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Apple CEO says Windows 8 is like merging a “toaster and a refrigerator”

As usual, Apple reported record breaking earnings yesterday. Nothing new there. However, CEO Tim Cook did make the news with a few interesting comments he made during the first-quarter earnings call. For starters, he said that he hates litigation, hinting that Apple is more willing to settle its patent infringement cases in a Post-Steve Jobs era. But his comments on devices and operating systems that attempt to merge tablets and PCs may become quite controversial. He basically said that Apple has no plans to merge the Mac with the iPad. 

Below is a full transcript of Cook’s statement, transcribed by PC Mag

“Anything can be forced to converge,” Cook said. “But the problem is that the products are about tradeoffs, you begin to make tradeoffs to the point that what you have left at the end of the day doesn’t please anyone.

“You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but you know those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user. So our view is that the tablet market is huge; we’ve said that since day one, we didn’t wait until we had a lot of results. We were using them here, and it was already clear to us that there was so much you could do, and the reasons that people would use those would be so broad, and that’s precisely what we’ve seen. The iPad has taken off in not only consumer in a meaningful way, but in consumer, in education, enterprise, and its sort of everywhere you look now. And the applications are so easy to make very meaningful for someone, and there’s such an abundance of those, that as the ecosystem gets better and better, and as we continue to double down on making great product, I think that the limit here is nowhere in sight.”

“Now – through last quarter, I should say, which is just two years after we shipped the initial iPad – we shipped 67 million. And to put that in some context, it took us 24 years to sell that many Macs. And five years for that many iPods. And over three years for that many iPhones. And we were extremely happy with the trajectory on all of those products. So I think iPad – it’s a profound product, the breadth of it is incredible, and the appeal of it is universal. So I could not be happier with being in the market, and the level of which we’re innovating with the ecosystem and the marker here is incredible.”

“Now in terms of the market itself, IDC and Gartner and Forrester had some numbers out there, and Gartner is saying there’s 3.25 out there by 2015, Forrester is three seventy-five, basically they’re in the mid-three hundreds, about where the PC market is today. And 2015 is only three years from now. So I think that even the you know more formal predicters outside of us are beginning to see these lines cross. So I strongly believe that they will.”

“Now having said that, I also believe that there is a very good market for the MacBook Air,” Cook concluded. “And we continue to innovate in that product. But I do think that it appeals to someone who has a little bit different requirements. And you wouldn’t want to put these things together because you wind up compromising both and not pleasing the user. Some people will prefer to own both, and that’s great there. But I think to make the compromises of convergence, we’re not going to that party. Others might. Others might from a defensive point of view, particularly. We’re going to play in both.”

This is an interesting rant, obviously aimed at both Windows 8 (which is built both for tablets and PCs) and Android keyboard tablets like the Asus Transformer Prime. It’s also very Jobs-like in that it’s already kind of a lie. Steve Jobs famously contradicted himself quite often, even saying that Apple would never build a netbook or tablet, not long before it actually did both of those things with the MacBook Air and iPad. Cook is saying that the Mac and iPad will never merge, but every update to OS X (which runs on Macs) lately has been aimed squarely at making it look and act more like iOS, which runs the iPad and iPhone. It seems only a matter of time before both products meet each other in the middle. The iPad keeps getting more functional as a PC and Macs keep getting easier to use, like an iPad. 

Perhaps what Cook is really saying is that Apple isn’t going to release an iPad with a keyboard attached to it. Why? Well it’s probably less about refrigerators and toasters than it is simple economics. You don’t want to eat into your own market. Right now, Macs are selling very well as are iPads. Why destroy one of them?