Apple CEO Tim Cook caused a minor kerfuffle last week while promoting the iPad Pro in an interview with a British newspaper when he asked, “Why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?”
The question baffled Mac users, and seemed to suggest that Apple might one day phase out the Mac—or combine it with the iPad to make a hybrid device similar to Microsoft’s new Surface Book. Cook clarified the meaning behind his question in a new interview with the Irish Independent, telling the newspaper that Macs and PCs are not the same. Snark on PCs aside, Cook said he understands that some people need desktops and notebooks, while for others, a powerful tablet like the iPad Pro will suffice.
“We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad,” Cook said. “Because what that would wind up doing, or what we’re worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You’d begin to compromise in different ways.”
Yeah, that’s definitely a dig at Microsoft.
The differences between Mac and iPad chips are dwindling, as Apple’s A-series line gets more and more powerful. But that doesn’t mean an iPad will will eventually replace a Mac, even if Cook now uses a Pro as his everyday work machine.
“What we’ve tried to do is to recognize that people use both iOS and Mac devices,” Cook told the Independent. “So we’ve taken certain features and made them more seamless across the devices. So with things like Handoff we just made it really simple to work on one of our products and pick it up and work on the next product.”
Why this matters: Apple’s core business is hardware, and Macs remain a key piece of that business. Mac sales were up 3 percent year-over-year in 2015 as the rest of the PC market continues to decline. While Apple wants to boost iPad sales by launching the Pro as an alternative to smaller notebooks, Cook just made it clear that the Mac isn’t going anywhere.