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.
Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.
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