At Apple's last earnings call in October, Steve Jobs made a surprise appearance to knock iPhone competitors RIM and Android. This time around, Apple COO Tim Cook, who is filling in for Jobs as interim CEO, did his best impression of Jobs, hurling insult after insult toward iPad competitors Microsoft and Google.
"There's not much out there," began Cook, speaking of the tablet market. "If someone does a side-by-side with an iPad, I think a large percentage of people are going to select an iPad."
One could chalk the boasts up to general Apple bravado--but Cook was eager to speak in specifics. He argued that the iPad's competitors in the tablet market are divided between Windows and Android-based devices, and that both have significant drawbacks.
"The ones using a Windows-based operating system are generally fairly big and heavy and expensive," Cook said. "They have a very weak battery life, they require a keyboard or stylus, and from our point of view, customers are frankly not interested in them."
He was even harsher on Google's entries to the market.
"The [Android] operating system wasn't really designed for tablets--Google has said this--this is not just Apple's view by any means," he told analysts. "You wind up having a size of tablet that is less than what we believe is reasonable, and even one that we feel is not a real tablet experience. Basically, you have a scaled-up smartphone, which is a bizarre product, in our view."
As for next-gen Android tablets, many of which debuted as CES to much fanfare, Cook was just as pessimistic. "There's nothing shipping yet, so I don't know--we'll assess them as they come out," he said. "Generally they lack the performance specs, they lack prices, they lack timing, and today, they're vapor."
Cook concluded: "They are not tablets that we have any concern for."
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[Image by Andrew M. Hur]