Apple's Tim Cook: No Mac, iPad Convergence Plans - InformationWeek

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11/16/2015
02:05 PM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Commentary
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Apple's Tim Cook: No Mac, iPad Convergence Plans

In an interview with an Irish newspaper Apple CEO Tim Cook said there are no plans to create a Mac and iPad hybrid.

Surface Pro 4 Vs. iPad Pro: High-End Hybrid Showdown
Surface Pro 4 Vs. iPad Pro: High-End Hybrid Showdown
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

As the iPad Pro became available to the public last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook oversaw the launch from the UK in what appears to have been an effort to bring some international recognition to the company's new business-minded tablet.

During the trip, Cook spoke with The Telegraph on Nov. 10, and asked a meta-rhetorical question while discussing the new product: "I think if you're looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?"

When Cook says "PC," he clearly means either a Microsoft Windows-based machine, a Linux PC, or a Chromebook -- for the truly geeky.

However, Cook does think that a substitution effect will occur.

(Image: EdStock/iStockphoto)

(Image: EdStock/iStockphoto)

"Yes, the iPad Pro is a replacement for a notebook or a desktop for many, many people," Cook said during his interview with the Telegraph. "They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones."

However, Cook says he doesn't believe the future holds any place for a "converged" device that combines the Mac and the iPad. To emphasize that point, he told The Independent in Ireland on Nov. 15:

We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad. Because what that would wind up doing, or what we're worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You'd begin to compromise in different ways.

Cook could have also been sending a subtle dig at one his company's rivals. In this case, not Microsoft, but Google, since it appears the company is moving closer to merging Chrome OS and Android, although Google has not officially said so specifically.

However, underlying Cook's statement is the fact Apple really has two software operating systems that it currently supports, Mac OS X and iOS. Each has been developed under certain assumptions -- the smaller screen of the iPhone for iOS 9, for example -- and the two operating systems have differing capabilities.

Mac OS X adheres more to traditional computing operational concepts like local storage of data and individual file manipulation. iOS was built for a cloud data storage model and apps that control file data manipulation without much direct user input.

Mac OS X and iOS have totally different system architectures.

As an example, one major operational difference between the two is multitasking. Multiple application windows can be open at the same time and are switchable without interruption. Multitasking can be done simply on Mac OS X and is limited only by the memory available. This feature is constrained in iOS 9 to the Split View that handles only two side-to-side views of applications, and only if the feature has been coded into the specific app.

[Read more about the technology behind the iPad Pro.]

Indeed, iOS is made for a less complicated model of computing than Mac OS X, which may be just fine for some. If all one wishes to do is to consume information through a browser or app, then there is little difference between the two operating systems. In that case, both will do that well.

However, Cook is spot-on to think that some will want their computers to do much more than what a large, fast iPad can perform for them. Apple is addressing both styles of computer use by providing products optimized for both segments of the market. One merged machine will not bind them all here.

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Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek. He has written a book on the Secure Electronic Transaction Internet ... View Full Bio
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Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
11/24/2015 | 10:47:27 PM
Re: No convergence
Ha, true that. Off subject, this conversation reminds me why I like the new "PC does what!?" ad campaign. PCs are now the underdogs of the computing world, and people who like them (and like the local storage and the control it imparts) are too.
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
11/23/2015 | 4:56:45 AM
Re: No convergence
Or local storage.....

[smiles]
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
11/22/2015 | 10:28:27 PM
Re: No convergence
larryloeb, I suppose we all get the devices we deserve. I was thinking the same thing about presidents the other day, and it's true for devices. If you're an open trusting person, perhaps you are meant to have a device that stores only to the cloud. If you're reserved, untrusting ... better get some USB ports.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
11/20/2015 | 12:37:14 PM
Re: No convergence
@Susan - I'm saying there's no point to even talk about it as if it's an option because it's not.  I'm saying he's blowing smoke. 
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
11/20/2015 | 11:03:27 AM
Re: No convergence
And this seems to be just what Cook was saying here. He wants to give us the choices we want in what Apple sells, rather than forcing a compromise.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
11/20/2015 | 10:43:24 AM
Re: No convergence
Larry, yes! :) 

I love ForceTouch. :) Yes, we have different preferences about storage. The most important is that our choices work for us, and we are happy with them. 

-Susan 
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
11/20/2015 | 9:21:01 AM
Re: No convergence
Let a thousand flowers bloom.

I just bought a new Macbook for a family member.. I understand the optimizations. I dont like the new ForceTouch pad much, but that is just me. I'm not sure what USB 3 will mean longterm.

I backup religiously. But data can always be lost.

We both have made choices. I am wondering about the GreatUnwashed this holiday seaon. They have a desire for product, but I worry they will choose wrongly for themselves.

 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
11/20/2015 | 8:44:13 AM
Re: No convergence
Larry, 

The beauty of the conversation is that we all can express our opinions and points of view, exchanging information and perspectives. :)

There is always a risk of losing data, one way or another. You say it can be hacked if it's in the cloud. But if it's stored locally, external hard drive, or old DVDs something can happen and you lose your data.

So, we all have to choose and make decisions about data storage. I choose iCloud because it works for me.

Companies like Apple, or Evernote have several datacenters distributed in different parts of the world, and they have backup datacenters.

When Apple launched the MacBook (called only the MacBook) in November last year, Tim Cook explained why it didn't have USB ports. It's a device thought for those who prefer cloud storage and don't have the need to connect anything to the Mac. It's a fantastic device, lighter and thinner than the MacBook Air. :) 

-Susan 
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
11/20/2015 | 6:13:11 AM
Re: No convergence
@Susan

Allow me to be reactionary here.

I see an increasing need for local storage, even mass storage like DVDs, over time.

The assumption we all make about the cloud is that it has unfettered bandwidth and response.

But data traffic jams can only increase as data consumption increases. Hence, the fast lane kind of debates.

And that ignores the entire question of having private stuff out there that can be hacked.
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
11/20/2015 | 6:08:07 AM
Re: No convergence
Perhaps the hybrid is just unnecessary?

I'm not sure I see that a hybrid would bring anything to the user that they cannot already get from an existing device.

You got a choice now. A hybrid would be just a huge string of compromises.
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