Trending: Goodbye, iPhone: How Microsoft convinced me to switch to Android and the Samsung Galaxy Note10

On Apple’s earnings call just now, CEO Tim Cook was asked for his opinion of Microsoft’s Windows 8 and its Surface tablet, and their potential to challenge the iPad in the tablet market.

“I haven’t personally played with a Surface yet but what we’re reading about it is that it’s a fairly compromised, confusing product,” he replied.

The comments come as Microsoft launches its new operating system and the Surface, its first computer.  Cook spoke about the need to make hard trade-offs in product development, and he offered a new metaphor.

“I suppose you could design a car that flies and floats, but don’t think it would do any of those things well,” he said.

Reviewers have given the Surface better marks, with Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg calling it “beautifully and solidly built” and “the purest expression of Microsoft’s new Windows 8 touchscreen operating system.”

On a previous earnings call, Cook likened hybrid tablet-notebooks to combining a toaster and a refrigerator.

Earlier on the call today, Cook said Apple sees further room for the iPad to chip away at the traditional market for Windows PCs. “If you look at the size of the PC market there is an enormous opportunity for Apple there,” he said.

Apple this week unveiled the iPad Mini, with a screen size of 7.9 inches, but Cook was adamant in saying that the company won’t make a smaller iPad. “We would not make one of the 7 inch tablets. We don’t think they’re good products. We would never make one. One of the reasons is size,” he said, noting that the overall difference in screen real estate is about 35 percent between a 7 inch tablet and a 7.9 inch tablet. (Updated: See discussion in comments below.)

Apple sold 14 million iPads in its latest quarter, up 26 percent but about 1 million units below the expectations of Wall Street analysts.


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