Apple's Cook right about PC-tablet fusion fantasy

Apple's chief executive expounds: A tablet and a PC is not a marriage made in heaven.

Apple's Tim Cook expounded on prior comments he has made on trying to shoehorn a PC into a tablet at the D10 conference last night. The Microsoft-Intel camp should listen.

Let's begin with what Cook said.

In my view, the tablet and the PC are different. You can do things with a tablet if you aren't encumbered by the legacy of a PC -- if you view it as different. If you say this is another PC, all of a sudden you're pulling all of the leadweight of the PC market and you wind up with something not as good.

Cook Continues.

Trying to do all those things that the OS of the PC does, and perhaps should do, it's trying to converge laptops and tablets and therefore you've got a clamshell kind of thing and you're lugging this thing with you, and so the industrial design is not optimized for tablet. People want tablets to be incredibly thin.
Intel Windows 8 hybrid concept.
Intel Windows 8 hybrid concept. Intel

He's right. A shotgun marriage between a PC and a tablet isn't going to produce an eminently elegant device along the lines of an iPad--or even a Motorola Xyboard or Samsung Galaxy Tab.

And consumers -- judging by Apple's success -- don't only want Apple tablets to be "incredibly thin" and light: they want the same from the Windows 8 competition.

Windows 8 tablets may get there but it's a tough nut to crack for hybrids.

Dell, for one, apparently isn't going to achieve that kind of elegance for its Windows 8 consumer hybrid. If the Neowin photo is accurate, it's a laptop that can function as a Windows 8 tablet but not a device that will win over hundreds of millions of consumers like the iPad.

In fact, the Dell Windows 8 hybrid looks a lot like the existing Inspiron Duo, which is OK but hardly a game changer.

Some will point to the Asus Transformer Prime as an example of a well-executed hybrid-like design. But that's really a great discrete tablet that (if you decide to pay the extra bucks) can connect with a good, but not great, keyboard dock.

That's not to say that there aren't consumers and corporations out there who are waiting for a hybrid Windows 8 tablet. But from Apple's trendsetting worldview, hybrids simply don't pass the elegance smell test.

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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