Tablets

Apple's Cook on the iPad Pro: 'Why would you buy a PC anymore?'

With the new tablet going on sale this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook touts it as a replacement for desktop and laptop computers. But what about iMacs and MacBooks?

Cook shows off the iPad Pro at the tablet's unveiling in September 2015. Will the keyboard-friendly device take the place of desktops and laptops?

James Martin/CNET

Tim Cook thinks the iPad Pro could spell the end of the personal computer.

"Why would you buy a PC anymore?" the Apple boss said in an interview with The Telegraph. "No really, why would you buy one?"

Cook, Apple's chief executive, is in Britain for the launch of the oversize, 12.9-inch iPad Pro tablet, which supports an add-on keyboard made by the company. The device goes on sale Wednesday on Apple's website and will be available from Apple stores, authorized retailers and some wireless carriers later in the week in more than 40 countries.

Cook said he sees the Pro not just as a compliment to a computer but as a substitute.

"The iPad Pro is a replacement for a notebook or a desktop for many, many people," he told The Telegraph. "They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones."

The iPad Pro takes Apple's famous tablet in a new direction as the company's share of the tablet market slips. Last quarter, iPad sales fell 20 percent from the same period a year earlier, to 9.9 million units, the seventh quarter in a row that sales have fallen year over year and have failed to meet analyst estimates.

If tablet buyers step up, swayed by the Pro's potential as a PC, where will that leave Apple's iMac desktops and MacBook laptops, not to mention its other iPads?

Cook said he's not losing any sleep over whether one Apple product is stealing sales from another. He talked about how this has happened with the large screen, 5.5-inch iPhone 6S Plus and the 8-inch iPad Mini.

The 6S Plus has "clearly created some cannibalisation -- which we knew would occur -- but we don't really spend any time worrying about that," he said. In fact, he joked, "as long as we cannibalise [ourselves], it's fine."

Cook also hinted at the possibility of future health or medical apps or gadgets for the Apple Watch . But he ruled out beefing up the Watch's medical qualifications, as he's unwilling to subject the smartwatch to the lengthy approval process required by US public health regulator the Food and Drug Administration.

While in Britain, Cook expressed concern about the UK's Investigatory Powers Bill. Nicknamed the "Snooper's Charter" by critics, the proposed legislation would let law enforcement and intelligence agencies demand unencrypted data from companies like Apple.

"We believe very strongly in end-to-end encryption and no back doors," Cook said, referring to coded communications and to holes built in to software and hardware to allow access by police and other government groups.

Repeating the line he's been using in recent interviews , he added that such holes give hackers access, too.

"Any back door is a back door for everyone," Cook said. "Opening a back door can have very dire consequences."