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Who says conference calls aren't fun?

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has officially entered into settlement talks with Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) the top Android phonemaker.  The companies both claim hope for reaching an intellectual property cross-licensing pact, which would preserve their deep $8B USD business relationship, which mostly involves Apple paying Samsung to produce its iPhone and iPad CPUs at a semiconductor factory in Texas.

I. This is the Sound of Settling?

While there's little assurance the pair will be able to reach an amicable agreement and put an end to their expensive international legal conflict, comments by Apple CEO Tim Cook reiterate Apple's claimed optimism about a compromise.

Mr. Cook, who will participate in the settlement talks along with Samsung's CEO, commented on the ongoing litigation during his company's earnings call, in which Apple reported record profits and record global sales of its iPhone 4S smartphone.  He stated, "I've always hated litigation. We just want people to invent their own stuff."

Samsung v. Apple
"Frenemys" Apple and Samsung have agreed to consider settling.
[Image Source: TechnoBuffalo]

That comment seems to offer a very different perspective that late Apple CEO Steven P. Jobs who embraced litigation as a way to destroy his hated competitor.  Mr. Jobs is quoted as saying, "I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

While Mr. Jobs indeed escalated Apple's legal war against Android -- dubbed by some as "The Patent Wars" -- to his dying breath, his 2011 passing may have cleared the way for an armistice.

II. No Tablet Hybrids for Apple Users

In the conference call Mr. Cook also took a jab at the Windows 8 tablet-laptop "hybrids" that ultrabook chipmaker Intel Corp. (INTC) and OEMs are pushing.  While he stopped short of criticizing Windows 8, which is expected to pop up in many traditional tablet designs, he argued that hybrids are a pointless form factor.

He comments, "You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those aren’t going to be pleasing to the user."

Oddly Apple's current "Lion" (OS X 10.7) and upcoming "Mountain Lion" (OS X 10.8) operating systems have put much focusing into converging the company's iOS mobile operating system with the personal computer iOS line -- seemingly the same approach Tim Cook is blasting Microsoft, et al. for taking.

Responding to questions of whether Apple might be interested in "converging" its MacBook Air and iPad lines into a hybrid, he argued that such a product would feature too many "tradeoffs" to live up to Apple's high standards.  He adds, "We are not going to that party, but others might from a defensive point of view."

Despite the skepticism, the public seems at least curious about hybrid tablets.  Lenovo Group, Ltd. (HKG:0992) has received a great deal of attention for its "Yoga" hybrid design, which will join the well-received IdeaPad family of laptops, which Lenovo launched in 2008.

Apple CEO Tim Cook says hybrid tablets like the Yoga will disappoint [Image Source: Lenovo]

Lenovo, which is growing faster than Apple in the personal computer market, is packing the 17 mm thick convertible with high end technology such as an Ivy Bridge processor, a 13-inch 1,600x900 pixel display, up to 8 GB of DRAM, and up to a 256 GB SSD.

In tablet mode, the Yoga's keyboard is merely dormant behind the touchscreen.  Other hybrid tablet/laptop makers have opted for a slightly different approach, going for fully detachable designs.  The highest profile example of this alternate approach has been ASUSTEK Computer Inc.'s (TPE:2357"Transformer" Android tablet/laptop. The first generation model has sold relatively well, albeit not provided much of a serious challenge sales-wise to the iPad.  

By contrast sales of the second-generation model -- the "Transformer Prime" -- have been abysmal.  Asus is expected to launch a third-generation model dubbed "Transformer Infinity" sometime this quarter.  The upgrade model will feature a higher-resolution 1,920x1,200 pixel screen and improved GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth to eliminate the signal issues found in the Prime.

Source: Apple

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RE: It's simple
By EnzoFX on 4/25/2012 3:17:38 PM , Rating: 0
Or more likely, they think it's too much of a niche of a market to move into?

I mean what average user is buying a tablet, and saying, oh I want a keyboard too? Doesn't that defeat the purpose even a tad? IMO, I don't think these tablets have enough of a performance to be all that viable, it's another jack of all trades, master of none. Apple is clearly choosing to remain master of both laptops and tablets, while leaving the rest to fill whatever niche they want. That is however until they actually see a viable market to go after, or one where they feel the hardware is there to meet the need.

RE: It's simple
By BugblatterIII on 4/25/2012 5:32:11 PM , Rating: 1
Tablets suck for writing emails. Most people want to write emails, and why have a laptop and a tablet when the tablet alone can do the job just by docking it to a keyboard?

RE: It's simple
By Insurgence on 4/25/2012 8:56:52 PM , Rating: 2
I see setups like the Atrix 4g and the Transformer as proving the best of both worlds. Since you can undock the tablet/phone from the keyboard and what not, you can reduce the size and weight of them and make them more easily portable. While at the same time you can have the additional comfort of the keyboard in situations that allow you to use the keyboard.

Now the hybrids that you cannot detach the two, I would have no use for. I would rather just go with a laptop that fit most of my gaming needs than I would a tablet/laptop hybrid. Because to me that does defeat the purpose of having a tablet.

RE: It's simple
By Skelum on 4/25/2012 9:26:30 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know anyone with a tablet that have thrown their PC away. None of them would live only with a tablet... Apple does'nt have an hybrid because their iOS is a boosted iPOD OS.

Windows 8 for tablets will be a dumb down version of a full computer OS which is a first in the tablet world. Even android was made for mobile.

So Windows 8 will be a game changer in the tablet world. Personally I hate that syncing stuff even with the cloud. I'm too busy to take care of it on a daily basis and too cheap to have a 3g tablet.

I already carry my laptop around because I'll work from home at least 2 days a week but still it takes too much place in the bus for me to work. If only I can get the keyboard out of the way while I'm in public transport but still have access to all my local data without needing connectivity.

Tablets have made their way in houses as entertainment units
but Windows 8 tablets will make their way in the corporate world where a lot of money is to be made...


RE: It's simple
By Fritzr on 4/25/2012 9:27:25 PM , Rating: 3
The Apple hybrid is still in development. So as Apple is not currently pushing the iTransformer, all hybrids stink. As soon as the iTransformer gets close to release the RDF will cause all Apple marketing to do an about face and Apple customers will know that not only did Apple invent the tablet/laptop hybrid, but also that everyone must have one.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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