"It’s only a matter of time before the laptop and tablet (and maybe even phone) converge in the mass market, and people will own exactly one workflow device and laugh about the crazy olden days when we carried all these separate devices. The average <insert new hybrid device name here> will look not that dissimilar from the tablet today, with a beautifully integrated keyboard that converts as needed, and with the full analytical power and compatibility of a (sharp inhale) PC laptop. Windows 8 will undoubtedly be a player in the delivery of this vision. Every credible professional will have one. That’ll also be the day that we have an answer to the question, “When will corporations buy tablets for all their employees (i.e. not just the salesforce)?” The answer: When they can’t help it."
June 19-20, 2012
"Surface Pro, meanwhile, will challenge the current crop of laptops and Ultrabooks--and there it may well win. Why purchase a classic clamshell-style laptop if you can get a tablet that quickly and elegantly becomes a laptop when you need one--all without sacrificing performance, interoperability, or functionality? The big question here is whether consumers can manage with a 10.6-inch display as their laptop screen; for many consumers, I suspect, the convenience of a tablet/laptop hybrid may be worth the drawback of having to put up with a smaller screen."
"Apple, by contrast, has consistently argued tablets are entirely separate from portable PCs. "If you force them together, I think the PC is not as good as it can be, and I think the tablet is not as good as it can be," said Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, at the D: All Things Digital conference last month."
I tend to think Apple is wrong. As I wrote last month, the overlap in use cases between a tablet and laptop is too great for consumers, and particularly heavy-travel prosumers, to carry both around if they don't have to. A lot of people have been waiting for the tablet to be a full workflow device; integration with Microsoft Office suite is a significant element of that.
Frankly though, I didn't realize the future halcyon days I described in my post last month would come so soon. I haven't seen the Surface Pro live but I'm giving Microsoft the benefit of the doubt that they've learned some key lessons from the iPad, which, even if they're not reflected in the first iteration, could be readily applied in future versions.
In my mind, the only tiny (giant) hitch is the consumer software ecosystem, i.e. apps. Let’s see if they (Ballmer) can leave their ego at the door in order to build that developer ecosystem and stage the comeback they’ve been looking for.