Tim Cook spoke at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. Everyone was paying attention to information about Apple’s cash, and labor issues. They overlooked this juicy nugget of information:
Still, Cook doesn’t think the iPad will lead to the death of the personal computer as we’ve known it for the past 25 years or so. “I don’t predict the demise of the PC industry, I don’t subscribe to that,” he said, although admitting that tablet sales were eating into Mac sales and were likely having the same effect on the PC industry, which is essentially stagnant. It seems pretty clear that Cook thinks of the iPad as a different product from the PC/Mac, unlike some industry observers who would prefer to lump the two together.
While everyone is insisting Mac OS X is just going to merge into iOS and talking about iOS-fication of Mac OS X, clearly Tim Cook at least for now sees it differently.
I don’t think Apple would benefit by cannibalizing the desktop/laptop market. It’s somewhat high margin and eventually the tablet margin will drop as competition ramps up. Tim Cook knows that. Apple’s PC market share was never huge, but it was enough to grow the company for many years, and has been quietly gaining strength, even in the corporate world.
PC’s are still much more flexible and capable than any mobile product. Keep in mind almost nobody can take a photo they took on an iPhone and put it on paper without a desktop. Printing had been figured out by the time the IBM 5150 shipped. It’s worth noting however that this is likely at least in part due to patent wars and not really a technical limitation.