Time Magazine has published their top 10 tech industry predictions for 2013. Time safely predicts that Microsoft will enter the smartphone business in 2013, which is something that we covered back in November in a report titled Microsoft Considers Releasing a Surface Smartphone in 2013. They also predict that Google may create an upscale line of mobile devices via Motorola. That would basically translate to Google finally entering the hardware business directly to challenge Apple head-on. That would definitely cause sparks that could ignite round two of the patent wars. Yet at the end of the day, there were two predictions by Time relating to Apple. The first prediction sees Apple making a large investment in its supply chain. Their guesses include owning a key display manufacturer, owning hardware machining factories, and/or even investing or co-investing in a foundry to manufacture its own semiconductors for all of its computers. Their second prediction is a little more daring. Okay, a lot more daring.
Time's Top Prediction for Apple in 2013: A Hybrid Tablet/Laptop
Time magazine's prediction number three is titled "Hybrids and convertibles will see high interest from IT departments" which tees up their number five prediction which is that "Apple will create a hybrid tablet/laptop."
Time states that "The Android and Windows sides of the tech market are moving quickly to create tablet/laptop combo devices, and business and consumers alike are showing interest in these kinds of products. If these types of products gain serious traction, I believe Apple may need to respond to this growth threat in the same way it has now entered the seven-inch tablet market — despite the fact that Steve Jobs told everyone that Apple would never make a seven-inch tablet."
Time's Tim Bajarin dreamed a little by stating, "imagine a sleekly designed hybrid that perhaps has the design lines of the MacBook Air, but with an iPad screen that detaches from its ultra-thin keyboard. For lack of a better term I call it the MacBook AirPad or iPad Air. I know Tim Cook has denounced this type of design, suggesting it is like attaching a 'toaster to a refrigerator,' but a sleek and elegant iPad/keyboard device designed by Apple would be of interest to a lot of people, myself included." Great minds think alike as we pounded the table on that poing back in May.
In the big picture, I couldn't agree more with Tim on his prediction as we've been covering MacBook Tablet Hybrid patents for some time now. However, I'm not sure that 2013 will be the year. It appears that Apple, under CEO Tim Cook, is more than likely to play a wait and see game as they did with their 7" iPad mini. I'm not sold just yet on Apple taking too many leaps ahead-of-the-curve as they once did under the helm of the late Steve Jobs. I think we're going to have to get used to "new Apple" playing the catch-up game with endless excuses for that philosophy. Cook just won't want to have a major flop on his hands too early on in his new role as CEO. He'll continually play it safe and evolutionary-like and only jump into the hybrid game if it begins to eat away at the iPad's bottom line. At the end of the day, it's nice to see that Time has faith in Apple taking a leadership role in this emerging market – even though they won't.
For more on Time's top ten predictions for 2013, read Tim and Ben Bajarin's full report.
Noted above are images from Apple's 2010 granted patent for a hybrid notebook-tablet.