Apple on tablets: Windows is big and heavy, Android is vapor

By on January 19, 2011, 10:07 AM
After announcing another record quarter, Apple COO Tim Cook answered questions from analysts following the release of Apple's report of record quarterly earnings. Given the huge explosion that is about to occur in the tablet market, we were particularly interested in the iPad-related queries.

Below is his answer to the question "Can you comment on how you’re currently viewing the competitive tablet landscape?" If you want to see the whole transcript, including topics such as iPad cannibalization of Mac sales, the battle with Android phones and tablets, and the supply and demand of iPhones and iPads, see Macworld.

If you look at what's shipping today, there's not much out there, as you know. Generally speaking, there's two kind of groups that are on the market today. The ones that are using Windows-based operating system are generally fairly big and heavy and expensive, they have very weak battery life, they require a keyboard or a stylus as an input device. And from our point of view and what we've seen, customers are frankly not interested in them.

Then you have the Android tablets, and the variety that are out shipping today, the operating system wasn't really designed for a tablet, and Google has said this. This is not just an Apple view by any means. And so you wind up having a size of tablet that is less than what we believe is reasonable or even one that would provide what we feel is a “real tablet experience.” So basically you wind up with a scaled-up smartphone, which is a bizarre product, in our view.

So those are the two that are shipping today, and frankly speaking, it's hard for me to understand, if somebody does a side-by-side with an iPad, I think some enormous percentage of people are going to select an iPad there. Those are not tablets that we have any concern on.

The next-generation Android tablets, which are primarily what you mentioned in terms of CES, there's nothing shipping yet, and so I don't know. Generally they lack performance specs, they lack prices, they lack timing, so today they're vapor. We'll assess them as they come out, however, we're not sitting still. And we have a huge first-mover advantage. And we have an incredible user experience, from iTunes to the App Store, and an enormous number of apps, and a huge ecosystem. And so we're very, very confident with entering into a fight with anyone.

In short, Apple is very confident that the competition, whether it is Microsoft or Google (RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook apparently doesn't even warrant a mention), will not be able to match the iPad. Both Redmond and Mountain View currently don't offer anything worth writing home about, at least according to Cupertino. If that changes, Apple says it will react accordingly, but either way, it will continue pushing its products to customers ranging from consumers to enterprises.





User Comments: 15

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Mizzou Mizzou said:

Will be interesting to see how Mr. Cook feels about the competition this time next year.

NeoFlux said:

...and iOS is fur handcuff?

...and iOS is fur handcuff?

MrAnderson said:

I think from what I have seen in the CES coverage, the RIM Playbook is the only product that looks like it could have its act together out the door.

Google, HP, and MS will really need to work on the experience aspect for their tablet offerings if they want to truly challenge Apple and not just grab a small but "profitabe enough" pecentage of the market.

jimmyfal said:

Big and heavy Windows coming soon on Sandy Bridge, and motherboards the size of business cards, might just have been slightly overlooked as a non-event at CES. Imagine that monster of an OS with all that power, and user base in your minds just one more time. It might not be cool, but it sure will be hot.

Jibberish18 said:

So basically you wind up with a scaled-up smartphone, which is a bizarre product, in our view.

That made me chuckle. Because, you know, the iPad looks and feels nothing like the iPhone.

Decimae said:

MrAnderson said:

I think from what I have seen in the CES coverage, the RIM Playbook is the only product that looks like it could have its act together out the door.

Google, HP, and MS will really need to work on the experience aspect for their tablet offerings if they want to truly challenge Apple and not just grab a small but "profitabe enough" pecentage of the market.

Strange. I would've imagined you would've seen the Honeycomb video. It looks extremely slick. Android Honeycomb even has an integrated email client!

TBH, I think that his wording is a bit off, but further more he's right. Old android tablets are merely bigger cellphones(like the iPad, but iOS is a bit better then Android 2.n for tablets), windows tablets are heavy, not really touch-oriented and bad in general. The other things aren't released yet, so that makes he iPad first. They will have a lot of first to the popular market appeal, but android is probably going to grow a lot faster in the tablet market.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Right now they're just jockeying for market share while they wait for hardware to catch up to people's expectations. So they're forming into two camps. Once camp will "optimize" the user experience based on what the hardware can handle, and keeping in mind with people's (unrealistic) expectations. The second camp will let people do what they want, with the unfortunate side effect this is going to not give users quite as "optimized" of an experience.

As hardware will eventually catch up to expectations, you'll have the same situation as you do with desktops.

vangrat said:

I agree, Windows on a tablet is bulky and not user friendly. However, Android, even though it is not a tablet OS, is very nice and a good alternative to iOS. This year should see Android come into its own in the tablet market as well. Frankly, I would rather have an open OS like Android then an iOS closed platform, or crapware Windows.

I do have to admit, nonetheless, iOS is very user friendly and is what people want now. This only means the Android developers have something to aim for, and improve upon.

Can you tell I like Android :P

(I have two Apple iPhones in my house, so don't think I am all Apple hate/Windows hate either)

Guest said:

and iOS is light and fluffy.

Cota Cota said:

Guest said:

and iOS is light and fluffy.

And dont forget incompatible :P

Guest said:

What people dont realize about Android is that Android its its own enemy. If someone made an Android tablet, they have to permit it to update itself as per what Google designs. If its going to follow the same suite as the Android phones then the iPad like it or not is going to keep owning them.

This is the same problem with the Android Phones. If you have a Motorola phone you are screwed, you have to wait till they release their "update" of whatever software Google releases, same with Samsung or HTC, and anyone who makes a damn Android phone.

This is Android's achille's heel and this is why the iPad trumps all of them.

The IOS and Android are both excellent mobile OS's. You dont need to like the philosophy behind Apple or Google, to recognize this. Android has a lot of potential but like I mentioned above, unless the carriers dont leave the updating to google, they are going to kill it.

Arris Arris said:

Oh no! Apple has cornered the market on devices for people that live in Starbucks.

Sorry but I still don't want a device that has a 1024 display (hello 1990's monitor resolutions) and only 256mb of ram. To me this is a fad, and anyone wanting to do anything truly productive on a computing device won't be doing it on an iPad. It falls into the same area as the "netbook". I have a smart phone that gives me internet access and basic functionality a little below that of a netbook. I have a desktop at home, and a laptop for travel. I have a PS3 connected to my TV and a lot of newer tvs are coming with support for direct internet access. Why do i need an overpriced giant iPhone?

If it had a colour e-ink type display for reading, bigger capacity than 64gb to hold all my music and a big chunk of other media, and the power to do a bit more than watch 1024 resolution movies and faff about on the internet, then yes, they'd have me buying one. But at the moment I find the iFad pretty pointless.

Guest said:

Yeah and Linux owns all.

Let the open source community in and watch what happens big price drops.

Oh wait that is why big business wants to shut them out.

Guest said:

I wonder who Jimmy works for?

MS maybe? Whoever it is I am sure they love your Jacket eyes on you buddy.

aj_the_kidd said:

Guest said:

What people dont realize about Android is that Android its its own enemy. If someone made an Android tablet, they have to permit it to update itself as per what Google designs. If its going to follow the same suite as the Android phones then the iPad like it or not is going to keep owning them.

This is the same problem with the Android Phones. If you have a Motorola phone you are screwed, you have to wait till they release their "update" of whatever software Google releases, same with Samsung or HTC, and anyone who makes a damn Android phone.

This is Android's achille's heel and this is why the iPad trumps all of them.

The IOS and Android are both excellent mobile OS's. You dont need to like the philosophy behind Apple or Google, to recognize this. Android has a lot of potential but like I mentioned above, unless the carriers dont leave the updating to google, they are going to kill it.

You're working on the assumption that everyone who has a Android phone is a tekno geek who keeps track of updates. Those who do are few, like myself, but very very loud, on the online community. The specific Android versions that vendors release are actually pretty good, real good, why do you think they have sold so well.

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