On the tablet-desktop convergence, Apple’s view

From Seeking Alpha, Apple Q2 2012 Earnings call transcript, we have the Apple’s view on the convergence of the Desktop and tablets.

A.M. Sacconaghi – Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division

The — as a second question, I was wondering if you can talk about how you think about the markets for tablet and PC devices going forward. I think you’ve been fairly clear about saying that you believe that tablets will eclipse PCs in volume at some point. And I think you’ve also said they’re somewhat discrete markets. There seems to be a lot of work, particularly on PC-based platforms, towards trying to combine the PC and tablet experience going forward in part because Windows 8 will be able to — is a touch-based operating system as well. Can you comment about why you don’t believe the PC or the Ultrabook and tablet markets or your MacBook Air and tablet markets won’t converge? Isn’t it realistic to think in a couple of years we’re going to have a device that’s under 2 pounds with great battery life that we can all carry around and open as a notebook or close up in a clever way and use as a tablet? Can you comment on why you don’t think that product might not come or why you believe these markets are separate?

Timothy D. Cook

I think, Tony, anything can be forced to converge. But the problem is that products are about trade-offs, and you begin to make trade-offs to the point where what you have left at the end of the day doesn’t please anyone. You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user. And so our view is that the tablet market is huge. And we’ve said that since day one. We didn’t wait until we had a lot of results. We were using them here, and it was already clear to us that there was so much you could do and that the reasons that people would use those would be so broad. And that’s precisely what we’ve seen. We — the iPad has taken off not only in consumer in a meaningful way but in education and in enterprise, and it’s sort of everywhere you look now. And the applications are so easy to make very meaningful for someone, and there — the — there’s such an abundance of those that — and as the ecosystem gets better and better and as we continue to double down on making great products, I think that the limit here is nowhere in sight. We’ve now — through the last quarter, I should say, which is just 2 years after we shipped the initial iPad, we’ve sold 67 million. And to put that in some context, it took us 24 years to sell that many Macs and 5 years for that many iPods and over 3 years for that many iPhones. And we were extremely happy with the trajectory on all of those products. And so I think iPad, it’s a profound product. It — the breadth of it is incredible, and the appeal of it is universal. And so I am — I could not be happier with being in the market, and the level at which we’re innovating in both the product and the ecosystem here is incredible. Now in terms of the market itself, IDC and Gartner and Forrester had some numbers out there. I think Gartner is saying there’s somewhere around 375 or so by 2015. Forrester is 375, somewhere around there. And so basically, the — they’re in the mid-300s, which is about where the PC market is today. And 2015 is only 3 years from now. And so I think even the more formal predictors outside of us are beginning to see these lines cross. And so I strongly believe that they will. Now having said that, I also believe that there is a very good market for the MacBook Air, and we continue to innovate in that product. And — but I do think that it appeals to somewhat — someone that has a little bit different requirements. And you wouldn’t want to put these things together because you wind up compromising in both and not pleasing either user. Some people will prefer to own both, and that’s great, too. But I think to make the compromises of convergence, so — we’re not going to that party. Others might. Others might from a defensive point of view, particularly. But we’re going to play in both.