Air meets iPad

A report claims anecdotal evidence of the 11.6-inch MacBook Air eating into iPad sales. Is that what Apple means when it says the MacBook has met the iPad?

A report on Friday claimed "anecdotal evidence" of the 11.6-inch MacBook air cannibalizing the iPad. Hmm...so, is that what Steve Jobs meant by iPad-meets-MacBook?

MacBook meets the iPad.  Either-or buying decision?
MacBook meets the iPad. Either-or buying decision? Apple

This research note came to me Friday from Ashok Kumar, an analyst at Rodman & Renshaw. "Signs of cannibalization: There is anecdotal evidence that the MacBook Air is cannibalizing the iPad. A fully functional notebook in a very attractive form factor may be resonating more with consumers than a content consumption only device."

That "content consumption only device" being the iPad, of course.

So, is this what happens when the iPad meets the 11.6-inch MacBook Air ? Consumers walk away with the MacBook instead?

If only slightly true, it's an interesting twist on a trend that's actually going in the other direction. Nvidia believes next-generation Android tablets will obviate the need for traditional laptops, as tablets become more adept at multitasking and begin to approach the processing power of low-end laptops.

And hybrids make this argument seemingly irrelevant. The Windows-based Dell Duo fuses a laptop with a tablet. If that kind of design proves popular, who needs a boring, old traditional laptop?

For now, the smaller MacBook Air looks and feels a lot like an iPad with a built-in keyboard. Until we're well into 2011, we won't know who's cannibalizing whom. But my money is on the tablet doing the devouring. With the iPad leading the way.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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