No weekly report on Microsoft this week, folks. There wasn’t much going on with Microsoft and the general tech world this week, even though Facebook’s Graph Search event did involve Bing. So there it is folks: I technically did not miss my column on Microsoft this week.
With that poor excuse, I would like to turn my focus to Apple this week, and only because it could relate to Microsoft’s future in a big way. In an earlier post this week, we reported that Sharp is halting production of the 9.7″ screen used in the iPad 4. The likely reason, according to Reuters and various others, is due to increased demand of the lower cost iPad mini, and the total sales of iPads are still on track to match projections made prior to these reports.
Global PC shipments are down 3.5% in 2012 for the first time in 11 years, mostly due to the death of the netbooks. Although designed to allow people to browse the internet at an affordable price, netbooks weren’t very good at doing it. The fault is due to the cheap Intel Atom chips used inside those systems. Interestingly, Steve Jobs in the beginning wanted to use the Atom chip for the iPad. Imagine the disaster that could have been, folks.
Perhaps Jobs saw an opportunity to overtake that PC segment when he introduced the iPad in 2010. He did declare the introduction of the iPad the beginning of a “post-PC” world, after all. While comparable in price to a high-end netbook, the iPad offered a superior experience in browsing the web.
When iPad sales began to ramp up, especially after the iPad 2, Apple began to market the iPad as the only computing device people need. Any change to that image would negatively impact the iPad’s purpose. Perhaps that is why Tim Cook said Apple would never make a 7-inch iPad. He was afraid it would dilute the brand and prolong the PC market.
Small tablets like the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 are marketed as content consumption devices. Not that the iPad is a serious productivity device, but people could certain write an essay or even do spreadsheet work if they wanted to. And with the advent of advanced cloud computing, one can log into a real OS like Windows or Mac with their iPad and get work done remotely.
As expected, now that Apple offers their own small-tablet, it’s eating into their larger ones despite the non-retina display – which one could assume Apple did on purpose to persuade consumers to the larger iPad 4. This is conceivably the scenario Cook was trying to prevent, but eventually realized it was futile.
So how is this related to Microsoft? As Mark Twain would’ve put it, the reports of the PC’s death are greatly exaggerated! The increasing popularity of the iPad mini might actually help the PC market in the long run. As the minds of more people are repurposed about the iPad brand as a consumption device, they will at some point realize they need a productivity device.
This is where affordable Clovertrail Windows 8 hybrid tablets come into the picture. It fulfills both work and play. It’s perfect for students, business jockeys, and casual coders. Why have three devices, laptop+tablet+phone, when you can just have two? Phablet + Tabtop could be a viable future.