During yesterday’s second quarter earnings call, CEO Time Cook expressed his opinion of the hybrid tablet/laptop devices that are being talked about in PC circles. While the company doesn’t mind integrating operating system features amongst iOS and OS X, Cook believes that the hybrid is a bad idea.
When asked about they hybrids, Windows 8 tablet/laptops to be specific, Cook responded, “anything can be forced to converge, but the problem is that products are about tradeoffs and you begin to make tradeoffs to the point where what you have left doesn’t please anyone. You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user.”
Cook is calling the hybrid development a “defensive move” because other tech companies are still struggling to find a way to break into the tablet market. While a hybrid is a new idea, it is not necessarily one to win over consumers. “The compromise of convergence- we’re not going to that party,” said Cook.
The idea of a tablet/laptop hybrid seems shortsighted. Why would anyone want a device that functions as a laptop, but has a touch screen, when the point of the tablet is lightweight mobility and efficiency? I admit, I have a keyboard case that makes my iPad look like a laptop, but I only use it when I need the extra keyboard power. I wouldn’t want it to be permanent. The joy of the iPad is less about the touch screen and more about the ability to take something lightweight and slim with me where ever I go, although the touch screen is pretty awesome.
What would be the benefits of a hybrid over a tablet or laptop? A hybrid would be thicker and heavier than a tablet. The keyboard would get in the way of the touch screen. The imbalance of the keyboard versus the screen would cause it to tip over unless the keyboard side was at least slightly heavier than the screen side. The extra mechanics would be a battery drain.
The concept of a hybrid that has a detachable keyboard is really the only viable device that could see movement in the market. Since Windows 8 is set to be released later this year, companies can incorporate the desktop version with the tablet version to allow for better compatibility. However, calling something like that a hybrid is a bit of a cheat since it is really just a tablet with a keyboard case. While Apple doesn’t make a keyboard case, there are a lot of fantastic ones on the market that do the trick.
If the hybrid does take off and make a dent in the market, the only thing Apple would have to do to compete is offer a fairly low-cost keyboard case. Then, the iPad could function as a laptop, but consumers wouldn’t be forced to buy they keyboard if they didn’t want it.
If I wanted a laptop, I’d buy an actual laptop, not a tablet with a keyboard. Really, the hybrid is just a crippled laptop, isn’t it?
[via The Verge]