I give kudos to Microsoft for doubling down on Windows after the company completely missed the mobile device revolution. These days PCs are mostly trucks and a few billion people on planet earth are driving smartphone cars. Where is Microsoft? Stuck with Windows and trying desperately to save the ailing PC industry with touchscreen notebook tablet hybrids.
The idea is cool, inviting, compelling even. A single device that acts as a tablet and a notebook. Take it anywhere and it does anything. Unfortunately, all those touchscreen Windows-based PCs-cum-tablets haven’t exactly caught the world on fire and, overall, PC sales continue to decline.
Meanwhile, sales for Apple’s standalone tablet– the iPad– have rebounded while Macs without touchscreen continue to sell at record levels. Apple says the hybrid experience isn’t very good and it’s not easy to argue against the facts. PC sales are down, Mac sales are up, iPad sales are up.
Still, wouldn’t you really love to have an iPad and a Mac mashed up together in a clamshell device with a removable keyboard? In keyboard mode the Mac Pad or the Pad Mac would be, well, a Mac. Take the detachable keyboard away and the screen becomes an iPad.
I’d buy one. Wouldn’t you?
Think of a slightly smaller MacBook with a 10.5-inch display and a full-size keyboard. The 10.5-inch screen would be the iPad. Add the detachable keyboard and it instantly becomes the smallest Mac. Apple could make the device with ease; drop in an ARM CPU for macOS and use whatever the latest and greatest Apple designed A-Series CPU for the iPad portion.
The key here is the segregation of components. The screen is an iPad. The keyboard is the Mac. While I prefer the option of using the keyboard for both Mac and iPad, I can understand Apple’s reluctance.
Still, differentiation is a key component of product marketing so who would object to a hybrid Mac iPad where the Mac runs macOS but only on an ARM CPU? No Windows. No Linux. Just macOS Hybrid. The screen, when detached, becomes the iPad.
What’s not to like?
Apple could introduce a number of models. A 10.5-inch entry-level model based upon the iPad Pro, a 12.9-inch model based upon the iPad Pro, and perhaps an Intel Inside model at a higher price point. TechNightOwl’s Gene Steinberg likes the idea, too, and while I don’t think such a hybrid device would be a hit with schools– Apple would charge a premium for a hybrid– it could be a huge hit for the enterprise as well as Mac users who endure a bit of Apple fatigue thanks to a growing product line.
I do not doubt that Apple could do such a Mac iPad hybrid the way it should be done. But is that what Apple wants? No. Hybrids are an extra level of complexity for users. And as Apple’s product line stands now, most of us Mac users also buy iPads so the company still gets two sales.