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Apple: Mixing tablet, notebook like merging toaster, fridge

Microsoft will be blurring the lines between traditional computers and tablets with the upcoming release of Windows 8, offering a tile-based interface designed to work across a variety of devices — including convertible machines that transform from tablets to notebooks and back again.

Apple will not be going down the same path, based on comments Tuesday afternoon from Apple CEO Tim Cook during the company’s earnings conference call with analysts, after posting strong quarterly results.

“Anything can be forced to converge but the problem is the products are about tradeoffs," Cook said in response to a question about the market for hybrid notebook/tablets. "You begin to make trade-offs to the point where what you have left at the end of the day doesn’t please anyone."

He added, "You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user."

Without referring to Microsoft directly, he said that "others" might take that approach "from a defensive point of view." However, he said, "we’re not going to that party."

(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBCUniversal.)

Students of Apple history may remember that it’s not the first time an Apple CEO has made a reference to those appliances.

In April 2004, Steve Jobs said this about the notion of adding video to the iPod: "You know, our next big step is we want it to make toast, I want to brown my bagels when I’m listening to my music. And we’re toying with refrigeration, too."

Apple released the first iPod with video support in October 2005.

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