One of the inevitable subjects technology columnists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher pressed Apple’s Cook on during yesterday’s D10: All Things Digital opening-night talk touches upon the post-PC world and the convergence dilemma. As you know, Cook’s predecessor Steve Jobs was a huge proponent of tablet computing.

Jobs used to passionately defend the tablet with all his heart and soul, insisting on the post-PC revolution spearheaded by the iPad. So, here’s Cook’s take on tablets displacing PCs, the iPad, the assumed convergence of tablets and PCs and more…

The iPad has been unbelievable. I think we’re in the first inning. There’s a few pretty much everywhere I go.

The first inning?

That’s simply about the iPad. I’ve always believed that the tablet market would be bigger than the PC market. Many people just laughed that off but today I think there’s a lot more believers than that.

Okay, but who’s to say tablets and PCs won’t converge?

Cook, of course.

In my view, the tablet and the PC are different. And you can do things with the tablet, if you’re not encumbered by the legacy of the PC.

But isn’t tablet just another screen?

If you view it as different, if you take the view that says this is another PC, all of a sudden you’re pulling along all of the baggage of the PC market.

This brings to mind a commercial Apple aired back in 2010 in order to sell us another screen in our lives.

Hey, but what about products such as the Asus Transformer Prime? Isn’t there room for another category of device that falls somewhere between a tablet and a notebook?

I said a few months ago, this flippant thing, you could converge a toaster and a refrigerator. Sure, you could do that. But I just think you wind up not building the best product, in this particular case, when you converge those.

Cook first articulated the toaster-refrigerator dilema in an April conference call with analysts.

But some folks beg to differ with Cook.

Enter analyst Peter Misek, who speculated iOS and OS X would merge soon into one giant monster of an operating system, similar to how Windows 8 ws built to scale from the tiniest smartphone screens to monstrous 80-inch television sets.

Tell me again like I’m a five-year old, why exactly is a marriage between the iPad and the MacBook doomed to fail?

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.

And let’s not forget this important expectation:

People want tablets to be incredibly thin.

So specs do matter then?

But wait a second, are you telling me combining an ultra-thin MacBook Air with an ultra-thin iPad isn’t feasible?

If you look at it as a notebook, you’re not going to come out of the design of the product and have it be a kick-ass product where someone says wow, this is what I wanted.

I’m not big on that, as you can probably tell.

He’s not big on that…

It’s really not as simple as it sounds – even not that the iPad mainstreamed the tablet – to make the case for tablets and argue there’s no point in merging them with notebooks.

Time will tell whether Cook stays true to his mantra.

Remember, Steve Jobs had said video didn’t make sense on a portable music player and that Apple wasn’t interested in building a phone.

So what do you guys think?

Should Apple try to combine the iPad and the MacBook Air into a unique new tablet-meets-notebook category of device?

  • Anonymous

    Christian, do you get paid by the word? I’m not saying its a bad thing. But your articles are always so long. It’s different style from the other writers on this site.

    • Anonymous

      They bore me tbh, especially the 1’s calling an Apple tv “iTV”, they piss me off more than anything. As for these posts, i’d have rather seen 1 post with the main points from the speech, instead we have about 30 huge posts about pretty boring stuff … When I look at blogs i’d rather see quality not quantity as far as posts go.

      • agree with you about quality post 🙂

      • agree with you about quality post 🙂

      • Anonymous

        Agree. I like short to the point articles. Highlights and facts. Hate all the filler and setups just to link to past articles and other sites.

      • i don’t care for fillers either. but i’m starting to like C.Ziberg’s blog posts more as he is cutting down on the hate speech for anything non-apple. I appreciate the depth of many of his posts. i think some of the writers on this site are jerks. My wife and i really like Jeff. i even like his fillers (not the over used words (folks, game changer, take that with a grain of salt, etc.) his posts are enjoyable to read. at ifans they are much kinder but their posts are so short and lack so much details that it’s not worth reading. and they seem to just wait for iDB to post something then write something up much shorter (given credit to iDB always though) but for me, i can withstand the writers on here when they are jerks, because they do an awesome job of writing. (minus Sebastian-still vomiting from his shrine of that dead man steve jobs) but honestly i like Sebastian far more than renie at iMoreon i mean, iMore. just leave out the liberal crap seb.

        anyway, ill keep tweeting and telling people about this site since it’s easily my favorite one. C.Ziberg keep changing for the better. im glad to see you have been improving.

      • i don’t care for fillers either. but i’m starting to like C.Ziberg’s blog posts more as he is cutting down on the hate speech for anything non-apple. I appreciate the depth of many of his posts. i think some of the writers on this site are jerks. My wife and i really like Jeff. i even like his fillers (not the over used words (folks, game changer, take that with a grain of salt, etc.) his posts are enjoyable to read. at ifans they are much kinder but their posts are so short and lack so much details that it’s not worth reading. and they seem to just wait for iDB to post something then write something up much shorter (given credit to iDB always though) but for me, i can withstand the writers on here when they are jerks, because they do an awesome job of writing. (minus Sebastian-still vomiting from his shrine of that dead man steve jobs) but honestly i like Sebastian far more than renie at iMoreon i mean, iMore. just leave out the liberal crap seb.

        anyway, ill keep tweeting and telling people about this site since it’s easily my favorite one. C.Ziberg keep changing for the better. im glad to see you have been improving.

      • i don’t care for fillers either. but i’m starting to like C.Ziberg’s blog posts more as he is cutting down on the hate speech for anything non-apple. I appreciate the depth of many of his posts. i think some of the writers on this site are jerks. My wife and i really like Jeff. i even like his fillers (not the over used words (folks, game changer, take that with a grain of salt, etc.) his posts are enjoyable to read. at ifans they are much kinder but their posts are so short and lack so much details that it’s not worth reading. and they seem to just wait for iDB to post something then write something up much shorter (given credit to iDB always though) but for me, i can withstand the writers on here when they are jerks, because they do an awesome job of writing. (minus Sebastian-still vomiting from his shrine of that dead man steve jobs) but honestly i like Sebastian far more than renie at iMoreon i mean, iMore. just leave out the liberal crap seb.

        anyway, ill keep tweeting and telling people about this site since it’s easily my favorite one. C.Ziberg keep changing for the better. im glad to see you have been improving.

  • I use a MacBook Air to develop apps for the App Store and just about everything PC related in my life is done on my MBA. The MBA and iPad are two totally different products. It amazes me what Apple has done with touch on the Mac and probably even more amazing is the fact that it has nothing to do with a touch screen. I have never hooked an external mouse to my MBA (there is no point). I think converging Mac OS and iOS could be recipe for disaster. If anything, we’ll see how that goes for Microsoft with Windows 8. Pretty much every PC I’ve used lately has multi-touch configured differently and sometimes the scrolling is completely backwards or too jumpy. I find it hard to believe Microsoft is going to eloquently combine PC, Tablet and Phone into one thing — they have a horrible track record at doing this. Perhaps Cook is correct.

  • Falk M.

    ATD, just release the full uncut video already, Jesus Christ!
    These snippets are ridiculous.

  • I think it all depends… You use a specific tool to do a specific job. Take Jeff Benjamin for example, he has no practical place in his toolbox for a MacBook Air. Why? Because the MBA does not have the beef to do the heavy lifting that he requires of a portable laptop. Now take me for example, a MacBook Pro would actually slow me down because it is bigger and more expensive (than a MBA) if I go with the Solid State Drive option.

    Therefore, a MBA is best for me while a MBP is best for Jeff.
    I need speed, small size, and portability while Jeff needs beef on the go.
    This is why I went with the 2011 11″ MBA.

    Now, I also have an iMac (which I should have went with the additional SSD option… UGH!!) at home should I need to do any video editing – but I probably will not be doing any in the near future. I also need the iMac because my MBA only has 128GB hard drive and we have a 300GB library of Music and a massive video collection to boot – so we need a stationary computer with a massive hard drive – enter the 2011 21.5 i7 iMac with 16GB of OWC RAM (and soon a 240GB 6G SSD) with a 1TB standard hard drive.

    A tablet is a scaled down version of a MBA but with less power but better portability with better battery life. It is also much easier to pull out of a bag and use while on the bus or whatever.

    So each device has its own merits and flaws. It all depends on what you need and when you need it.

    IMHO the iPad 1-3 are inferior products and are still in the “toy” stage – I thought that the iPad 3 would actually be worth buying until I read all of the articles stating how the retina screen is too much for the CPU to handle. This makes sense as its the same CPU as the iPad 2. Therefore, the iPad 3 is not that big of an upgrade from the iPad 2 IMO and therefore not functional enough for me to drop $700 – Yes $700 because anything less than 64GB is just not enough – buying a unit with less than 64GB is throwing money out the window if you ask me.

    So… My wife’s laptop pooped out on us and I replaced it with a rooted NookColor as a temporary fix. I told her that the iPad 4 looks to be a good long term replacement for her mobile/in bed computing needs. Everything is there except for the CPU and an HD front facing camera.

    so in short… each does a different job. You don’t need all of the Apple products, you just need the ones that fill the gap. For me: MBA, iMac, iPhone. For my wife: iPad and iPhone.

    tim