The excitement does not all come from running windows on iPad, which is a big deal in and of itself for many users including me, but more from running everything from cloud, where eventually your CPU shrinks to a peanut in size and capacity.
The app—a bare-bones, free version was released last week at CES—lets an iPad run Windows 7 in the cloud. It’s a bizarre, head-turning experience: You touch the app and suddenly Microsoft’s familiar interface is emblazoned on your Apple screen. Then you tap around and everything just works—Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Internet Explorer, and pretty much anything else that runs on Windows, which is everything—can now run on your iPad.
And it’s fast. Like OnLive’s video game service, which allows you to play HD games that don’t actually run on your own machine, every button you press on your iPadded Windows is sent back to OnLive’s servers in the cloud. All processing occurs there, and the resulting video is shuttled back to your screen. This circuitous route sounds like it would result in a jerky experience, but that’s what’s magical about OnLive: Somehow, it just works.