Bill Gates Thinks Netbooks Beat the iPad

Bill Gates (Gates Foundation bio img)

Now that Apple has taken the wraps off its forthcoming iPad, the Internet’s favorite pastime seems to have shifted from speculating about Apple tablet devices to pontificating about the seeming myriad of ways the iPad is a disappointment—with lack of Flash support, lack of a keyboard, lack of multitasking, and lack of a camera usually taking the top places on laundry lists of faults. Now Apple naysayers can count Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as an ally: Gates doesn’t think the iPad will be a game changer. In fact, he thinks netbooks will be the mainstream form of portable computing device for the immediate future.

Gates was famously very impressed with the Apple iPhone when it debuted in 2007, but In an interview with CBS Interactive’s management-oriented Web site Bnet, Gates opines the iPad didn’t blow him away. “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.’ It’s a nice reader, but there’s nothing on the iPad I look at and say, ‘Oh, I wish Microsoft had done it.'”

Instead, Gates feels netbooks will be the mainstream portable computing device going forward. “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.”


Of course, Gates’ track record with forecasting technology trends isn’t significantly better than most other mere mortals. Microsoft famously missed the bandwagon on the Internet revolution in the 1990s, and Microsoft’s efforts to take on the Apple iPod for dominance of the portable media player market have so far met with only scattered applause and remarkably little market traction. Microsoft has also been making operating systems for smartphones and other mobile devices for years, but still finds itself back on its heels from competitors like Apple, RIM, Palm, and Google’s open-source Android mobile operating system.

On the other hand, Microsoft has had no small measure of success in mainstream computer operating systems, and its Xbox 360 gaming platform has been embraced by consumers—and the company has successfully tied online media and gaming services to the console via a subscription model.

Few industry watchers expect the Apple iPad will deliver a coup de grace to netbooks—after all, netbooks are able to run many mainstream desktop applications without modification, whereas developers will have to craft whole new applications for the iPad if they want to bring mainstream computing capabilities to the device—and even then, they’ll be competing with Apple’s own iWork applications. But Apple doesn’t seem to have had any lack of developers working on apps for its iPhone, and the potential to carry that momentum over to a consumer electronics device that is not a mainstream computing platform remains substantial. Only time will tell.


Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.

The best iPad deals for December 2018

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for December 2018.

Apple iPad Pro 11 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4: Which top-tier tablet reigns supreme?

If you're in the market for a new tablet and you want something that can double up as a laptop in a pinch, then you owe it to yourself to check out the 11-inch Apple iPad Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. We compare the two here.
Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.

Apple is spending $1 billion to hire up to 15,000 new employees in Austin

Apple has announced a series of expansions across the U.S. -- including a massive expansion to the company's Austin campus that will see it spending $1 billion to accommodate for up to 15,000 new employees.

Costco members can cut up to $200 off MacBook and iMac price tags

Costco is discounting MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops by as much as $200 as part of a members-only sale. It also has deals on select MacBooks and iMacs, with optional Apple Care in most instances.

Need to record calls on an iPhone? Check out our handy guide

Are you wondering how to record calls on your iPhone? It isn't as easy as you might think, but we'll walk you through the process of doing so with Google Voice, and identify several other apps and external voice recorders that can help.

Style up your MacBook Air with one of these great cases or sleeves

Whether you’re looking for added protection or a stylish flourish, you’re in the right place for the best MacBook Air cases. We have form-hugging cases, luxurious covers and padded sleeves priced from $7 to $130. Happy shopping!

Ditch your smartphone for a year and win $100k from Vitaminwater

Vitaminwater is willing to part with $100,000 if you're willing to part with your smartphone partner for a year. Could you last for a year armed with only a 1996-era phone? Here's your chance to find out.

The best Apple Watch deals for December 2018

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.

The best MacBook deals for December 2018

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.

The best iPhone deals for December 2018

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for December 2018.