Early on in this afternoon’s earnings call, Cook touched on the success of the iPad with a passing prediction, saying that he “still believe[s] it will be larger than the PC market” in the long run.
Pushed on the matter a bit later — or, more accurately, on whether or not the iPad would take a chunk of the Mac market, as well — Cook dove deeper into what he meant.
“Yes, we’re seeing cannibalization [of the Mac]. It’s showing up in two ways. Some people are electing to buy an iPad rather than a Mac. However, I think a larger percentage are choosing iPad over a Windows-based PC. We’re coming out overwhelmingly well with regards to cannibalization. Even with the iPad having its best quarter ever, the Mac had its best quarter ever as well.”
His logic does, for the most part, make plenty of sense. For many an iPad buyer, Apple’s tablet is an escape from the endless cycle of hassle that they’ve grown accustomed to with the last few generations of Windows — it’s a machine that does most of the stuff they need to do (that is, Facebook and e-mail), with next to no risk of spyware or viruses. Mac owners, meanwhile, don’t see it as an escape, but as yet another shiny thing from a company they’re already used to buying from.