Microsoft should be afraid of a 13" iPad

Christian Kallevig

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So, the latest rumor suggests that Apple has a 13" iPad in the works, complete with a keyboard cover not unlike Touch Cover. Supposedly this would be a PC replacement.

Now, let's put aside the subtle irony of this after Tim Cook's comments last year. That doesn't matter right now.

Let's assume that this rumor is true, and I'm inclined to believe it is anyway. What does this mean? Well first off, 13" is awfully big for a tablet, though coming from Apple we can be assured it will be thin and no heavier than Surface Pro 2. But 10.6 inches is also awfully small for a PC replacement. For any convertible PC to succeed, it's got to be comfortable to use as both a PC and a tablet, and for most people 13" is right about where that sweet spot is.

Now I'm not sure what impact this product would have. You might point out that it's really hitting the same kind of market the Macbook Air is, and I suppose that would be fair. But it will be cheaper than that product. And it will run iOS, which for many is a more familiar OS (if less powerful). It's not going to matter if this thing can do everything Surface can or not. It will do enough. And more than that, it will generate buzz.

I have no doubt that Microsoft intends to expand the Surface line into this territory, but now they won't be the first to do it. And if Apple really does manage to hit all the right notes with a large-screened iPad, we may once again be faced with a situation where Microsoft is an also ran in a device category they pioneered but failed to perfect before the competition.

I don't mean to say that this is absolutely what will happen, I just wanted to present the argument for the sake of debate. So what do you think?
 

11B1P

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Regardless of what Apple does or produces, the media creates a buzz about it, regardless of the value it has. Personally, I think 13" is too big. Honestly, my Surface RT is too long. I wish it was more like my old HP Touchpad. I could use it in portrait or landscape. The RT is pretty useless in portrait mode.
 

chezm

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While I agree if this is true, MS should be concerned...i find it hard to believe Apple making a 13" tablet/pc hybrid. They usually make products that are portability feasible and this device sounds like it would be too big.
 

Christian Kallevig

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It is useless in portrait mode, or it's very awkward at least. But a 13" iPad is likely not intended to be a tablet as we know. Instead, Apple probably sees that market as belonging to smaller devices (it's important to remember that 7"-8" tablets and phablets are cannibalizing the 10" tablet market thanks to their added convenience, and the make a larger tablet unnecessary). This opens up a space for a new category of device. Thin, light and ultra-portable like a tablet, but capable of replacing the function of a full PC. In other words, exactly what Surface tries to do. But if we accept that 10" tablets are no longer necessary thanks to their smaller cousins, then it makes sense to go larger for a device that's not meant to be a consumption tablet at all.
 

tgp

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I have to wonder if 13" isn't on the large side for being convenient as a tablet is supposed to be. The Surface Pro can only replace a desktop when it's docked at the desk, and then the screen size doesn't matter. But, this is Apple, and it will be sure to be a hit.
 

chezm

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So you're thinking os a more productive device like the RT/2, not so much like a Pro/2? What we do know is Apple will get praised for being the revolutionary company to first think about such a product lol
 

Christian Kallevig

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Whether we personally care or not doesn't matter. I didn't care about the iPad. I laughed out loud when I saw it. It was a giant iPod touch to me, and that was comical.

I was wrong- not about what it was, but about what it meant. We must take this seriously. This could be the beginning of the end for traditional PCs
 

Pete

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I really don't see how a 13 inch iPad with a keyboard brings anything new to the market.

A 13 inch touch enabled MacBook Air? Yes, that would be major, but OSX isn't in that world yet.

iPads are looking pretty tired these days in my opinion.
 

martinmc78

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So a big fat ipad that has 13" of screen that runs a mobile OS and can only have 1 app at a time using all of those 13" of retina display

Hmm interesting prospect - We all need one of those in our lives. :winktongue:
 

Christian Kallevig

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Apple is sure to optimize iOS for this form factor just as they have with the iPad. They will also include plenty of high-quality software for productivity and creativity just as they do with Macs. I'm not so sure full OSX is going to matter that much to the average person looking to pick up a low cost mobile PC. We're not talking about professionals or gamers here.

Edit: Who's to say it will only run one app at a time? It may, but Apple may include some form of multitasking considering the larger display size. Don't assume that iOS is incapable of change.
 

WillysJeepMan

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Based on what I've seen, Lion was supposed to be the last version of OSX. The follow on OS11 was to support iOS apps and OSX apps. Providing a converged platform. But Android adoption took Apple by surprise and they had to regroup. I don't know how far out on their roadmap this convergence now is, but if Apple announces a 13" iPad, I would not be surprised that it runs both OSX and iOS apps.

You heard it here first. ;)
 

gsquared

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Given the cost of existing IPads I believe a 13" model would price itself out of the market. Willy's suggestion is interesting as it would be a direct competitor to the Surface Pro. YOu will always have the crowd that will buy anything AAPL puts out but I do not foresee this being a big seller. I could be wrong though.
 

martinmc78

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Apple is sure to optimize iOS for this form factor just as they have with the iPad. They will also include plenty of high-quality software for productivity and creativity just as they do with Macs. I'm not so sure full OSX is going to matter that much to the average person looking to pick up a low cost mobile PC. We're not talking about professionals or gamers here.

Edit: Who's to say it will only run one app at a time? It may, but Apple may include some form of multitasking considering the larger display size. Don't assume that iOS is incapable of change.

The one thing that wont change is cost - its easily going to be pushing over $1000 for one with decent storage as no apple device allows for proprietary memory cards. Will sell by the bucketload of course and self cannibalise Macbooks. But it wont compete with low cost mobile PC's. Not when I can pick up an Acer Aspire 13" touchscreen full pc for less than a 10" ipad
 

squire777

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I know OP's point was related to the Surface 2 but there are already many 11.6" and 13" Windows 8 tablets or convertibles that will be released soon, and most of them look pretty darn good.

Some off the top of my head:

Toshiba Click
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
Asus Transformer Book T300
Sony Vaio Tap 11

You can also bet that MS/Nokia will have something planned for that segment of the market as well. I don't think MS has anything to be afraid of in terms of a 13" iPad.
 

Christian Kallevig

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The one thing that wont change is cost - its easily going to be pushing over $1000 for one with decent storage as no apple device allows for proprietary memory cards. Will sell by the bucketload of course and self cannibalise Macbooks. But it wont compete with low cost mobile PC's. Not when I can pick up an Acer Aspire 13" touchscreen full pc for less than a 10" ipad
If the rumor is accurate it will be in the $600-$800 range, which would put it firmly in the same price range as Surcace RT and other convertibles
 

hcrick

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If the rumor is accurate it will be in the $600-$800 range, which would put it firmly in the same price range as Surcace RT and other convertibles

I can't see it in that price range, not if they intend it to be a PC replacement as you say. I consider the Surface Pro a suitable PC replacement but not the RT. I don't think it's possible to fit Pro like specs & horse power into a 13" Retina equipped tablet, have all day battery, keep the weight under 2lbs, AND price it $600-800. The only way for a 13" tablet to provide a comfortable UX is to keep it light. As a PC replacement it really won't matter how comfortable or big the tablet is since it'll be docked and the user will be seated in front of a keyboard, monitor, and mouse.
 

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