Without naming rival Windows 8 tablets specifically, Tim Cook says convertible laptop-tablet systems are kludgy compromises
that will please no one. Microsoft and its tablet partners disagree.
8 Tablets That Will Run Windows 8 Now
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Apple CEO Tim Cook said his company plans to continue to produce separate lines of notebooks and tablets for the foreseeable future because hybrid systems that attempt to combine the power of the former and the portability of the latter end up pleasing no one.
"You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but you know those things are not going to be probably pleasing to the user," said Cook, during a conference call with analysts Tuesday, during which he announced that iPad sales were up a whopping 151%, year-over-year, in the second quarter.
Cook didn't mention Apple's chief rival by name, but there's little doubt his comments were aimed at Microsoft and its hardware partners, which later this year plan to introduce Windows 8 systems with convertible form factors that allow them to transform from laptops to tablets.
"Anything can be forced to converge," said Cook. "But the problem is that the products are about tradeoffs. You begin to make tradeoffs to the point that what you have left at the end of the day doesn't please anyone."
Cook said that, despite the booming popularity of the iPad, "I also believe there is a very good market for the MacBook Air."
[ Get expert guidance on Microsoft Windows 8. InformationWeek's Windows 8 Super Guide rounds up the key news, analysis, and reviews that you need. ]
"I do think it appeals to someone who has a little bit different requirements. And you wouldn't want to put these things together because you wind up compromising both and not pleasing the user. Some people will own both, and that's great there. But I think to make the compromises of convergence, we're not going to that party. Others might," said Cook.
The "others" are Microsoft and its OEM partners. A number of them already offer laptop-tablet convertibles that can run the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Available models include the HP EliteBook, Dell Inspiron Duo, and the Fujitsu Lifebook. Those vendors and others are expected to ship new, Windows 8 convertible devices when the OS is released for shipping, most likely this fall.
Other Microsoft partners, including Asus and Lenovo, are expected to eventually ship tablet-only Windows 8 devices that run on ARM-based chips manufactured by Qualcomm, Nvidia, or Lenovo. There are signs, however, that Windows on ARM (or Windows RT) tablets will not ship until after Intel-based Windows 8 systems hit the market.
Microsoft has said that all Windows on ARM tablets will ship with a touch-optimized version of Office 15 pre-installed. Earlier this month, documents leaked to the Internet showed that Office 15 may not be ready until early next year, implying that Windows on ARM tablets won't be available until 2013. Microsoft has not commented.
InformationWeek is conducting a survey on the state of enterprise applications and business processes and organizations' priorities in evolving technology over the next 12 to 24 months. Upon completion of our survey, you will be eligible to enter a drawing to receive an 32-GB Apple iPod Touch. Take our Enterprise Applications Survey now. Survey ends April 27.
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security EnterpriseTo learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
2017 State of IT ReportIn today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.