The Trials And Tribulations Of Running Windows And Office On Your iPad

You’re a Mac user, right? So, why would you want to run Windows on your Mac? The truth is, sometimes there are apps or games that just run better on a Windows PC than on a Mac.

Also, there are many business applications that are Windows-only, though the world is changing. Apple’s penalty for losing the operating system wars (Mac vs. Windows) to Microsoft is that the Mac is the most profitable personal computer on the planet.

The future of computing isn’t on the desktop, it’s in your hand. Or, in the case of iPad users, on your lap (and in your hand).

What if you want to run Windows and Office, but you’re increasingly using your iPad and you don’t really want to fork over $500 to $1,000 for a Windows PC notebook with Office?

Use your iPad to run Windows and Office. Here’s what it looks like.

PowerPoint on an iPad

That’s an iPad screenshot running Windows and a PowerPoint slide show. It’s on my iPad.

Here’s my web site on Internet Explorer on my iPad.

Internet Explorer on iPad

Not bad, huh?

How did I get Windows and Office to run on my iPad? There’s an app for that. It’s OnLive Desktop. The app is free. With it, you get Windows streamed over the internet to your iPad. And it works.

$5 a month gets you access to Windows, the latest Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, a bunch of other built-in Windows apps, and it all fits on your Mac’s screen.

What about the trials and tribulations?

There are few, but they exist. Screen response for clicks (finger touches) and swipes and pinch are a little slow. That’s because Windows and Office (and all the other apps) are actually running on a humongous server farm somewhere.

All you get on your iPad is what would show up on a PC screen. Windows and Office.

The onscreen keyboard is definitely sucky. The finger touch pointer misses the mark quite a bit (compare that to iPhone and iPad apps). And, everything runs a little slower than it would normally on a dedicated PC.

But it’s not bad. You can store you files using OnLive’s cloud storage. Or, you can use Dropbox, which is built-in to OnLive.

One more thing. Using Windows on a tablet is clunky at best. It’s not smooth and fluid, as are iPad apps. And the Office interface definitely isn’t made for the iPad’s screen and finger touching.

But it works. Windows and Office peacefully coexisting on your iPad.

In Memory of Tera Jean Patricks, 1959 - 2006

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