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Yes, Microsoft wants Windows 8 to compete with iPads

Tim Greene | March 22, 2012
If there was any doubt that Microsoft wants to grab some of the iPad market, there's none any more: Now Microsoft has a web page that shows developers how to translate iPad apps into Windows 8 ones with a Metro style look and feel.

If there was any doubt that Microsoft wants to grab some of the iPad market, there's none any more: Now Microsoft has a web page that shows developers how to translate iPad apps into Windows 8 ones with a Metro style look and feel.

"In this case study we want to help designers and developers who are familiar with iOS to reimagine their apps using Metro style design principles," says the blog. "We show you how to translate common user interface and experience patterns found in iPad apps to Windows 8 Metro style apps."

Why would anyone want to do that? "To learn more about the business opportunity of Windows 8, see Selling Apps," the posting says early on. Ultimately that leads to a site with this enticement: "With successful apps on Windows, you'll make more money than the industry standard, earning 80% of every customer dollar, after an app makes more than 25,000 USD in sales. For the first 25,000 USD of an app's sales, you get the industry-standard 70%."

Money aside, the case-study post shows how an iPad photo journal application was adapted to fit with Metro style. Both Windows 8 and iOS on iPads cater to touch commands and navigation, but where iPads rely on icons and toolbars, Windows 8 centers around words on tiles and hiding toolbars.

In converting to Windows 8 the first thing to go from the iPad app is the "chrome" - the navigation bar, pagination controls and the bottom control bar, resulting in a less cluttered application surface. In the Windows 8 version, they are gone but are less necessary because the navigation hierarchy is flattened.

For example, the hub screen for the iPad app shows a single photo for each of the 12 months, with a tab to switch to comments about the photos.

In the Windows 8 version the hub screen is a single month with a featured large photo for the month with other, smaller photos from that month displayed next to it. About a third of the same screen is devoted to comments. For more comments, tap (it's designed for touchscreen) the Recent Comment header. For more pictures, tap the This Month header.

A second navigation alternative involves pinch to zoom - making a pinching gesture while touching the screen to pull out hierarchically from a single photo to sets of 12 squares or tiles, each set representing a different year. Users can, for instance, go from a photo from March 2012 to a photo from July 2010 by pinching the March photo, zooming out to the sets of tiles, tapping the one for July 2010 and sorting through the photos that are brought up. There is no navigation bar.

 

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