One of the big selling points for the iPad when it arrived in 2010 was how much slimmer and lighter it was than a full size Windows tablet. Comparable machines in the UMPC form factor, being pushed by Microsoft at the time, were thicker, heavier, had smaller screens and worse battery life. No wonder the iPad was an instant success, whether you believe that to be because of or in spite of it being a ‘big iPhone’.
Over the last year or so we’ve begun to see the positions reversed. The iPad has been in serious decline, with both sales and market share falling, whilst Windows tablets, especially in the convertible, detachable or hybrid space pioneered by Microsoft, are booming.
Now we’re starting to see Windows PCs which out iPad the iPad. The first of those that I had the opportunity to experience was the Samsung Galaxy Tabpro S, which is as thin and light and portable as an iPad, but packs full Windows 10 into its skinny frame.
Asus announced the Transformer 3 (above) yesterday which makes that comparison even more apparent – the tablet component is as slim as an iPad Pro whilst being lighter. And unlike the Samsung the Asus has power to spare, with Intel Core i7 processors, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage available. Its 3K display also outdoes the iPad’s. It even manages an iPad matching nine hour run time on battery.
Apple’s refusal to build a hybrid based around OS X looks even more perplexing now. An iPad Pro form factor with all of the software options of OS X would be very appealing – and likely to command a higher price than an iPad (at least if the MacBook’s pricing is anything to go by).
There’s exciting Windows 10 hardware coming from almost every Microsoft partner and Apple just doesn’t seem to have anything to hand to compete. With both iPad and Mac sales down recently you have to expect that somewhere in Cupertino someone is busy and creating the Mac hybrid that the market desperately craves.