Alas, great ideas also need great execution, and doing things right is not exactly Microsoft’s strong suit, is it? Still, the idea of a hybrid tablet-cum-notebook still makes sense. What an iPad killer that could be.
iPad’s Biggest Failures
Yes, I love my iPad and I’ll be in line for an iPad mini with the Retina display model ships, but the iPad still has two serious problems.
First up, the obvious– the iPad’s keyboard. Or, rather, the lack of a real keyboard. The onscreen iPad keyboard works fine, of course, unless you want to type something beyond a sentence.
Entering a URL into Safari, or typing out a lengthy email reply, or simple doing some work on real document is painstakingly painful with the iPad’s onscreen keyboard.
Second, iPad apps are anemic. At least, they’re limited when compared to apps available on the common Mac or Windows PC.
Apple is pushing the envelope so we can expect 64-bit CPUs in future iPads, which could increase the capability of apps– desktop caliber is the term being bandied about.
Desktop caliber? OK, but that touch interface still has an obvious gap between iOS and OS X apps. That’s why Apple needs a hybrid iPad and Mac– the MacPad.
The smallest MacBook Air, the 11-inch screen model, is a svelte 2.38 pounds that comes with 12-hours of battery life. Compare that to the iPad 4 which has a smaller screen and is just under a pound lighter.
What better way for Apple to tell Intel to get serious about low power, battery-saving CPUs, than to put OS X and iOS together on a MacPad running a 64-bit custom ARM CPU?
Microsoft’s problems with the two Surface models was more a poorly executed strategy. The Surface RT (iPad killer) was anemic– not many apps, and it didn’t run Windows. The Surface Pro was expensive for a tablet-wannabe, and it didn’t run tablet apps.
Apple’s MacPad, if it ran both OS X and iOS, featuring a removable keyboard, and a touchscreen, would have to do well on both ends– iOS tablet apps, and Mac OS X apps– in a small, lightweight package.
The hybrid concept is attractive, but only if Apple can make the hardware package work better than Microsoft’s Surface disaster, and price it competitively with notebooks and high-end tablets.
A meld of iPad 5 and MacBook Air would be an attractive piece of kit.