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.

10 COMMENTS

  1. @adfhdfawh: It’s less to do with form factor as it is with software. Remember that the premise here is Win8 is running on both ARM and x86 but this is all because MS is trying to lvie in both worlds. Having Windows 7 on a tablet is clearly not competitive with an iPad since you can buy those…but they’re not selling. You want the benefits of allt he worlds – a tablet that docks and can run as a real PC or a real tablet (iPad like, not PC like).

  2. You worry too much.. Windows8 tab will be shipped around the world, msft mobile front will be noticed once they see what they have on their PC and of course liked it…
    Why do you hate Apple???
    and for the MacBook?? Dock?? Come on now msft has this long time ago..
    Relax and enjoy..

  3. Isn’t it odd that everyone is saying the Ipad is killing PC’s when you still need Itunes to use your Ipad?

  4. A tablet that when docked to a keyboard becomes a full Desktop OS? That sounds like the prototype Lenovo showed off last year. Chances are good, Apple will make it much more usable and practical than the Lenovo prototype, then everyone will claim Apple came up with the idea first. .p

    The main thing i’d like to see with the Win8 Tablet/PC is a universal docking station. This way, my fiancee and i can have two separate computing devices and just dock them to one work station when we need to do more serious work. I can also just take my computer with me when i travel and sync back to my home network later.

  5. @ryusen: You can toggle the OS to desktop mode with a single button so you can use desktop mode on the go. If you had a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, wifi and either HDMI or DLNA you can use the monitor as well:) Won’t actually need a dock unless you want your tablet to stand upright :)

  6. We all expect Apple will copy msft.. We all know that.. The upcoming IOS 5 is copied from android and msft.. Although android is copied from winmo…
    Windows8 will be innovative.. Anything copied from winmo8 will get sued….i like everything about windows phone and windows 8.. I have been waiting and whishing that someone come up with the tiles and hubs.. I used to make black berry in a grid format and make the apps huge.. Good job msft.. Way to go.. Now hurry up release everything

  7. David, I think your overall message was lost to this audience by you trying to save face ;)

    Microsoft has unveiled an operating system we all knew was coming. Sure, they’ve shown off a great deal more than they ever have up until this point, and it looks great from a consumer standpoint, and it’ll offer a wide selection of form factors, advanced features and new experiences. But, they have some actual competition in many ways this time out.

    I think what David was trying to say here though was that Apple has an undeniable headstart on the tablet market. Their Mac sales are screaming right now where PC sales are actually falling behind YoY sales figures, and they’re on the tip of every tech blogs fingertips in anticipation of their next product releases. Even if you’re an Android, WP7, or ‘Other’ Fanboy, you can’t deny the incredible selling power of Apple and their lineup. No one mobile product from a competitor in any category they sell in sells better.

    This presents them with an incredible opportunity to swoop in and pull the rug from under Microsoft’s feet by merging the OSX and iOS worlds together. A convertible A6 powered MacBook Air similarly powered, higher resolution iPad 3 (or ‘Pro’) running this hybrid OS would bring an incredible advantage to Apple. 200+ million people already know iOS. About 60 Million people are Mac users. Sure, those numbers pale in comparison to MS’s user base – they were the only viable game in personal and professional computing for the past 2 decades – but in the profit margin area, the one where companies live and breathe, Apple stands to make an absolute fortune from what at a technical level is as simple as adopting a new architecture (something they’re not afraid of doing as was evident by the PowerPC to Intel change). If they could some how emulate the ARM chipset they use, or more incredibly use it for simultaneous interactive processing of iOS apps on an Intel laptop, there’s a serious competitor to Windows 8 already, and they have an incredibly large developer and user base already ready and willing.

    Anyway, I’m tracking David, even if the unwashed wphanbois aren’t ;)

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