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Apple CEO rejects notion of iOS-powered laptops

Gregg Keizer | Nov. 17, 2015
Tim Cook dismisses idea of imitating Microsoft's Surface Book with a laptop that runs Apple's mobile OS.

Tim Cook at Apple event
Apple CEO Tim Cook at an Apple event in San Francisco on Sept. 9, 2015. Credit: Apple webcast/IDGNS

Apple CEO Tim Cook has again rejected the idea of following in the footsteps of rival Microsoft to build a notebook that runs his company's mobile operating system, iOS.

"We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad," Cook told The Irish Independent, Ireland's largest daily newspaper, in an interview published Sunday. "Putting those two together would not achieve either. You'd begin to compromise in different ways."

But take Cook's comments with a grain -- or more -- of salt. "These are tactical communications, nothing about what they might do, or what they potentially will do," noted Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, in a Monday interview.

Cook, who has been on a swing through Europe to meet with Irish officials about an expansion of Apple's facility in the country, and in the U.K. to trumpet the iPad Pro, which went on sale last week, again took time to take a swipe at the competition.

"What that would wind up doing," Cook said, referring to a notebook-slash-tablet analogous to Microsoft's new Surface Book, "is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants."

In earlier interviews while in Europe, Cook had previously bashed the Surface Book, a 2-in-1 with an integrated keyboard and detachable screen that reverts to a tablet when held separately. "It's trying to be a tablet and a notebook and it really succeeds at being neither. It's sort of deluded," Cook said of the Surface Book.

Cook's stance is not new: The CEO has repeatedly said Apple had no interest in 2-in-1 devices, at one point calling tablets with keyboards akin to a Frankenstein mashup of toaster and refrigerator. That, of course, was long before Apple decided to join the market with the 12.9-in. iPad Pro and its optional Smart Keyboard.

But Apple won't take the next step blazed by Microsoft and its OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners: Crafting a notebook with a screen that when separated from the body, serves as a touch-enabled tablet. "What we've tried to do is to recognize that people use both iOS and Mac devices," Cook told the newspaper, tacitly encouraging them to buy both.

Cook may be rejecting the idea of a device that merges the iOS software model with the Mac's hardware profile, but some analysts were convinced that, under certain circumstances, Apple would produce a notebook form factor that relies on the iPad's OS.


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