The Simple Reason Apple Inc. Won't Introduce a Hybrid iPad

Despite the rumors and pressure to innovate, investors shouldn't expect Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) to introduce a hybrid iPad anytime soon, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the following video.

And yet, ever since Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF  ) unveiled plans for a 12.2-inch "Pro" tablet, we've seen reports that Apple would respond with a larger screen edition of the iPad, which, in turn, has led to speculation that the Mac maker might entertain a hybrid iPad device that acts like a MacBook.

We last heard this rumor in October when a Barclays analyst predicted that an iOS-based hybrid device could disrupt 25% to 30% of the PC market. We also know that, in 2010, Apple was awarded a patent for a MacBook-to-iPad convertible device that's yet to see the light of day. Tim says it probably never will, observing relatively few such "convertibles" in public work areas or among kids.

Others are mixed on the prospects. IDC predicts that hybrid tablets will help drive sales of Windows tablets to 39.3 million units by 2017, up from 7.5 million units last year. Gartner says that the overall market for "ultramobiles" (including hybrid tabs and Chromebooks), will improve from 20.3 million units shipped last year, to 39.8 million this year.

In context, hybrids occupied about 10% of the overall tablet market last year, and should come short of accounting for 15% of sales this year. There's no reason for Apple to chase the "convertible" opportunity without a groundbreaking idea for reshaping the market already in hand, Tim says.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. How do you rate Apple's chances of introducing a hybrid iPad? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take, and then leave a comment to let us know what you think, and whether you would buy, sell, or short Apple stock at current prices.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On February 12, 2014, at 10:39 AM, jacksmelt wrote:

    There is little chance Apple will want to release a product that nobody wants. People like ipads because they are compact and easy to use. People like lap tops because they are some what portable and have every feature that you would want in a desk top. Microsoft already proved to us that a hybrid device isn't what most of us are looking for. Give me a cheap lap top and a cheap tablet, don't give me one expensive device that's the worst of both worlds.

  • Report this Comment On February 12, 2014, at 11:08 AM, st0815 wrote:

    15% of the tablet market is quite significant. Maybe Cook ought to develop a concept how to cater for that share, rather than coming up with reasons why that should pass Apple by?

  • Report this Comment On February 12, 2014, at 11:11 AM, Renee wrote:


    I personally don't like Microsoft's Surface, however, using Surface as the only example to a hybrid device is wrong.

    There are MANY excellent hybrid devices out there, that cost about the same as a similarly-specced good laptop, and MUCH less than a laptop+tablet.

    This is not to mention the convenience of:

    1. having all your data is in one place

    2. all your settings are in one place

    3. all your emails and messages (unless using a cloud/Exchange/IMAP, which provide a live connection all the time) are right there, including sent items

    4. only needing to buy the application once

    5. only needing to carry one device with you when going on a trip

    6. cheaper than buying a similarly-specced laptop plus tablet

  • Report this Comment On February 12, 2014, at 11:52 AM, SimchaStein wrote:

    Hybrid - not likely.

    iOS and it's App ecosystem will get richer, especially with the 64 bit A7 chip, but that may be for high-end games rather than 'desktop' computing apps.

    For North America consumers, the iPads are so convenient and light that carrying one is no burden, even if you need to carry a MacBook for desktop computing apps. In emerging markets, the desktop apps may not matter as much. (Would love to hear others who understand emerging markets comment on this.)

    Apple likes clean designs and clean portfolios. How many times have the pundits howled about Apple not deploying a feature or dropping an I/O device only to see that Apple was correct. Some examples - no NFC (non-starter); late with 3G and LTE (the infrastructure wasn't ready for 3G even when Apple put it in the phone).

  • Report this Comment On February 12, 2014, at 2:27 PM, jacksmelt wrote:


    I haven't seen any good devices that accomplish this (that doesn't mean they don't exist). Can you name a few? I would actually like to check these devices out and see if they can change my mind about the whole topic. As for the other points you made:

    This is not to mention the convenience of:

    1. having all your data is in one place

    2. all your settings are in one place

    3. all your emails and messages (unless using a cloud/Exchange/IMAP, which provide a live connection all the time) are right there, including sent items

    4. only needing to buy the application once

    5. only needing to carry one device with you when going on a trip

    6. cheaper than buying a similarly-specced laptop plus tablet

    Except for points 5 and 6, I believe that Google is trying to accomplish all of this with their "cloud". I believe that this is actually the direction that computing as a whole is trying to move towards and Apple will be doing something very similar.

    Google Voice and Google Hangouts are a good example of their current attempts to accomplish this. I can call, text, email all of my contacts from my computer, tablet, and phone with the devices web browser and all I need is a data connection such as WIFI or a cell data plan. If you go further and install the apps you can even get push notifications when connected to the internet. Things are changing fast and I believe an all-in-one will be obsolete before it ever truly becomes a significant source of revenue for tech companies.

    You hit on all of this in point 3. The constant data connection is the key and I think Google has recognized this as the main obstacle in achieving this. Maybe an all-in-one would fill the void for some time before this can be achieved, so maybe there is a need for one. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

  • Report this Comment On February 12, 2014, at 4:26 PM, Renee wrote:


    Depends on preference of OS, portability, speed, and screen-size, and how much you're willing to spend ofcourse, but here are a few:


    1. Lenovo Yoga 2 and Yoga 2 Pro (personally, I prefer the non-pro, as it's lighter, even though it doesn't have a retracting keyboard)

    2. Sony Vaio Duo 13

    3. Dell XPS 11 (really like this one-super fast, super-light, feels very nice in the hand, but undecided about its keyboard for now)

    4. Dell XPS 12.5

    5. I think there's an Acer out there that got good reviews, but I never liked Acer reliability, so staying away from that

    6. Asus Transformer Book TX300 (had problems with Asus before, so not sure if I'll be going with them again either

    There are some of those spin-around-screen units from Lenovo, but I never liked those personally, as they are usually on the bigger side, and I prefer the ultrabooks.


    Quite a few choices here, up to 12.2" screen. All over the range, so it's harder to pinpoint. I need Windows (exclusively) for the extra 5-10% of work that just cannot be done on Android, iOS or OSx, so I really focused my research this time on Windows-based Ultrabooks. I do have a couple of Android tablets that I use when no needing Windows, including an Asus Transformer T100 (convertible), but both my tablets are 2-3 generations back, so commenting on those isn't applicable.

    Yes, having things on the cloud is nice, until you don't have access to the internet. Then what? Starting to fumble with memory cards or USB keys to move stuff between your tablet and laptop?

    When there will be a constant connection, as per what you said about Google, there will STILL be a need for convertibles, but then they will not require a harddrive, and have less processing power, so they'll be lighter, have longer battery life and be cheaper. It's just easier to use a keyboard to do work quite often, the keyboard part usually also has a bigger battery than just a tablet, so why buy two devices, when you can buy one. Many units are actually detachable/dockable tablets with a keyboard, so you can leave the keyboard at home if you don't want it with you.

  • Report this Comment On February 12, 2014, at 6:59 PM, jacksmelt wrote:


    Thanks for the info, I'll check out those devices if I get a chance. I just got a Nexus 5 and I haven't found a reason to turn on my laptop for weeks. Though my laptop is old and slow and I'm always on my PC at work. Yeah, phones/tablets are great until your initial web searches don't yield the results you want, or you have to do real work like word processing or multimedia editing, then it's all about the mouse and keyboard. It's not impossible for a company to combine both things together, but for me, I expect a computer to last a lot longer than a phone or tablet, so for me, I still prefer separate devices. Usually a phone/tablet gets dropped multiple times and eventually breaks, but I rarely drop a laptop/desktop so it tends to last longer. Though I guess they could make an all-in-one that's more rugged to solve this, but than people wouldn't upgrade as often and they wouldn't sell as many new models.

  • Report this Comment On February 12, 2014, at 10:16 PM, Renee wrote:


    they do have rugged tablets...Windows and Android (plus you can always get a rubberized sleeve to protect a regular tablet).

    I don't think they have ruggedized convertible laptops, though. Either way, it would be too bulky at that point to be a practical tablet substitute.

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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