Tim Cook thinks Apple's iPad + MacBook Air strategy is better than Microsoft's Windows 8 everywhere plan

Tim Cook thinks Apple's iPad + MacBook Air strategy is better than Microsoft's Windows 8 everywhere plan

During the Q2 2012 Apple conference call, CEO Tim Cook was asked if, like Microsoft is doing with Windows 8, the iPad and the MacBook Air would inevitable converge into a single product line. Cook thinks not.

Forcing a tablet and an PC together, in Cook's view, is a forced convergence and something that creates a compromised experience for users. He likened it to making a combined toaster and refrigerator, and said it results in tradeoffs that don't please anyone.

Cook's use of the word "compromise" is interesting because Microsoft has been using that word extensively in their pre-Windows 8 hype. Microsoft has been claiming that Windows 8, because it can run desktop apps on a tablet, and run across tablets and desktop environments, is a "no-compromises" solution. To their thinking, an iPad can't do what a PC can do, so it's a compromised device.

It's the classic contention. Apple compromises on what each platform can do so that each device is best at what it does. Microsoft is compromising on what the platform can do so each device can do more.

There really is no such thing as "no-compromises". One of the first lessons you learn in life is that can't have everything. There's opportunity cost to every decision. Microsoft's "no compromises" is and will always be utter BS, they've simply chosen different compromises and hoped it's a better choice.

Microsoft is doing a lot of interesting things with Windows 8 and you can never discount them from any market, even tablets, regardless of how far behind they may seem to be.

Some users will prefer a refrigerator that also makes toast, be it a Windows 8 device that can run full-on Office, or a MacBook Air with a detachable screen that can run iOS as a tablet.

But if Tim Cook is to be believed, Apple isn't going to be making that product now, or for the foreseeable future.

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Tim Cook thinks Apple's iPad + MacBook Air strategy is better than Microsoft's Windows 8 everywhere plan

35 Comments

How cool would an Apple freezer-toaster be?! The instant-pizza app would take the pizza from the freezer section, insert it into the toaster section and Siri would call you when it was piping hot.

But since it's Apple you would be prohibited from adding your own toppings. And the pizzas would cost twice as much as other frozen pizzas.
As for the blog post, I agree with Cook. There will always be things a PC is better at than a tablet, and vice versa. That's why I always shake my head when people point to iPad sales figures and claim that we've entered the post-PC era. We've simply entered the tablet+PC era.

Kinda-sorta
With Cloud services all over and companies offering Windows access through tablets, it's pretty much "post-PC" minus the computers that have to run the software being accessed by the tablet.
I believe that latest iteration of Ubuntu allows you to install the OS alongside Android, so that essentially makes you "post-PC".

Ah PC is better at having a lower price tag while being unable to keep your food cold as a refrigerator and burning your toast when you put it on the light toast setting. A PC is better at running a buggy, top heavy, bottom light, weak legged, POS that crashes, seizes up randomly, and starts to suddenly run like crap when it was running fine for over a year, right around the time that a new version of Windows appears for release. I'm so sick and tired of Windows that I will only use it for gaming and am upgrading my home studio to run it from my 2008 used Macbook Pro which is faster and more stable than my Windows PC with the same hardware specs. Thanks, but I'll take my iPad 2 and my Macbook Pro over a converged Windows experience. My Mac tech works flawlessly and does what I need it to do. Thank you Mr. Cook.

The gentlemen doth protest too much, methinks. In my comment I was using the term "PC" literally as "personal computer," not as in "Windows PC." So I was talking about the Air(tm) as well, in agreement with Cook's comments.

but then people would make apps for my apple fridge-toaster to make whatever kind of pizza i want out of the ingredients in my fridge. no one would make that for an android fridge-toaster, there just isnt a market for that.

Thank god Apple isn't going down the convergence route and turning macbooks into mobile phones unlike MS. Really, I want my macbook to be a macbook and not a large iPhone! I have an iPhone for that purpose.

Ditto! And i want my ipad to be an ipad and not some large looking iphone too! Oh wait second...

you are talking nonsense..... apple doesn't bring the whole experience 'all together' because they have to spend years developing it, something MS has been doing these years..... but the truth is that apple is 'wishing' their whole OS platform be like W8 will be .... LOL
YOU APPLE ROBOT FANS WITH ADS DEVELOPED BRAINS .... LOLLLL

Another way to look at is that Apple is pushing the toaster-freezer compromise to the Application level, not the OS level. Admittedly, there are a slew of application classes for which this is irrelevant, but if for many apps, this is a concern.
With a single Win 8, MS is trying to do that for the developer, by giving them a single platform. Microsoft's compromise is that it will undoubtedly lead to some least-common-denominator choices in application design and ux.
With a separate iOS and OSX, Apple demands each developer choose for themselves how to compromise. Ideally, devs should do this anyways, but making separate versions of applications, as well as a file format that either platform can ingest, work on, and spit back to the sister platform with no loss of fidelity is a non-trivial task. Apple's compromise is that there will be less developers out there who can meet that high bar, which could lead to more apps (more business vertical apps, really) being on another platform.
You (and I) can sneer at the average quality of VB* apps over the past couple of decades, but they have run a LOT businesses, small medium, and large.
Voltaire's "the best is the enemy of the good" applies here for businesses. Getting something "good enough" now for a lower cost is often preferable to getting the "best" later and for more money. This is Win 8's possible entry point -- MS is hopelessly behind Apple to compete with the iPad toe-to-toe, but, if they can create a platform developers can use to make all those department/trucking/medical practice applications businesses demand more nimbly than they can on Apple products, they have an in -- perhaps not to dominance, but to relevance and profitability.
With apologies to Tim Cook, sometimes quick and easy can please a lot of people.

So Tim Cook thinks Apples strategy is better than the competitors strategy ?! :shock:
Would be surprised if he thought Microsoft had better strategy AND admitted to it :lol:

^ this
but... Apple is the one sitting on a massive cash reserve that the other companies don't have. Some part of their strategy is clearly working.

Wrong. Having a lot of cash in business is harder than not having money. You need to use that money somehow, it can't simply lay on the floor. And making a bad move can cost you a lot.

+1
And Apple was the one that implied that its systems and products would converge, with the whole "back to the Mac" thing.
A while ago the whole Apple blogosphere was jubilant to think iOS and OS X would converge. Now, all of a sudden, it´s the worst idea under the sun.

Good point. Everyone was rooting for iOS + OS X and now its like some forsaken equation. I believe its industry hate for what MS is doing with Windows 8 and (like it or not) Windows 8 will be a success. It may or may not end up the ideal way MS intends but it will sell and it will be on every machine not called an Apple (minus a few Linux machines out there).

This is a non story. Of course the CEO will say that our plan is better than a competitor's. So why is this worthy of a separate post from the basic earnings call posting?

I own all three platforms - Playbook, Android, and iPad 2 and 3. Frankly they are all missing something - none of them are a do-all. And until someone fixes the short comings of their products the market is ripe for competition. Microsoft is very late to the "tablet" party, but Windows is still the only platform that does it all. Windows 8 will be a slow burn, but they will consume them all. The sleeping giant is Microsoft, and with Steve Jobs out of the picture, there is no one smart enough to stop them this time.

Then please... oh please, stop bringing iOS-inspired $*#($#@ to OSX!
I own an iPad (and iPod touch). I love iOS. But I also love my OSX desktop. I hate much of what has already happened to Lion, and fear what Mt. Lion will be bringing. I'm hating how apps like iCal have been trashed.
What I want in integration is good sync (that actually works) between iOS and OSX and for each to keep their best... something Apple took years to perfect on the Mac side, but lately has just been tossing to the wind with iOS-glee. I'd love to see a useable file-system or file-concept on iOS as well (as the current app-centric document concept is just not how people think or work).

This is why I am leaving windows and coming to apple. They are take a bad product and making it worse. I really love osx. I tried the windows 8 but to me it is for a tablet not everyday pc use.

I can understand that Apple doesn't believe in multi-function devices that are not "pure" and it sure helps to sell more hardware for now at least. They should however learn from the 7 inch tablet market and at least let other companies innovate on iOS. A few examples :

  • VMWare or another virtualization champion could let Windows run on an Ipad in the future. If Apple allowed it with boot camp & co, I don't see why a device with an even higher resolution than a Macbook couldn't do it.
  • thin clients : companies don't buy Macs by the dozens like they buy PCs. Although Apple allows thin client software on iOS they don't allow mice and docking stations with Ethernet connectivity.

I personally wouldn't need to carry around a laptop besides my Ipad if Apple would allow the above.
All these are wrong decisions from them : they are signs of hubris and a price will have to be paid some day.
Farid

In my opinion Microsoft strategy makes more sense. Anyone who used an iPad will tell you that iPads are a great product but the limitations are too frustrating. Anyone who says “Windows 8 doesn’t work well with a mouse and a keyboard,” is an idiot. It might work well with touch because in my opinion it has to do with future hardware. Microsoft designed it to work with a touch screen as well as keyboard and mouse. I am looking forward to seeing how they integrate, kinect, xbox, and Windows. The hardware manufacturers will design the hardware around the new OS. They have made a great product and give credit where it’s due. The new iPad has one of the best screens I have seen but I wish they have integrated more services to the IOS.
Android, success is because it offered more. Android is not as polished as IOS and neither the Apps are as good as IOS. But it just offered more.

PC's def do things a tablet can't. when u can program c and java on an ipad or run terminal then thats something

"Some users will prefer a refrigerator that also makes toast, be it a Windows 8 device that can run full-on Office,"
But is this windows 8? It's certainly not windows RT. I say there's no way Office for windows RT comes close to being the equal of Office on windows desktop. I've not seen one Metro app that looks capable of being anything more than a simple blown up widget.
Metro has nothing i want on my desktop. A windows ARM tablet isn't windows. Perhaps a x86/64 windows tablet might do the trick but then we're really back to what we already have.
Let's see Office 15 for windows RT first. This will the shining example of what Metro is capable of.

LOL, Apple doesn't compromise? Aren't they the company that only offers a single phone model and a single tablet model? What a ridiculous assertion.
I'm looking forward to an Asus Transformer type device running Windows 8. Combined with a networked hard drive and cloud services, it will meet all of my personal computing needs, along with 90%+ of all home pc users. The potential is huge. The days of everybody having a stand-alone pc are numbered. A market will continue, but it will shrink to more of a niche. Assuming, of course, that Microsoft doesn't screw up the opportunity.

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I think Apple's MacBook Air strategy to sales is to make it a consumer product. For Example- the MacBook Pro is geared towards Professional users (hence the "Pro" name...) . But, since the 2nd gen MacBook Air, Apple has started to make it a consumer product by adding consumer features, the 11" model, and the lower price tag. In 2008, at its launch, it was looked at as a hobbyist Mac that had a very high price tag of over 2k.