There’s a huge round of applause for what Microsoft has been showing off at Build. This concept of a full PC plus a tablet in one that’s unified has really gained traction. Unfortunately it’s a year off. Know what’s not a year off? Apple’s chilling response.
There are great rumors that the next refresh of the Mac Book Air will be something entirely new. Well here’s what it is: take a Mac Book Air and make it a convertible (so the screen can undock or sit above the keyboard in some fashion that they’ll surely patent), make the screen a touchscreen and let it also run iOS apps. See how simple that was? Want OS X full desktop apps? OK run them. Want iOS touchscreen apps and games? No problem. They’ll be able to run together. We’re not dual booting. I’m talking about both living in the same world at the same time.
This raises the old x86/ARM issue we’re all too familiar with. So how the hell do they pull this off if Microsoft can’t? I’m not telling you that answer but Apple does magic so I’m not putting it past them. Yeah I’m an Apple hater but I’m giving them credit for what they’ve done and for all I know they can work out a way to have two CPUs in one system and allow one kernel to assign tasks to the other CPU (like a dual core CPU assigns tasks to each processor) and let them live in harmony and actually have no performance loss. I have no idea and I hope that someone in PC world has been trying to unite these worlds for some time but there’s a ton of innovation out there. Or they could do software virtualization and since x86 processors are more powerful than ARM processors even if there’s a loss of performance that may not hinder the overall performance of the system if they can work it out.
In the end, there’s a big difference between Apple’s and Microsoft’s ecosystem. Microsoft needs to protect its PC market and that’s why it needs to get a PC on a tablet. Apple has a better mobile ecosystem and needs to spread that good will to their desktop world. If Microsoft had a larger mobile footprint then the conversation would be different but they clearly don’t.
If Apple delivers on this before Windows 8 it’s a pretty big game changer for them. Microsoft has an opportunity to get back into the tablet market through their desktop market but if Apple can extend their market to the PC market first then it changes everything.
So, on how many levels am I wrong? Please feel free to call me out on it in the comments. But remember, what I’m writing about is fact: I was told it by an analyst in a bar who has a friend that’s a parts supplier to a parts supplier so it’s verified.