The Ubuntu Desktop, lacking the technology and innovation of the iPad, is loosing ground in the race for a common desktop. This article provides three reasons the iPad is dominating and why Apple is making money while Canonical is struggling.
A Focus on Hardware
The iPad is installed on specifically engineered hardware designed to work perfectly with the iPad software. This one concept is extremely powerful as Apple benefits by configuring specific software to work with one variable for each aspect of the iPad. This makes it easier for engineers, designers, training, support and yes ultimately the user. Engineers create drivers for one wireless device, 4G LTE in the new iPad, which allows them to focus on a flawless release.
This is compared to the unbelievable number of wireless devices Ubuntu must be configured to be able to use. I don’t know how many times people ask me, can you help me set up my wireless device? Like, if you have installed one they are all the same. Hey, if you have installed Ubuntu on multiple machines you know the agony can be different on each device because there are thousands of manufactures or wireless devices. Apple is able to engineer a device driver for one option while Ubuntu users demand Ubuntu to be able to install wireless technology for Ubuntu on most hardware that was not designed for Ubuntu, in fact designed for Windows. This is an incredible requirement by the Ubuntu community…it is just not realistic.
A Focus on Support
Because Apple is able to focus on limited hardware, support is relatively simple. Apple users always are talking about how easy it is, well this is part of the reason. Apple saves money, creates margin and is able to provide greater satisfaction to users, all because they focus on one hardware device like the new iPad.
Ubuntu on the other hand, is cursed by the impossible task of being required to support all types of hardware which it was never designed for and will never be able to satisfy users completely. Anyone in a support role for the Ubuntu desktop knows the frustration of limitless options.
A Focus on Social Acceptance
Apple has been able to create a frenzy over the new iPad with it’s new Retina Display display providing 2048×1536 resolution, voice dictation and 4G LTE. The new iPad will boast a 5 megapixel camera, a new A5X chip for a processor which provides quad core graphics making it four times faster than competitors. It is incredible that in just a few years the iPad is so socially accepted, mainly because of the technology that is consolidated on the device. Apple is able to provide the end user with a product they want simply because they can focus all of their resources and innovation into one device.
Ubuntu which hit the world scene with excitement has failed to create a frenzy on the desktop and in the process spent considerable resources with little financial return. Because of the wide loop Ubuntu has thrown around so many devices from so many different manufacturers, they are simply drifting further behind. I talk with large corporations every week and I have not found one moving or even discussing movement to an Ubuntu desktop. However, every company I talk to is testing or has already started rolling out the iPad for some special purpose within the organization. Let’s face it Ubuntu and Linux in general is loosing ground in the desktop market because they are so widely focused they cannot provide what the consumer/user wants.
Focus: A Tale of Two Different Paths
The two organizations are going down two different paths. Apple has recently become the most valuable company in the world and is still grabbing market share from everyone. Ubuntu, on the other hand, which originally received $10 million funding from Mark Shuttleworth has announced as of April 2012 it will no longer fund Kubuntu. Financially, they are going in different directions with different philosophies. One a corporation focused on making money while the other, providing a free desktop to the world. Oh, maybe that’s the difference, Ubuntu providing open source technology for a world of people instead of marketing a product for those who have the cash.