Copywriter, technical writer, translator (FR>EN, ES>EN, IT>EN), journalist

Stuff Apple's iPad should copy from Windows RT

I’m known as an Apple guy, but I gladly try a new technology before I form an opinion of it.

That trait served me in good stead when Microsoft’s Canadian PR reps sent me an ASUS Vivo Tab RT running Windows RT for review. (Why not a Surface? I’m told they’re in short supply.)

Windows RT is really something else. Slick, original enough to not really count as an iPad/iOS knockoff, feature-packed, Windows RT is all this and more, proof that Microsoft has been busy producing the best tablet OS it can manage.

In fact, there are several things Apple ought to consider stealing from Windows and putting in iOS. (Given the documented history between the two companies, Microsoft might spot Apple a freebie, but I’ve been wrong before on such matters.)

Multiple user IDs

Many people share tablets, which makes things a little uncomfortable when you want to use apps that contain personal information, like social media, calendars, contacts, mail and so forth.

Microsoft lets you create multiple user IDs on RT. I created a Guest ID in addition to my own that I use whenever other people want to try this tablet.

Picture passwords

Choose a picture, then perform three specific gestures on it. The gestures serve as an alternative to typing a password on the tablet. Very slick, very easy.

Charms bar

When you’re in an app, swiping in from the right bezel brings up a bar with five icons on it – the same five icons for every Windows RT app. And they’re really useful too.

The swipe also brings up a box in the bottom left corner that shows the time, date, network and battery levels, information you don’t need on your screen at all times.


Swipe the Charms bar into view and touch Search. You quickly search the tablet (apps, settings and files) and the operation takes fewer steps than it does in iOS.

App settings

Again, from the Charms Bar, choose Settings.

Where iOS clusters all the settings in the “Settings” app, forcing people to leave the app to change them, Windows RT makes settings accessible from within the app itself. This is really helpful when you first start using a given app.

System-wide Windows RT settings are in the same place.

App switching

Microsoft couldn’t have made this much easier.

  • Swipe in from the left bezel to switch to another open app.
  • Swipe in, then back out to get a list of apps currently open.
  • Swipe from top to bottom to close the current app.
  • Touch the Windows logo on the bezel to switch between the Home screen and the currently open app.

This blog post lists stuff business users will like about Windows RT, as well as stuff that the blogger wasn’t impressed with.

What do you like about Windows RT so far? Let me know in the comments below.