 5
  12. This debate will get a lot more interesting when they announce logic pro for iPad 3 tomorrow.

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  13. You people are missing the point. AudioMulch (mmm…. metasurface) and VST’s on a tablet. As an iPad owner, *do* want.

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  14. Putting the overhead of Windows onto a tablet will guarantee that MS has the slowest, heaviest, hottest, and worst battery life of any tablet on the market. Then you get to the second obvious problem… even if your favorite Windows apps will run on a tablet, they won’t be set up for a touch interface. That means they will be nearly unusable unless you plug in a mouse and keyboard. And if you do that, you just have a crappy laptop.

    Seriously, the touch interface doesn’t magically work with existing apps, and an interpretation layer will not be enough to bring you good functionality. The apps will require a complete update to be functional, and it is really doubtful that you will get very many developers that are interested in doing that.

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    • Yeah, there are a lot of questions to be answered before deciding if Win 8 tablet is going to work in practice. What I’ve heard is the opposite, however: Some reviewers are stating that working with traditional desktop apps is confusing because the Metro interface (which replaces Aero) makes interfacing with a mouse/keyboard odd. There was a registry switch that allowed the user to revert back to Aero but some are reporting it’s missing from recent Win 8 updates.

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    • Seriously, have you tried Nanostudio for Windows on a tablet before writing that? Or any Windows tablet for that matter? Or an OSX tablet if you prefer (modbook)?

      I use Cubase with VST’s on mine all the time (Motion Computing), and yes its true some buttons are small and you need to be precise, but it works very well, even if those apps have not been “set up for a touch interface”.

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 3
  15. So we all agree Android is NOT good for music apps? In the video the reaction is fast like on the iPAD.. Something i have failed to see on a Android Tablet…

    Most of discussion is a pull/push between the future of iOS and Win8, but no one it seems want to defend android… Hmmm….

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  16. reading all the comments here should prove WHY you never take computer advice from musicians. Go ask a nerd.

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