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Tim Cook addresses iPad competition – “there’s not much”



Oh, Tim Cook. Here I was thinking you’d be a pale stand-in for your ailing boss Steve Jobs, keeping the ship steady but avoiding rough seas. Well, glad to see you taking the wheel Jobs-style and making waves against the competition, if only to keep things interesting.

In yesterday’s Apple earnings call (which was huge, by the way), Cook was asked about the iPad’s competitors. He answered with this (via Engadget):

“if you look at what’s out there today, there’s not much. There’s the ones that use Windows, they’re generally big and heavy and expensive. They have weak battery life, they require a keyboard or a stylus as an input device, customers are frankly just not interested in them. Then you have Android tablets, and the varieties that are out shipping today, their operating system wasn’t designed for tablets. Google has said this, this isn’t just Apple saying this. That means you have the size of a tablet that just isn’t reasonable for what we call a ‘real tablet experience.’ That’s just a scaled-up smartphone, which is a bizarre product category. If you do a side-by-side with an iPad, you’ll pick an iPad.”

As long as you keep the word “today” in mind, he’s right about there not being much competition. Microsoft’s official word is that their real tablet strategy begins with the next version of Windows (I guess the Tablet PC was just practice). Same with Google and Android, except the next version, Android 3.0, is a lot closer to market. We saw a lot of tablets at CES, but we saw a lot last year too. Today, we’re looking at a lot of potential iPad competitors but few actual ones.

Good deflection by Cook (though he does later point out Apple is “not sitting still” and is “very, very confident with entering into a fight with anyone”), but the question was poor. A better question would have asked about the upcoming competition and how Apple intends to prepare for it. Android 3.0 is around the bend, will be designed for tablets, and does have major hardware vendors, such as Motorola and Samsung, ready to run with it. RIM and HP Palm are the two other major names to watch with their Playbook and PalmPad, respectively, inching closer to release. The current iPad won’t hold up to all that, and adding cameras alone won’t carry it. What the next iPad brings will be highly important for its future.

As for Microsoft, well, they’re giving Apple a lot of time to get ready for their “official” tablet-ready OS, and while Tablet PC sales reports are hard to come by, based on numbers from other years, I’m pretty sure 11 million iPads surpasses the number of Tablet PCs sold. Ever. Can’t say I can really blame people for not knowing Windows-based tablets exist. Cook may have slammed them, but at least he acknowledged them.



  1. dstrauss

    01/19/2011 at 4:09 pm

    “Not much there, there.” Actually a brilliant response by Cook when you think about it. The closest thing to a “shipping” competitor is the overpriced Samsung Galaxy Tab or frugal B&N Nook Color, IF you root it and add Android Market. I love my Slate 500 (for business reasons) but HP has done such an incredibly poor job of shipping them that they have all but strangled them at birth. My bet is even before we see ANY volume of Xoom, Playbook, or PalmPad out there, Apple will already be selling the iPad 2.

    This is a virtual repeat of the mp3 player debacle. There were many disparate mp3 players in the market (think Tablet PC since 2001) and along comes iPod. By the time the likes of Diigtal River, samsung, and even Zune come along, Apple has lapped them with newer generations designed to “just stay ahead” of teh competition. Son now Apple has sold more iPads in 8 months than all of teh tablet pc sales combined in NINE YEARS, and out come dozens of “me too” tablets which have inferior interfaces to iPad 1 – and yo can bet by April the iPad 2 will be rolling out with much more than just two cameras added. as Clubber Lange said – “PITY THE POOR FOOL!”

  2. Joe Berg

    01/19/2011 at 5:39 pm

    Cook lost me when he stated “‘ That’s just a scaled-up smartphone, which is a bizarre product category.” — how dare him! talk about his beloved Ipad that way!

  3. DNel

    01/19/2011 at 6:51 pm

    Was just in the local Verizon store and noticed that all their computers were Motion C5v (8 total) I asked one of the sales people why they don’t use an iPad, Galaxy Tab, or smartphone. He said that they use the Motion C5v because they have to do “real computing and need to be mobile” He was surprised that I knew what a tablet PC was, because everyone else seemed to think Pads/Tabs are tablets. Too bad Motion has these great true tablets, but has them priced way out of reach of most consumers (I know they are a niche market company)

  4. Donald

    01/20/2011 at 10:50 am

    Could we please get some more ink shows/reviews.
    There are so many new and interesting devices on the horizon in the tablet space.
    Please lets see what makes some of these more interesting ones unique.
    A triple booting Evolve 3 tablet with windows, megoo, and android operating systems. A samsung sliding netbook. Dells take on a convertable tablet. The Ink Adam with its many interesting features. The many variations on the tablet by Asus.

    How about bringing back some investigative experiences with these new devices in hand.

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