Apple’s CEO: No Convergence of iPad and MacBooks

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At today’s Financial Results Conference Call, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook was asked about a possible convergence of MacBooks and the iPad. Surprisingly, he responded and even outlined Apple’s strategy.


Analyst Toni Sacconaghi from Bernstein Research asked Mr. Cook about the prospect of a combo device, one that opens to become a notebook but closes up to become a tablet. That’s a product that many observers have pondered.

Normally, Apple executives defer on a discussion of future products, but this time Mr. Cook went into some detail about Apple’s philosophy. In so many words, he outright dismissed the prospects of such a device, a convergence of the two platforms.

iPad 3“Anything can be forced into convergence,” Mr. Cook said. “You could force the convergence of a toaster and a refrigerator,” but he suggested that no one would find it very useful. Mr. Cook went on to explain that the trajectory of the iPad is still ascending. “It’s profound.”

“We couldn’t be happier at our level of innovating.” Plus, the iPad is on a solid trajectory to surpass PC sales in a few years.” As a result, it seems that Apple isn’t going to interfere with the natural development of the iPad.

Mr. Cook also pointed out that Apple is continuing to innovate in the notebook area, the MacBooks, but added that these products appeal to users with different requirements. “Some may want to own both,” Mr. Cook said.

Summing up, on the matter of that kind of convergence, Mr. Cook mentioned that some competitors might go there, but he took a firm stance for Apple: “We’re not going to that party.”

iPad Pricing

Mr. Cook also said that they’re still assessing the impact of the entry level US$399 iPad 2. There was a mixture of elusiveness combined with being thrilled with the sales. In some cases, Mr. Cook said, a lower priced iPad opened the door to some educational customers and even some countries — however, he didn’t specify which.

All in all, because Mr. Oppenheimer mentioned that, in contrast, the iPad 3 sales are “on fire,” it doesn’t sound as if Apple is all that excited about lowering prices for the iPad — at least at the 9.7-inch sized product.

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Isn’t Mountain Lion the very definition of convergence?


Steve Jobs poo-pooed tablets and netbooks, even as Apple was working on products that would re-invent those categories. It will be interesting to see whether Tim Cook is continuing the pattern.

Pat Mahon

@dbarnard not only did Jobs poo-poo netbooks but he then brought out an 11” MacBook Air? So I really wouldn’t hang on the words of a CEO of any company about anything.


They could call it “eMate”...


The 11 inch MacBook Air isn’t a netbook.  It is an ultrabook (as all MacBook Airs are) only a few years ahead of the curve.  Netbooks were small, way underpowered, and useful for only mundane tasks.  MacBook Airs were never netbooks… they created the ultrabook.


Putting a MacBook Air in the netbook category is like lumping the Porsche 911 with a Corolla because both are small cars.

Not sure about poo-pooing tablets. Certainly the 7” variety, and the kind that requires a stylus. Like the iPhone, the iPad really didn’t fit the established idea of what a tablet was. In that sense, Apple still eschews “tablets.”


This is exactly my point - Jobs pointed out all the failings in these categories, implying that Apple wasn’t interested in them… then they release the iPad and the 11” MacBook Air and basically killed the market for the existing products. So is Cook being disingenuous and secretly planning a crossover product, or is he serious?

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