The Lenovo "Yoga" convertible notebook/tablet running Windows 8, shown at Consumer Electronics Show this year.

Microsoft will be blurring the lines between traditional computers and tablets with the upcoming release of Windows 8, offering a tile-based interface designed to work across a variety of devices — including convertible machines that transform from tablets to notebooks.

Apple will not be going down the same path, based on comments this afternoon from Apple CEO Tim Cook during the company’s earnings conference call with analysts, after posting strong quarterly results.

“Anything can be forced to converge but the problem is the products are about tradeoffs,” Cook said in response to a question about the market for hybrid notebook/tablets. “You begin to make trade-offs to the point where what you have left at the end of the day doesn’t please anyone.”

He added, “You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user.”

Without referring to Microsoft directly, he said that “others” might take that approach “from a defensive point of view.” However, he said,  “we’re not going to that party.”

Students of Apple history may remember that it’s not the first time an Apple CEO has made a reference to those appliances.

In April 2004, Steve Jobs said this about the notion of adding video to the iPod: ”You know, our next big step is we want it to make toast, I want to brown my bagels when I’m listening to my music. And we’re toying with refrigeration, too.”

Apple released the first iPod with video support in October 2005.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Guest

    Remember when Steve said the same thing about mixing iPod with mobile phone?

    MacBook Touch: January 2013.

    • Foo

      Not going to happen unless they figure out how to use desktop apps with finger touch. Reviewers are calling the hybrid GUI of Win8 “jarring”. I use the iPad for remote desktop support from time to time, and the user experience from that is not something I’d see Apple ship.

      • Guest

        Microsoft wouldn’t shut off legacy apps from Windows 8. Too many customers depend on “jarring” old interfaces.

        Apple would easily banish non-touch-friendly apps from Mac OS X 10.9 “Lynx.” We expect MacBook Touch to be compatible only with touch-friendly apps per Lynx policy. Older apps will need to be rewritten.

        • Foo

          So what would an OSX which only allows touch-friendly apps look like? Isn’t that what iOS is? (If you don’t know, iOS is OSX with a different GUI on top, Cocoa Touch instead of Cocoa).

          Whatever Apple does with new devices, I’m pretty sure they will base them off the iOS GUI and not OSX.

        • Guest

          What MS could and should have done is take simple steps to make the transition less jarring. There are several UI examples that enthusiasts around the web have come up with that are far superior to what MS has shown to date. Here’s one:

  • Guest

    Apple themselves have taken steps to blur the lines. First by using OS X as the basis for iPod touch, iPhone and iPad, and then by back porting features from one to the other.  But he makes a good point. If you don’t do it right, you risk pleasing nobody.

    Apple is now far better positioned than MS to win this segment. I just wish they’d lose the arrogance. It wasn’t overly attractive when they were an underdog. But now that they’re the gorilla, it comes off as petty.

  • SilverSee

    Well all know in a few months time…

  • jz100

    What Microsoft is doing is actually very smart. Apple doesn’t like it because they know its competition for the iPad. I currently own an iPad 2. While I think the iPad is currently the best tablet, it is held back due to Apple and their stupid intentional restrictions. What they claim in this article is just another example of it.

    Microsoft PCs dominate the market for a reason. Something that Apple does not understand.

    • Iddufi

      They dominate the market for cheap PCs – but Apple’s done a remarkable job of turning that int a competitive disadvantage go PC makers.

      • Guest

        They dominate the market for PCs period. Just because you consider everything less expensive than an overpriced Macbook “cheap”, doesn’t mean it is.

      • ozfozzy

        So PCs should just raise the price, and then they’ll be cool.  Problem solved.

  • DangoRoRo

    There is a dude that is jsut like totally balling it man. WOw.
    http://www.Total-Privacy dot US

  • Max Kline

    Apple doesn’t have the dev resources (talent) on hand to merge their pc’s with phone/tables. Not anytime soon as they would if they could. Microsoft is a dev machine and has the chops to get it done……Windows 8. Windows will be one of 3 screens – PC, Tablet, and Phone.
    People talk about an Apple TV but why would I pay a premium for iOS on my TV ? I have a PC TV ( a $400 Win 7 laptop with HDMI to a 70″ Coscto TV) and its super cool !

  • ozfozzy

    Note to self: Converge toaster and refrigerator, and make a ton of money.

  • Odog4ever

    No matter how you slice it if you use a blue tooth keyboard or a dock with an iPad, its basically a laptop/notebook…

  • Lawrence Lam

    Remember when Ballmer laughed off the first iPhone because it didn’t have a keyboard? Premature judgments like this make Tim Cook Apple’s Ballmer.

    • Guest

      I don’t think that’s fair, Lawrence. Tim could only dream of the accomplishments that Steve Ballmer has to his name.

      • Guest

        Or wipe his brow and be thankful none of those are on his record.

  • Guest2

    Apple are the penultimate conspicuous consumer product company.  You need a phone, a tablet and a laptop (and maybe a separate music device) — Rather than a single device that fulfills all of the above.

    That is why Apple is successful, in their own way.  It doesn’t mean it’s a better user experience.  It means they sell more devices.  And, Tim Cook is attempting to speak as God, knowing that the Loyal will obey.

    I had an early tablet/laptop (an HP, about 4 years ago).  I probably used it as a tablet 3x in 2 years of use.  But, it was intriguing.  With the next generation of ultrabooks (which are hybrids), coupled with Windows apps (yes, AppUp is still alive), I’d much rather carry one 2.5 lb device around, with a full keyboard, harddrive and sort of serious stuff, like IDEs, than a bevvy of individual Apple devices.

  • Guest

    I seem to recall Jobs being resistant to combining a music player with a phone, but that turned out pretty well. What’s interesting is not what he said, which is clearly self-serving for Apple, but how many media outlets are running with it instead of simply shooting down the inherent stupidity of it just based on Apple’s own record.

  • cliveboulton

    Regardless what the CEOs say, both Apple and Microsoft are snugly back-fitting innovations from phone/tablet OS to the full OS. iOS to OSX, Metro to Windows. webOS gets back-fitted to Linux…

Job Listings on GeekWork