Market convergence of laptops and tablets is most likely unavoidable - especially as technological progress in terms of power to performance ratio increases. He is correct in assuming that there will always be a niche for portable but powerful machines (gaming, CAD, etc.), but I foresee that all mainstream (office, student, family) laptops will in due time become ... *Roll of drums* ... LAPLETS...or TABTOPS (You heard it here first, just remember that!)
Chief executive officer of Apple, the pioneer of both ultra-thin notebooks and media tablets, said that convergence of slates and laptops by integrating touch-screens into mobile PCs would not to lead to devices that will compete successfully in both categories. Systemsin clamshell form-factor with touch-screen may contain so many tradeoffs that it would neither be a nice notebook nor a media tablet.
"Anything can be forced to converge. The problem is that products are about tradeoffs, and you begin to make trade-offs to the point where what you have left at the end of the day does not please anyone. You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user. Our view is that the tablet market is huge and we have said that since day one. [...] It was clear to us that there was so much you could do and that the reasons that people would use those would be so broad," said Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, during a quarterly conference call with financial analysts.
Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. are encouraging PC makers to incorporate touch-screens into ultrabooks to make them competitive to various tablets and enable new usage experiences. However, since touch-sensing screens cost additional money, manufacturers will have save on something else to maintain prices, or to sell those systems at a premium.
Lenovo Group earlier this year introduced IdeaPad Yoga concept, a notebook-tablet hybrid based on Microsoft Windows 8. Thanks to use of advanced hinges, Intel ultra low-power microprocessor and other innovative technologies, the Yoga can operate both in notebook and tablet modes.
But while Intel and Microsoft may distract some attention from rapidly growing tablets and try to continue selling PCs, it should be noted that personal computers and slates are used for different purposes. PCs are largely devices for doing work or making content, media tablets are devices for consumption or very basic computing. As a result, converged systems will neither provide thin form-factors and long battery life of tablets, nor offer high performance required from PCs.
Apple believes that there are places for both ultra-thin MacBook Air notebooks as well as iPad media tablets.
"I believe that there is a very good market for the MacBook Air, and we continue to innovate in that product. [...] You would not want to put [iPad and MB Air] things together because you wind up compromising in both and not pleasing either user. Some people will prefer to own both, and that is great, too. I think to make the compromises of convergence... we are not going to that party. Others might," stressed Mr. Cook.