Apple COO Cook Dismisses Tablet Rivals

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Apple COO Tim Cook has dismissed the company’s tablet rivals and laid into Windows and Android

Basking in the glow of a record first quarter, Apple COO Tim Cook felt confident enough to label Android tablets “bizarre” and characterised Windows 7-based tablets as “big, heavy and expensive.”

The company’s record earnings were buoyed by sales of 16.24 million iPhones, an 86 percent growth from the year-ago quarter, and 7.33 million iPads, a 75 percent bump over the previous quarter.

With iPad sales like that, it’s easy to see why Cook, who is taking on day-to-day operations at Apple while CEO Steve Jobs is on medical leave, would feel confident answering questions from financial analysts about the tablet competition.

Expensive And Bizzare

Cook responded: “There are two kinds of groups today [in the market] – the ones using a Windows-based operating system. They’re big, heavy and expensive. They have weak battery life. You need a keyboard or stylus. From our point of view, customers aren’t interested in that.

“Then you have the Android tablets,” he continued. “The variety shipping today, the operating system wasn’t designed for a tablet, but Google said this. So you wind up having the size of a tablet that’s less than reasonable, or one that’s not even a real tablet experience. It’s a ‘scaled-up smartphone.’ That’s a bizarre product in our view. That is what is shipping today. If you do a side-by-side with an iPad, some enormous percentage is going to pick the iPad. We have no concern there.”

eWEEK happened upon several of the Windows tablets at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, and while we could not ascertain the battery life, some of the machines were heavy, and some weren’t. Cook’s claim is a generalisation at best.

Cook comes closer to the mark with his comments on Android tablets, where he is clearly referencing the 7-inch-screen Samsung Galaxy Tab and perhaps the range of tablets from Archos.

Not Tablet Optimised

These machines are all based on Google’s Android 2.2 operating system, which Google did allow was not optimised for tablets. Even so, Samsung managed to sell more than 1.5 million Galaxy Tabs in a few months.

Google and Android fans would point out that the Android 3.0-based tablets, such as the 10.1-inch Motorola Xoom, are coming soon – next month in fact. Cook dismissed these as “vapour” because they are not shipping yet.

However, members of the media and anyone else who attended Verizon’s keynote address at CES or toured the Motorola booth know that the Xoom is an impressive combination of hardware and software that should provide a more viable iPad alternative.

Even so, it’s hard to argue against the iPad’s rise. IDC’s 18 January numbers, which were unveiled hours before Apple’s earnings call, show that the iPad accounted for 90 percent of the 17 million media tablet sales in 2010.

IDC expects the media tablet market to hit 44.6 million units in 2011, with the US representing nearly 40 percent of the total.

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